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Čolak-Anta Simeonović
Чолак-Анта Симеоновић
Čolak-Anta Simeonović, Světozor, Sep. 7, 1876.jpg
Vojvoda Čolak-Anta
Birth nameAnta Simeonović
Sredska, Sanjak of Prizren
Ottoman Empire
(present-day Kosovo)
Died23 August 1853
Kragujevac, Principality of Serbia (present-day Serbia)
Allegiance Serbian revolutionaries
Service/branchRevolutionary Army
Years of service1803—1815
RankBuljubaša, Vojvoda
Battles/warsFirst Serbian Uprising

Antonije "Anta" Simeonović, better known as Čolak-Anta (Serbian Cyrillic: Чолак-Анта Симеоновић; 1777–1853) was a Serbian fighter and military commander (Vojvoda), one of the most important figures of the First Serbian Uprising of 1804-1813, a spontaneous armed rebellion that became a war of liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the Serbian Revolution ultimately became a symbol of the nation-building process in the Balkans, provoking unrest among the Christians in both Greece and Bulgaria. He was a military commander, governor of the province of Kruševac, and later in life, Chief Magistrate.[1] Čolak-Anta fought under Grand Leader Karađorđe, and is the eponymous founder of the notable Čolak-Antić family.

Early life

Simeonović was born in Sredska, Kosovo, at the time part of the Ottoman Empire. As was the case with many of prominent 19th-century Serbian families who migrated from other Serbian lands to Serbia, the Simeonović family hailed from Herzegovina.
As a young man he moved to Belgrade where he was a prosperous merchant trading furs but also smuggling weaponry across the Sava from the Habsburg Empire. His real name was Anta (from Antonije, en. Anthony), he was first nicknamed Uzun because of his height but later became known by the name Čolak-Anta (çolak meaning one-armed or one-handed person in Turkish) when, in 1806, during a fight with an Ottoman commander in Ostruznica on the bank of the river Sava, he was hit with a sabre and lost the usage of his left hand.[2]

The Uprising

At the beginning of the 19th century Serbia has been ruled by the Ottoman Empire for almost three centuries; In late 1801 renegade Janissary leaders (soldiers of the Ottoman sultan see janissary) ruled over that northern edge of the Ottoman Empire known as the Sanjak of Smederevo or Pashalik of Belgrade, with unrestrained brutality, the four were known as the Dahijas. Their cruelty had made them many enemies among the Christian Serb so the Dahije decided to strike against the leadership of the revolt before it started. They began to disarm the population then set about exterminating all the Serbs they had most to fear: veterans of the war of 1788-91 with Austria, nobles or knez and village priests; The severed heads were put on public display in central squares and at city gates to serve as an example to those who might plot against their rule. The event is known as the Slaughter of the Knezes. The massacre precipitated what the Janissaries most hoped to avoid: a general uprising of the Christian Serbs. The Serbs replied by murdering the soubashis[3] and leading women and children away to safe retreats in the mountains and the woods; thus started the beginning of modern history on the Balkan Peninsula.[4]

On the eve of the uprising Čolak-Anta Simeonović acquired ammunitions and weapons that he smuggled from Prizren to Belgrade, after learning of his mission a group is sent to intercept him and take possession of the guns, Čolak-Anta and his men refused to hand over the weapons or surrender, they managed to make their way to rebel held Topola where he hands over weapons and ammunitions to Karađorđe, the rebel leader; Čolak-Anta joins Karađorđe's army. [5]

Revolt against the Dahijas

That same day, a Turkish caravanserai in Orašac is burned to the ground by the rebels. Similar actions are undertaken in surrounding villages and then spread further. The Serbs entered, on what was in view of their small numbers, an amazing series of military success; Čolak-Anta repeatedly distinguishes himself in the battles which ensued as a resourceful, brave fighter, becoming one of Karadjorje's leaders.[6]
First they captured Rudnik (28 February 1804), which was under control of Sali Aga, and then Valjevo and Požarevac (18 May 1804), some 50 miles east of Belgrade, and Šabac (1 May 1804) about the same distance to the West, on the river Sava.
In September 1804, determined to seek foreign help, the Serbian Rebels sent a deputation to St Petersburg, which returned with the promise of diplomatic support but nothing more.
In 1806 they invested Smederevo making it the temporary capital of Serbia, then the rebels captured Belgrade (December 29, 1806) .[7] The Dahias fled from Belgrade, abandoning their followers, but they were captured on Ada Kaleh island on the Danube and executed.
By the winter of 1806 the Serbs had gained control of the whole Sanjak, including Belgrade.
The success of the uprising as well as Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 led the Ottomans to fear a Christian insurrection, the Ottoman Sultan Selim III started to negotiate with the rebels, he offered them autonomy but the Serbs refused demanding nothing but complete independence from Turkish rule. With the failure of the negotiation the Sultan launched a massive military campaign against the uprising. Čolak-Anta and his fellow rebels found themselves opposing the Ottoman Sultan's army sent to quell the rebellion.[8]

