Serbia History

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Serbia was settled by Serbs who were pushed across the Danube by Avars in the 7th century. In the 12th century they were converted to eastern Christianity. Serbia became an independent kingdom by 1217. Its army was catastrophically defeated by the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo, 1389. Because Serbs chose death rather than surrender, it has become a permanent symbol in Serbian national consciousness. All of Serbia had been incorporated into the Ottoman Empire by 1459.

In 1830, Serbia obtained autonomous status Agrarian reform transformed the Serbian society into a society of free peasants. Laws were set up to protect the peasant and to establish the size of holdings. Attempts were undertaken to establish a Serbian standing army. New churches began to be built. Six Turkish nahiyas (districts) were annexed in 1833. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, the Congress of Berlin added territory and recognized Serbia as a completely independent state. The state was expanded further after victory in the First Balkan War, 1912-1913.

Orthodox bishops served not only as religious but also as civil leaders in Montenegro. Montenegro began to receive international recognition as a state in 1858. More territory and final recognition as an independent state was acquired after the Russo-Turkish war in 1878.

After World War I, Serbia led the movement for unification and in December 1918, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes emerged. In 1929 the kingdom was renamed as Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia was invaded by the armed forces of Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria in 1941 during World War II. In 1991, Yugoslavia was dissolved. Serbia and Montenegro formed a confederated state on April 11, 1992. The confederation includes the autonomous regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina. Kosovo, in the south, was part of the territory annexed by Serbia as a result of the First Balkan War in 1913. Vojvodina, in the north, was formerly part of the Hungarian Kingdom. It became part of Yugoslavia after World War I.[1]


Online Sources


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro),” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1989-1998.