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Република Србија
Republika Srbija

Republic of Serbia
Flag of Serbia Serbian coat of arms (large)
Flag of Serbia Coat of Arms
of Serbia
Map of Serbia within the state union Template:Serbia and Montenegro 2
Official language SerbianTemplate:Footnote
Capital Belgrade
 – Total
 – % water

 88,361 km²
 – Total (2002)
    (not including data for Kosovo and Metohia Province)
 – Density


Ethnic groups
    (not including data for Kosovo and Metohia Province)
Serbs: 82,86%
Hungarians: 3,91%
Bosniaks: 1,82%
Roma people: 1,44%
Croatians: 0,94%
Albanians: 0,82%
Slovaks: 0,79%
Vlachs: 0,53%
Romanians: 0,46%
Bulgarians: 0,27%
Others: 6,16%
President Boris Tadić
Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica
Anthem Bože Pravde
Time zone UTC +1
Currency Serbian dinar (CSD)Also Euro (EUR) in Kosovo
Internet TLD .yu still used (.cs reserved)
Airline carrier Jat Airways
  1. In Vojvodina, the following languages are also official: Romanian, Rusin, Hungarian, Slovak and Croatian;
    In Kosovo also: Albanian.

The Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Република Србија) is a republic in south-eastern Europe which is united with Montenegro in a loose commonwealth known as the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

The roots of the Serbian state reach back to the first half of the 9th century. The Kingdom of Serbia was established in the 11th century, and in the 14th century it eventually became the Serbian Empire. The Empire fell to the Turks after the historic Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. The Serbian states of Serbian Despotovina and Bosnia managed to survive for another seventy years until they too were annexed to the Ottoman Empire, whose rule would last for the next four centuries despite three Austrian occupations and numerous rebellions. The First Serbian Uprising of 1804-1813 and the Second Serbian Uprising of 1815 resulted in the establishment of the Serbian Principality, which was semi-independent from Turkey, and the formation of modern Serbia. In 1876 Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia declared war against Turkey and proclaimed their unification. However, the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 granted complete independence "only" to Serbia and Montenegro, leaving Bosnia and Raska to Austro-Hungary--which blocked their unification until the Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913, and WWI (1914-1918). After 1918, Serbia was a founding member of Yugoslavia in its various forms (the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).


File:Serb lands03.jpg
Serb lands in the 10th century, mostly according to De Administrando Imperio. According to this interpretation, the western border of Serbia was the river Vrbas
File:Serb lands10thc.jpg
Serb lands in the 10th century, mostly according to De Administrando Imperio. According to this interpretation, the western border of Serbia was the river Una
Greek map of Serb lands in the 9th century, according to De administrando imperio. According to this interpretation, the western border of Serbia was the river Una

Main article: History of Serbia

See also The Serbia Series:

Medieval Serbia
Ottoman Serbia
Modern Serbia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Republic of Yugoslavia

See also: List of Serbian monarchs, History of Yugoslavia, History of Serbia and Montenegro

Medieval Serbia, 7th – 14th century

Main article: History of Medieval Serbia

The Serbs entered their present territory early in the 7th century, settling in six distinct tribal delimitations:

The first recorded Serb princes were Vlastimir, Viseslav, Radoslav and Prosigoj. By that time, the country had entirely accepted Christianity. In Zeta, today's Montenegro, Mihailo was crowned by the Pope in 1077. At this time, Serbs were Catholics as well as Orthodox. King Mihailo also obtained from the Pope the title of Archbishop for the city of Bar. With this act, the Serbs managed to achieve religious independence. His son, Konstantin Bodin, claimed the throne in 1080, and ruled until his death in 1101. The rulers kept changing and the country accepted supreme protection from the Byzantine Empire rather than from the hostile Bulgaria. Serbia was freed from the Byzantine Empire a century later.

