Kingdom of Serbia

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Kingdom of Serbia
Краљевина Србија (Serbian)
Kraljevina Srbija  (Serbian)
С вером у Бога, за Краља и Отаџбину
(S verom u Boga, za Kralja i Otadžbinu)
"With faith in God, for King and Fatherland"
[citation needed]
Bože pravde (Боже правде)
"God of Justice"
The Kingdom of Serbia in 1914
Capital Belgrade
Languages Serbian
Religion Serbian Orthodox
Government Constitutional monarchy
 •  1882–1889 Milan I
 •  1889–1903 Alexander I
 •  1903–1918 Peter I
Prime Minister
 •  1882–1883 Milan Piroćanac (first)
 •  1912–1918 Nikola Pašić (last)
Legislature National Assembly
Historical era New Imperialism / WWI
 •  Proclamation 6 March 1882
 •  Serbo-Bulgarian War 14 November 1885
 •  Balkan Wars 1912–1913
 •  Treaty of London 30 May 1913
 •  Serbian Campaign 1914–1918
 •  Creation of Yugoslavia 1 December 1918
Currency Serbian dinar
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Principality of Serbia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Today part of  Serbia

The Kingdom of Serbia (Serbian: Краљевина Србија / Kraljevina Srbija), often rendered Servia in English at the time of its existence, was created when Prince Milan Obrenović, ruler of the Principality of Serbia, was crowned king in 1882. The Principality of Serbia was ruled by the Obrenović dynasty from 1817 onwards (at times replaced by the Karađorđević dynasty). The Principality, suzerain to the Porte, had expelled all Ottoman troops by 1867, de facto securing its independence. The Congress of Berlin in 1878 recognized the formal independence of the Principality of Serbia.

Between 1912-1918 the country has enlarged its territory through its engagement in the Balkan wars (First and Second Balkan War - Sandžak-Raška, Kosovo) and as outcome of World War One, when it united with Vojvodina and southeastern parts of Serbia. Towards the end of 1918, Serbia joined with the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later known as Yugoslavia) under the rule of the Karađorđević dynasty.


Milan Obrenović, King of Serbia

Principality of Serbia

The Principality of Serbia was a state in the Balkans that came into existence as a result of the Serbian revolution which lasted between 1804 and 1817. Despite brutal oppression and retaliation by the Ottoman authorities, the revolutionary leaders, first Karađorđe and then Miloš Obrenović, succeeded in their goal to liberate Serbia after centuries of Turkish rule.

At first, the principality included only the territory of the former Pashaluk of Belgrade, but in 1831–1833 it expanded to the east, south, and west. In 1867 the Ottoman army was expelled from the Principality, securing its de facto independence.[1] Serbia was further expanded to the south-east in 1878, when it 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.

Serbo-Bulgarian War

The Serbo-Bulgarian War was a war between Serbia and Bulgaria that erupted on 14 November 1885 and lasted until 28 November the same year. The war ended in defeat for Serbia as it had failed outright to capture the Slivnitsa region which it had set out to achieve: the Bulgarians successfully repelled the Serbs after the decisive victory at the Battle of Slivnitsa and advanced into Serbian territory taking Pirot and clearing the way to Niš. When Austria-Hungary then declared that it would join the war on the side of Serbia, Bulgaria withdrew from Serbia leaving the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier precisely as it had been prior to the war. Final peace was signed on 19 February 1886 in Bucharest. As a result of the war, European powers acknowledged the act of Unification of Bulgaria which happened on 6 September 1885.

May Coup

King Alexander I of Serbia and his wife, Queen Draga, were assassinated inside the Royal Palace in Belgrade on the night of 28–29 May 1903 by the Julian calendar (10–11 June by the Gregorian calendar). This act resulted in the extinction of the House of Obrenović which had been ruling Serbia since the middle of the 19th century. After the May Overthrow, the Serbian throne passed to the rival House of Karađorđević.

Bosnian Crisis

The Bosnian Crisis of 1908–1909 (also referred to as the Annexation crisis) erupted into public view when on October 5, 1908, Bulgaria declared its independence and on October 6, 1908, Austria-Hungary announced the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was populated mainly by south Slavic nationals (Serbs and Croats). Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Britain, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Germany and France took an interest in these events. In April 1909, the Treaty of Berlin was amended to accept the new status quo bringing the crisis to an end. The crisis permanently damaged relations between Austria-Hungary on the one hand and Russia and Serbia on the other. The annexation and reactions to the annexation were contributing causes of World War I.

Balkan Wars and ensuing changes

Territorial expansion of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1913.

