Herzegovinians in ambush, illustration from the magazine "Srbadija", 1876
It is believed that the ancestors of the Bosnians appeared in the Balkans along with other Slavic tribes around 600 AD. e. The first mention of the Bosnians in a written source was recorded in 877: this document speaks of the Bosnian Catholic diocese, subordinate to the Archbishop of Split. The lands of Bosnia and Herzegovina were part of the states of Serbs, Croats, Bulgarians, Byzantines, the Duchy of Duklja (a Serbian state on the territory of Montenegro). Then, for a long time, Bosnia was a vassal of Hungary.
As for the names of these regions, "Bosnia" is associated with the river of the same name, "Herzegovina" comes from the title that Stefan Vukčić Kosaca (great governor of Huma, Duke of Huma, Duke of Saint Sava) had in the XNUMXth century.
The Ottomans inflicted the first blows on Bosnia back in 1384, the conquest of the main part of this territory was completed by them in 1463, but the western regions with the center in the city of Yayce held out until 1527.
And Herzegovina fell in 1482. She was joined to the Ottoman Empire by the younger son of the above-mentioned Stefan Vukchich - Stefan, who converted to Islam and became famous under the name of Hersekli Ahmed Pasha, who defeated the troops of his older brother Vladislav. Ahmed became the son-in-law of Sultan Bayezid II, held the post of Grand Vizier five times and was appointed Kapudan Pasha three times. In the inscription on his scimitar, he is called "Rustam of the era, the help of armies, Alexander among the generals."
So Herzegovina became the Bosnian Pashalyk sanjak. And the use of the name "Bosnia and Herzegovina" was first noted in 1853.
Islamization of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The population of these regions at that time professed Orthodoxy and Catholicism, and at the end of the XNUMXth century the "Bosan Church" (Crkva bosanska) appeared here, originally close to Bogomilism, whose parishioners called themselves "good Bosnians" or "good people". Unlike the Cathars-Albigensians, the "Bosane" allowed the veneration of Christian shrines.
Abandoned Bogomil cell on the territory of modern Serbia
Gravestones of the parishioners of the "Bosan Church"
The "Bosan Church" was anathematized by the Catholic hierarchs, who called its parishioners "patarens" (like the Cathars of Northern Italy), and the Orthodox - they called them "evil heretics, damned baboons" (originally, by the name of the mountain range, Bogomils were called , who settled near the city of Prilep in Macedonia, where the founder of the doctrine Bogomil preached).
On this map of Macedonia, Babuna is indicated by a red arrow
However, the main enemy of the "Bosan Church" was still Catholics. The monks of the Franciscan and Dominican orders fought against the "heretics"; from time to time they even organized small crusades against them. During one of them - in 1248, several thousand "bosan" were captured, which "good Catholics" then sold into slavery. On the eve of the Ottoman conquest, the "Bosan Church" was driven underground, many of its adherents were forcibly baptized according to the Catholic rite.
In Bosnia, unlike other Balkan countries, the upper strata of society accepted Islam without much hesitation, thus preserving their privileges. The Islamization of the townspeople was also very successful.
In rural areas, the forcibly baptized parishioners of the "Bosan Church" were most willing to accept Islam (they, as you understand, did not have a special adherence to the Christian faith imposed on them), but back in the mid-1870s. the majority of Bosnians professed Christianity: about 42% belonged to the Orthodox Church, 18% were Catholics. Islam was practiced by about 40% of the inhabitants of Bosnia.
Unlike the Albanians, who paid little attention to questions of faith and therefore survived as a single ethnic group, the Muslim Bosnians and the Christian Bosnians differed greatly. They spoke the same language (modern Bosnian has common features with Serbian and Croatian, but Montenegrin is closest to it, which is considered by many to be a dialect of Serbian), but they were very hostile to each other, which increased tensions in the region.
Even more Orthodox Christians (mostly Serbs) were in Herzegovina - over 49%. Another 15% of the inhabitants of this region were Catholics, about 34% were Muslims.
