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Belgrade Pashaluk, 1791.

Obor-knez (Serbian Cyrillic: ?-?) was a title borne by elected local native Serbian chiefs (Knyaz) of the nahiyah (district of a group of villages) in the Ottoman Sanjak of Smederevo (also known as the Pashalik of Belgrade). The obor-knez was senior chief and responsible for his district's people and was their spokesman (intermediary) in direct relations with the Pasha, though usually through the sipahi, and was in charge of the transfer of taxes levied on the villages. The vojvoda and obor-knez titles were given to people approved by the Pasha. The title was hereditary, being succeeded by one's son. The obor-knez, as a senior, had several knezes under him, who held sub-districts or one village each. The Anglo-Saxon equivalent is Viscount.


In 1788, Ko?a's frontier rebellion saw eastern ?umadija occupied by Austrian Serbian freikorps and hajduks. The Siege of Belgrade from 15 September to 8 October 1789, a Habsburg Austrian force besieged the fortress of Belgrade. The Austrians held the city until 1791 when it handed Belgrade back to the Ottomans according to the terms of the Treaty of Sistova.

In 1793 and 1796 Sultan Selim III proclaimed firmans which gave more rights to Serbs. Among other things, taxes were to be collected by the obor-knez (dukes); freedom of trade and religion were granted and there was peace. Selim III also decreed that some unpopular janissaries were to leave the Belgrade Pashaluk as he saw them as a threat to the central authority of Had?i Mustafa Pasha. Many of those janissaries were employed by or found refuge with Osman Pazvanto?lu, a renegade opponent of Sultan Selim III in the Sanjak of Vidin. Fearing the dissolution of the Janissary command in Sanjak of Smederevo, Osman Pazvanto?lu launched a series of raids against Serbians without the permission of Sultan Selim III, causing much volatility and fear in the region.[1] Pazvanto?lu was defeated in 1793 by the Serbs at the Battle of Kolari.[2] In the summer of 1797 the sultan appointed Mustafa Pasha on position of beglerbeg of Rumelia Eyalet and he left Serbia for Plovdiv to fight against the Vidin rebels of Pazvanto?lu.[3] During the absence of Mustafa Pasha, the forces of Pazvanto?lu captured Po?arevac and besieged the Belgrade fortress.[4] At the end of November 1797 obor-knezes Aleksa Nenadovi?, Ilija Bir?anin and Nikola Grbovi? from Valjevo brought their forces to Belgrade and forced the besieging janissary forces to retreat to Smederevo.[5][6] By 1799 the janissary corps had returned, as they were pardoned by Sultan's decree, and they immediately suspended the Serbian autonomy and drastically increased taxes, enforcing martial law in Serbia. On 15 December 1801 Had?i Mustafa Pasha, the Vizier of Belgrade Pashaluk was killed by Kuchuk Alija, one of four dahiyas (renegade jannissary leaders).[7] This resulted in the Sanjak of Smederevo being ruled by these renegade janissaries independently from the Ottoman government. Several district chiefs were murdered in the Slaughter of the Knezes on February 4, 1804, by the renegade janissaries. This sparked the First Serbian Uprising (1804-13), the first phase of the Serbian Revolution. The title continued its use by the Serbian revolutionary government. The kne?ina (?) has a modern equivalent of municipality, as the sizes of the kne?ine were close to modern municipalities.


Obor-knez Image Lifespan District Notes
Aleksa Nenadovi? Aleksa Nenadovi?.jpg -Feb. 4, 1804 Tamnava-Posavina district in Valjevo nahija
Ilija Bir?anin Ilija Bir?anin.jpg -Feb. 4, 1804 district in Valjevo nahija
Nikola Grbovi? -Feb. 4, 1804 district in Valjevo nahija
Stanko district in Valjevo nahija

See also


  • It was less commonly spelt ober-knez (?-?). It is derived from German ober ("upper"), and Slavic knez ("duke"). The Turkish equivalent, sometimes used, was ba?-knez (-?, "head knez").[8]


  1. ^ von Ranke, Leopold, ed. (1973), History of Servia and the Servian Revolution (Europe 1815-1945 Series), Da Capo Pr, ISBN 978-0-306-70051-4
  2. ^ Roger Viers Paxton (1968). Russia and the First Serbian Revolution: A Diplomatic and Political Study. The Initial Phase, 1804-1807. - (Stanford) 1968. VII, 255 S. 8°. Department of History, Stanford University. p. 13.
  3. ^ ?orovi? 1997

    U leto 1797. sultan ga je imenovao za rumeliskog begler-bega i Mustafa je oti?ao u Plovdiv, da rukovodi akcijom protiv buntovnika iz Vidina i u Rumeliji.

  4. ^ ?orovi? 1997

    Za vreme njegova otsutstva vidinski gospodar sa jani?arima naredio je brz napad i potukao je srpsku i pa?inu vojsku kod Po?arevca, pa je prodro sve do Beograda i zauzeo samu varo?.

  5. ^ Filipovi?, Stanoje R. (1982). Podrinsko-kolubarski region. RNIRO "Glas Podrinja". p. 60. ? , ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?.
  6. ^ ?orovi? 1997

    Pred sam Bo?i? stigo?e u pomo? valjevski Srbi i sa njihovom pomo?u turska gradska posada odbi napada?e i o?isti grad. Ilija Bir?anin gonio je "Vidinlije" sve do Smedereva.

  7. ^ ?orovi?, Vladimir (1997), Istorija srpskog naroda, Ars Libri, retrieved 2012, janji?ari ga 15. decembra 1801. ubi?e u beogradskom gradu. Potom uze?e vlast u svoje ruke, spremni da je brane svima sredstvima. Kao glavne njihove vo?e istako?e se ?etiri dahije: Ku?uk Alija, pa?in ubica, Aganlija, Mula Jusuf i Mehmed-aga Fo?i?.
  8. ^ Vuk Karad?i? (1827). Danica. Zabavnik. Mechitaristendr. p. 96. -?-? ? (; irfen); ? ? ? ? , ? ? ? -? ( ?). ...


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