The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.

In speaking of the Greeks I have not had in mind the inhabitants of the present kingdom of Greece.  Their subjection by the Turks was as complete as that of the Serbs and Bulgaria though of course they were exempt from ecclesiastical domination at the hands of an alien clergy speaking a foreign language.  The enmity of the Bulgarians may to-day be visited upon the subjects of King Constantine, but it was not their ancestors who imposed upon Bulgaria foreign schools and churches but the Greeks of Constantinople and Thrace, over whom the government of Athens has never had jurisdiction.

SERVIAN INDEPENDENCE

So much of the Balkan countries under Turkish rule.  Their emancipation did not come till the nineteenth century.  The first to throw off the yoke was Servia.  Taking advantage of the disorganization and anarchy prevailing in the Ottoman Empire the Servian people rose in a body against their oppressors in January, 1804.  Under the able leadership first of Kara-George and afterward of Milosh Obrenovich, Servian autonomy was definitely established in 1817.  The complete independence of the country was recognized by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.  The boundaries of the new state, however, fell far short of Servian aspirations, excluding as they did large numbers of the Servian population.  The first ruling prince of modern Servia was Milosh Obrenovich; and the subsequent rulers have belonged either to the Obrenovich dynasty or to its rival the dynasty of Kara-George.  King Peter, who came to the throne in 1903, is a member of the latter family.

GREEK INDEPENDENCE

Scarcely had Servia won her freedom when the Greek war of independence broke out.  Archbishop Germanos called the Christian population of the Morea under the standard of the cross in 1821.  For three years the Greeks, with the assistance of European money and volunteers (of whom Lord Byron was the most illustrious), conducted a successful campaign against the Turkish forces; but after the Sultan had in 1824 summoned to his aid Mehemet Ali, Pasha of Egypt, with his powerful fleet and disciplined army, the laurels which the Greek patriots had won were recovered by the oppressor; and, with the recapture of Athens in May, 1827, the whole country once more lay under the dominion of the Turks.  The Powers now recognized that nothing but intervention could save Greece for European civilization.  The Egyptian fleet was annihilated at Navarino in October, 1828, by the fleets of England, France, and Russia.  Greece was constituted an independent monarchy, though the Powers who recognized its independence traced the frontier of the emancipated country in a jealous and niggardly spirit.  Prince Otto of Bavaria was designated the first King and reigned for thirty years.  He was succeeded in 1863 by King George who lived to see the northern boundary of his kingdom advanced to Saloniki, where, like a faithful sentinel at his post, he fell, on March 18, 1913, by the hand of an assassin just as he had attained the glorious fruition of a reign of fifty years.

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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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