The noble people of Herzegovina, as in Bosnia, were also mostly Muslims. The peasants of Bosnia Herzegovina then gave a third of the harvest to local landowners (Muslims), and Ottoman tax collectors took another 10%. Thus, the situation of the peasants of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the most difficult in the Balkans, besides, religious discord was superimposed on social contradictions. Accordingly, the uprisings here were not only social, but also religious confrontation, since the peasants who took part in them were Christians, and their opponents, regardless of nationality, were Muslims.
It is curious that in the Ottoman period only the children of Bosnian Muslims were allowed to be taken under the "devshirme" system, which was considered a great privilege: all other "foreign boys" were exclusively Christians, who were converted to Islam after being enrolled in the corps of "Ajemi-oglans."
In November 1872, the Christians of Bosnia appealed to the Consul of Austria-Hungary in Banja Luka with a request to convey to the emperor a petition for protection. In 1873, Bosnian Catholics began to move to the territory of the Habsburg state adjacent to their lands.
In Austria-Hungary, the idea of protecting Christians in Bosnia and Herzegovina was taken seriously, as it gave rise to the annexation of these territories. In April-May 1875, Emperor Franz Joseph visited the empire-controlled regions of Dalmatia: he met with delegations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, promising them support in the fight against the Ottomans. As a first step, in June 1875, 8 rifles and 2 million rounds of ammunition were delivered to Cattaro Bay to arm the rebels.
The actions of the Austrians were jealously watched by the Serbs and Montenegrins, who themselves were not averse to annexing part of these territories.
Anti-Ottoman uprising in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1875-1878
In the summer of 1875, when the Ottoman authorities increased the traditional tax from 10% to 20% against the background of last year's poor harvest, many villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina revolted. At first, rural communities simply refused to pay the increased tax, but the Ottoman wali (governor) Ibrahim Dervish Pasha gathered detachments of Muslims who began to attack Christian villages, robbing them and killing the residents. This seems highly counterintuitive: why should you destroy your own territory? The fact is that the ambitious Ibrahim thus tried to provoke local Christians into an open uprising, which he was going to quickly suppress, thereby earning a good reputation in Constantinople.
In principle, everything turned out like that: Christians began to create couples (detachments) who defended their villages, or went into the forests or mountains. But Ibrahim did not succeed in defeating them. Moreover, on July 10, 1875, the rebels defeated 4 Ottoman camps (units close to the battalion) near Mostar. This victory inspired Christians in both Bosnia and Herzegovina, and soon the revolt swept over both areas. Ibrahim Dervish Pasha was removed from his post, regular Ottoman troops of 30 thousand people were sent to the rebellious provinces. They were opposed by up to 25 thousand insurgents who avoided "correct" battles, acting on the principle of "fight and flight".
Serbian rebels in Herzegovina
The tactics of partisan warfare turned out to be very effective: the Turks suffered heavy losses and controlled only large settlements, which were often besieged by the rebels, and were forced to allocate significant forces to guard their carts.
Against this background, in April 1876, an uprising also broke out in Bulgaria, but a month later it was brutally suppressed by the Ottomans, in the course of punitive actions then up to 30 thousand people were killed.
Serbia and Montenegro against the Ottoman Empire, Russian volunteers
In June 1876, Serbia and Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire: Montenegrins entered Herzegovina, Serbs - into eastern Bosnia.
This war aroused great sympathy in Russian society: significant sums of money were collected to help the rebellious Slavs and a total of about 4 thousand volunteers from Russia (200 of whom were officers) went to fight in the Balkans. Not all of them were ideological and "fiery" Slavophiles: there were outright adventurers who were bored at home, as well as people who tried to "run away" from their own problems. By the way, the latter include Erast Fandorin, the hero of B. Akunin's novels, who left for Serbia (and, therefore, fought in Bosnia, where he was captured) after the death of his young and beloved wife.
This is how the audience of the film "Turkish Gambit" saw Erast Fandorin, who escaped from Ottoman captivity
But even without literary volunteers, there were enough famous people. Then the Russian general M. Chernyaev became the commander of the Serbian army.
