Ottoman Serbs

Ottoman Serbs were ethnic Serbs who lived in the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman Serbs, who were Serbian Orthodox Christian, belonged to the Rum Millet. Although a separate Serbian millet was not officially recognized during Ottoman rule, the Serbian Church was the legally confirmed representative organization of the Serbs in the Ottoman Empire.


Early modern period

The Serbs had taken an active part in the wars fought in the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire, and also organized uprisings. Because of this, they suffered persecution and their territories were devastated. Major migrations from Serbia into Habsburg territory ensued.
In early 1594, the Serbs in Banat rose up against the Ottomans. The rebels had, in the character of a holy war, carried war flags with the icon of Saint Sava. After suppressing the uprising, the Ottomans publicly incinerated the relics of Saint Sava at the Vračar plateau on April 27, 1595. The incineration of Sava's relics provoked the Serbs, and empowered the Serb liberation movement. From 1596, the center of anti-Ottoman activity in Herzegovina was the Tvrdoš Monastery in Trebinje. An uprising broke out in 1596, but the rebels were defeated at the field of Gacko in 1597, and were forced to capitulate due to the lack of foreign support.
After allied Christian forces had captured Buda from the Ottoman Empire in 1686 during the Great Turkish War, Serbs from Pannonian Plain joined the troops of the Habsburg Monarchy as separate units known as Serbian Militia. Serbs, as volunteers, massively joined the Austrian side. In 1688, the Habsburg army took Belgrade and entered the territory of present-day Central Serbia. Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden called Serbian Patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević to raise arms against the Turks; the Patriarch accepted and returned to the liberated Peć. As Serbia fell under Habsburg control, Leopold I granted Arsenije nobility and the title of duke. In early November, Arsenije III met with Habsburg commander-in-chief, General Enea Silvio Piccolomini in Prizren; after this talk he sent a note to all Serb bishops to come to him and collaborate only with Habsburg forces.
A large migration of Serbs to Habsburg lands was undertaken by Patriarch Arsenije III. The large community of Serbs concentrated in Banat, southern Hungary and the Military Frontier included merchants and craftsmen in the cities, but mainly refugees that were peasants. Serbia remained under Ottoman control until the early 19th century, with the eruption of the Serbian Revolution in 1804.


The Serb Democratic League was an Ottoman Serb political organisation established on August 13, 1908, at the First Serb Conference, immediately after the Young Turk Revolution. It included the Serb elite of Old Raška, Kosovo and Metohija, and Vardar Macedonia and Aegean Macedonia.

Serbian Patriarchate

The Serbian Orthodox Church was re-established in 1557. The Patriarchate of Peć was abolished in 1766.

Nationality status

In 1826, an addendum to the Akkerman Convention mentioned the Serb Millet. Since given autonomy in 1830, the Principality of Serbia urged the Ottoman government to recognize the Serb nation outside the principality, in Ottoman territories.
In 1906, the Ottoman government recognized the Serb Millet in Macedonia. This decision was made independently from the Serbian government.

Notable people

After the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire acquired a significant Serb community. Among notable people in the Ottoman government of fully or partial Serb ancestry were several viziers and sultans.
;Serb community
;Ottoman government