Serbs have not been united since the Middle Ages. The nation was split into several states, which were at times independent but at other times united. The names of those states were Duklja (Zeta), Zahumlje [(today's Hercegovina, with the city Dubrovnik)], Travunija [(Trebinje, part of today's Bosnia and Croatia)], Pagania [(today's eastern Dalmatia with the Islands)], Bosna [(Bosnia)] and Rascia [(today's Kosovo and Metohija)]. Eventualy Rascia emerged as the strongest and took the name Serbia instead. The first Serb-organized state emerged under Časlav Klonimirović in the mid-10th century in Rascia. The first half of the 11th century saw the rise of the Vojislavljević family in Zeta. Marked by disintegration and crises, it lasted until the end of 12th century. After a struggle for the throne with his brothers, Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjić dynasty, rose to power in 1166 and started renewing the Serbian state in the Raska region. Sometimes with the sponsorship of Byzantium, and sometimes opposing it, the veliki zupan (a title equivalent to the rank of prince) Stefan Nemanja expanded his state by seizing territories in the east and south, and newly annexed the littoral and the Zeta region. Along with his governmental efforts, the veliki zupan dedicated much care to the construction of monasteries. His endowments include the Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery and the Studenica Monastery in the Raška region, and the Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos. The Nemanjići led Serbia to a golden age which produced a powerful state with its apogee under Tsar Stefan Dušan in the mid-14th century, before finally succumbing to the Ottoman Empire (with Zeta, the last bastion, finally falling in 1499).

File:Nemanja StefanP Sebia200.jpg
Nemanjic's Serbia, 1150–1220, during the rules of Stefan Nemanja and Stefan Prvovenčani

Stefan Nemanja was succeeded by his middle son Stefan II, whilst his first-born, Vukan, was given the rule of the Zeta region (present-day Montenegro). Stefan Nemanja's youngest son Rastko became a monk and took the name of Sava, turning all his efforts to spreading Christianity among his people. Since the Curia already had ambitions to spread its influence to the Balkans as well, Stefan II (Prvovenčani) used these propitious circumstances to obtain his crown from the Pope, thus becoming the first Serbian king in 1217. Actually he was only the first Serbian King to came from Rascia, because the first Serbian king was King Mihailo [(1077)] from Zeta. In Byzantium, his brother Sava managed to secure the autocephalous status for the Serbian Church and became the first Serbian orthodoxarchbishop in 1219. Thus the Serbs acquired both forms of independence: temporal and religious.

The next generation of Serbian rulers - the sons of Stefan Prvovenčani - Radoslav, Vladislav and Uroš I, marked a period of stagnation of the state structure. All three kings were more or less dependent on some of the neighboring states - Byzantium, Bulgaria or Hungary. Hungary's ties played a decisive role in his son's Dragutin succession to the throne, on account of his son's marriage to a Hungarian princess. Later when Dragutin abdicated in favor of his younger brother Milutin (in 1282), the Hungarian king Ladislaus IV gave him lands in northeastern Bosnia, the regions of Srem, Slavonia and Mačva, and the city of Belgrade, whilst he managed to conquer and annex lands in northeastern Serbia. His new state was named the Kingdom of Srem, and the northern border of the state crossed not only the Sava river, but also the Danube. Thus, some of these territories became part of the Serbian state for the first time. After Dragutin died (in 1316), the new ruler of the Kingdom of Srem was his son, King Vladislav II, who ruled until 1325.

Under the rule of Dragutin's younger brother — Milutin, Serbia grew stronger in spite of the fact that it had to occasionally fight wars on three different fronts. King Milutin was an apt diplomat much inclined to the use of customary medieval diplomatic expedients — dynastic marriages. He was married five times, with Hungarian, Bulgarian and Byzantine princesses. He is also famous for building churches, some of which are the brightest examples of medieval Serbian architecture: the Gracanica Monastery in Kosovo[1], the Cathedral in Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos, the St Archangel Church in Jerusalem etc. Because of his endowments, King Milutin has been proclaimed a saint, in spite of his tumultuous life. He was succeeded on the throne by his son Stefan, later dubbed Stefan Dečanski. Spreading the kingdom to the east by conquering the town of Niš and the surrounding counties, and to the south by acquiring territories in Macedonia. Stefan Dečanski was worthy of his father and built the Visoki Decani Monastery in Metohija — the most monumental example of Serbian medieval architecture — that earned him his nickname.

