Karageorge (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: In 1804, Karageorge organized and led the first modern Balkan revolt against the Ottoman Empire, resulting in autonomous Serbia.
Karageorge, a chieftain of Serbia and founder of the Karageorgevich Dynasty, was first a successful swine herder. Karageorge fought with the Austrians as a sergeant in the Austro-Turkish War of 1787-1791. Later he organized the Serbs to aid the Turkish governor fighting renegade Janissaries (1802). The Janissaries, with the aid of a neighboring warlord, murdered the governor and beheaded more than seventy Serbs. Karageorge then led the Serbs in a revolt for independence, the Serbo-Ottoman Conflict, beginning in 1804. The Serbs drove the Turks into a few fortresses that Karageorge ordered besieged. The sultan declared a holy war against the Serbs, and Karageorge responded with brilliance and force. His commanders led guerrilla attacks against the Turkish forces on the periphery while he used his central position with the bulk of his forces to bolster weak positions. He drove the Turks from Belgrade (1806), then cleared them from the other fortresses (summer, 1807). However, when he refused an Ottoman offer of autonomy and instead threw in his lot with Russia hoping for complete independence, his fortunes changed. When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia in 1812, the Russians deserted the Serbs. Austria and France rejected Karageorge’s overtures. Dispirited, he deserted his...
(The entire section is 312 words.)
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