Major General M.G. Chernyaev, Commander-in-Chief of the Serbian Army, 1876
He was a very authoritative and popular general, a participant in the Hungarian campaign of 1849 and the Crimean War (Danube campaign of 1853 and defense of Sevastopol in 1854-1855). For the defense of Sevastopol, he was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir IV degree and a gold weapons, led the evacuation of Russian troops across the Northern Bay, leaving the city in the last boat. In 1864, he took Chimkent and was awarded the Order of St. George, III degree (bypassing IV degree). And in 1865, Chernyaev became the hero of an international scandal, arbitrarily capturing Tashkent (he then had less than 2 thousand soldiers and 12 cannons, while the enemy garrison numbered 15 thousand people with 63 guns). This caused a hysterical reaction in Great Britain, and this time Chernyaev did not wait for the approval of his superiors; on the contrary, he received a reprimand from the military department. But he became widely known both in Russia and abroad, journalists called him "the Tashkent lion" and "Ermak of the XIX century".
N. Karazin. "The capture of Tashkent by General Chernyaev"
Chernyaev also left for Serbia against the will of the Russian government. As a result, during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Although he was re-enrolled in the service, he remained "out of the state", without waiting for the appointment to a post in the army. Otherwise, it was he, and not M. Skobelev, who could become the main hero of that war.
Among the Russian volunteers was also the grandson of the famous General N. Raevsky (after whom the battery of 18 cannons was named, located at a barrow height during the Battle of Borodino) - also Nikolai, a colonel of the Russian army. He died in 1876 during the Battle of Aleksinats.
The revolutionary populist S.M. Stepnyak-Kravchinsky, who in 1878 will become famous all over Europe for the murder of the chief of the gendarme corps N. Mezentsev and will become the prototype of the heroes E. Zola (the novel "Germinal") and E. Voynich ( "Gadfly").
S. M. Stepnyak-Kravchinsky
Among the Russian volunteers was also the famous Russian artist V.D. now in the museum-estate "Polenovo").
V.D. Polenov. "Herzegovinka in ambush", 1876
In his diary, talking about his arrival in Belgrade, Polenov left the following lines:
From the Danube, Belgrade presents a rather majestic view ... One thing seemed strange to me - there are several mosques with minarets. There are, I think, six of them in Belgrade ... It's a strange thing: we are going to fight for Christianity, against Islam, and here are the mosques.
This surprise clearly shows how little, in fact, even educated Russian volunteers knew history the country for which they went to fight, and the complex relationship between the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula. Russian Slavophiles-idealists went to the Balkans invented by them and to Serbia invented by them. In the history of this Serbia, there was no despot Stefan Lazarevich - the son of a prince who died in the Kosovo field, who faithfully served the murderer of his father Bayezid I, married his sister to him and was canonized by the Serbian Orthodox Church. There was no father-in-law of Sultan Murad I Georgy Brankovich, who did not lead his troops either to Varna, where King of Poland and Hungary Vladislav III Varnenchik died, or to the Kosovo field, where the great Hungarian commander Janos Hunyadi was defeated (but he captured the retreating Hunyadi and demanded a ransom for him). There was no "century of Serbian viziers" and there was no pure-blooded Serb Mehmed Pasha Sokkolu, who served as the Grand Vizier under three sultans, during whose reign the Ottoman Empire reached the limits of its power. And in Bulgaria, the soldiers and officers of the Russian army were later very surprised that the local peasants oppressed by the Turks live better than their compatriots, for whose welfare the Orthodox tsar and the Christian landowners are "concerned" for the welfare of all.
From October 1877 to February 1878 Polenov, already as an artist, was at the headquarters of the Tsarevich (the future Emperor Alexander III) on the Bulgarian front of the Russian-Turkish war.
V. Polenov, "Study from the Balkan War", Kaluga State Art Museum
And in the headquarters of the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich - the commander-in-chief of the Russian Danube army, there was the battle painter V.V. Vereshchagin, who in June 1877 on board the destroyer "Joke" received a severe hip wound (his brother S.V. Vereshchagin, died during time of the siege of Plevna).