File:Dusanova Srbija200.jpg
Tsar Dušan's Serbia, circa 1350

Medieval Serbia enjoyed a high political, economic, and cultural reputation in Europe. It was one of the few states that did not practice the feudal order. Medieval Serbia reached its apex in the mid-14th century, during the rule of Tzar Stefan Dusan. This is the period of the Dusanov Zakonik (Dusan's Code, 1349), a juridical achievement very unique among the European states of the time. Tzar Dusan opened up new trade routes and strengthened the state's economy. Serbia flourished, featuring one of the most evolved countries and cultures in Europe. Some of Serbia's greatest Medieval arts were created during this period, most notably St. Sava's Nomocanon. Tzar Stefan Dusan doubled the size of his kingdom seizing territories to the south, southeast and east at the expense of Byzantium and conquered almost the entire of today's Greece without Peloponesia and the islands. After he conquered the city of Ser, he was crowned as the Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks by the first Serbian Patriarch in 1346. Before his sudden death, Stefan Dušan tried to organize a Crusade with the Pope against the threatening Turks. Unfortunately, he died in December 1355 at the age 47. Modern abduction of the emperor's body revealed that he was poisoned. He was succeeded by his son Uroš, called the Weak, a term that might also apply to the state of the kingdom slowly sliding into feudal anarchy. This was a period marked by the rise of a new threat: the Ottoman Turk sultanate which gradually spread from Asia to Europe conquering Byzantium first and then the remaining Balkans states.

Turkish conquest

Main article: History of Ottoman Serbia
File:Kosovka devojka.jpg
Kosovka devojka (The Kosovo Maiden), a picture by Uroš Predić

Two of the most powerful Serbian barons in the Serbian Empire, the brothers Mrnjavcevic, gathered a great Army to fight and push back the Turks from Europe. They marched into Turkish territory in 1371 to attack the enemy but they were too confident in themselves. They built a camp overnight near the river Marica in today's Turkey, and started celebrating and getting drunk. During the night, a detachment of Turkish forces attacked the drunk Serbian knights and drove them back to the river. Most of the Serbs were either drowned or killed, thereby annihilating the Serbian army which was gathered from southern states. Having defeated the Serbian army in two crucial battles: on the banks of the river Marica in 1371 — where the forces of Serbian noblemen Mrnjavcevic from todays Macedonia were defeated, and on Kosovo Polje (Kosovo Field) in 1389, where the vassal troops commanded by Prince Lazar — the strongest regional ruler in Serbia at the time —killed Turkish Sultan Murat but suffered a defeat, due to the legendary "sudden departure" of Brankovic's Serbian troops. The Battle of Kosovo defined the fate of Serbia, because after it no force capable of standing up to the Turks existed. This was an instable period marked by the rule of Prince Lazar's son — despot Stefan Lazarević — a true European-style knight a military leader as well as a poet, and his cousin Đurađ Branković, who moved the capital north — to the newly built fortified town of Smederevo. The Turks continued their conquest until they finally seized the entire norhern Serbian territory in 1459 when Smederevo fell into their hands. Only free Serbian territories were parts of Bosnia and Zeta. But they lasted only until 1496. The present-day Serbian territory would be ruled by the Ottoman Empire for the next four centuries.

In the battle of Mohács on august 29 1526, Ottoman Turkey destroyed the army of Hungarian-Czech king Louis Jagellion, who was killed on the battlefield. After this battle Hungary ceased to be independent state and became a part of the Ottoman Empire. Soon after the Battle of Mohács, leader of Serbian mercenaries in Hungary, Jovan Nenad established his rule in Bačka, northern Banat and a small part of Srem. (These three regions are now parts of Vojvodina). He created an ephemeral independent state, with city Subotica as its capital. At the pitch of his power, Jovan Nenad crowned himself in Subotica for Serb emperor. Taking advantage of the extremely confused military and political situation, the Hungarian noblemen from the region joined forces against him and defeated the Serbian troops in the summer of 1527. Emperor Jovan Nenad was assassinated and his state collapsed.

European powers, and Austria in particular, fought many wars against the Ottoman Empire, relying on the help of the Serbs that lived under Ottoman rule. During the Austrian–Turkish War (15931606). in 1594, the Serbs staged an uprising in Banat — the Pannonian part of Turkey, and sultan Murad III retaliated by burning the remains of St Sava — the most sacred thing for all Serbs, honored even by Muslims of Serbian origin. Serbs created another center of resistance in Hercegovina but when peace was signed by Turkey and Austria they abandoned to Turkish vengeance. This sequence of events became usual in the centuries that followed.