War with the Ottoman Empire

The rebels achieved several victories and were able to withstand Ottoman forces despite the fact that the Ottoman Sultan had declared Holy War against them. In December 1806 the Serbian rebels defeat a larger Ottoman army at Deligrad, resulting in a truce.
A major diplomatic initiative to solicit support again from Austria and Russia produced a more favourable reaction that had been the case in the preceding two years as on January 5, 1807 the Turks had declared war against Russia and Great Britain.[9]
Together with Voivoda Vujica Vulićević, Čolak-Anta led Karađorđe's offensive towards the Ottoman fortress towns of Nikšić and Klobuk in Herzegovina, leading one battalion across the river Tara and through Drobnjak, Čolak-Anta came below Nikšić to occupy a positions in Prevoje where he awaits support from Montenegrin troops.
In May 1809, Čolak-Anta crossed the Lim river with 2,000 men and attacked the Ottoman garrison of Prijepolje.
By mid-July 1810 The Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812) brought the Russians on the banks of the Danube to help the Serbs for the first and last time. Under the command of Russian nobleman of Irish ancestry Count Joseph O'Rourke 3,500 Russian regulars joined with elements of the Serbian army to conduct joint military operations against Ottoman forces. The Ottoman garrison of Brza Palanka surrenders to the combined Serbian-Russian army marching on the city.
The rebels forces managed to advanced towards Niš and even gained territory in Bosnia.[10]
Karađorđe appealed to the confraternity of the Montenegrins and Bosnians to restore the unity of the Serbian nation, he sent a diplomatic delegation consisting of Čolak-Anta Simeonović and Raka Levajac as advance party.[11] For the first time an entire Christian population had successfully risen up against the Ottomans and Serbia existed as a de facto independent state.[12]

Exile and Amnesty

The withdrawal of Russian troops following the Russian-Ottoman Treaty of Bucharest (1812) allowed the Ottomans to concentrate on the Serbian rebels, Article VIII of the treaty stipulated that the Sultan should pardon the Serbs for having risen against him and promise them immunity from retribution from what had occurred; that the Serbs should govern themselves and pay an agreed tribute [13] but the Ottoman's Sultan was resolved to humiliate the Serbs who had in recent years so often humiliated the might of the Ottoman Empire, as soon as the Russian armies had evacuated.[14] three formidable Turkish armies converged on Serbia, on three fronts, to crush the insurrection without outside interference; eventually, the rebel forces, exhausted, were compelled to retreat across the Danube to Austria and then to Bessarabia to seek support from Austria or from Russia once more[15]
In September 1814 Čolak-Anta and his family moved to Russia with his wife Jelena and children: Jovanka, Angelka, Stevan and Kosta. His son Konstantin was accepted in the First Cadet Corps at Saint Petersburg by special decree of Emperor Alexander I. Čolak-Anta and his family returned to Serbia in 1831 after the country became a semiautonomous state and a full amnesty was granted to those who had participated in the rebellion.[16]

Service for Serbia

Rank and title

In 1809 Karađorđe gave Čolak-Anta the rank of buljubaša, putting him in command of a company of men or Cheta In 1811, after a governing council representing each of the twelves districts was established, Čolak-Anta was appointed the position of Vojvode ("governor, duke"), of the province (nahija) of Kruševac, the former Serbian capital, with 31 townships under his administration.[17]
In 1831 after returning from exile to semiautonomous Serbia, Čolak-Anta was appointed Chief Magistrate, a function he held until his retirement in 1843.


