History of Bulgaria
The history of Bulgaria can be traced from the first settlements on the lands of modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state and includes the history of the Bulgarian people and their origin. The earliest evidence of hominid occupation discovered on what is today Bulgaria date from at least 1.4 million years ago. Around 5000 BC, a sophisticated civilization existed and produced some of the first pottery and jewelry in the world. After 3000 BC, the Thracians appeared on the Balkan peninsula. In the late 6th century BC, most of what is nowadays Bulgaria came under the Persian Empire. In the 470s BC, the Thracians formed the powerful Odrysian Kingdom after the Persian defeat in Greece, which subsequently declined and Thracian tribes fell under Macedonian and Roman domination; this mixture of ancient peoples was assimilated by the Slavs, who permanently settled on the peninsula after 500 AD. Meanwhile, in 632 the Bulgars formed an independent state north of the Black sea that became known as Great Bulgaria under the leadership of Kubrat.
Pressure from the Khazars led to the disintegration of Great Bulgaria in the second half of the 7th century. One of the Kubrat's successors, migrated with some of the Bulgar tribes to the area around the Danube delta, subsequently conquered Scythia Minor and Moesia Inferior from the Byzantine Empire, expanding his new kingdom further into the Balkan Peninsula. A peace treaty with Byzantium in 681 and the establishment of a permanent Bulgarian capital at Pliska south of the Danube mark the beginning of the First Bulgarian Empire; the new state brought together Thracian remnants and Slavs under Bulgar rule, a slow process of mutual assimilation began. In the following centuries Bulgaria established itself as a powerful empire, dominating the Balkans through its aggressive military traditions, which led to development of distinct ethnic identity, its ethnically and culturally diverse people united under a common religion and alphabet which formed and preserved the Bulgarian national consciousness despite foreign invasions and influences.
In the 11th century, the First Bulgarian Empire collapsed under Rus' and Byzantine attacks, became part of the Byzantine Empire until 1185. A major uprising led by two brothers - Asen and Peter of the Asen dynasty, restored the Bulgarian state to form the Second Bulgarian Empire. After reaching its apogee in the 1230s, Bulgaria started to decline due to a number of factors, most notably its geographic position which rendered it vulnerable to simultaneous attacks and invasions from many sides. A peasant rebellion, one of the few successful such in history, established the swineherd Ivaylo as a Tsar, his short reign was essential in recovering - at least - the integrity of the Bulgarian state. A thriving period followed after 1300, but ended in 1371, when factional divisions caused Bulgaria to split into three small Tsardoms. By 1396, they were subjugated by the Ottoman Empire; the Turks eliminated the Bulgarian system of nobility and ruling clergy, Bulgaria remained an integral Turkish territory for the next 500 years.
With the decline of the Ottoman Empire after 1700, signs of revival started to emerge. The Bulgarian nobility had vanished, leaving an egalitarian peasant society with a small but growing urban middle class. By the 19th century, the Bulgarian National Revival became a key component of the struggle for independence, which would culminate in the failed April uprising in 1876, which prompted the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and the subsequent Liberation of Bulgaria; the initial Treaty of San Stefano was rejected by the Western Great Powers, the following Treaty of Berlin limited Bulgaria's territories to Moesia and the region of Sofia. This left many ethnic Bulgarians out of the borders of the new state, which defined Bulgaria's militaristic approach to regional affairs and its allegiance to Germany in both World Wars. After World War II, Bulgaria became a Communist state, dominated by Todor Zhivkov for a period of 35 years. Bulgaria's economic advancement during the era came to an end in the 1980s, the collapse of the Communist system in Eastern Europe marked a turning point for the country's development.
A series of crises in the 1990s left much of Bulgaria's industry and agriculture in shambles, although a period of relative stabilization began with the election of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as prime minister in 2001. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007; the earliest human remains found in Bulgaria have been excavated in the Kozarnika cave, with an approximate age of 1,6 million BP. This cave keeps the earliest evidence of human symbolic behaviour found. Human remains found in Bacho Kiro cave that are 44,000 years old consist of a pair of fragmented human jaws, but it is disputed whether these early humans were in fact Homo Sapiens or Neanderthals; the earliest dwellings in Bulgaria - the Stara Zagora Neolithic dwellings - date from 6,000 BC and are amongst the oldest man-made structures yet discovered. By the end of the neolithic, the Hamangia and Vinča culture developed on what is today Bulgaria, southern Romania and eastern Serbia; the earliest known town in Europe, was located in present-day Bulgaria.
