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Serbia

Serbia's history begins with the Neolithic Starcevo and Vinca cultures residing in or around present-day Belgrade some 8,500 years ago.

By the 2nd century BC Romans had overpowered the region of Serbia, amongst many other parts of Europe, and it was the most famous Serbian born Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, who is credited with introducing Christianity to the Roman Empire.

However, it wasn't until the 7th century AD, when Slavic peoples migrated to the Balkans under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, which truly jump-started the beginning of the Serbian state.

It was Viseslav who brought together several territories that led to the ultimate formation of Raska, and although the region was at first governed by the Byzantine Empire; they received their independence around 850 AD after a major defeat of the Bulgarians.

This First Serbian Dynasty was short lived, unfortunately, and dissolved back into the Byzantine Empire in 960. It didn't take long for a new uprising to form, and in 1077 the state of Duklja brought down the Byzantine rule.

Throughout the 11th and 12th centuries Duklja controlled Serbian lands, expanding east and south towards Kosovo and northern Macedonia.

By 1346, Tsar Stefan Dusan had built up the Serbian Empire to become the most powerful state in the Balkans. It was during this time that Serbia had reached its territorial and cultural peak, and a universal system of laws was enacted.

After Tsar Dusan's passing, the fall of Constantinople to the Turks and the Siege of Belgrade, Serbia's empire collapsed only to be quickly taken over by the Ottoman's.

Through the next several hundred years the Ottoman's ruled much of southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia and Northern Africa.

It wasn't without resistance, however, and in the early 1800's the First Serbian Uprising led to Serbia's independence for nearly a decade before the Ottoman's regained control.

The Second Serbian Uprising shortly thereafter resulted in a compromise, and Serbia was granted independence that was internationally recognized. This compromise prohibited the country from merging with Bosnia and Raska, however.

At the beginning of the 20th century the First Balkan War began, at which the ending proved to benefit Serbia whose territory expanded to encompass Raska and Kosovo.

This didn't sit well with the Bulgarians, and the Second Balkan War was quick to follow. Again, Serbia profited by wars end, and within two years' time had expanded its territory by 80%.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.