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MILOSH OBRENOVICH I

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 479 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MILOSH OBRENOVICH I. (178o–186o), prince of Servia, founder of the Obrenovich dynasty, was born in 178o of poor Servian peasants. When he later became prince of Servia he used to tell how for a penny a day he drove cattle from Servia to Dalmatia. His half-brother, Milan Obrenovich, who had developed into a successful exporter of cattle and pigs into Austria, associated him in his own export trade and otherwise supported him. Partly from gratitude and partly because the family name of his half-brother was already honourably known in the country, Milosh adopted that name as his own, and called himself Obrenovich, instead of Theodorovich. Karageorge, the leader of the first Servian revolution against the Turks, appointed Milosh Obrenovich in 1807 a voyvode, i.e. district commander of the national army and civil administrator. As such he distinguished himself in many battles, and was reputed a wise and energetic administrator and a just judge. When in 1813 the Turks under the Grand Vizier Khurshid occupied Servia, and Karageorge and almost all his voyvodes left the country for Austria, Milosh, although strongly advised to follow their example, refused to do so. He remained in the country, surrendered to the Turks, and was recognized by them as the voyvode of Rudnik (Central Servia). As he was then practically the only chief of the nation, the Turks called him to Belgrade, where he was kept through the year 1814 as a hostage. But he found means to prepare a new rising of the Servians against the Turks, and on Palm Sunday 1815 he appeared with his voyvode's standard before the people round the small church of Takovo, and started the second and successful insurrection. Not so much by his victories on the battlefields as by his clever exploitation of the international difficulties of Turkey, and of the known weakness of the Turkish pashas for " baksheesh "—no doubt also by his statesmanlike moderation—he succeeded in less than two years in obtaining from the Porte the practical recognition of the Servian people's right to self-government. The National Assembly in 1817 elected him prince of Servia. From that year began the organization of Servia by the Servians as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire. But its existence as such rested on no safe and legal basis, except on the readiness of the Servians to defend it with all their might and on the goodwill of the sultan and his" Sublime Porte." Milosh therefore worked hard to obtain some sortof international recognition of the semi-independent status of Servia. Russia came to his assistance, and by the Treaty of Adrianople of 1829 the Porte engaged formally to grant Servia full autonomy. This engagement was somewhat developed in the Hatti-sherif of 183o, which added to Servia three districts (Krushevats, Alexinats, Zaechar), acknowledged her full autonomy, recognized Milosh as hereditary prince of Servia, and declared that the Turks in Servia could have properties and live only in fortified places where there were Turkish garrisons, and not in other towns and villages. Milosh won for his family the hereditary right to the throne of Servia with-out the co-operation of Russia. The creation of a hereditary dynasty in Servia was outside the Russian Balkan policy of that time, and this great and independent success of Milosh was the first cause of Russia's dissatisfaction with him. The second cause was that, yielding to the pressure exercised on him by his own people, he gave the country a constitution without asking " the protector of Servia," the tsar, for his approval of the step. The third cause was that Milosh consistently resented the interference of Russia in the internal affairs of the principality. The climax of his misdeeds, from the Russian point of view, was that on the occasion of his visit to the Sultan Mahmud II. in 1836 he persuaded the British ambassador, Lord Ponsonby, that it would be useful to establish a British consulate in Belgrade. The first British consul in Servia, Colonel Hodges, became speedily an intimate friend of Prince Milosh, who—probably under his new friend's influence—began to agitate to replace the exclusive protectorate of Russia by the joint protectorate of all the great Powers of Europe. The cabinet of St Petersburg now decided to remove Milosh from the throne of Servia, and, supported by the Russian consul-general, the leaders of the Servian opposition, who posed as champions of a constitutional system, succeeded in forcing him to abdicate in 1839. After his abdication Milosh lived mostly on his estates in Rumania, or in Vienna. In December 1858 the National Assembly of Servia, having dethroned Prince Alexander Karageorgevich, recalled Milosh to the throne of Servia. Milosh came, accompanied by his son Michael, and began to reign in his own old fashion; but death closed his activity on the 14th (27th n.s.) of September 186o. He was buried in the cathedral of Belgrade. (C. MI.)
End of Article: MILOSH OBRENOVICH I
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