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Serbia

Map of Serbia
Locator Map of Serbia

Serbia's Information

Flag of Serbia
Land Area 77,474 km2
Water Area 0 km2
Total Area 77,474 km2
Population 7,143,921
Population Density 92.21 / km2
Government Type Parliamentary Republic
GDP (PPP) $102.00 Billion
GDP Per Capita $14,200
Currency Dinar (RSD)
Largest Cities
  • Belgrade (1,273,651)
  • Nis (250,000)
  • Novi Sad (215,400)
  • Zemun (155,591)
  • Kragujevac (147,473)
  • Cacak (117,072)
  • Subotica (100,000)
  • Leskovac (94,758)
  • Novi Pazar (85,996)
  • Kraljevo (82,846)

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%.

There was hardly time for celebration, as World War I began within months after the end of the Second Balkan War.

Strong at first, Serbia was victorious in the first major battles of World War I, but the German Empire ultimately overpowered the country sending its army into exile.

The Serbian army took its time to recover, and returned to lead a final battle regaining control of their country.

In the years leading up to World War II, Bosnia conceded their unification with Serbia, and in December of 1918 the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs together formed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

After German invasion in 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia crumbled into a joint German-Serb government under the German Military administration. And unfortunately for the Serbs, after only a year under the rule of the German's, 90% of their Jewish population became victims of genocide.

After the end of World War II communists took over, and established the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Under the rule of the communists, Serbia's most powerful leader was Aleksander Rankovic, an influential politician who upon his death in 1983 became a symbol of strength for Serbia.

Following Rankovic, Slobodan Milosevic rose to power in 1989 promising reduced power for Kosovo and Vojvodina. This affirmation subsequently fueled tensions with the other communist leaders, and led to the separation of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia from Yugoslavia.

It was after this dissolution that the multiparty democracy was established, a move which drew criticism against Milosevic who then issued criminal sentences to anyone who opposed the government and its leaders, as well as banning news coverage of protests.

Political isolation grew as Serbia and Montenegro agreed to create the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992.

Then, when the Socialist Party of Serbia denied election results in 1997, large-scale protests developed, and through 1998-99 the situation deteriorated further as conflicts with Kosovo continued (ultimately leading to the Kosovo War).

Civil resistance against the government grew to astronomical proportions, and when half a million Serbian's assembled together in Belgrade to protest against Milosevic, he took the hint, suffice it to say, and admitted defeat.

Serbia's international isolation had finally ended, and Milosevic was detained until his death in 2006.

Despite this, the Serbian political scene remained strained, and between 2003 and 2006 the country became part of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Following the dissolution with Montenegro in June of 2006, Serbia re-emerged an independent country for the first time since 1918. However, Kosovo still remains a region of Serbia, despite their efforts in gaining independence.

Tourism to Serbia is a little on the light side, but rest assured it is a friendly place to visit.

The capital city of Belgrade, perhaps more famous for its active nightlife, also offers an ample amount of art and sporting events, as well as museums and historical monuments.

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