Immediately after the Second World War, Yugoslavia became a federation when it was formed as a kingdom of the Slovenes, Serbs, and Croats by uniting the kingdom of Serbia and the states of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It was known as the Versailles state and later in 1929 was renamed officially as Yugoslavia. While this created a republic that was rich in diversity, it also created an environment that was vulnerable to tensions existing within the borders of this republic. Things started to crumble in the early 1980s as a result of an economic and political crisis and the rise of nationalism. The country broke up along the borders of the republic, initially into five countries, resulting in the Yugoslav Wars. However, things completely broke down after the death of Josip Broz Tito. The system of government that was in place at the time was too weak to cope with the simmering economic and political tensions. It finally led to a complete split. Eight autonomous regions were formed as a result.
8. Kosovo (4,200 square miles)
At just 4,200 square miles, Kosovo is the smallest of these regions. It declared its independence in 2008 from Serbia. It is a disputed region and remains a partially recognized state. Over the years, it has seen economic challenges as a landlocked country. Serbia recognizes administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government, but still lays claim to it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. The country has received its share of conflict, such as the Serbian army invasion that happened during the reign of President Slobodan Milosevic. International aid, especially from countries in the west, has kept the country afloat.
7. Vojvodina (8,300 square miles)
Vojvodina is the second smallest of the regions covering 8,300 square miles. Immediately after the Second World War, it existed as an autonomous province. For a while, it enjoyed a level of autonomy even as the province of Serbia, something that eventually culminated in declaring self-rule in 1974. However, the autonomy was challenged during the rule of Slobodan Milosevic and later on restored after his fall. The availability of fertile land in most of this area has made agriculture the backbone of the country's economy. However, it also has other thriving sectors. The metal processing industry is thriving in the country, and so are the oil and chemical industries. It also has a thriving tourism industry with the Fruska Gora monasteries being the main attractions in the area.
6. Montenegro (13,800 square miles)
After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Montenegro resolved to start its independent journey by entering into a federation with Serbia. Montenegro covers an area of 13,800 square miles and over time, it transitioned into an independent entity, a process that culminated with its full independence. The United Nations, later on, recognized it as a state. It is important to note that while the political upheavals in the region created an environment of pessimism in most of the people residing in Montenegro, and continued stability is slowly eroding this negative outlook towards life.
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina (19,700 square miles)
The Bosnia and Herzegovina area has experienced a lot of political strife, especially during the early 1990s. However, a complex political system of governing was established to make sure that the people in the region remain peaceful. Bosnia and Herzegovina cover an area of 19,700 square miles. Right now, peace still exists mainly because of the Dayton Peace Accords. The relationship between this country and the rest of the world is good. The country is also working towards becoming a member of the European Union. This is something that will be easy to achieve once most of the political upheavals in the region die down.
4. Slovenia (20,300 square miles)
Compared to the other countries, Slovenia had stronger historical ties with Western Europe. However, things changed immediately after the Second World War when it was included as part of Yugoslavia, which was a communist state. In 1991, the political upheavals within the confederation of Yugoslavia gave Slovenia an opportunity to mount its struggle for independence. The people of the country put up a ten-day struggle that culminated in Slovenia being granted independence. Slovenia covers an area of 20,300 square miles, and ever since breaking away in 1991, Slovenia has prospered. The prosperity is largely because of the stability that exists in the region. It has gained acceptance in the European Union. Because it is a member states of NATO further shows the state of stability in the country. The only conflict that it has had ever it broke away from Croatia was only on the maritime and land boundaries between the countries. However, this is something that both countries are working to resolve.
3. Croatia (21,900 square miles)
Croatia covers an area 21,900 square miles and was part of former Yugoslavia. The Croatian people have a history of bravery and this made them preferable as recruits in the armies of the main European empires. However, fighting was not limited to medieval periods only. The Croatia war of independence was fought between 1991 and 1995 and it involved Croat forces, the Serb controlled Yugoslav People army, and the local Serb forces. Most Croats wanted independence from Yugoslavia, but the ethnic Serbs living in Croatia opposed the secession and were supported by Serbia. These years of instability eventually ended in 1995 and ever since, the country has enjoyed relative peace. The country is now a member of NATO. It is also stable enough for consideration as a viable candidate for European Union membership.
2. Macedonia (25,700 square miles)
Like most of the other regions that formed part of Yugoslavia, Macedonia gained its political independence in 1991 and covers an area of 25,700 square miles. It experienced its first political tension after independence when Greece objected to it being called Macedonia. To show its displeasure, Greece imposed an embargo on the country for a couple of years. The country was granted membership to UN in 1993 under the provisional name the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) because of the disputed name with Greece. As a result of perceived unfairness in the country, ethnic Albanians carried out protests. This led to the passing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement in 2001 that now provides a governing framework. The agreement has also resulted in the recognition of interests of minorities in the country, something that has helped guarantee relative stability in the area.
1. Serbia (29,900 square miles)
At 29,900 square miles, Serbia is the largest of the states that resulted from the breakup of Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, it shoulders much of the blame for the breakup of Yugoslavia. While tensions existing in the region, it is the actions of the President of Serbia, Milosevic, that led to things boiling over. The actions of Milosevic, including his determination to expel Albanians from Kosovo, finally led to NATO bombing Serbia. Ever since, the fall of Milosevic, relative peace has reigned in the country. It ended the international isolation that the country experienced as a result of his actions. The relative stability in the region, coupled with international inclusion, is what then laid the ground for economic growth that has seen a steady growth in the country's exports.