V. Vereshchagin. “After the attack. Dressing station near Plevna "
V. Polenov. "Cart with the wounded"
The famous surgeon N.V. Sklifosovsky went to the Balkans and headed one of the sanitary detachments there.
He also worked in a field hospital during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. - like N. Pirogov and S. Botkin.
Russian "sisters of mercy" also worked in field hospitals and sanitary detachments of that war.
During the Russian-Turkish war, 50 Russian "sisters of mercy" died in Bulgaria from typhus. Among them was Yulia Petrovna Vrevskaya, the widow of a Russian general, one of M. Yu. Lermontov's friends, who organized her own sanitary detachment. I. Turgenev dedicated a poem to her memory.
Yulia Vrevskaya to the left of the only man in this photo - Prince V. Cherkassky, authorized by the Russian Red Cross
In the town of Byala (Varna region), where Vrevskaya is buried, one of the streets is named after her.
Grave of Maria Neyelova and Yulia Vrevskaya
I. S. Turgenev made the Bulgarian patriot Insarov the hero of his novel "On the Eve", he said that he would certainly go to this war if he were a little younger.
The uprising in Bosnia and Herzegovina was defeated, Serbia and Montenegro were also on the brink of a military catastrophe, but the Russian ultimatum of October 18 (30), 1876, stopped the Turkish troops. From December 11, 1876 to January 20, 1877, an international Constantinople conference was held, at which Turkey was proposed to grant autonomy to Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina. But even before its completion, an agreement was reached between Russia and Austria-Hungary, in which the Austrians, in exchange for neutrality in a future war, recognized the right to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
On April 12 (24), 1877, a new Russian-Turkish war began, as a result of which Serbia, Montenegro and Romania gained independence, an autonomous Bulgarian principality was formed. And Austrian troops entered the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Turkey recognized the annexation of these territories only in 1908 (having received compensation of 2,5 million pounds sterling).
The peasants of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose situation practically did not improve (even many Ottoman officials remained in their places, including the mayor of Sarajevo, Mehmed-Beg-Kapetanovich Lyubushak), were disappointed. Already in January 1882, an anti-Austrian uprising began here, the reason for which was the introduction of military service. It was completely suppressed in April of the same year, and the Austrian authorities then actively used the so-called strifkors - detachments of local Muslims who brutally massacred the Christian population. These units were then disbanded, but re-established after the final annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. They participated in World War I, fighting against Serbia. And during World War II, the Serbs called the punitive Ustasha units, which were engaged in the massacre of the civilian population, as strifkors.
From 1883 to 1903 Bosnia and Herzegovina was ruled by Benjamin von Kallai, the former Consul General in Belgrade and the Reich Minister of Finance. His activity is assessed controversially. On the one hand, under him, industry and the banking sector actively developed, railways were built, cities were improved. On the other hand, he treated local residents like natives, did not trust them and relied on Austro-Hungarian officials in his activities.
On October 5, 1908, Austria-Hungary finally annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, paying the Ottomans 2,5 million pounds in compensation. Serbia and Montenegro declared mobilization and almost provoked a major war. Germany declared its support for its allies, the Italians were satisfied with the Austrian promise of non-intervention in the event of their war with Turkey over Libya (which began in 1911). Britain and France limited themselves to notes of protest. Russia, still not recovering from a heavy and humiliating defeat in the war with Japan, then went literally on the razor's edge. P. Stolypin played a major role in preventing a new and absolutely unnecessary war. Austria-Hungary in exchange promised to recognize the right to pass Russian warships through the Black Sea straits.
The acquisition of Bosnia and Herzegovina was fatal for Austria-Hungary and the Habsburg dynasty. It was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 that caused World War I, which ended with the fall of four great empires - Russian, German, Austrian and Ottoman. There were no longer any politicians in our country capable of keeping Russia from this disastrous adventure for her.
In the next article we will continue our story about Bosnia and Herzegovina and talk about the history of this country in the XX and XXI centuries.