Jovan Ristic
Jovan Ristić, or Ristitch (Serbian Cyrillic: Јован Ристић) (January 16, 1831 – September 4, 1899) was a Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n statesman and diplomat.

Born at Kragujevac
Kragujevac is the fourth largest city in Serbia, the main city of the Šumadija region and the administrative centre of Šumadija District. It is situated on the banks of the Lepenica River...

, he was educated at Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

, Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. After failing to obtain a professorship in the high school of Belgrade, he was appointed in 1861 Serbian diplomatic agent at Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. He soon became known as the most competent of the government officials. His reputation was enhanced by the series of negotiations which ended in the withdrawal of the Turkish
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 troops from the Serbian fortresses in 1867. Ristić gained an international reputation as foreign minister on two more occasions (1875, 1876–78) by promoting an expansionist policy that he hoped would make Serbia the nucleus for a strong South Slav state.

On his return from Constantinople, his brilliant intellectual qualities attracted the attention of the government. He was immediately offered a ministerial post by Prince Mihailo, who described him as "his right arm", but he declined office, being opposed to the reactionary methods adopted by the prince's government. He had already become the recognized leader of the Liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 party. After the assassination of Prince Michael in 1868, he was nominated member of the council of regency, and on the January 2, 1869 the third Serbian constitution, which was mainly his creation, was promulgated.

When Prince Milan
Milan Obrenovic IV
Milan Obrenović was a Serbian monarch reigning as Prince Milan IV of Serbia from 1868 to 1882 and King Milan I of Serbia from 1882 to 1889.-Early years:...

 attained his majority in 1872, Ristić became foreign minister; a few months later he was appointed prime minister, but resigned in the following autumn (1873). He again became prime minister in April 1876, and conducted the two wars against Turkey (July 1876; March 1877 and December 1877; March 1878). At the Congress of Berlin
Congress of Berlin
The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin in 1878. In the wake of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize the countries of the Balkans...

 he labored with some success to obtain greater advantages for Serbia than had been accorded to her by the Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of San Stefano
The Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed at the end of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78...

. His personal secretary at the congress was poet and attorney Laza Kostic
Laza Kostic
Laza Kostić was a Serbian poet, prose writer, lawyer, philosopher, polyglot, publicist, and politician, considered to be one of the greatest minds of Serbian literature.-Biography:...

. The provisions of the Treaty of Berlin
Treaty of Berlin, 1878
The Treaty of Berlin was the final act of the Congress of Berlin , by which the United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Abdul Hamid II revised the Treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3 of the same year...

 provided Serbia with no more than 3860 square miles (9,997.4 km²) of new territory and a proclamation of complete independence from Turkey. This, however, disappointed the Serbians, owing to the obstacles now raised to the realization of the national program. The Ristić government became unpopular. He was forced to resign when he refused to sign a trade agreement with Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 that he believed would make Serbia economically dependent on that country.

In 1887 King Milan I (who had assumed the royal title in 1882), alarmed at the threatening attitude of the Radical party, recalled Ristić to power at the head of a coalition cabinet; a new constitution was granted in 1889, and later that year the king abdicated in favor of his son, Prince Alexander
Aleksandar Obrenovic
  Not to be confused with Alexander I of Yugoslavia.Alexander I or Aleksandar Obrenović was king of Serbia from 1889 to 1903 when he and his wife, Queen Draga, were assassinated by a group of Army officers, led by Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević-Accession:In 1889 Alexander's father, King Milan,...

. Ristić now became head of a council of regency, entrusted with power during the minority of the young king, and a Radical ministry was formed.

In 1892, however, Ristić transferred the government to the Liberal party, with which he had always been connected. This step and the subsequent conduct of the Liberal politicians caused serious discontent in the country. On the 1st (13th) of April 1893 King Alexander, by a successful stratagem, imprisoned the regents and ministers in the palace, and, declaring himself of age, recalled the Radicals to office.

Ristić now retired into private life. He died in Belgrade on September 4, 1899. Though cautious and deliberate by temperament, he was a man of strong will and firm character. He was the author of two published works: The External Relations of Serbia from 1848 to 1867 (Belgrade, 1887) and A Diplomatic History of Serbia (Belgrade, 1896).

Biography by James David Bourchier
James David Bourchier
James David Bourchier was an Irish journalist and political activist. He worked for The Times as the newspaper's Balkan correspondent. He lived in Sofia from 1892 to 1915. Bourchier was an honourable member of the Sofia Journalists' Society and a trusted advisor of Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria...

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