modernization, road infrastructure, Trans-Balkan railway, Great Britain, Serbia, Ottoman Empire, Defenders of the Constitution, the Eastern question, 1851-1852
British plans for economic infiltration into the interior of the Balkans in the early fifties of the nineteenth century coincided with the then major efforts of the Serbian government in the field of economic development of the country, and desires for liberation of the Serbian trade from the Austrian monopoly. Observing the activities of Prince Alexander and the Constitution defenders related to the British infrastructure projects, especially to the idea of Trans-Balkan railway construction, the conclusion has been made that dealing with this problem was conditioned by the dominant foreign policy. While the traffic connection with the Adriatic ports and the opening of the Serbian trade towards the new route to European markets, which was independent of the Austrian control, mostly corresponded with the needs, financial capabilities and a level of economic development of Serbia, the construction of the railway undoubtedly exceeded the needs of the undeveloped Serbian market and the backward agrarian economy that was far from development which would impose the necessity to provide faster transport of the large quantities of products. However, regardless of the foreign policy requirements, a particular importance was given to the fact that the position taken in relation to negotiations between Porta and British financiers to build the Trans-Balkan railway set up the basic principle of the Prince Alexander and the defenders of the Constitution, which was the principle of the future rulers and governments as well - any agreement made between Porta and a foreign company could not apply to Serbia if the Serbian ruler and the government did not agree to it. Serbia intended to independently decide on this issue despite of its vassal status. Construction of the railway was too important for political and economic development of each country, and therefore the Serbian government did not allow deciding on this matter without the knowledge of their legitimate representatives.