Who's Who - King Peter I

Photograph of King Peter I of Serbia Peter I Karadjordjevic (1844-1921), born in Belgrade, became Serbia's first constitutional monarch - elected by parliament - in the aftermath of the 1903 military coup that resulted in the overthrow of the Obrenovic dynasty, returning from exile to take his place as King.  Nikola Pasic meanwhile served as his outstanding Prime Minister.

In the intervening years before his appointment as King, Peter had served with the French during the unsuccessful Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and, in 1875, joined the Bosnian insurrection against the Ottomans.

The first years of King Peter's reign saw reforms to the constitution, the army and the school system, as well as improvements to the system of agriculture.

With the outbreak of war in Europe only a month away, and with Serbia in civil turmoil following the successful outcome of the Balkan Wars - both civil and military authorities demanded that Macedonia be administered by Serbia - in June 1914 Peter passed executive control of government to his second son Alexander (who became Regent) on grounds of increasing ill health.

With Serbia's epic defeat towards the close of 1915 at the hands of combined Austro-Hungarian, German and Bulgarian forces led by Mackensen, King Peter had to be carried (along with similarly ill Putnik) through the wintry mountains of Albania to Corfu.

In December 1918 Peter reappeared briefly to accept his position as monarch of the newly declared state of (what was to become) Yugoslavia.  With his death in 1921 Alexander became King.

A "chit" was British slang for a piece of paper.

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Who's Who