File:Seoba Srba.jpg
Seoba Srbalja (The Moving of Serbs), a picture by Paja Jovanović

During the Great War (168390) between Turkey and the Holy League — created with the sponsorship of the Pope and including Austria, Poland and Venice — these three powers incited the Serbs to rebel against the Turkish authorities and soon uprisings and guerrilla spread throughout the western Balkans: from Montenegro and the Dalmatian coast to the Danube basin and Ancient Serbia (Macedonia, Raška, Kosovo and Metohija). However, when the Austrians started to pull out of Serbia, they invited the Serbian people to come north with them to the Austrian territories. Having to choose between Ottoman reprisal and living in a Christian state, Serbs abandoned their homesteads and headed north lead by patriarch Arsenije Čarnojević.

Another important episode in Serbian history took place in 171618, when the Serbian ethnic territories ranging from Dalmatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to Belgrade and the Danube basin newly became the battleground for a new Austria-Ottoman war launched by Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Serbs sided once again with Austria. After a peace treaty was signed in Požarevac, the Ottomans lost all its possessions in the Danube basin, as well as northern Serbia and northern Bosnia, parts of Dalmatia and the Peloponnesus.

The last Austrian-Ottoman war was the so called Dubica War (178891), when the Austrians newly urged the Christians in Bosnia to rebel. No wars were fought afterwards until the 20th century that marked the fall of both mighty empires.

Modern Serbia

Main article: History of Modern Serbia

Serbia gained its autonomy from the Ottoman Empire in two uprisings in 1804 and 1815, although Turkish troops continued to garrison the capital, Belgrade, until 1867. The Turkish Empire was already faced with a deep internal crisis without any hope of recuperating. This had a particularly hard effect on the Christian nations living under its rule. The Serbs launched not only a national revolution but a social one as well and gradually Serbia started to catch up with the European states with the introduction of the bourgeois society values. Resulting from the uprisings and subsequent wars against the Ottoman Empire, the independent Principality of Serbia was formed and granted international recognition in 1878. Serbia was a principality or kneževina (knjaževina), between 1817 and 1882, and a kingdom between 1882 and 1918, during which time the internal politics revolved largely around dynastic rivalry between the Obrenović and Karađorđević families.

This period was marked by the alternation of two dynasties descending from Đorđe Petrović — Karađorđe, leader of the First Serbian Uprising and Miloš Obrenović, leader of the Second Serbian Uprising. Further development of Serbia was characterized by general progress in economy, culture and arts, primarily due to a wise state policy of sending young people to European capitals to get an education. They all brought back a new spirit and a new system of values. One of the external manifestations of the transformation that the former Turkish province was going through was the proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbia in 1882.

Southern and Northern Serbia (Vojvodina) in 1849

Between 1849 and 1860 there was an Austrian crown land known as Dukedom (Vojvodina) of Serbia and Tamis Banat. This region is still known as Vojvodina.

In the second half of 19th century, Serbia was integrated into the constellation of European states and the first political parties were founded thus giving new momentum to political life. The coup d'état in 1903, bringing Karađorđe's grandson to the throne with the title of King Petar I opened the way for parliamentary democracy in Serbia. Having received a European education, this liberal king translated "On Freedom" by John Stuart Mill and gave his country a democratic constitution. It initiated a period of parliamentary government and political freedom interrupted by the outbreak of the liberation wars. The Balkan wars 191213, terminated the Turkish domination in the Balkans. Turkey was pushed back towards the Bosporus, and national Balkan states were created in the territories it withdrew from.

