Serbia Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Serbia is an independent nation in Southern Europe. With the capital city of Belgrade, Serbia 2020 population is estimated at 8,737,382 according to countryaah. In the Balkans there was a powerful Serbian empire with the center of Kosovo from the 11th century. From the end of the 1300s, this came to obey the Ottoman Turks for almost 500 years. After the First World War, a united, South Slavic kingdom was established under the reign of Serbia’s Aleksandar. During the Second World War, the country was occupied and divided. After bloody internal struggles, Communist leader Tito 1945 was able to form the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia with Serbia as the largest sub-republic.

  • Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Serbia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

Following the division of the Roman Empire into a western and an eastern part in 395, various peoples formed battles with each other and with the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, new states in the Balkans. The states had varying scope and longevity. By the mid-600s, the slaves, who came from the northeast, had colonized almost the entire Balkans. For Serbia political system, please check computerminus.

In the 1000s, the medieval Serbian empire emerged. It was recognized by the Byzantine emperor in 1187 and received its own Serbian Orthodox Archbishop 1219 with its seat in Peć (Peja) in present-day Kosovo. The church became a unifying force and became of great importance to the Serbs’ national and cultural identity.

Under Stefan Dušan, who was crowned king in 1346, the Serbs experienced a great time. In Kosovo, which the Serbs count as their cultural cradle, during this era a number of churches and monasteries were built. However, the kingdom soon collapsed and could not withstand the Ottoman Turks as they began to advance across the Balkans in the late 13th century. A great battle between Serbs and Turks was in 1389 at the Kosovo police (Trast field). In 1396, Serbia became a Turkish sound state and then fully incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1459.

The Krajina border area

The Serbs came to live under Turkish and Muslim domination for nearly 500 years. However, the population stuck to the Serbian Orthodox religion and its culture. At the end of the 16th century, the Habsburg emperor established a military border area against the Turks in present-day Croatia (the so-called Krajina, that is, border). The Habsburgs gave land to Serbian peasants, who in exchange lined up with soldiers and protected the Habsburg provinces from the Turks. This created the Serbian enclaves in Croatia.

The modern Serbian state grew in the early 1800s and after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, the Turkish sultan was forced to give the Serbs full independence. In 1882 Serbia became a kingdom.

In the first Balkan War of 1912–1913, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece defeated the Turks and then fought for prey in the Second Balkan War in 1913. Serbia and Greece acquired large parts of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro split in the Sandžak area.

Bosnia-Herzegovina had been annexed by the Habsburg double monarchy in 1908, where the successor Franz Ferdinand intended to give the South Slavic people self-government to reduce its willingness to join Serbia. When Serbia wanted to free the Bosnian Serbs from Austrian rule, the country came into direct conflict with Austria-Hungary. During a visit to Sarajevo in Bosnia on June 28, 1914, Franz Ferdinand was shot to death by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian nationalist organization Black Hand. The murder became the prelude to World War I.

Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

The Habsburg monarchy collapsed in October 1918 and in December the “Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes” was proclaimed under the reign of Serbia’s Aleksandar Karađorđević (Karadjordjevic). However, very tense conditions existed from the beginning between Serbs and Croats / Slovenes. The latter, who were Catholics and had experience of Western administration under Habsburg, wanted the new state to become a loose federation with great internal self-government. The Serbs, whose administration was influenced by Turkish tradition, wanted a centralized state. The parties that wanted a centralized unitary state won a scarce majority in the 1920 election.

In the late 1920s, the country was on the brink of civil war. In January 1929, King Aleksandar dissolved the parliament. The constitution was put out of play and the king made himself a dictator. At the same time, the country was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Yugo = South). A period of economic decline, political contradictions and increased violence followed. In Macedonia, the revolutionary organization VMRO worked for a state that gathered all Macedonians. In Croatia, the fascist party Ustaša (Ustasja) grew, although it was banned and its leaders were in exile in Mussolini’s Italy. In 1934, King Aleksandar was murdered in Marseilles by a VMRO terrorist, but Ustaša was thought to be behind.

The guardianship that took over after the murdered king (his eldest son was incapacitated) supported the Germans at the beginning of the Second World War. By that time, Yugoslavia was financially dependent on Nazi Germany. At the end of March 1941, however, officers supporting the Allies against the Germans made a coup. Therefore, on April 6, Yugoslavia was attacked by the Axis powers Germany and Italy and its supporters Hungary and Bulgaria. Montenegro was almost completely incorporated into fascist Italy, which also brought together Albania, Kosovo and parts of Macedonia into a Great Banana under its rule. Most of Serbia was occupied by the Germans, who set up a puppet government in Belgrade. In most of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with German support, a fascist sound state was formed (so-called Free Croatia).

Tito comes to power

Two rival resistance groups fought against the invaders: royalist četniks (Chetniks) under Colonel Draža Mihajlović, supported by the Yugoslav exile government in London, and the National Liberation Army, under Yugoslav Communist Party leader Josip Broz (Tito). Attempt to unite the movements into a bloody mutual feud between the ether and the leftist. The allies, who first supported the royalists, went to Tito in 1943 and in November of the same year Tito in the city of Jajce in Bosnia proclaimed a party government in the liberated areas.

At the same time, parts of Yugoslavia were ravaged by internal political and religious terror. The Ustašar regime in Croatia devoted itself to barbaric persecution of Jews, Roma and political opponents. An attempt was also made to force Orthodox Serbs to convert to Catholicism. Many Croatian Serbs managed to escape to Serbia. Serbian groups, including the Czechs, responded with brutal assaults on Croats. The worst battles raged in Bosnia in 1943-1944. By the end of the war, a tenth of the population of Yugoslavia had been killed and 3.5 million were homeless. More victims had been harvested in the internal battles than in the fight against the occupying powers.

The royalists were finally defeated in 1944, when the kingdom was formally abolished, and on March 7, 1945, Tito was able to establish a government. Serbia became the largest of six sub-republics in the Communist-run Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Serbian capital Belgrade also became the seat of all joint administration and capital of the new republic.

Serbia Old History