Serbia Brief History

By | November 13, 2021

The first ethnically identifiable residents were Illyrian, Thracian and Celtic tribes. In the 3rd century BC Chr. The Romans began from the coast submission of the later province of Dalmatia (Dalmatia) and Moesia superior (Moesia). In the 7th century AD, the South Slav Serbs immigrated from the north-east, who were under Bulgarian or Byzantine rule almost continuously from the 8th to 12th centuries, and from 1123 under that of the Nemanjids. Großžupan Stephan Nemanja (1168-96) achieved the independence of his principality Raszien after 1180, which he united with Zeta (Montenegro). His son Stephan Prvovenčani (1196 to 1228) received from Pope Honorius III in 1217 . the royal crown; In 1219, an archbishopric was created independent of Constantinople (Sava). Under Stephan IV Dušan (1331–55) this old Serbian empire (capital: Skopje) reached its greatest extent; he won Macedonia, Thessaly, Albania and Epirus and in 1346 accepted the title of Tsar. After Stephen’s death (1355) this empire quickly fell into disrepair. After the Serbian defeat in the battle on the Amselfeld under Prince Lazar I. Hrebeljanović (“Vidovdan” 1389), the Turks subjugated Serbia (since 1459 Ottoman Paschalik), finally in 1521 (conquest of Belgrade). The Serbian upper class was destroyed or Islamized.

The will for independence lived on in the Uskoks, in the Serbian hill tribes of Montenegro and in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Since the 17th century, resistance in the form of the robber warfare of the Heiducken has been stirring. From 1690, many Serbs emigrated to southern Hungary due to Ottoman reprisals and (since the 16th century) to areas of the Austrian military border (later Krajina); Albanians moved into the vacated Serbian core areas (old Serbia, closer Serbia) (origin of today’s Kosovo problem). Northern Serbia was under Austrian rule from 1718–39; thereafter the Sava-Danube line became the border between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. In the previously depopulated Šumadija (northern Serbia; Paschalik Belgrade) Serbs from the south settled until around 1750.

The struggle for freedom against the Turks began in 1804-06 with the first uprising of the Heiducken Karađorđe in Belgrade. The Sultan withdrew the autonomy gained by the Russo-Turkish Peace of Bucharest (1812). After the second survey under the peasant leader (Knez) Miloš Obrenović (1815), Serbia became a tributary principality with limited self-administration and religious freedom in 1817 (from 1830 fully autonomous hereditary principality under Ottoman suzerainty); The main town was Kragujevac from 1818–39. Both royal houses, Karađorđević and Obrenović, rivaled for rule in Serbia until 1903 (with alternating ties to Russia or Austria).

Miloš, who was elected hereditary prince by the people’s assembly, the Skupschtina, in 1817, ruled authoritarian despite the constitution of 1835 and had to abdicate in 1839. After a short reign of his sons Milan and Michael, the Skupschtina elected Karađorđes son Alexander (Karađorđević) as prince in 1842.

Under him, according to agooddir, Serbia, which had been expanded to the south-west in 1833, received a civil code based on the Austrian model in 1844. At the same time, Interior Minister I. Garašanin drafted the vision of a unification of all southern Slavs within the Danube Monarchy in an empire under Serbian leadership, which was later elevated to the “Greater Serbian Program” and one of the basic building blocks with the memorandum »Načertanje« (1844; only made public in Serbia in 1906) became the Yugoslav state idea of ​​the 20th century. In 1858 the Skupschtina deposed Alexander and called Miloš back. He was followed by his son Michael, who in 1867 managed to withdraw the Turkish garrisons from Serbia. After being murdered by a follower of the Karađorđević was followed in 1868 by his nephew Milan I. Obrenović.

The Berlin Congress (1878) granted Serbia full independence and an expansion of the territory to the south (11,000 km 2, the areas of Pirot, Niš, Vranje). However, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Novi Pazar were occupied by Austria-Hungary. In 1882 Serbia was elevated to a kingdom. The union of the Turkish autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria caused Milan to annex Eastern Rumelia in 1885 and thus to attack Bulgaria (Serbian-Bulgarian War). After the Bulgarian victory at Slivnitsa near Sofia (November 17–19, 1885), only the intervention of Austria-Hungary in the Treaty of Bucharest (March 3, 1886) prevented the defeated Serbs from losing territory. In 1889, Milan thanked in favor of his son Alexander (Alexander I. Obrenović), who was murdered with his wife Draga by an officer conspiracy (later the Black Hand).

Under his successor Petar Karađorđević (King Peter I, 1903-18), N. Pašić returned to a foreign policy directed against Austria-Hungary in the spirit of the Greater Serbian idea (Omladina). The Austro-Serbian antagonism deepened through the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1908) and through the Serbian successes in the Balkan Wars (1912/13; Macedonia gained as “Southern Serbia” and Kosovo). The “assassination attempt in Sarajevo” (June 28; Black Hand) led on July 28, 1914 to the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia and thus to the outbreak of the First World War. After heavy defensive battles, Serbia was occupied by the Central Powers in 1915-16.

