Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #011-Serbia as Autonomous State


In 1817 Milos secured from the Skupstina the recognition of his hereditary right, but this status was confirmed by the Sultan only in 1830.after the Convention of Akkerman (1826) and the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) had provided for Serbian autonomy on fuller lines than those laid down at Bucharest in 1812.

The hatti slicrif of 1830 still further defined that autonomy and in 1833 Milos was able to occupy the Six Districts till then in dispute with the Turks. Turkish garrisons were retained in Belgrade. Sabac, Smedcrevo, Uzicc and two other places, and Turkish residents were henceforth restricted to these towns. In home affairs Milos developed highly autocratic tendencies, opposed representative institutions and used his position to enrich himself.

In 1835, however, a serious conspiracy forced him to summon a Skupstina, and though the new constitution which it voted never came into force owing to the hostility of the Porte and the Powers, another was promulgated by halti sherij of the Sultan in 1838, instituting a Council of State or Senate and a Cabinet of four ministers. These years witnessed the curious spectacle of the two autocracies, Russia and Turkey, working to restrict the Prince's autocratic powers, while the Western Liberal Powers, Britain and France, favoured their extension. Fortunately the efforts of 1'almerston's agents, Colonel Hodges and Lord Ponsonby, were unsuccessful.

In 1839 MiloS was forced to abdicate and withdraw, and government was carried on by the so-called "Defenders of the Constitution" (Ustavo- branitelji), led by VuCic and Petronijevid, first in the name of Milos's eldest son Milan, and on his death a month later, of the second son Michael. In 1842 Michael also was abandoned by the army and popular feeling and driven into exile. The Skupstina, instead of electing Thomas Vudid as he himself had hoped, now summoned to the throne Alexander, son of Kara George, a man of mediocre ability and weak will. The hostility of Tsar Nicholas delayed recognition for many months, but in June 1843 a newly elected Skupstina unanimously confirmed the election of Prince Alexander.

      "Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #011-Serbia as Autonomous State," The Encyclopedia Britannica. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1922); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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