Zafer Gölen

Keywords: Ottoman Empire, 1849-1851, The Bosnian Revolt, Tanzimat


With the declaration of the Tanzimat reforms in 1839, the Ottoman Empire began an irreversible process of renewal. This process did not evolve in the same way in all the provinces of the Empire. One of the provinces in which the application of these reforms encountered the greatest obstacles was Bosnia (Bosna-Hersek). The Tanzimat reforms could not be introduced in this province until 1849, in which year a decision was taken to this effect. This decree encountered the stiff opposition of Bosnian feudal landlords who believed that this meant the loss of their privileges. That is why they began a violent revolt, which was to last about two and a half years. Central authorities were obliged to intervene by sending a military force. Ömer Lütfi Paşa, commander of this force, responded to the landlords' acts with equal violence. After 25 battles, of which twelve were of a certain importance, the region was subdued and all the feudal lords, who had been implicated in the revolt, were banished from Bosnia. This had as a result the fact that the landlords' power over the local population was for the first time since ancient times, greatly diminished. The local Christian population, freed from the yoke of the feudal lords, began quickly to get organised with the aim of gaining its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Even though the initiators of the revolt had been Muslim feudal lords, after 1851 it would be the newly free Christian population who continued the fight with central Ottoman authorities. They reached their objective thanks to the 1875 Hersek revolt.