Jevrem Obrenović

Prince Jevrem Obrenović
Born (1790-03-18)March 18, 1790
Gornja Dobrinja near Požega
Died September 20, 1856(1856-09-20) (aged 66)

Jevrem Teodorović, later known as Jevrem Obrenović, was the youngest brother of Serbian Prince Miloš Obrenović and was also the youngest of his nine siblings.

Early life

Jevrem Teodorović's mother Višnja Urošević (d. 1817) was married twice, first to Obren Martinović, with whom she had three children. After the death of Obren, she married a poor widower, Teodor Mihailović, in the village of Dobrinja. Višnja and Teodor had three sons: Miloš, Jovan and Jevrem. Both Višnja and Teodor's ancestors were migrants from Herzegovina, having arrived in the late 17th or early 18th century. Teodor Mihailović died in 1802, leaving the family in poverty. A few years later, the half-brothers by their mother - Jakov and Milan, took their mother, along with Miloš, Jovan and Jevrem to live on their estate.

Milan Obrenović had a great influence on the upbringing and development of his younger brothers, as evidenced by the fact that Miloš, Jovan and Jevrem took their half-brothers surname Obrenović.

Serbian Revolution

Active in the Serbian independence movement from his youth, Jevrem travelled to Ostružnica to sell oxen for weapons and ammunition. He and his brother Miloš joined the First Serbian Uprising (1804–13), led by Karađorđe. Miloš conspired against Karađorđe and was involved in his assassination. During peacetime (1813–15), Jevrem lived for a while in Belgrade.

Miloš led the Second Serbian Uprising that broke out in the beginning of April 1815, and Jevrem again took up arms. Sulejman-paša Skopljak, the Vizier of Belgrade, had Jevrem captured and sentenced to death, but in August 1815 Miloš and the Ottoman governor Ali Pasha agreed to have Jevrem released from prison. In 1816, Miloš made Jevrem governor of the Šabac nahija (district); and in 1817 he was sent to govern Sokol district. In 1817, Miloš concluded peace with the Ottomans and was recognized as the "Prince of Serbia" by the Ottoman Sultan, subject to tribute to the Porte. As such; Jevrem was in line to the succession to the Serbian throne behind his brother Jovan and the sons of Miloš.

Later life

House of Jevrem Obrenović.

In 1819, he was appointed governor of Valjevo. Jevrem ruled autocratically in the districts under his governance, decisions being made only with his consent. The same year he married Tomanija Bogićević, with whom he had eight children - seven daughters (the eldest, Jelena, married Miloš's secretary Konstantin Hadija) and one son.

Jevrem, as the younger brother of the ruler, had numerous responsibilities. His role in the organization and work of the nascent Serbian judiciary was of paramount importance. He was instrumental in combating banditry, which was especially rampant after 1817. Applying harsh, sometimes even cruel measures, Miloš and Jevrem managed to reduce, virtually eradicate brigandage to a reasonable level. In the period from 1817 to 1835, Jevrem participated in the suppression of several rebellions, during the Russo-Turkish War his task was to prevent the transfer of Ottoman troops from Bosnia through Serbia over to the eastern front. Until 1842, Jevrem at first secretly, but later publicly, fought for power. The opposition was able to remove Miloš from power, but then Jevrem realised that his chances of being elected Prince collapsed, and therefore committed his support to Miloš's second son Mihailo Obrenović III.

The town of Šabac, where Jevrem lived from 1816 until 1831, was completely modernized and "Europeanized" under Jevrem's auspices. His house, which was completed in 1824, was a multi-storey building of which "symmetry, architecture and beauty precedes all residences and palaces in Serbia." Understanding the importance of popular education, Jevrem built schools and invited many teachers, doctors, pharmacists, and artisans to the town. Šabac also had a well-stocked pharmacy with drugs valued at 5,000 pence. The same year, Jevrem also built the town hospital, and the first barracks with four departments, which could each accommodate 60 soldiers.

In 1829, he appointed Joseph Schlesinger the music teacher for his children. Schlesinger soon formed his own "music chapel" in the town. After a written order from Prince Miloš Obrenović in 1830 that the Serbian army needed military music, Schlesinger was on 1 June 1831 appointed kapellmeister of military music in Kragujevac.

Jevrem hosted many of the intelligentsia of Europe, and played a significant role in raising the general cultural level in the country. His library at his residence in Šabac, with the works of La Fontaine, Cooper, Scott, Schiller and others, is among the richest in Serbia. Under Jevrem's auspices, the Belgrade Public Library was founded in 1832.

After a long illness, Jevrem died at his home in Wallachia, on 9 September 1856.

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