He died on 23 August 1853 in Kragujevac, leaving to his descendants the surname of Čolak-Antić (Tcholak-Antitch or Colak-Antic).
With his wife Jelena he had a son Konstantin and five daughters, with his second wife Stoja he had a son: Paul
Kostantin married Jovanka Mitrović descendant of medieval Serbian nobility Rašković Princes; their male descendants all attended the Military Academy and include:

  • Lt. Colonel Lazar Tcholak-Antitch, commander of the Morava division (1839–1877), daughter Milica married Vladislav F Ribnikar founder of Politika.
  • Cavalry Colonel Milivoje Tcholak-Antitch (1884–1944) Recipient of the Order of Karađorđe's Star
  • Milica Krstić Čolak-Antić (1887-1964) sister of Milivoje, considered one of the most important woman architect of the first half of the 20th century.[1]
  • Colonel Ilya Tcholak-Antitch, commander of the Ibar Army (1836–1894); he married Jelena Matić, daughter of Dimitrije Matić, Minister of Justice and Education, they had a daughter, Jovanka and two sons: Boško and Vojin.
  • Dr. Boško Tcholak-Antitch, Marshal of the King's Petar Ist Court, Envoy Extraordinary, Ambassador and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1871–1949)
  • Division General Vojin Tcholak-Antitch, Chief Inspector of Cavalry, Commander of the Order of the Légion d'Honneur (1877–1945); He married Mary Grujić, daughter of Sava Grujić, five times Prime Minister of The Kingdom of Serbia and grandson of Vojvoda Vule Ilic Kolarac, they had a daughter and three sons:
  • Cavalry Colonel (French army) Ilija Tcholak-Antitch (1905–1974)
  • Cavalry Major Grujica Tcholak-Antitch (1906–1967)
  • Cavalry Lt Colonel Petar Tcholak-Antitch (1907–1964)


  • Čolak Antina is a street of the western section of downtown Belgrade (Savski Venac) named after Čolak-Anta Simonović[18]
  • The town of Kruševac, central Serbia, has a street named Čolak Antina[19]

See also

The Slava (Serbian patron saint) of the family is St. Archangel Michael.


  1. ^ Константин Ненадовић, Живот и дела Карађорђа и његови војвода и јунака, 2, Беч (1884). стр. 715.
  2. ^ Константин Ненадовић, Живот и дела Карађорђа и његови војвода и јунака, 2, Беч (1884). стр. 716.
  3. ^ "subashas were named in every village, they held the judicial and administrative authority. They were often chosen from the Bosnian mob who joined the dahis, and which thus acquired the right of decreeing life and death over the villagers."
  4. ^ The Revolt of the Serbs Against the Turks (1804-1813), Walter Angus Morison
  5. ^ Srbija i Albanci u XIX i početkom XX veka: ciklus predavanja 10-25. novembar 1987 Vladimir Stojančević
  6. ^ Dušan T. Bataković -The Kosovo Chronicles, Belgrade: Plato Books 1992, ISBN 86-447-0006-5
  7. ^ The Revolt of the Serbs Against the Turks: (1804-1813), page XiX
  8. ^ Srbija i Albanci u XIX i početkom XX veka: ciklus predavanja 10-25, Vladimir Stojančević - 1990
  9. ^ 30. Stanford J. Shaw, Between the Old and the New: The Ottoman Empire under Selim III, 1789-1807 (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), p. 335.
  10. ^ The first Serbian uprising and the restoration of the Serbian state, Ljiljana Stanojević, Nebojša Damnjanović, Vladimir Merenik - 2004 -
  11. ^ A History of the Balkan Peoples, p. 95 Ardent Media
  12. ^ Glenny, Misha. The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804–1999. New York: Penguin, 2001.
  13. ^ The first Serbian uprising and the restoration of the Serbian state, Ljiljana Stanojević, Nebojša Damnjanović, Vladimir Merenik - 2004 -
  14. ^ Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, Gábor Ágoston, Bruce Alan Masters, Infobase Publishing, 2009 p. 519
  15. ^ The first Serbian uprising and the restoration of the Serbian state Nebojša Damnjanović, Vladimir Merenik 2004
  16. ^ Petrovich, Michael Boro. A History of Modern Serbia 1804–1918 vol. 1. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.
  17. ^ "... а доцније (23. фебруара 1835 No б32) добио је 140 талира пенсије, и живео је нешто у Крушевцу, а нешто у Крагујевцу где је и умро 1853". Вид. Милан Ђ. Милићевић, Поменик знаменитих људи у српског народа новијег доба, Београд 1888. (репринт 1979). стр. 829-830. У монографији „Крагујевачка гробља": „Антоније Симеоновић, познат као ВОЈВОДА ЧОЛАК-АНТА, умро је у Крагујевцу 23. августа 1853. По њему се његови потомци презивају Чолак-Антић."
  18. ^ "Čolak Antina - Savski venac, Beograd - ulica na". Retrieved 2015-03-08.
  19. ^ "Čolak Antina, Kruševac - ulica na". Retrieved 2015-03-08.
This page was last edited on 23 November 2020, at 14:53
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