The fighting took a huge toll. During this period, Serbian literature and culture flourished, further strengthening Serbian nationalism.
Gradually, Serbia gained a degree of autonomy, or self-rule, within the Ottoman empire. An 1830 agreement gave Serbs complete control over their own internal affairs, although European countries did not recognize Serbia's independence until 1878. Serbia continued its close ties with Russia, which it saw as a protector of its hard-won freedom.
In 1821, the Greeks revolted, seeking to end centuries of Ottoman rule. At first, the Greeks were badly divided. But years of suffering in long, bloody wars of independence helped shape a national identity. Leaders of the rebellion justified their struggle as “a national war, a holy war, a war the object of which is to reconquer the rights of individual liberty.” The Greeks had the support of romantic writers such as English poet Lord Byron, who went to Greece to aid the fight for independence.
The Greek rebels won the sympathy of even the conservative powers of Europe. In the late 1820s, Britain, France, and Russia forced the Ottomans to grant independence to some Greek provinces. By 1830, Greece was independent. The European powers, however, pressured the Greeks to accept Otto von Wittelsbach, a German prince, as their king. This move was meant to show that the European powers did not support nationalist revolutions.
During the 1820s, other revolts erupted along the fringe of Europe. In Spain, Portugal, and several Italian states, rebels demanded constitutional governments. The unrest posed a challenge to the conservative rulers of Europe. Spurred on by Metternich, a French army marched over the Pyrenees to suppress a revolt in Spain. Austrian forces crossed the Alps to smash Italian rebels.
Troops dampened the fires of liberalism and nationalism, but could not smother them. In the next decades, sparks would flare anew. Added to liberal and nationalist demands were the goals of the new industrial working class. By the mid-1800s, social reformers and agitators were urging workers to support socialism or other ways of reorganizing property ownership, further contributing to the unrest of this period.
Why would a monarch order his army to suppress an uprising in another country?
Uprisings flared up repeatedly across Europe, especially in Paris.
In the 1820s, conservative forces quickly suppressed the liberal uprisings in Spain, Portugal, and the Italian states. They could not, however, end Europe's age of revolutions. Liberal French leader Alexis de Tocqueville warned that the revolutions of the 1820s were not over.
We are sleeping on a volcano… Do you not see that the Earth trembles anew? A wind of revolution blows, the storm is on the horizon.
—Alexis de Tocqueville
The Congress of Vienna had restored Louis XVIII to the French throne. The new ruler wisely issued a constitution, the Charter of French Liberties. It created a two-house legislature and allowed limited freedom of the press. Still, the king retained much power.
Louis's efforts at compromise satisfied few people. Ultra royalists despised constitutional government and wanted to restore the old regime. These “ultras” included many high clergy and émigré nobles who had returned to France after the revolution.