History of Serbia

Map of Serbia
The Balkans are a region of Europe that has long been characterized by instability and strife. The location and surrounding geography often combine to place the Balkan states right in the middle of disputes between different cultures. Fundamentally, the Balkans divide North from South, East from West. Romans and Byzantines, Christians and Moslems, the Soviets and NATO, all of these have argued over the Balkans, and in them.

Even after the fall of the Iron Curtain, many of the nations located here have not exactly been known for peacefulness and freedom. Serbia was no different, with the despotic Slobodan Milosevic taking power in the late 80s. Today it is a different story: modern Serbia has been deemed o­ne of the few free Balkan states, with a developing mid-to-upper economy and a membership in the United Nations. The country has applied for membership in the E.U. and is expected to join the WTO before long.

Serbia as it exists today has o­nly been an independent nation since 2006, but the origins of the state go all the way back to the early middle ages. The Serbs first settled in the area in the seventh century and reached their height of power under Stefan Dusan, who proclaimed the Serbian Empire in 1346. For a short while Serbia was o­ne of the larger nations in Europe, but after Stefan's death it declined and was later conquered its two powerful neighbors: Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

The Serbs were troublesome subjects, and Serbia enjoyed independence for from the early 1800s to the outbreak of WWI. Serbia spent the rest of the twentieth century as part of Yugoslavia, a nation whose makeup often fluctuated as the numerous provinces that formed it allied, joined, and seceded from time to time. Modern Serbia emerged from the confusion and now has a bright future ahead of it.