V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914 > 8. Eastern Europe and the Balkans, 1762–1914 > c. The Balkans
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
c. The Balkans
 
THE BALKANS, 1878-1914 (MAP)
 
1. The Balkan States
 
The 19th century saw the creation of most Balkan states. The first national revolutions were not the product of European ideology, the revival of national consciousness among intellectuals, or the rise of an Orthodox merchant class, however, these all played an important role. The immediate cause was the breakdown of Ottoman central authority. In the face of increased brigandage, local governments organized and armed themselves, shifting loyalties and military balances. Moreover, despite general warfare in Europe, Balkan leaders always believed in the possibility of foreign intervention. After independence or autonomy was achieved, these states had to establish the trappings of the modern state. In most cases, divisions arose between advocates of Western-style parliament and partisans of autocratic rule.  1
The Balkans remained overwhelmingly rural; industrial development was slow. Faced with the cost of administration, many Balkan states ran high foreign debts. They were not alone, for as capitalism grew, so did peasant indebtedness. This contributed to a growing chasm between town and country, which would color future developments.  2
Each of the Balkan nations experienced cultural revival; nationalist goals were often tied to linguistic and cultural development. Governments fostered this through the creation of educational systems, yet the bulk of the Balkan population remained illiterate throughout the 19th century.  3
By the end of the century, the map of the Balkan Peninsula showed a number of new nations. The result was not simply national development, however. The creation of national identities directly countered the Ottoman millet system, which had allowed various ethnic communities to rely on their own local leaders. The creation of new nations alongside areas of mixed ethnicity like Macedonia resulted in increased antagonisms and instability.  4
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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