Brief History of Serbia
The Serbs came to Balkan in the Great Migrations and were first mentioned by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the 10th century.
The early settlers were in the territory of what is today West Serbia, east and central Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have remained in the area through today as they accepted various influences. The early settlers manged to function as an imaginary boundary between the East and West while taking the best from both.
Serbia’s history, from the Celts invading in the 4th century BC to the German invasion in World War II, is pockmarked by invasions. A key event which shaped the nation happened in 395 AD when Theodosius I, a Roman Emperor, divided his empire. He gave Serbia to the Byzantines — locking the nation into Eastern Europe. The move was cast in concrete when Sts. Cyril and Methodius turned the Serbs to the Orthodox religion in 879.
Ever since they abandoned the old Slavic beliefs, Serbs have had some kind o authority that resembled the parliament and respectable individuals; all of that was not enough to preserve the homogeneity of the people.
Serbia enjoyed a brief independence from 1217 until 1389 when the Turks defeated Serbia at the Battle of Kosovo — beginning 500 years of Islamic rule. While early reports were stamped out, one in 1815 led to Serbian independence that was completed in 1878.
Having endured slavery followed by liberation from the Ottoman Turks in the 1800s, Serbia started its transformation into a modern country — appreciated politically and culturally by Europe. The nation became a kingdom during Milan Obrenovic’s rule in 1882.
In June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination gave Austria-Hungary the excuse to invade Serbia and World War I began. Near the end of the war, Serbia was joined by Srem, Banat, Backa I Baranja in addition to Montenegro and formed a new nation — The Kingdom of the Serbs
In 1941, Yugoslavia joined the fascist Tripartite Alliance which led to a coup and withdrawal from a long-standing alliance with other Eastern European countries. In 1945 the current government was formed, the monarchy abolished and declared a federal republic.
By 1986, Serbian nationalists were rooting for a “Greater Serbia” which would include Serbs in other republics. The doctrine was appropriated by Slobodan Milosevic as he attempted to control Yugoslavia. The result was bloody wars against the Serbian-controlled Yugoslav to gain their independence.
The end of the 80s brought triggered conflicts between the Yugoslavian people because of the growth of nationalism and yearnings towards independence. A civil war on the territories of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina broke out; the conflicts ended in 1995.
A “third” Yugoslav federation was formed in 1992 by the remaining republics — Montenegro and Serbia. The West triggered protest plus arms embargo, and in March 1999 peace talks failed as Serbia ignored a US-brokered peace plan.
By March 2006, Milosevic was dead, and another chapter in the region’s history ended.
A referendum in May 2006, Montenegro decided that it too should gain independence — the disintegration of Yugoslavia came to an end. Since then, Serbia has existed as an independent country, the Republic of Serbia.
A southern province, Kosovo, and Metohija, is under protection after the conflicts between Serbs and Albanians in 1999. Around 240 thousand Serbs were relocated and today approximately 100,000 Serbs live in Kosovo and Metohija with most being in Kosovo’s northern district.