History of Belgrade

Panorama Belgrade
Going as far back as the prehistoric period, Belgrade has a long, colored, and troubled history. It is o­ne of Europe’s oldest cities. Belgrade is situated between the Danube and Sava Rivers, which made it the perfect place for early man in the Paleolithic period to settle. Throughout its difficult history, Belgrade has been rebuilt over 40 times after destruction from o­ne war or another.

The first settlement came in Neolithic times and was known as Vinca. Today, Vinca is a suburb of Belgrade. By the year 91, the area known then as Singidunum was under Roman control and was home to many warring legions.

After the Roman Empire fell, the area was invaded by a number of groups of barbarians, including the Goths and Huns, but predominately it was controlled by the Byzantine Empire. Because they were so close to the border, Belgrade was constantly under attack.

In 630 the Slavs conquered the area and in 878 Belgrade was first known as “Beograd”. By 971 it was back in the hands of the Byzantines. Two hundred more years of fighting over possession of the area wound up with Belgrade becoming part of Bulgaria at which time it fell into Hungarian hands.

The Hungarian Royalty gave Belgrade to then Serbian King Dragutin in 1284, marking the first time Belgrade was under Serbian rule.

Fighting between the Turks and the Serbs began in 1440 and continued for hundreds of years, with Serbia often changing hands between the Serbs and the Turks. In 1882 Serbia became its own kingdom and Belgrade the capital. At the beginning of World War I, the Austrians conquered Belgrade but the Serbs took it back later that year. In 1918 Belgrade became the capital of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

The Serbian monarchy was broken up during World War and the entire country fell under Communist leadership. From then until 1991 Belgrade was the capital of Socialist Yugoslavia and it became a modern European city. In 1992 Socialist Yugoslavia became the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Local unrest based o­n questionable election results and widespread poverty began a period of internal strife.

In 2001 Serbia was free of the dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic and they established their first democratic government. Belgrade remains the capital of a free Serbia and since then the city has undergone modernization.