Principality of Serbia
Княжество Сербіа
Књажество Србија
Anthem: Востани Сербије
Vostani Serbije
(English: "Arise, Serbia")
The Principality of Serbia in 1878
The Principality of Serbia in 1878
Common languagesSerbian
Serbian Orthodoxy (official)
Demonym(s)Serbian, Serb
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy (1815–1838)
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy (1838–1882)
Prince (Knez) 
• 1817–1839 (first)
Miloš Obrenović I
• 1868–1882 (last)
Milan Obrenović IV
Prime Minister 
• 1815–1816 (first)
Petar Nikolajević
• 1880–1882 (last)
Milan Piroćanac
LegislatureNone (rule by decree)
National Assembly
• Recognition by the Sublime Porte
15 February 1835
• de facto independence
13 July 1878
1815[1]24,440 km2 (9,440 sq mi)
1834[1]37,511 km2 (14,483 sq mi)
• 1815[1]
• 1834[1]
• 1874[1]
ISO 3166 codeRS
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sanjak of Smederevo
Revolutionary Serbia
Kingdom of Serbia
Today part ofSerbia

The Principality of Serbia (Serbian: Књажество Србија, romanizedKnjažestvo Srbija) was an autonomous state in the Balkans that came into existence as a result of the Serbian Revolution, which lasted between 1804 and 1817.[2] Its creation was negotiated first through an unwritten agreement between Miloš Obrenović, leader of the Second Serbian Uprising, and Ottoman official Marashli Pasha. It was followed by the series of legal documents published by the Sublime Porte in 1828, 1829 and finally, 1830—the Hatt-i Sharif. Its de facto independence ensued in 1867, following the evacuation of the remaining Ottoman troops from the Belgrade Fortress and the country; its independence was recognized internationally in 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin. In 1882 the country was elevated to the status of kingdom.

Background and establishment

Main article: History of modern Serbia

The Serbian revolutionary leaders—first Karađorđe and then Miloš Obrenović—succeeded in their goal of liberating Serbia from centuries-long Turkish rule. Turkish authorities acknowledged the state by the 1830 Hatt-i Sharif, and Miloš Obrenović became a hereditary prince (knjaz) of the Serbian Principality. Serbia was de jure an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire, its autonomy was constrained by the presence of the Turkish army on its soil and by being forced to pay to Istanbul a yearly tribute of 2.3 million groschen, which represented about 10% of the country's budget.[3]

At first, the principality included only the territory of the former Pashaluk of Belgrade, but in 1831–33 it expanded to the east, south, and west. In 1866 Serbia began the campaign of forging the First Balkan Alliance by signing a series of agreements with other Balkan entities in the period 1866–68. On 18 April 1867 the Ottoman government ordered the Ottoman garrison, which since 1826 had been the last representation of Ottoman suzerainty in Serbia, withdrawn from the Belgrade fortress. The only stipulation was that the Ottoman flag continue to fly over the fortress alongside the Serbian one. Serbia's de facto independence dates from this event.[4] A new constitution in 1869 defined Serbia as an independent state. Serbia was further expanded to the southeast in 1878, when its independence from the Ottoman Empire won full international recognition at the Treaty of Berlin. The Principality would last until 1882 when it was raised to the level of the Kingdom of Serbia.

Political history



Administrative divisions

See also: Historical administrative divisions of Serbia

The principality was divided into seventeen districts known as Okrug which were then divided into a number of cantons, known as Sres, according to the size of the district. The Principality had a total of sixty-six Sres.[5]


Main article: Armed Forces of the Principality of Serbia

The Armed Forces of the Principality of Serbia was the armed forces of the Principality of Serbia. Founded in 1830, it became a standing army to take part to the First and Second Serbo Turkish Wars of 1876-1878, the first conflict in the nation modern history, after which the country gained its full independence. It was succeeded by the Royal Serbian Army.


See also: Demographic history of Serbia

In the first decades of the principality, the population was about 85% Serb and 15% non-Serb. Of those, most were Vlachs, and there were some Muslim Albanians, which were the overwhelming majority of the Muslims that lived in Smederevo, Kladovo and Ćuprija. The new state aimed to homogenize of its population. As a result, from 1830 to the wars of the 1870s in which Albanians were expelled from the country, it has been estimated that up to 150,000 Albanians that lived in the territories of the Principality of Serbia had been expelled.[6] In 1862 more than 10,000 Muslims were expelled to Ottoman Bulgaria and Ottoman Bosnia.[7] During the Serbian–Ottoman Wars of 1876–1878, the Muslim population was expelled from the Sanjak of Niš.

Historical population
Name 1866 census % population
Serbs 1,057,540 87%
Vlachs (Romanians) 127,326 10.5%
Roma (Gypsies) 25,171 2.1%
Others 5,539 0.5%
Orthodox 1,205,898 99.20%
Islam 6,498 0.54%
Catholic 4,161 0.31%
Others 0.2%


The Principality was ruled by the Obrenović dynasty, except for a period under Prince Aleksandar of the Karađorđević dynasty. Princes Miloš and Mihailo Obrenović each reigned twice.