Serbia in World War I

The June 28, 1914 assassination of Austrian Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, served as a pretext for the Austrian attack on Serbia that marked the beginning of World War I, despite Serbia's acceptance (on July 25) of nearly all of Austria-Hungary's demands. The Serbian Army bravely defended its country and won several major victories, but it was finally overpowered by the joint forces of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, and had to withdraw from the national territory marching across the Albanian mountain ranges to the Adriatic Sea. On 16 August Serbia was promised by the Entente the territories of Srem, Baranja, eastern Slavonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and eastern Dalmatia as a reward after the war; although, this would not come to be because of the much more popular myth of a "unified South Slavic Country" (see below) Having recuperated on Corfu the Serbian Army returned to combat on the Thessaloniki front together with other Entente forces comprising France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy and the United States. In World War I, Serbia had 1,264,000 casualties — 28% of its 4½m population, which also represented 58% of its male population — a loss from which it never fully recovered. This enormous sacrifice was the contribution Serbia gave to the Allied victory and the remodeling of Europe and of the World after World War I.

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Main article: History of The Kingdom of Yugoslavia

With the end of World War I and the collapse of both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires the conditions were met for proclaiming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in December of 1918. The Yugoslav ideal had long been cultivated by the intellectual circles of the three nations that gave the name to the country, but the international constellation of political forces and interests did not permit its implementation until then. However, after the war, idealist intellectuals gave way to politicians, and the most influential Croatian politicians opposed the new state right from the start.

The Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) headed by Stjepan Radić, and then by Vlatko Maček slowly grew to become a massive party endorsing Croatian national interests. According to its leaders the Yugoslav state did not provide a satisfactory solution to the Croatian national question. They chose to conduct their political battle by systematically obstructing state institutions and making political coalitions to undermine the state unity, thus extorting certain concessions. Each political or economic issue was used as a pretext for raising the so-called "unsettled Croatian question".

Trying to match this challenge and prevent any further weakening of the country, King Alexander I banned national political parties in 1929, assumed executive power, and renamed the country Yugoslavia. He hoped to curb separatist tendencies and mitigate nationalist passions. However the balance of power changed in international relations: in Italy and Germany, Fascists and Nazis rose to power, and Stalin became the absolute ruler in the Soviet Union. None of these three states favored the policy pursued by Alexander I. The first two wanted to revise the international treaties signed after World War I, and the Soviets were determined to regain their positions in Europe and pursue a more active international policy. Yugoslavia was an obstacle for these plans, and King Aleksandar I was the pillar of the Yugoslav policy.

During an official visit to France in 1934, the king was assassinated in Marseille by a member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization — an extreme nationalist organization in Bulgaria that had plans to annex territories along the eastern and southern Yugoslav border — with the cooperation of the Ustaše — a Croatian fascist separatist organization, although some Croatian and independent scholars do not believe Croatian cooperation was provided or even necessary. It is possible to believe this without being a fascist sympathizer or a Catholic apologist. The international political scene in the late 1930s was marked by growing intolerance between the principal figures, by the aggressive attitude of the totalitarian regimes, and by the certainty that the order set up after World War I was losing its strongholds and its sponsors were losing their strength. Supported and pressured by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Croatian leader Vlatko Maček and his party managed to extort the creation of the Croatian banovina (administrative province) in 1939. The agreement specified that Croatia was to remain part of Yugoslavia, but it was hurriedly building an independent political identity in international relations, much like the Irish Free State so far away to the west.

Serbia in World War II

At the beginning of the 1940s, Yugoslavia found itself surrounded by hostile countries. Except for Greece, all other neighboring countries had signed agreements with either Germany or Italy. Hitler was strongly pressuring Yugoslavia to join the Axis powers. The government was even prepared to reach a compromise with him, but the spirit in the country was completely different. Public demonstrations against Nazism prompted a brutal reaction. The Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade and other major cities and in April 1941, the Axis powers occupied Yugoslavia and disintegrated it. The western parts of the country together with Bosnia and Herzegovina were turned into a Nazi puppet state called the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and ruled by the Ustashe. Serbia was set up as another puppet state under serbian army general Milan Nedić. The northern territories were annexed by Hungary, and eastern and southern territories to Bulgaria. Kosovo and Metohia were mostly annexed by Albania which was under the sponsorship of fascist Italy. Montenegro also lost territories to Albania and was then occupied by Italian troops. Slovenia was divided between Germany and Italy that also seized the islands in the Adriatic.

