THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SERBIAN LOCAL government IN THE counties of niš, vranje, toplica and pirot subsequent to THE SERBO-TURKISH WARS OF 1876–1878
In the wake of the Serbo-Turkish wars of 1876–77 and the 1878 Congress of Berlin the process of establishing local government in the newly-liberated areas began. The process of incorporating the so-called New Areas into the legal system of pre-war Serbia took five years (1877–82) and went through four phases. The first phase began with the Second Serbo-Turkish war and lasted to the border demarcation between the principalities of Serbia and Bulgaria in 1878. It was marked by the establishment of provisional local authorities, carried out by the representative of the Serbian government in the Supreme Army Command. In the second phase permanent local institutions were established in the New Areas in order to harmonize their administrative and judicial structure with that of pre-war Serbia. In the third phase the agrarian reform was carried out in order to abolish feudal relations, while protecting the property rights of the former Muslim landowners in compliance with Article 39 of the Berlin Treaty. In the fourth phase the question of resettling the “New Serbian Areas” was being resolved after the significant population change brought about by the Second Serbo-Turkish War. The focus of the paper is on the first two phases.