Serbia Early History


According to a2zcamerablog, Serbia is a country located in Europe. The territory of present-day Serbia, inhabited in ancient times by Illyrians and Thracians, was occupied by Rome in 29 BC. C. and became part of the province of Moesia (Moesia Superiore with Diocletian). In the sec. VII was invaded by the Serbs, a Slavic people devoted to pastoralism, without precise political structures. Fundamental institution was the tribe ruled by a Zupan. These shortcomings and the very low cultural level (the Serbs did not know the writing) explain how these peoples underwent the Byzantine rule without reactions. In the sec. IX Christianity was introduced by the disciples of Cyril and Methodius who succeeded in converting it zupan Mutimir. In 925 a national bishopric was established with its seat in Ras (subsequently Novi Pazar) linked to Bulgaria, resulting in a war between Bulgarians and Byzantines. After an ephemeral Bulgarian supremacy, it seemed for a moment (931) that the Serbs managed to establish an autonomous government but the intervention of Emperor Basil II returned Serbia to Constantinople, even if, in fact, a certain independence continued to exist. in Bosnia during the sec. X and XI. And it is precisely from the “free” territory of Raska that in 1167 the zupan Stephen Nemanja began the struggle against the Byzantine rule. Victorious struggle, concluded by his son Stephen II Nemanjic (1196-1224) who, with the help of his brother bishop, San Sava, was finally able to be crowned king with the recognition of Pope Honorius III. But only with Stephen VI (1282-1321) did Serbia also formally rise to an independent state, when the emperor Andronicus II legitimized its existence by giving his daughter in marriage to the king (1299). The Byzantine decline favored the expansion of the Serbs who under the leadership of Stephen IX (1331-55) conquered Macedonia, Albania, Epirus, Aetolia and Thrace so that Dušan, at the height of his personal power in the region, came to call himself “emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks”. But a much more formidable enemy was at the gates: the Ottoman Empire which in 1389 with the battle of Cossovo crushed the independence of the young state in one fell swoop. Initially, however (as happened in other countries of the Balkan area) the Turkish rule was not at all rigid and was limited in practice to the collection of taxes and the formal recognition of kings by the Porta. But after the conquest of Constantinople (1453) and the death of King Lazarus III (1458) the Turks they also assumed direct dominion of Serbia with profound social consequences because, being, by Turkish law, all the lands owned by the sultan, the Serbs were completely expropriated in favor of Turkish officers and officials to whom they were “entrusted” in exchange for their service. There was therefore a general leveling of social classes and a notable lowering of the economic level. All this did not favor the nationalistic spirit and for centuries the life of Serbia took place in the shadow of the political power of the Ottomans.


Starting from the sec. XVIII, the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the increase of the Austrian influence revived the Serbian independence spirit. Armed anti-Turkish bands arose (mainly supported by Austria) which gave rise to the guerrilla warfare. To eliminate it, Selim III in 1793 granted the country a certain autonomy by entrusting the civil government to local knez (princes). But the reform found the cold reception (or open hostility) of the local bureaucratic and military apparatus: a revolt was born in 1804, at the head of which was placed a modest pig merchant, former bandit and former volunteer of the Austrian army, Karađorđe Petrović known as the “Black”; the uprising culminated in 1806 with the expulsion of the Ottomans from Belgrade and the appointment of Karađorđe as prince of the new Serbia (1808). But without Russian support in 1812 (following an agreement between the Tsar and the Porta), the Karađorđe could not help but seek escape abroad. The story, however, was full of lessons for the Serbs, having shown them on the one hand the impossibility of relying on foreign aid and on the other the clear split existing within a ruling class which, at the moment in which it was called to assume his responsibilities in view of independence, he preferred to divide into factions intent on fighting for supremacy: the Karađorđe was in fact assassinated in 1817 while trying to organize a new insurrection, by assassins of M. Obrenović, who was proclaimed hereditary prince of Serbia. The latter, who sought autonomy through a policy of collaboration with the Turks, was forced to give up power in 1839 due to the discontent caused by his dictatorial methods. His son Michele became Knez the same year and held the fate of the country until, in 1842, he was overthrown by A. Karađorđević, who in 1858 was in turn forced to cede power to Obrenović, from whom in 1860 he passed a another time to his son Michele. While these struggles for domination of the country took place, Serbian independence became more and more consolidated. International recognition was still lacking, and this came during the reign of Milan Obrenović (1868-89), when the Berlin Congress of 1878 recognized the existence of a sovereign and independent Serbian state. Milan assumed the title of king in 1882 thanks to Austrian support. He was succeeded by his son Alessandro, who died in an attack in 1903. The return to power of the Karađorđevićs followed, who with Peter I (1903-21) strengthened the parliamentary structures of the country. Vienna’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1908) suggested that Peter I ‘s Serbia trust in Russian support and this line drew comfort from the happy conclusion of the two Balkan wars (1912-13).

Serbia Early History

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