The Republic of Serbia has a great and interesting history. This landlocked country has many historically relevant neighbors which means that they themselves had a great part in Europe’s history. Today this country is home to cca. 7 million people and is fairly developed. The capital city, Belgrade is known to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. Thanks to its extremely eventful history, we decided to introduce the most important points of it so you could get a general view of the country and its amazing story.
1. The Serbian Kingdom and Empire
The Kingdom got recognized by the Byzantine Empire in 1217 and it was a valid kingdom ruled by the Nemanjić dynasty. Around the 14th century, the Kingdom turned into an Empire. At that time the Empire thrived and bloomed, conquering different parts of the lands. New trade routes were opened which meant better economic development, and slowly but surely it became one of the most recognized and relevant forces on these parts.
2. The Ottoman and The Habsburg Empire
(Map of The Ottoman Empire)
By the middle of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire occupied most of Serbia. Once the Habsburg Empire started to expand, the Ottoman Empire lost its grip over the occupied Serb parts from time to time so the whole occupation became a game of push and pull. The Serbs played a big part in the Uprising in Banat, they helped the Austrian forces against the Ottoman Empire which made Sultan Murat III burn down the relics of St. Sava.
3. The Serbian Revolution
The Serbs fought for their independence from the Ottoman Empire from 1804 till 1815. These 11 years were hard but definitely fruitful. This revolution consisted of two separate uprisings and after some time they finally evolved into full independence. The first uprising was led by Duke Petrović and thanks to this exact uprising, Serbia was independent for almost a decade before the Ottomans occupied it once more. The second uprising was led by Miloš Obrenović and it resulted in a compromise between the revolutionaries and the Ottoman Empire.
4. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand
This assassination was a great turning point in Serbia’s history. It happened on 28.6.1914 and it led to a war between Austria-Hungary forces and Serbia. Russia jumped in to help out the Serbs, but Germany didn’t see this as a positive thing and they declared war on Russia. This assassination and the following happenings were the deeds which led to World War I. During this time Serbia suffered a loss of 1,264,000 people and it never really recovered from it.
5. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Thanks to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empire, the Serbs were able to rise from the ashes and regain their strength. They formed an alliance with the Croats and Slovenes, thus forming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, a.k.a. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This specific time was full of political manipulations and oppression. The leaders were trying to shush the political parties which didn’t share their viewpoint. The biggest problem here was that Croatia was trying to break out of this Kingdom because it was trying to gain independence.
6. World War II
When Hitler rose to power, most of the countries hurried to either join him or oppose him. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was one of those who tried to oppose him but failed at it miserably. In 1941, Germany bombed Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, killing 17000 people. King Peter II was forced to leave the country and Germany took over the role of the leader. They cut up the country into smaller pieces, forming Nazi puppet forces out of these parts. Bloody and horrifying years followed after that. The end of the German aggression in Serbia came in 1944 when the Soviet Red Army liberated Belgrade.
7. Communist Yugoslavia
Josip Broz Tito was the leader of the Federation, he ruled it through the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. It became a well-developed industrial country which thrived during those years. After Tito’s death, the Federation weakened thanks to its decentralization. Things didn’t seem to turn positive, at least not until Prime Minister Ante Marković took over the country and brought some economic reforms to the table. The country was in a good economic position, but it all changed soon when the people started protesting, demanding the status of full Republic. The police had to forcefully stop these protests. This specific time in Serbia’s history was quite complex.
8. Slobodan Milošević
This man was one of the most powerful politicians in Serbia. He was there during the communist years of Yugoslavia and he’s the one who blocked the reformist proposals of the League of Communists of Slovenia. He’s also the one who merged the League of Communists of Serbia with a couple of other communist front parties, forming the Socialist Party of Serbia. Thanks to this, a new Constitution came to be and a new era of history began for the Serbs.
9. The wars against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
The 20th century was quite eventful for Serbia, especially around the 90’s. Getting lost in their political games they didn’t really know how to stop the two new wars which broke out with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many nations turned against Yugoslavia, demanding their independence, turning those times into a really dangerous era full of blood and suffering for all participants. The development of all the countries who took part in these wars was slowed down. Whole cities were destroyed, many people are still to this day on the list of missing people. This was a truly terrible time in history.
10. Independent Serbia
In 2006, Serbia proclaimed its independence, thus re-emerging once more as an independent state for the first time since 1918. Once more a new Constitution was created and the country is independent still to this day. These days they are trying to join the European Union, the arrangements are ongoing and they are hoping to become a Member State of the EU soon. The country recovered well from its wars, it invests into its development and also into its tourism. There are many beautiful and interesting things to visit there thanks to its rich and eventful history so don’t hesitate to visit them!
Updated: September 23, 2017