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Jovan Samuilović Horvat de Kurtić (Serbian Cyrillic language: Јован Самуиловић Хорват de Куртић

also known as Jovan Horvat (Serbian Cyrillic language
Јован Хорват

), Ivan Khorvat (Russian: Иван Хорват), Ivan Samoylovich Khorvat (Russian: Иван Самойлович Хорват),[1] and Ivan Samuilovich Khorvat (Russian: Иван Самуилович Хорват); Petrovaradin, Habsburg Monarchy, 1723 — Stary Saltiv,[2] near Kharkiv, Imperial Russia, 18 November 1786) was a Russian general of Serbian origin who founded New Serbia by the right bank of the Donets River between the Bakhmut and Luhan River.[3]


Jovan Horvat's ancestors were originally from Old Serbia. In the 1670s, his grandfather Marko Kurtić settled in the Habsburg Military Frontier where Serbs have lived since the Middle Ages, if not earlier. Marko distinguished himself in the Austrian military fighting his ancestral enemies and earned a patent of nobility and a coat of arms from Emperor Leopold I.[4] His son Samuil became a landowner in a village named after the family, Curtici, near Arad.[5]

In 1726 Samuil received a Nobiliary particle de Kurtić (ot Kurtić) from Charles VI after serving as governor of Waradin (now Oradea, Romania).[6] Later, Samuil's son Jovan, born in Petrovaradin in 1722, would carry the nobiliary particle proudly as he advanced through military ranks in an Austrian infantry regiment and later in Russia where his title was also recognized.[7]

In 1751 Jovan Samuilović Horvat de Kurtić, his brother Dimitrije, and Nikola and Teodor Chorba contacted Mikhail Petrovich Bestuzhev-Ryumin, the Russian Ambassador to Austria, and requested his permission to migrate to Russia.[8] Bestuzhev-Ryumin accepted their request on the condition that it be approved by the Russian Government. The Government not only approved their immigration but offered them and their families citizenship and a job in the Russian military.[9] In fact, all the families of the officers who served in the Austrian military were granted citizenship and all officers were given jobs in the Russian army.[10] While waiting for a response from St. Petersburg, Jovan Horvat, along with 281 other military officers and subalterns submitted their resignation request to the Hofkriegsrat, the Aulic War Council of Austria, so that they could be released from the Austrian military and transfer into Russian service.[11] Their resignations were immediately forwarded to Maria Theresa, the Austrian Empress who at the time was on friendly terms with the Russian Empress, had no problem discharging and freeing them from their obligations.

On the 13th of July 1751, Ambassador Bestuzhev-Ryumin received confirmation from Empress Elizabeth of Russia that Horvat and the other officers were given permission to leave for Russia and that jobs would be made available for them in the Russian military. Horvat eventually would be promoted to General and the other officers who showed equal élan achieved high ranks in the Russian military as well. Bestuzhev-Ryumin, his secretary Chemyev, Horvat and brothers Nikola, Todor and Jovan Chorba, Jovan Šević, and Rajko Depreradović set out to organize the migration in three groups.[12][13]

Led by Jovan Horvat, a convoy of officers and their families and others left Austria and arrived in Imperial Russia at the end of September 1751.[14]

Most of the settlements were named after the ones in their homeland. With the Empress's consent, Jovan Horvat built the foundation of the Fort of St. Elizabeth (named in honor of her Saint patroness, now located in today's Kropyvnytskyi, an administrative center of the Kirovohrad Oblast). The fort would play an important role in Russia's victory over Turkey. After the Russo-Turkish War, Lieutenant General Peter Tekeli who was the commander of all armed forces stationed in Novorossiya (formerly New Serbia and Slavo-Serbia), used the Fort of St. Elizabeth to disband the Zaporozhian Cossacks and destroy their base, the Zaporozhian Sich in 1775.[15]

In the New Serbian corpus founded in 1759 that united the regiments under his command, Horvat saw the possibility for the formation of the Serbian national core on the territory of the Russian Empire. He formed and was the head of the executive power with departments for military affairs, foreign affairs, economy, and finances. He established the Supreme Court.

The court, however, alleged him for abusing his position and corruption, thus by decree of Catherine the Great he was dismissed in 1762 and expelled to Vologda, at the time an insignificant town of Archangelgorod Governorate. He was eventually pardoned by Empress Catherine and allowed to return only after Peter Tekeli's intervention in 1775. Jovan Horvat died in 1786 on his estate. He was 64.[16]

See also


  1. "The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S". 1955. 
  2. "Staryi Saltiv".,+Kharkiv+Oblast,+Ukraine,+62560/@50.0810792,36.7377487,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x412702d2805c82ad:0xe865be7f93dfba32!8m2!3d50.0779397!4d36.7897915. 
  3. "Новая Сербия". 2010-10-03. 
  4. Gluhak, Alemko (1990). "Porijeklo imena Hrvat". 
  5. Gluhak, Alemko (1990). "Porijeklo imena Hrvat". 
  6. Gluhak, Alemko (1990). "Porijeklo imena Hrvat". 
  7. Mortier, Roland; Hasquin, Hervé. "Etudes sur le XVIIIe siècle". 
  8. Polonsʹka-Vasylenko, Natalii͡a (1955). "The Settlement of the Southern Ukraine (1750-1775)". 
  9. Davies, Brian (2011-06-16). Empire and Military Revolution in Eastern Europe: Russia's Turkish Wars in the Eighteenth Century. ISBN 9781441162380. 
  10. Király, Béla K.; Rothenberg, Gunther Erich (1979). Special Topics and Generalizations on the 18th and 19th Centuries. ISBN 9780930888046. 
  11. Davies, Brian L. (2016-01-28). The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774: Catherine II and the Ottoman Empire. ISBN 9781472514158. 
  12. "The Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S". 1955. 
  13. "Australian Slavonic and East European Studies: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Slavists' Association and of the Australasian Association for the Study of the Socialist Countries". 1990. 
  14. Milanović, Milena; America, Serbian Heritage Society of (1999). "Srbi u svetu: Ko je ko, 1996/99 : Biografski leksikon". 
  15. Solov'yov V. "Конец Запорожской Сечи". Кубань, XXI век. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  16. Hanul, Anton. "Hanul A. The life of a Serbian general Ivan Horvat from rising to fall (1722–1786) // Српске студиje. – Београд: Службени гласник, 2016. – Књ. 7. – С. 116–132". 

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