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  • Jeremiah

Proclamation to Montenegrins about the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1908)

Knjaz* Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš (24. IX/7. X 1908.)


Your two sorrowful sisters, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on whom thirty years ago briefly shone the light of freedom, are today completely ripped out of the Serbian embrace. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy has replaced the occupation of those two regions with a final annexation. Without their will and consent they were dragged over to foreign flock. Between you and them, between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina there are now international and political separations.


You have shed most precious blood for the freedom of these lands. In Herzegovina there are thousands of graves left where the bones of your knightly Montenegrin brothers have already turned to dust. A foreigner marches on them now and foreign hands grip their hands, which extended towards you in hope.

Steel your heroic hearts before such an ill fate of the Serbian tribe, as my heart cries together with yours for the heart of Serbdom - Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mark of the black and yellow colour across Serbian land will not be a border which will separate you in heart and mind from your brothers. To the contrary, those markings will be a visible sign of injustice; they will make the ties and the pledge of eternal hope in the victory of Justice.


Do not despair! Be firm as our rocks in your hope. The current undetermined state of the free parts of Serbian people is transitory. Good days will come after the hard ones. Serbian sun will shine brighter to warm up and give light to every Serbian brother.


The Congress of Berlin took away your land, earned with blood. What little it left you, it imposed heavy burdens on. Article 29. of the Treaty of Berlin, which concerns the seacoast of our homeland, the use of our sovereign rights has been burdened in the beautiful Montenegro's Primorje.** Today, as the provisions of the Congress of Berlin have been violated on multiple sides, especially with the incorporation of Bosnia and Herzegovina into Austria-Hungary, then by itself the provision which had not been imposed with regards to our Primorje is no longer valid. That provision of article 29 of the Treaty of Berlin no longer binds us.


I am certain that I speak out of the heart and soul of every Montenegrin, announcing to the Great Powers, the signatories of the Treaty of Berlin, that if they allow for the injuries to it, then Montenegro will consider itself free of all the burdens and limitations which this international agreement imposed on it. It is my firm belief that the enlightened Europe will approve this step of mine! You, however, my brave Montenegrins, I call to in the future, as you have in all occasions, be ready to aid me even in the greatest torments which I am ready to share with you until the end of my life for the good of Serbian people.

* Tran. note: closest English equivalent to the title would be "Prince"

** Tran. note: "Primorje" means seacoast, here applied as the name of a region

Translated by Books of Jeremiah

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