Yugoslavian Royalty: Peter I (1903-21)

Figure 1.--

King Peter ruled during turbulent times. He was King of Serbia when natiinalist passions were rising in the balkans--especially the desire for independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This resulted in the assasunation of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and a Austo-Hungarian invasion to punish Serbia--leading to World War I. Serbia defeat when the Germans intervned, but were rewarded in the pec settlement, leading to the formation of Yugoslvia.


King Peter's father was Alexander Karadjordjevic, Prince of Serbia (1806- ). His mother was Persida Nenadsowitsch (1813- ).


Peter had one younger brother, Arsen Karadjordjevic born in 1859 who lived until 1938. He had one son, Paul Kara-Georgevic (1893- ), who became Prince Regent of Yugoslavia in 1929. He died in 1976.


Peter was born July 11, 1844.


Prince Peter married Princess Zorka Petrovic-Njegos of Montenegro in 1883.


Peter and Zorka had four children, two girls and two boys. It was there youngest son Alexander that succed his father.

Helen (1884- )

Milena (1886- )

George (1887- )

I believe Prince George died in childbirth.

Alexander I (1888- )

Prince Alexander suceeded his father in 1921.


The Serbian Parliament in 1903 requested that Prince Peter Karadjordjevic--grandson of dynasty's founder, Black George--come to the throne. King Petar I brought democracy and leadership to Serbia. He had John Stuart Mills' essay "On Liberty" translated into Serbian. The Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913 resulted in the expansion of Serbia, the annexation by Austria of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This enraged both neighboring Serbia and the people of Croatia. Nationalist aspirations for independence from Austria finally led to the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo during 1914 and within days World War I had engulfed Europe.

World War I (1914-18)

The Austrian Army encountered difficulties in their offensive against Serbia suported by the Russians. Finally with the support of the German Army and the Bulgarian Army in the south, the SCentral POwers launched a huge offensive (October 1915). The Central Powers broke the Serbian Front was broken wide open. An Allied relief column from Salomika, Greece failed to link up with the Serbs. The Serbian Army facing anialation executed the Great Retreat across the Albanian mountains in the Winter (1916). King Peter, the royal family, and many Serb civilians accompanied the Army. The Allies transported the Serbian Army to saftey and it was laer redeployed. Serbia itself was occupied by the Central Powers. The subsequent formation by the southern Slavs of an exile committe promoting national unity paved the way for the creation of a Yugoslav state. This committe and representatives of the Serbian Government in exile signed the Corfu Declaration in 1917 which provided for the establishment of a federated cinstitutional monarchy under the Karageorgevich line of Serbian kings. An Allied Army including the Serbs evacuated as part of the Great Retreat drove north from from Greece broke through the Bulgarian lines, allowing them to renter Serbia (1918).


The disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the final months of World War I gave trmendous impetus to the southern Slav independence movement. representatives of three southern Slav peoples, before the end of the War in 1918, proclaimed by mutual consent a new "Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes" under the Crown of Peter I. The Montenegro National Assembly voted to join the other southern Slavs.

Prince Alexandar

Prince Alexander, Serbian Regent, during the illness of his father, Peter I, reigned under a provisional government. The establishment of constitutional government was delayed by a series of boundary disputes with neighbiring countries, including former World War I ally Italy. Despite opposition by the Croats, a highly centralized Yugoslav Government was established by a conservative coalition. King Peter died August 16, 1921.


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Created: December 15, 2001
Last updated: 4:49 PM 12/10/2006