Serbia

SERVIA.Ser´ve-a.

The independence of this country from Turkey was established in 1878. By the constitution adopted 1869, the executive power is vested in the King and a Council of 8 ministers; the legislative, in the King and a National Assembly. Area, 18,800 square miles. Population, 1,865,683. Capital, Belgrade; population, 37,500.

The surface of the country is generally mountainous. Vegetation is vigorous in all districts. The climate is mild in the lower and level portions, but extremely rigorous in the mountainous districts. Of the total area, one-third is under cultivation, corn and wheat being the chief products. There are 1,750,000 persons engaged in agriculture. Latest reports of livestock give: swine, 1,067,940; horses, 122,500; cattle, 826,550; sheep, 3,620,750; goats, 725,700.

The imports are estimated at about $10,000,000, and the exports a little below that amount. In 1884 there were 200 miles of railway. Number miles of telegraph, 1,410. The state religion is the Orthodox Greek. There is a university of 158 students. Other schools number about 650, with about 45,000 pupils.

SERVIA  (ser ´vi-ä), a kingdom in the Balkan peninsula, southeastern Europe, is bounded by Austria-Hungary (separated by the Save and Danube) on the north, Roumania (separated by the Danube) and Bulgaria on the east, Turkey and Bosnia on the south, and Bosnia (mainly separated by the Drina) on the west.

Surface.—The greater part of the country is mountainous and wooded; it is full of forests and hills, hedged fields, and fresh meadows, forming pretty but never very grand landscapes. The principal river (besides the frontier rivers) is the Morava.

Production and Industry.—Nearly nine-tenths of the land is left under its primitive woods and pastures. The principal crops are maize for home consumption, and wheat for export; flax, hemp, and tobacco are also grown, and silk-culture is carried on to a limited extent. The exports consist of dried prunes, pigs, and wool, besides wheat, wine, hides, cattle, and horses. The bulk of the trade is with Austria. The mineral treasures of Servia are considerable; gold, copper, and zinc occur in the hills which reach towards the “Iron Gates” of the Danube, and coal beds extend along the river.

Fruit trees exist in very great abundance, especially plums, from which the brandy of the Servians (slovovitza ) is extensively made.

People.—The Servians are a well-built, stalwart Slavonic (or perhaps in part Slavonized Albanian) race, proud and martial by temperament; the most striking feature of their social life is the family community or Zadruga. Their literature is rich in poetry, especially lyrics. The population, about 3,000,000 at the outbreak of the war of 1912-1913, was raised by conquests to about 5,000,000. Besides these the Montenegrins (450,000) are almost all pure Servians by race, as are also the Bosnians and Herzegovinians (2,000,000), not to speak of over 3,700,000 Servians in other parts of Austria-Hungary.

The people of Servia belong to the Greek Catholic Church. Education does not reach a very high standard, although a school exists in every commune. There is a university at Belgrade.

Government.—Servia is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy. The legislative power is vested in the king and the National Assembly. This last, called the Skupshtina, consists of one hundred and sixty deputies. Besides this body there is a senate of sixteen members, eight chosen by the king and eight by the National Assembly; this body acts as a permanent state council.

Cities.—Capital, Belgrade (Biograd, “White Fortress”) at the confluence of the Save and Danube, is now a modern city, with electric railways and light, and wide streets, containing the university, national museum and library, and the old Turkish citadel. Population (1910) 91,000. It lies opposite Semlin, at the confluence of the Save and Danube, two hundred and fifteen miles southeast of Budapesth. The walls disappeared in 1862; the last and finest of the five gates was demolished in 1868. Year by year the town is losing its old Turkish aspect, becoming more modern, more European. The royal palace, the residence of the metropolitan, the national theater (1871), and the public offices are the principal buildings. Opposite the theater is a bronze monument to the murdered Prince Michael III.

Belgrade has but trifling manufactures of arms, cutlery, saddlery, silk goods, carpets, etc. It is, however, an entrepôt of trade between Turkey and Austria.

Other towns are Nish, 25,000; Kragojevatz, 19,000; Leskovatz, 15,000; Podjeravatz, 14,000; Shabatz, 12,000; Vranya, 11,500; Pirot, 11,000; and Krutchevatz, 10,000.

The principal towns in the territories acquired in 1913 are Monastir, 60,000; Prisrend, 42,000; Uskub, 32,000; Prilip, 24,000; Istip, or Shtip, 21,000; Kalkandelen, or Tetovo, 20,000; Koprili, or Veles, 20,000; Dibra, 16,000; Pristina, 16,000; Kumanovo, 15,000; Ochrida, 15,000; and Novi Bazar, 13,000.

History.—The Servians came from the Carpathians in the seventh century, and founded a great state, which, about 1350, embraced Albania and much of Bulgaria and Macedonia; but at Kossovo in 1389 the Turks crushed the Servian power and made Servia first tributary and then a province of the Ottoman empire.

A national rising had some success under Kara George in 1807-1810 and through Russian influence it was arranged that Servia should have some measure of internal autonomy. Still more successful was a rising in 1815 under Obrenovich. Under his successors there was considerable progress; and after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 Servia obtained complete independence and became a kingdom. King Milan abdicated in 1889.

In 1903 a party of officers, representing a wide conspiracy, assassinated King Alexander and Queen Draga, and Peter Karageorgevitch was proclaimed king. In 1913 Servia, as a member of the Balkan League (Bulgaria, Greece, Servia, and Montenegro), waged a successful war against Turkey. In August, 1913, Servia and Greece were attacked by Bulgaria, their former ally, owing to disputes concerning the division of the spoils. The second war collapsed in a few weeks through the threatened intervention of Roumania, and ended in the Treaty of Bucharest. Servia also became involved with the Austro-Hungarian monarchy on a question of the Albanian frontier, where desultory fighting had taken place for some months, but eventually the smaller power withdrew from the disputed area. The outcome of the military operations was the inclusion of the whole of “Old Servia” (the greater part of Macedonia) within the Servian boundaries, which thus embrace an area (1914) of close on thirty-four thousand square miles, with a population estimated at five million.

The assassination of the Austrian heir presumptive, in June, 1914, brought about an invasion of Servia by the forces of Austria-Hungary, and started the Pan-European war that is still in progress.