Following the Nazi example, the Independent State of Croatia established extermination camps and perpetrated an atrocious genocide killing of over at least 700,000 mainly Serbs, but also Jews and Gypsies, according to most independent studies of these atrocities; indeed some claim that 1,000,000 Serbs or more died in Croatian concentration camps by many means. The method of killing employed by authorities was to connect exhaust of trucks used to transport detainees to the cabin where they were loaded. This cabin had no fresh air supply, so the detainees would have died on the way to their burial site from carbon monoxide poisoning. This holocaust set the historical and political backdrop for the Yugoslav wars that broke out fifty years later in Croatia and Bosnia–Herzegovina and that accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia in 199192.

The ruthless attitude of the German occupation forces and the genocidal policy of the Croatian Ustaša regime, aimed at Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and anti-Ustaša Croats, created a strong anti-fascist resistance. Many Yugoslavs, mostly Serbs, stood up against the genocide and the Nazis. Many joined the Partisan forces created by the Communist Party (National Liberation Army headed by Josip Broz Tito) in the liberation and the revolutionary war against Nazis and all the others who were against communism. During this war, the Partisans killed many civilians who did not support their ideals. By the end of 1944, the Red Army liberated Serbia, and by May 1945, the remaining republics were meeting up with the Allied forces in Hungary, Austria and Italy. Yugoslavia was among the countries that had the greatest losses in the war: 1,700,000 (10.8% of the population) people were killed and national damages were estimated at 9.1 billion dollars according to the prices of that period.

Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Main article: History of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

While the war was still raging, in 1943, a revolutionary change of the social and state system was proclaimed with the abolition of monarchy in favor of the republic. Josip Broz Tito became the first president of the new — socialist — Yugoslavia. Once a predominantly agricultural country, Yugoslavia was transformed into a mid-range industrial country, and acquired an international political reputation by supporting the decolonization process and by assuming a leading role in the non-aligned movement. Socialist Yugoslavia was established as a federal state comprising six republics: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia–Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro and two autonomous regions within Serbia — Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbs were both the most numerous and the most widely distributed of the Yugoslav peoples.

The 1974 constitution produced a significantly less centralized federation, increasing the autonomy of Yugoslavia's republics as well as the autonomous provinces of Serbia.

When Tito died in 1980, he was succeeded by a rotating presidency that led to a further weakening of ties between the republics. During the 1980s the republics pursued significantly different economic policies, with Slovenia and Croatia allowing significant market-based reforms, while Serbia kept to its existing program of state ownership. This, too, was a cause of tension between north and south, as Slovenia in particular experienced a period of strong growth.

The break-up of Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia definitively and incontrovertibly broke up in 1995 following the success of Tudjman's forces over the Serbian establishment, which had been weakened and demoralized by the Allied bombings, embargoes and tacitly accepted Croatian arms-trafficking, and the subsequent secession of Croatia, Macedonia and part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which would prove by far the most troublesome and complicated part of the equation by the presence of the large Muslim (Bosniak) population, which had caused it to develop into an irredentist three-way conflict that was by far the bloodiest of the Yugoslav wars.

In 1999, continued reported Serbian resistence in Kosovo against the KLA led to NATO aerial bombardment (See Kosovo War). The war stopped only after Milošević agreed to the retreat of the army and police from Kosovo. The province of Kosovo is now governed by the UN.

Slobodan Milošević remained in power after the Kosovo conflict. On October 5, 2000 after demonstrations and fighting with police, he was overthrown. The appointment of Vojislav Koštunica became legal when on the following morning, Milošević publicly aknowledged the uprising and thus conceded his presidency. Following parliamentary elections in January 2001, Zoran Đinđić became Prime Minister. Đinđić was assassinated in Belgrade on March 12,2003 by assailants believed to be connected with organized crime. Immediately after the assassination, a state of emergency was declared under Nataša Mićić, acting Prime Minister for the Republic of Serbia.

In 2003 the name Yugoslavia was finally retired, as the two states agreed to a more free federation, to be known as the State Union of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro.


Main article: Geography of Serbia

Serbia is located in the Balkans (a historically and geographically distinct region of southeastern Europe) and in the Pannonian Plain (an region of central Europe). It shares borders with Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Romania. Serbia is landlocked, although access to the Adriatic is available through neighbouring Montenegro, and the Danube River provides shipping access to inland Europe and the Black Sea.