On December 1, 1918, a Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed, encompassing Serbia (since 1919/20 with Vojwodina), Montenegro and all of the southern Slavic regions of Austria-Hungary. This state, which had called itself “Yugoslavia” since 1929, remained burdened by the hegemony of Serbia and by tensions v. a. between Serbs and Croats; the understanding (“sporazum”) of August 26, 1939 came too late. After the break-up and division of Yugoslavia (April 1941) by the Axis powers, the rest of Serbia became a German military administration and a government under General M. Nedić subordinated (until 1944; persecution of Jews, resistance by communist partisans and nationalist Četnici). With the re-establishment of Yugoslavia (1945), Serbia became the largest republic in 1946 (with Vojvodina and Kosovo), and in 1963 it became a »Socialist Republic«. With the unrest in Kosovo in 1981, attempts by non-Serb populations began to end Serbian dominance in Yugoslavia. At the same time, a Serbian nationalism grew, at the head of which the Communist Party leader S. Milošević (1986–89) placed himself: Renewal of the »Načertanje« through a »Memorandum« from the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1986; D. Ćosić and others), 600th anniversary of the Battle of the Blackbird Field (Vidovdan 1989). Under President Milošević (1989–97) the autonomy in Kosovo and Vojvodina was abolished (until July 1990). Serbia thus shared a great deal of responsibility for breaking up national antagonisms.

Serbia, which dominated both the State Presidency and the Yugoslav Army (JVA), opposed growing – also military – pressure to the 1989/90 increasing efforts of Croatia and Slovenia for national independence. In the v. a. In the Croatian areas inhabited by Serbs, Serbia promoted efforts to join Serbia in 1990/91 (Krajina). In the first free elections on December 9, 1990, the Socialist Party of Serbia won (SPS; July 1990 emerged from the Union of Communists of Serbia); it has since provided the president and the government (until 1997). From 1990 onwards, Serbia, which was clinging to the Yugoslav state idea, intensified its policy of ethnic “unbundling” and homogenization: initially with the help of the prison and supported by voluntary associations of Serbian nationalists ([Neo-] Četnici), a first bloody war began in July 1991 to “protect the Serbian Settlements «in Croatia, at the beginning of April 1992 a second one in Bosnia and Herzegovina (both finally ended in 1995).

On April 27, 1992, Serbia and Montenegro proclaimed a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; it was not recognized internationally until 1996. Suppression of the opposition, v. a. the »Serbian Renewal Movement« (SPO) under Vuk Drašković, and the national minorities, v. a. the Kosovar Albanians, characterized the domestic political situation up to the daily mass protests of the rapidly disintegrating opposition alliance »Zajedno« (Together) from November 1996 to February 1997, which ultimately did not become seriously dangerous for the regime. However, the local election results had to be recognized; a mayor appointed by the opposition has been in office in Belgrade since then (initially Z. Djindjić, since early summer 1997 a representative of the SPO). After the parliamentary elections of September 1997, in which the left-wing alliance led by the SPS was victorious, the SPS tried the opposition, v. a. to partially integrate the SPO into the government and thereby neutralize it (including Drašković, from February 1998 to the end of April 1999, Deputy Prime Minister). In the presidential elections at the end of 1997, when the opposition called for a boycott, Milan Milutinović (* 1942) became the new Serbian president (candidate of the SPS against the opposition radical Vojislav Seselj) after several ballots.

In March / April 1998 the national differences in Kosovo broke out, which led to new tensions between Serbia and Montenegro; in May / June 1998 they escalated into an international crisis (threatened NATO operation; flight of the civilian population; fighting between the Serbian army and the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, abbreviation KLA). After NATO military action (24. 3. – 10. 6. 1999) withdrawal of the Serbian troops from the province, which came under the interim administration of the UN (Unmik), whereby an extensive autonomy within Serbia should be granted (status question still unresolved). After that, the Serbs became more aware of the balance sheet of the Milošević policy: increasing tensions with Montenegro, foreign policy isolation, loss of traditional Serbian settlement areas, ruin of the country. Since July 1999 the – divided – opposition sought to increase domestic political pressure on the regime. An “Alliance for Change” formed in 1998 also remained meaningless for a long time. The leader in the opposition to the Milošević regime was – alongside the Democratic Party, DS, to Djindjić  - again the SPO; The student and civic movement “Otpor!” (“Resistance!”; emerged from the student protests from 1996-97) became increasingly popular. Unexplained murders of functionaries of the regime (winter / spring 2000) initially served to intensify reprisals against the opposition. In southern Serbia (in areas with a significant Albanian population) national tensions rose again from the spring of 2000.

Serbia Brief History