School of Philosophy
University of Belgrade
The Beginning of the 1875 Serbian Uprising in Herzegovina
The British Perspective
Abstract: The main goal of this article is to scrutinize the contemporary British sources, in order to establish what they say about the causes of the insurrection in Herzegovina which marked the beginning of the Eastern Crisis of 1875–1878. The official reports of British diplomats, the observations of newspaper correspondents, and the instructions of London policy makers support the conclusion that the immediate cause of the insurrection was agrarian discontent, especially tithe collecting. In considering the “external influences” on the outbreak of the insurrection, the British emphasized the role of Austria-Hungary and Montenegro. Behind these countries, they saw the shadow of the Three Emperors’ League, which was perceived as the main threat to the Ottoman Empire and, consequently, to the balance of power in Europe. Serbia was not seen as directly involved in the events in Herzegovina. Later on, at the time of Prince Milan’s visit to Vienna, and as volunteers from Serbia began to be despatched to Herzegovina, the British diplomats increasingly perceived Serbia, in addition to Montenegro, as another tool of the Three Emperors’ League.
Keywords: Great Britain, Foreign Office, uprising in Herzegovina, Eastern Question, Austria-Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia