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692
SERVIA


civilization. In 1355 Dushan began a new campaign against the Greeks, the object of which was to unite Greeks, Serbs and Bulgars into one empire, and by their united forces prevent the Turkish power taking root on European ground. To attain that object he was making preparations for a siege of Constantinople, but in the midst of these preparations, or, as some historians assert, on the march towards Constantinople, he died suddenly at the village of Deabolis on the zoth of December 1355. His only son Urosh, a young man of nineteen, seemed physically and mentally incapable of holding together an empire composed of such different races and up heaving with such divergent interests. Some of the powerful viceroys of Dushan's provinces speedily made themselves independent. The most prominent amongst them was Vukashin, who proclaimed himself king of Macedonia. He wished to continue Dushan's policy and to expel the Turks from Europe, but in the battle of Taenarus, on the 26th of September 1371, his army was destroyed by the Turks, and he was slain. This was the first great blow which shook the fragile structure of the Serb empire to its foundation. Two months later (December 1371) Tsar Urosh died, and with his death ended the rule of the Nemanyich dynasty. The Turkish Invasion: Kossovo.-After a few years of indecision and anarchy the Sabor met at Ipek in 1374 and elected Knez (count) Lazar Hrebelyanovich, a kinsman of Urosh, as ruler of the Serbs. Lazar accepted the position and its responsibilities, but never would assume the title of tsar, although the people commonly called him “ Tsar Lazar. ” He tried to stop the further disruption of the Serb empire and worked to organize a. Christian league against the Turks. When this was reported to the Turks, they at once decided to prevent the formation of such a league by attacking its prospective members one by one. This was the real cause of the Turkish attacks on Bulgaria and Servia in 1389, which resulted in the complete subjugation of Bulgaria and in the defeat of the Serb army in the battle of Kossovo (1 5th of June 1389). No historic event has made such a deep impression on the mind of the Serbs as the battle of Kossovo -probably because the flower of the Serb aristocracy fell in that battle, and because both the tsar of the Serbs, Lazar, and the sultan of the Turks, Murad I., lost their lives. The sultan was killed by the Serb knight or voyvode Milosh Obilich (otherwise Kobilovich). There exists a cycle of national songs-sung to this day by the Serb bards (guslari)-concerning the battle of Kossovo, the treachery of Vuk Brankovich and the glorious heroism of Milosh Obilich.

The Despotate.-After the battle of Kossovo Servia existed for some seventy years (1389-14 59) as a country tributary to the sultans but governing itself under its own rules, who assumed the Greek title of “ despot.” The first despot after Kossovo was Tsar Lazar's eldest son “ Stephen the Tall, ” who was an intimate friend of Sigismund IV., king of Hungary and emperor of the Germans. Being childless, Stephen on his deathbed in 1427 appointed his nephew, George Brankovich, to be his successor. As despot, George worked to establish an alliance between Servia, Bosnia and Hungary. But before such an alliance could practically be arranged, Murad II. attacked Servia in 1437 and forced George to seek refuge in Hungary, where he continued to work for a Serbo-Hungarianralliance against the Turks. Having at his disposal a large fortune he succeeded in organizing a fSerbo-Hungarian expedition against the Turks in 1444. This expedition, under the joint command of the Despot George and of Hunyadi Janos, defeated the Turks in a great battle at Kunovitsa. The sultan was forced to conclude peace, restoring to George all the countries previously taken from him. For the remainder of his life George was rather estranged from his former allies the Hungarians. At the age of ninety he was wounded in a duel by a Hungarian nobleman, Michael Szilagyi, and died of his wound on the 24th of December 1457. His youngest son Lazar succeeded him, but only for a few months. Lazar's widow Helena Palaeologina gave Servia to the pope, hoping thereby to secure the assistance of Roman Catholic Europe against the Turks. 'But no one in Europe moved a finger to help Servia, and Sultan Mahommed II. occupied the country in 1459, making it a pashalik under the direct government of the Porte.

For fully 345 years Servia remained a Turkish pashalik, enduring all the miseries which that lawless régime implied. (see TURKEY, History). But the more or less successful invasions of the Turkish empire in Europe by the Austrian armies in the course of the 18th century-invasions in which thousands of Serbs always participated as volunteers-prepared the way for a new state of things.

The Struggle for Servian Independence.-The disorganization and anarchy in the Turkish empire at the beginning of the 19th century gave the Serbs their opportunity, and the people rose en masse against its oppressors (January 1804). A national assembly met in February 1804 in the village of Orashats, and elected George Petrovich-more generally known under the name of “ Tsrni Gyorgye ” or “ Karageorge ” (q.v.)—both meaning “ Black George ”-as commander-in-chief of all the nation's armed forces and the leader of the nation (Vozhd naroda). Under his command the Serbs quickly succeeded in breaking the power of the Dahias, as the four chieftains of the Janissaries of Belgrade were called, who, having rebelled against the sultan, took possession of Servia, became its political and military masters, and exploited the country as their own private property. 'The Serbs cleared their country altogether of the Turks, and began to organize it as a modern European state. In 1807 the sultan offered to grant the Serbs self-government, and to acknowledge Karageorge as the chief of the nation with the title of prince. On the advice of the Russians, who were just going to warwith Turkey, the Serbs refused that offer, preferring to fdght against the Turks as Russian allies. The principal scene of the Russo-Turkish war being transferred to the Lower Danube, only a few unimportant actions took place on Servian territory. From 1804 till the autumn of 1813 the Serbs governed themselves as an independent nation. But when in 1812 Russia, attacked by Napoleon, had in great haste to conclude at Bucharest a treaty of peace with Turkey, and omitted to make sufficient provision for the security of her allies the Serbs, the Turkish army invaded and reconquered Servia, occupying all its fortresses. Karageorge, with most of the leading men, left the country (September 1813) and found a refuge first in Austria and then in Russia. Of those who remained in Servia the natural leader, by his own position, talents and influence, was Milosh Obrenovich, voyvode of Rudnik. He surrendered to the Turks and was appointed by them the ruler of central Servia. Not quite two years later Milosh began the second insurrection of the Serbs against the Turks (on Palm Sunday 181 5, near the little wooden church of T akovo). He was successful not only in the field but in his diplomacy, and by 1817 Servia had regained autonomy under the suzerainty of the sultan. That autonomy was placed on an international basis by the treaty of Adrianople, concluded between Turkey and Russia in 1829. In compliance with that treaty the sultan by the Hatti-Sherif of 1830 formally granted full autonomy to the Serbs, retaining at the same time Turkish garrisons in the Servian fortresses.

Servia an Autonomous State: 1830-1879.-Milosh, declared hereditary prince of Servia, worked hard for the internal organization and for the economic and educational progress of his country. But his attempts to make Servia independent of Russian protection brought him into conflict with Russia, and his autocratic methods of government united against him all who wished for a constitution. The result was that Prince Milosh was forced to abdicate and leave the country in 1839. Three days before his abdication he was induced to sign a constitution (that of 1838) imposed on Servia by the Porte, at the instance of Russia, with the object of undermining his position. This constitution delegated part of the prince's authority to a council of 70 members appointed for life. Prince Milosh's elder son, Prince Milan (Obrenovich II.), died in a few months, and the younger son Michael (Obrenovich III.) ascended the throne. But the politicians who forced Milosh to abdicate did not feel safe with Milosh's second son as the reigning prince of Servia. They started a military revolt,

drove Michael also into exile (1842), and elected Alexander