The Durankulak lake settlement in Bulgaria commenced on a small island 7000 BC and around 4700/4600 BC the stone architecture was in general use and became a characteristic phenomenon, unique in Europe. The eneolithic Varna culture represents the first civilization with a sophisticated social hierarchy in Europe; the centerpiece of this culture is the Varna Necropolis, discovered in the early 1970s. It serves as a tool in understanding how the earliest European societies functioned, principally through well-preserved ritual
Romanos I Lekapenos
Romanos I Lekapenos or Lakapenos, Latinized as Romanus I Lecapenus, was an Armenian who became a Byzantine naval commander and reigned as Byzantine Emperor from 920 until his deposition on December 16, 944. Romanos Lekapenos, born in Lakape between Melitene and Samosata, was the son of an Armenian peasant with the remarkable name of Theophylact the Unbearable. Theophylact, as a soldier, had rescued the Emperor Basil I from the enemy in battle at Tephrike and had been rewarded by a place in the Imperial Guard. Although he did not receive any refined education, Romanos advanced through the ranks of the army during the reign of Emperor Leo VI the Wise. In 911 he was general of the naval theme of Samos and served as admiral of the fleet. In this capacity he was supposed to participate in the Byzantine operations against Bulgaria on the Danube in 917, but he was unable to carry out his mission. In the aftermath of the disastrous Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Acheloos in 917 by the Bulgarians, Romanos sailed to Constantinople, where he overcame the discredited regency of Empress Zoe Karvounopsina and her supporter Leo Phokas.
On 25 March 919, at the head of his fleet, Lekapenos seized the Boukoleon Palace and the reins of government. He was named magistros and megas hetaireiarches, but he moved swiftly to consolidate his position: in April 919 his daughter Helena was married to Constantine VII, Lekapenos assumed the new title basileopator. In subsequent years Romanos crowned his own sons co-emperors, Christopher in 921, Stephen and Constantine in 924, for the time being, Constantine VII was regarded as first in rank after Romanos himself, it is notable that, as he left Constantine untouched, he was called'the gentle usurper'. Romanos strengthened his position by marrying his daughters to members of the powerful aristocratic families of Argyros and Mouseles, by recalling the deposed patriarch Nicholas Mystikos, by putting an end to the conflict with the Papacy over the four marriages of Emperor Leo VI, his early reign saw several conspiracies to topple him, which led to the successive dismissal of his first paradynasteuontes, John the Rhaiktor and John Mystikos.
From 925 and until the end of his reign, the post was occupied by the chamberlain Theophanes. The first major challenge faced by the new emperor was the war with Bulgaria, re-ignited by the regency of Zoe; the rise to power of Romanos had curtailed the plans of Simeon I of Bulgaria for a marital alliance with Constantine VII, Romanos was determined to deny the unpopular concession of imperial recognition to Simeon, which had toppled two imperial governments. The first four years of Romanos' reign were spent in warfare against Bulgaria. Although Simeon had the upper hand, he was unable to gain a decisive advantage because of the impregnability of Constantinople's walls. In 924, when Simeon had once again blockaded the capital by land, Romanos succeeded in opening negotiations. Meeting Simeon in person at Kosmidion, Romanos criticized Simeon's disregard for tradition and Orthodox Christian brotherhood and shamed him into coming to terms and lifting the siege. In reality, this was accomplished by Romanos' tacit recognition of Simeon as emperor of Bulgaria.
Relations were subsequently marred by continued wrangling over titles, but peace had been established. On the death of Simeon in May 927, Bulgaria's new emperor, Peter I, made a show of force by invading Byzantine Thrace, but he showed himself ready to negotiate for a more permanent peace. Romanos seized the occasion and proposed a marriage alliance between the imperial houses of Byzantium and Bulgaria, at the same time renewing the Serbian-Byzantine alliance with Časlav of Serbia, returning independence the same year. In September 927 Peter arrived before Constantinople and married Maria, the daughter of his eldest son and co-emperor Christopher, thus Romanos' granddaughter. On this occasion Christopher received precedence in rank over his brother-in-law Constantine VII, something which compounded the latter's resentment towards the Lekapenoi, the Bulgarians, imperial marriages to outsiders. From this point on, Romanos' government was free from direct military confrontation with Bulgaria. Although Byzantium would tacitly support a Serbian revolt against Bulgaria in 931, the Bulgarians would allow Magyar raids across their territory into Byzantine possessions and Bulgaria remained at peace for 40 years, until Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria.