Serbia's terrain ranges from the rich, fertile plains of the northern Vojvodina region, limestone ranges and basins in the east, and, in the southeast, ancient mountains and hills. The north is dominated by the Danube River. A tributary, the Morava River, flows through the more mountainous southern regions.

The Serbian climate varies between a continental climate in the north, with cold winters, and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall patterns, and a more Adriatic climate in the south with hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland.

See also: List of cities in Serbia and Montenegro



Main article: Districts of Serbia

A district is called Округ / Okrug in Serbian. The Republic of Serbia is divided into 29 districts and the city of Belgrade. Each okrug is made up of several Општина / Opština (municipalities), the closest equivalent of which would be an English borough, with the difference that all of Serbia is divided into opština, not just urban areas.

File:M vojvodina02.jpg
Districts in Vojvodina
File:M central serbia02.jpg
Districts in Central Serbia
File:M kosovo02.jpg
Districts in Kosovo

List of districts:

  1. Bor
  2. Braničevo
  3. Jablanica
  4. Kolubara
  5. Mačva
  6. Moravica
  7. Nišava
  8. Pčinja
  9. Peć
  10. Pirot
  11. Podunavlje
  12. Pomoravlje
  13. Prizren
  14. Raška
  15. Rasina
  16. Šumadija
  17. Toplica
  18. Zaječar
  19. Zlatibor
  20. North Bačka
  21. South Bačka
  22. West Bačka
  23. North Banat
  24. Central Banat
  25. South Banat
  26. Srem
  27. Kosovo
  28. Kosovo-Pomoravlje
  29. Kosovska Mitrovica
  30. Belgrade

Administrative subdivisions

See also: Regions of Serbia

Serbia is made up of 108 municipalities. It has two autonomous provinces: Kosovo and Metohija in the south (with 30 municipalities), which is presently under the administration of the United Nations, and Vojvodina in the north (with 54 municipalities).

The part of Serbia that is neither in Kosovo nor in Vojvodina is called Central Serbia. Central Serbia is not an administrative division (unlike the two autonomous provinces), and it has no regional government of its own. In English this region is often called "Serbia proper" to denote "the part of the Republic of Serbia not including the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo", as the Library of Congress puts it [2]. This usage was apparently also employed in Serbo-Croatian during the Yugoslav era (in the form of "uža Srbija" literally: narrow Serbia). Its use in English is purely geographical without any particular political meaning being implied.

Some political parties in Serbia (notably Democratic Party of Serbia and Sumadija Coalition) propose creation of new administrative units of Serbia. According to these proposals, Serbia would be divided into 6 regions: Vojvodina (capital city: Novi Sad), Kosovo (capital city: Priština), Sumadija (capital city: Kragujevac), Podunavlje (capital city: Niš), Podrinje (capital city: Užice), and Belgrade City Region.

Nature preservation

Serbia has five national parks and many national nature reserves.

National parks:

Nature parks:

Special nature reservations:

Nature monuments:


Main article: Politics of Serbia, also see: Politics of Vojvodina

On 4 February 2003 the parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia agreed to a weaker form of cooperation between Serbia and Montenegro within a commonwealth called Serbia and Montenegro.

After the fall of Slobodan Milošević on 5 October 2000, the country was governed by the Democratic Opposition of Serbia. When Milošević was arrested, the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) abandoned the coalition government. Nevertheless, in 2004 the DSS gathered enough support to form the new Government of Serbia, together with G17 Plus and coalition SPO-NS, and the support of the Socialist Party of Serbia. The Prime Minister of Serbia is Vojislav Koštunica, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia.

The current President of Serbia is Boris Tadić, leader of the Democratic Party (DS). He was elected with 53% of the vote in the second round of the Serbian presidential election held on 27 June 2004, following several unsuccessful elections since 2002.

The current Prime Minister of the Government of Serbia, as of March 2004, is the former Yugoslav president, Vojislav Koštunica, who replaced Slobodan Milošević as Yugoslav president in October of 2000.

Laws concerning the state union must be approved by the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro, while bills concerning only Serbia are submitted to the National Assembly of Serbia.


