Ristić or Ristich, Jovan(both: yō`vän rē`stĭch), 1831–99, Serbian statesman. A leader of the liberal party, he was repeatedly foreign minister and was three times premier (1873, 1878–80, 1887). Ristić hoped to make Serbia the nucleus of a large South Slav state, and in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, Serbia gained full independence and additional territory. After the abdication of King Milan, Ristić headed (1889–93) the council of regency for Milan's son, Alexander.
Born Feb. 13, 1831, in Kragujevac; died Sept. 5, 1899, in Belgrade. Serbian statesman, political figure, and historian.
Ristić studied history in France and Germany and earned his doctor of philosophy degree in 1852. From 1861 to 1867 he was the Serbian envoy to Turkey. In 1867 he succeeded I. Garašanin as minister of foreign affairs. Between 1868 and 1872 he was one of the regents for Prince Milan Obrenović. In 1869, at Ristić’s insistence, a consitution was adopted that somewhat limited the personal power of the prince.
Ristić served as prime minister in the periods 1873, 1878–80, and 1887 and as minister of foreign affairs in the periods 1872–73, 1875, and 1876-78. He opposed Milan Obrenović’s pro-Austrian orientation. Between 1889 and 1893 he was one of the regents for Prince Alexander Obrenović.
Ristić represented Serbia at the Berlin Congress of 1878. He was the author of works on Serbian diplomatic history in the 19th century.