Portrait Name Birth Death From Until Notes
Miloš Obrenović I March 17, 1780 September 26, 1860 November 6, 1817 June 25, 1839
Milan Obrenović II October 21, 1819 July 8, 1839 June 25, 1839 July 8, 1839 son of Miloš Obrenović I
Mihailo Obrenović III September 16, 1823 June 10, 1868 July 8, 1839 September 14, 1842 son of Miloš Obrenović I
Aleksandar Karađorđević October 11. 1806 May 3. 1885 September 14, 1842 December 23, 1858
Miloš Obrenović I March 17, 1780 September 1860 December 23, 1858 September 26, 1860
Mihailo Obrenović III September 16, 1823 June 10, 1868 September 26, 1860 June 10, 1868
Milan Obrenović IV August 22, 1854 February 11, 1901 June 10, 1868 March 6, 1882

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Michael R. Palairet (2002). The Balkan Economies C.1800-1914: Evolution Without Development. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0-521-52256-4.
  2. ^ Roth, Clémentine (2018). Why Narratives of History Matter: Serbian and Croatian Political Discourses on European Integration. Nomos Verlag. p. 263. ISBN 978-3845291000. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  3. ^ The Institute of History et al. 2020, p. 137.
  4. ^ Stanford J. Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Volume 2: Reform, Revolution and Republic—The Rise of Modern Turkey, 1808–1975 (Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 148.
  5. ^ Mijatović 1872, p. 265.
  6. ^ Rama, Shinasi (2019). Nation Failure, Ethnic Elites, and Balance of Power: The International Administration of Kosova. Springer. p. 72. ISBN 978-3030051921. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  7. ^ Özkan, Ayşe. "The Expulsion of Muslims from Serbia after the International Conference in Kanlıca and Withdrawal of the Ottoman Empire from Serbia (1862-1867)". Akademik Bakış.


Further reading

Other languages[edit]

  • Bataković, Dušan T., ed. (2005). Histoire du peuple serbe [History of the Serbian People] (in French). Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme. ISBN 9782825119587.
  • Milićević, Milan (1876). Кнежевина Србија: географија, орографија, хидрографија, топографија, аркеологија, историја, етнографија, статистика, просвета, култура, управа.
  • Jovan Ristić (1898). Diplomatska istorija Srbije za vreme srpskih ratova za oslobođenje i nezavisnost: Drugi rat 1875-1878. Slovo ljubve.
  • Катић, Бојана Миљковић. Пољопривреда Кнежевине Србије:(1834-1867): Agriculture of the Principality of Sebia (1834-1867). Vol. 65. Istorijski institut, 2014.
  • Mrđenović, Dušan, ed. (1988). "Устави и владе Кнежевине Србије". Устави и владе Кнежевине Србије, Краљевине Србије, Краљевине СХС и Краљевине Југославије (1835-1941). Belgrade: Nova knj.
  • Јагодић, Милош. Насељавање Кнежевине Србије: 1861-1880: Settlement of the Princedom of Serbia: 1861–1880. Vol. 47. Istorijski institut, 2004.
  • Katić, Bojana Miljković. "Сеоско професионално занатство Кнежевине Србије (1834-1866)." Историјски часопис 62 (2013): 309–329.
  • Stranjaković, Dragoslav. Politička propaganda Srbije u jugoslovenskim pokrajinama: 1844-1858 godine. Štamparija Drag. Gregorića, 1936.
  • Stranjaković, Dragoslav. Jugoslovenski nacionalni i državni program Kneževine Srbije iz 1844 god. Srpska manastirska štamparija, 1931.
  • Stranjaković, Dragoslav., 1932. Srbija pijemont južnih slovena, 1842–1853. Nar. štamparija.
  • Petrović, V., and N. Petrović. "Građa za istoriju Kneževine Srbije, vreme prve vlade kneza Miloša Obrenovića." Beograd, knjiga prva 1821 (1815).
  • Nikolić, Dragan K. Izvori i priroda krivičnog prava Kneževine Srbije u vreme pripreme krivičnog zakona. 1988.
  • Arsić, M. "Crkvene matične knjige u propisima Kneževine Srbije." Arhivski pregled 1.4 (2000): 52–5.
  • Leovac, Danko Lj. Србија и Русија за време друге владавине кнеза Михаила:(1860-1868). Diss. Универзитет у Београду, Филозофски факултет, 2014.
  • Slavenko Terzić; Slavko Gavrilović (1992). Srbija i Grčka: (1856-1903) : borba za Balkan. Istorijski institut. ISBN 9788677430030.
  • Недељко, В. "AUTONOMY OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN THE PRINCIPALITY OF SERBIA AND THE ARONDATION OF THE EPISCOPACIES (1831-1836)." Istraživanja: Journal of Historical Researches 25 (2016): 233–248.
  • Popović, Radomir J. "Пројект Устава Србије Матије Бана из 1846. године." Мешовита грађа 34 (2013): 149–171.
  • Ђорђевић, Тихомир. "Насељавање Србије, за време прве владе кнеза Милоша Обреновића (1815-1839)." Гласник Српског географског друштва 5 (1921): 116–139.
  • Маринковић, Мирјана, and Терзић Славенко. Турска Канцеларија Кнеза Милоша Обреновића, 1815–1839. Историјски институт САНУ, 1999.
  • Кандић, Љубица. "Делатност скупштина за време прве владе Милоша Обреновића." Анали Правног факултета у Београду 1 (1961).
  • Radoš Ljušić (1986). Кнежевина Србија (1830-1839). Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. ISBN 9788670250253.

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