Serbia, victorious in two Balkan Wars, gained significant territorial areas of the Central Balkans and almost doubled its territory. During the Balkan Wars of 1912, most of Kosovo was taken from the Ottoman Empire by Serbia while the region of Metohija (known as the Dukagjini Valley to ethnic-Albanians) was taken by Montenegro. Populations of ethnic Serbs and Albanians tended to shift following territorial conquests. As a result of the multi-ethnic composition of Kosovo, the new administrations provoked a mixed response from the local population. Whilst Albanians did not welcome Serbian rule,[2] the non-Albanian population (largely Serb but other Slavic nations too) considered this a liberation. On 29 November 1913 Drač County of the Kingdom of Serbia was established on the part of the territory of Albania captured from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War. Serbian Drač County had four districts (Serbian: срез): Drač (Durrës), Lješ (Lezhë), Elbasan and Tirana.[3][4]

After the First Balkan War of 1912, Kosovo was internationally recognised as a part of Serbia[5] and northern Metohija as a part of Montenegro at the Treaty of London in May 1913.[6]

Disagreements regarding the territory of Macedonia among the members of the Balkan League led to the Second Balkan War. Here, Serbia and Greece fought against Bulgaria in 1913. Finalisations concerning which country took which parts were ratified at the Treaty of Bucharest the same year. Serbia came to control the land which became known as Vardar Macedonia, and today stands independent as the Republic of Macedonia.

In a report to Rome, Lazër Mjeda, Archbishop of Skopje, estimated that 25,000 Albanians were killed by Serbian forces during and after the conflict.[7]

Assassination in Sarajevo

The Kingdom of Serbia in Europe, 1914.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo (then part of the Austria-Hungary) brought the tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia to a head. Behind the assassination in Sarajevo was a secret radical organization, Black Hand, from Serbia.[8] The assassins were supported by an "underground railroad" of Serbian civilians and military officers that provided transportation and hid them; and members of the Serbian military that trained them, encouraged them, and provided weapons, maps, and other information. After the assassination, the conspirators were arrested in Bosnia-Herzegovina and tried in Sarajevo in October 1914.

The political objective of the assassination was to break the Austro-Hungarian south-Slav provinces off from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand triggered a chain of international events that embroiled Russia and the major European powers. War broke out in Europe over the next thirty-seven days.

World War I

Serbia won the first Allied victory of World War I in 1914. In 1915 it was occupied by foreign troops due to a combined invasion by Austro-Hungarian, German, and Bulgarian troops.

At the end of the war, Serbia went through radical changes within days. Beginning in late 1918, it absorbed the Kingdom of Montenegro at the Podgorica Assembly.[9][10] It then joined forces with the previously unrecognised State of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to form a new Pan-Slavic state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.[11] The new country continued to be ruled by the Serbian monarchy.


During its existence, the Kingdom was ruled by two dynasties: the House of Obrenović and the House of Karađorđević. King Milan Obrenović ruled from 6 March 1882 to 6 March 1889, when he abdicated the throne. He was succeeded by his son, Aleksandar Obrenović, who ruled from 6 March 1889 to 11 June 1903, when he was deposed by a group of officers. The slaughter of the royal couple (the king and Queen Draga) by the Black Hand shocked Europe. This opened the way for the descendants of Karađorđe (Karageorge), regarded by Serbs throughout the Balkans as the man who threw off the Turkish yoke, to return to the throne. Petar Karađorđević was initially reluctant to accept the crown, disgusted as he was by the coup d'état. However, he finally did accept and was the Kingdom's sovereign from 15 June 1903 to 1 December 1918, the day that the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed.

International relations

In a brief period between World War I and World War II the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, successor to the Kingdom of Serbia, formed a "Small Entente" loose union between Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. The alliance was supported by France and dissolved in 1934 as German influence in Europe was growing.


Part of a series on the
History of Serbia
Serbian cross
Serbia portal

The largest cities in the Kingdom of Serbia were (with population figures from c. 1910–1912):


See also


a. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  2. Malcolm, Noel (26 February 2008). "Is Kosovo Serbia? We ask a historian". The Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Bogdanović, Dimitrije; Radovan Samardžić (1990). Knjiga o Kosovu: razgovori o Kosovu. Književne novine. p. 208. Retrieved August 2, 2011. На освојеном подручју су одмах успостављене грађанске власти и албанска територија је Де Факто анектирана Србији : 29. новембра је основан драчки округ са четири среза (Драч, Љеш, Елбасан, Тирана)....On conquered territory of Albania was established civil government and territory of Albania was de facto annexed by Serbia: On November 29 was established Durres County with four srez (Durres, Lezha, Elbasan, and Tirana)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Petrović, Dragoljub S. (1990). "Heterogenost stanovništva determinanta složenosti rešenja političkog statusa albanskog prostora (Heterogeneity of the population as determinant of the complexity of solving the political status of the Albania)" (in Serbian). pp. 237–271. OCLC 439985244. Potom, 29. novembra 1912. formiran je Drački okrug u okviru kojeg su srezovi - Drač, Tirana, Elbasan i Lješ. ... On November 29, 1912 the Durres County was established and in it there were established the following districts - Durres, Tirana, Elbasan and LezheCS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Strachan, Hew (2001) The First World War Volume 1: To Arms (pp. 46). Oxford University Press. Oxford. ISBN 0-19-926191-1
  9. Montenegrins' Effort to Prevent Annexation of Their Country to Serbia
  10. Serbs wipe out royalist party in Montenegro
  11. Richard C Hall, The Balkan Wars 1912-1913

External links