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Milos Obrenović I
Prince of Serbia


Other names: Milos Teodorović Obrenović

Titles and Honours

Voivode of Rudnik, 1813-14
Highness, 1834
Supreme Leader of Serbia, 1817


Founder of the Obrenović dynasty, Milos was born of poor Serbian peasants.  When he later became prince of Serbia he used to tell how for a penny a day he drove cattle from Serbia to Dalmatia.  His half-brother, Milan Obrenović, 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, Milos adopted that name as his own, and called himself Obrenović, instead of Teodorović.  Karageorge, the leader of the first Serbian revolution against the Turks, appointed Milos Obrenović in 1807 a voivode, 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 Serbia, and Karageorge and almost all his voivodes left the country for Austria, Milos, although strongly advised to follow their example, refused to do so.  He remained in the country, surrendered to the Turks, and was recognised by them as the voivode of Rudni.  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 Serbians against the Turks, and on Palm Sunday 1815 he appeared with his voivode'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 Serbian people's right to self-government.  The National Assembly in 1817 elected him prince of Serbia.

From that year began the organisation of Serbia by the Serbians 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 Serbians to defend it with all their might and on the goodwill of the sultan and his 'Sublime Porte'.  Milos therefore worked hard to obtain some sort of international recognition of the semi-independent status of Serbia.  Russia came to his assistance, and by the Treaty of Adrianople of 1829 the Porte engaged formally to grant Serbia full autonomy.  This engagement was somewhat developed in the Hatti-sherif of 1830, which added to Serbia three districts (Krushevats, Alexinats, Zaechar), acknowledged her full autonomy, recognized Milos as hereditary prince of Serbia, and declared that the Turks in Serbia could have properties and live only in fortified places where there were Turkish garrisons, and not in other towns and villages.  Milos won for his family the hereditary right to the throne of Serbia without the co-operation of Russia.  The creation of a hereditary dynasty in Serbia was outside the Russian Balkan policy of that time, and this great and independent success of Milos 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 Serbia', the tsar, for his approval of the step.  The third cause was that Milos 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 Serbia, Colonel Hodges, became speedily an intimate friend of Prince Milos, 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 Milos from the throne of Serbia, and, supported by the Russian consul general, the leaders of the Serbian opposition, who posed as champions of a constitutional system, succeeded in forcing him to abdicate in 1839.  After his abdication Milos lived mostly on his estates in Romania, or in Vienna.  In December 1858 the National Assembly of Serbia, having dethroned Prince Alexander Karageorgević, recalled Milos to the throne of Serbia.  Milos came, accompanied by his son Mihailo, and began to reign in his own old fashion; but death closed his activity on the 14th of September 1860.  He was buried in the cathedral of Belgrade.

Place of birth: Srednja Dobrinja
Place of death: Topcider, near Belgrade



1 . 
Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, 11th edn, vol. 18. New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica Co., 1911.
H.  Montgomery-Massingberd, ed.  Burke's Royal Families of the World.  Volume I: Europe & Latin America.  London: Burke’s Peerage Ltd., 1977.
3. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2018. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2018.
4. Obrenovici. Patriot, 4 April 2018.
5. C.E. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel et al, eds. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. IX, SAN - SZE. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 1997. 

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