Main article: Transportation in Serbia and Montenegro

Serbia, and in particular the valley of the Morava, is often described as "the crossroads between East and West", which is one of the primary reasons for its turbulent history. The Morava valley route, which avoids mountainous regions, is by far the easiest way of travelling overland from continental Europe to Greece and Asia Minor.

European routes E65, E70, E75 and E80, as well as the E662, E761, E762, E763, E771, and E851 pass through the country. The E70 westwards from Belgrade and most of the E75 are modern highways of motorway / autobahn standard or close to that.

The Danube River, central Europe's connection to the Black Sea, flows through Serbia.

There are three international airports in Serbia: Belgrade, Priština, and the newly rebuilt Niš airport.

The national airline carrier is Jat Airways and the railway system is operated by Beovoz in Belgrade and by ZTP Yugoslavia on the national level.


Main article: Demographics of Serbia

Serbia is populated mostly by Serbs. Significant minorities include Albanians, Hungarians, Muslims,Bosniaks, Roma, Croats, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Romanians, etc. Serbia consists of three territories: the province of Kosovo and Metohia, the province of Vojvodina and Central Serbia (Serbian Cyrillic: Централна Србија, Serbian Latin: Centralna Srbija, English: Central Serbia. Note: The English language sometimes uses the varieties such are "Serbia proper" or "Narrower Serbia"). Both provinces are extremely ethnically diverse which is a result of the division of the country between the Muslim Ottoman Empire and Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire.

File:Slovaci u Srbiji.jpg
Slovaks in Serbia

The northern province of Vojvodina is the most developed part of the country in terms of economic strength. Together with the Former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojvodina was under the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the First World War. Vojvodina is probably the most ethnically diverse territory in Europe, probably discluding London, a fact which tends to surprise most people who had long associated Yugoslavia and the name of Serbia through the prism of the 1990s. The names used for peoples national affiliation number more than 25. According to the last completed census (2002), the province has a population of about 2 million, of which: Serbs 65%, Hungarians 14.3%, Slovaks 2.79%, Croats 2.78%, undeclared 2.71%, Yugoslavs 2.45%, Montenegrins 1.75%, Romanians 1.50%, Roma 1.43%, Bunjevci 0.97%, Ruthenians 0.77%, Macedonians 0.58%, regional affiliation 0.50%, Ukrainians 0.23%, others (Albanians, Slovenians, Germans, Poles etc). See also: Demographic history of Vojvodina, Ethnic groups of Vojvodina

Population statistics of Serbia (Estimate May 2005)
Main cities (over 100,000 inhabitants) - census 2002 
Beograd (Belgrade): 1,280,600 (1,574,050 including neighbouring places)
Novi Sad: 215,600 (298,139 including neighbouring places)
Priština: 200,000 (251,784 including neighbouring places)
Niš: 173,400 (234,863 including neighbouring places)
Kragujevac: 146,000 (175,182 including neighbouring places)
Subotica: 99,500 (147,758 including neighbouring places)

See also: Serbian cities


Main article: Serbian culture

See also:



Main article: Economy of Serbia

Latest economy statistics:

Gross Domestic Product
Real GDP:$25.98 Billion (2004)
Real GDP Per Capita: $3066 (September 2005)
Real GDP growth rate: 7% (2004)
Real GDP growth rate in Q1 2005: 5.3%
Real GDP growth rate in Q2 2005: 6.8%
Real GDP growth rate in Q1 and Q2 2005: 6.1%
Other statistics (in detail on economy page)
Industrial production growth rate: 7.1% (2004)
Unemployment rate: 18.50% (Q1 2005)
Inflation: 13.7% (2004)
Foreign debt: $12.97 Billion (49.9% of GDP)
Direct foreign investment estimated for 2005: $1.5 to $2.0 Billion

Holidays in Serbia

Date Name
January 1 New Year's Day
January 7 Orthodox Christmas
January 27 Saint Sava's feast Day - Day of Spirituality
February 15 Sretenje - Serbian National Day
April 27 Constitution Day
April 29 * Orthodox Good Friday
May 1 * Orthodox Easter
May 2 * Orthodox Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Victory Day
June 28 Martyr's Day in memory of Battle of Kosovo soldiers

* Dates in 2005 only


External links

Government links

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