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He was born Ђорђе Петровић (Djordje or Đorđe Petrović). Because of his dark complexion and short temper he was nicknamed "Black Djordje", kara meaning black in Turkish - Karadjordje, also spelled Karageorge in some older texts and Karađorđe in modern Serbian.
He was born in Viševci . In his youth he was a cattle-keeper, but he was early showing great battle temper and determination. Even as a young man he defended girls from Turkish violence. In 1787, after he killed a Turk, he fled to Austria, joined Serbian volunteers there and distinguished himself in a failed attempt to capture the Kalemegdan fortress in Belgrade. He partook in the war between Austria and Turkey (1788-1791).
After the Peace of Svištovo he returned to Serbia and settled in Topola herding cattle and conducting trade. When dahias seized the rule of Serbia and prepared executions of influential men, knezes and priests, they decided to kill Karadjordje as well. Tipped about Turkish intentions, he saved his life by killing two of the men sent to execute him and then fled to the local mountains taking with him a group of like-minded rebels. Soon after he was chosen the leader of the rebellion in Orašac on February 2, 1804.
Courageous, determined and possessing great personal authority, he soon accomplished several military successes. Within two months he stirred up the whole of the Belgrade pasaluk into mutiny. At first the mutiny was led under the pretext of liberation from dahias, even for strengthening of central authority, but after the Battle of Ivankovac in 1805 he started open combat with Turkey and the Sultan's rule, all for the liberation of Serbia. As the army leader, in 1806 he excelled in victories at the Battle of Mišar and the Battle of Deligrad ; by the end of the year he captured Belgrade and made an alliance with Russia. In the spring of 1809 he started a successful offensive toward Montenegro, but he had to call it off because of the Turkish forces' penetration, moving from Niš towards the Danube.
In 1812, threatened by Napoleon, Russia had to quickly sign a peace treaty with Turkey. Serbs were left on their own and wide open to Turkish revenge. In 1813 the Turks attacked Serbia from three sides. Karadjordje fell ill at the most inopportune moment. Weakened by the disease, he left Serbia on September 21, 1813, crossed into Austria and after some time moved on to Bessarabia, where he encountered members of Heteria , a Greek secret society which planned the liberation of all Christians from the Turks. Assisted by Heteria, Karadjordje went into Serbia carrying a forged passport and stepped onto Serbian soil on June 28, 1817.
Frightened by Karadjordje's arrival, both for himself and for Serbia, whose freedom could perish again in another struggle, knez Miloš ordered his assassination which was soon executed at Radovanje .
Karadjordje was the most notable figure in the history of modern Serbia. He led Serbs into a fight for freedom in which their state was restored and a hinge is created around which all parts of Serb people could gather.
| Founder of|
|House of Karadjordjević|| Succeeded by:|
Translated with small changes from small encyclopedia "Sveznanje " published by "Narodno delo", Belgrade, in 1937 which is today in public domain. This article is written from the point of view of that place and time and may not reflect modern opinions or recent discoveries. Please help Wikipedia by bringing it up to date.
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