Bosnia-Hercegovina Uprising of 1875-78

Bosnia-Hercegovina Uprising of 1875-78

 

a national-liberation revolt in Hercegovina and Bosnia against Turkish feudal and national oppression. The main driving force in the uprising was the peasantry, who were supported by the urban artisans, commercial bourgeoisie, and intelligentsia. The rebellion did not have a unified, single program. The interests of the peasants were expressed by the revolutionary democratic group headed by V. Pelagic. Its basic programmatic demands were the transfer of all land to the peasants, a democratic system of government, and the unification of Bosnia and Hercegovina with Serbia and Montenegro on a democratic basis. The program of the liberal bourgeoisie was limited to a demand for the incorporation of Bosnia into Serbia and of Hercegovina into Montenegro.

The immediate cause of the uprising was an increase in the tithe exacted from the population. The insurrection began on July 5, 1875, near Nevesinje. By August nearly all of Hercegovina had been seized by revolt and the number of insurgents had reached 10,000-12,000. Rebellion also broke out in Bosnia in August. The insurgents achieved substantial military successes. They blockaded a number of large cities and Turkish fortresses in Hercegovina and Bosnia. A major role in organizing the rebellion in northern and northwestern Bosnia was played by the Chief Committee for the Bosnian Liberation Uprising established in Nova-Gradiska in October 1875. The uprising aroused great sympathy on the part of the public throughout the South Slav lands, in Russia, and elsewhere. Expressions of sympathy and support took the form of material and financial aid from several countries, and numerous volunteers arrived from Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Italy. Among the Russian volunteers were members of the revolutionary democratic intelligentsia.

The Bosnia-Hercegovina uprising hastened the outbreak of the so-called Bosnian Crisis of 1875-78 (the international conflict over the Balkans). The intent of Russian policy was to force Turkey to grant autonomy to Bosnia and Hercegovina through the collective efforts of the European powers. On June 30, 1876, Serbia and Montenegro declared war on Turkey. The Montenegrin army conducted all its operations in concert with the rebels. When this war ended in a truce in November 1876, the rebellion continued, becoming especially widespread in southwest Bosnia. During the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78 the insurgents fought a number of significant battles in Hercegovina and Bosnia and cleared part of their territory of Turkish troops.

The Congress of Berlin (1878) placed Bosnia and Hercegovina, which had been granted autonomy as a result of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, under Austro-Hungarian occupation. During July-October 1878, Austro-Hungarian troops overcame the armed resistance of the people and completed the occupation of these former Turkish provinces.

REFERENCES

Solov’ev, N. “Ocherk Gertsegovinskogo vosstaniia 1875 goda i Turetsko-Chernogorskoi voiny 1876 i 1877 gg.” Voennyi sbornik, 1899, no. 12.
Pelagić, V. Istorja bosansko-hercegovačke bunje. Sarajevo, 1953.
Ekmečič, M. Ustanak u Bosni 1875-1878. Sarajevo, 1960.
Stijepovic, N. Hercegovačko-bokeljski ustanak 1882. Belgrade, 1963.

N. P. DANILOVA

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