Romanos appointed the brilliant general John Kourkouas commander of the field armies in the East. John Kourkouas subdued a rebellion in the theme of Chaldia and intervened in Armenia in 924. From 926 Kourkouas campaigned across the eastern frontier against the Abbasids and their vassals, won an important victory at Melitene in 934; the capture of this city is considered the first major Byzantine territorial recovery from the Muslims. In 941, while most of the army under Kourkouas was absent in the East, a fleet of 15 old ships under the protovestiarios Theophanes had to defend Constantinople from a Kievan raid; the invaders were defeated at sea, through the use of Greek fire, again at land, when they landed in Bithynia, by the returning army under Kourkouas. In 944 Romanos concluded a treaty with
Trpimir I of Croatia
Trpimir I was a duke in Croatia from around 845 until his death in 864. He is considered the founder of the Trpimirović dynasty that ruled in Croatia, with interruptions, from around 845 until 1091. Although he was formally vassal of the Frankish Emperor Lothair I, Trpimir used Frankish-Byzantine conflicts to rule on his own. Trpimir succeeded Croatia's Duke Mislav around 845, ascended the throne in Klis and expanded the early Roman stronghold into Klis Fortress, the capital of his domain. Trpimir battled against his neighbours, the Byzantine coastal cities under the strategos of Zadar in 846. In 854 he repulsed an attack by an army of the Bulgarian Khan Boris I and concluded a peace treaty with him, exchanging gifts; the Bulgarians and Croatians coexisted peacefully after that time. On 4 March 852 Trpimir issued a charter in Biaći in the Latin language, confirming Mislav's donations to the Archbishopric in Split; the charter is preserved in a copy from 1568. In this document, Trpimir named himself "by the mercy of God, Duke of the Croats" and his realm as the "Realm of the Croats", the first known usage of the name "Croats".
The term regnum was used by other rulers of that time as a sign of their independence and did not mean a kingdom. The charter documents his ownership of Klis Fortress and mentions Trpimir's decision to build a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Rižinice, between the towns of Klis and Solin, thus bringing the Benedictins into Croatia. On a gable arch from an altar screen of the Rižinice monastery, carved in stone, stands a text with the duke's name and title:PRO DVCE TREPIMES CHRO SVMITTE COLA TERMEHe likely built a church in Kapitul, in the vicinity of Knin castle, where his name is recorded from archaeological remains. Trpimir undertook a pilgrimage to Cividale together with his son Peter, recorded in the Evangelistary of Cividale, where he is titled as dominus; the Saxon theologian Gottschalk of Orbais was at Trpimir's court between 846 and 848, after leaving Venice and before moving to Bulgaria, his work De Trina deitate is an important source for Trpimir's reign. He describes Trpimir's accomplishments and his victory over a Byzantine patricius in 846, which Gottschalk connected with his theory of predestination.
Trpimir was a proclaimed rex Sclavorum as a token of admiration from Gottschalk, a sign of his independent rule. The end of Trpimir's reign remains vaguely distinctive, just like the sequence of his successors, he had three sons: Peter and Muncimir, since in a charter dated to 892, in the time of Duke Muncimir's rule, Muncimir stated that "he returned to his fathers throne,", usurped by Branimir. Trpimir was succeeded in around 864 either by his son Zdeslav, shortly after deposed by Domagoj, or directly by Domagoj who forced Trpimir's sons to flee to Constantinople. Croatian–Bulgarian wars Trpimirović dynasty Povijest Hrvatske I. /Mislav i Trpimir, Zagreb 1924. Nada Klaić, Povijest Hrvata u ranom srednjem vijeku, Zagreb 1975. Mužić, Ivan. Hrvatska povijest devetoga stoljeća. Split. ISBN 978-953-263-034-3
Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos or Porphyrogenitus was the fourth Emperor of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, reigning from 913 to 959. He was the son of the emperor Leo VI and his fourth wife, Zoe Karbonopsina, the nephew of his predecessor, the emperor Alexander. Most of his reign was dominated by co-regents: from 913 until 919 he was under the regency of his mother, while from 920 until 945 he shared the throne with Romanos Lekapenos, whose daughter Helena he married, his sons. Constantine VII is best known for his four books, De Administrando Imperio, De Ceremoniis, De Thematibus, Vita Basilii, his nickname alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were born. Constantine was born in this room, although his mother Zoe had not been married to Leo at that time; the epithet allowed him to underline his position as the legitimized son, as opposed to all others who claimed the throne during his lifetime.
Sons born to a reigning Emperor held precedence in the Eastern Roman line of succession over elder sons not born "in the purple". Constantine was born at Constantinople, an illegitimate son born before an uncanonical fourth marriage. To help legitimize him, his mother gave birth to him in the Purple Room of the imperial palace, hence his nickname Porphyrogennetos, he was symbolically elevated to the throne as a two-year-old child by his father and uncle on May 15, 908. In June 913, as his uncle Alexander lay dying, he appointed a seven-man regency council for Constantine, it was headed by the Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos, the two magistroi John Eladas and Stephen, the rhaiktor John Lazanes, the otherwise obscure Euthymius and Alexander's henchmen Basilitzes and Gabrielopoulos. Following Alexander's death, the new and shaky regime survived the attempted usurpation of Constantine Doukas, Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos assumed a dominant position among the regents. Patriarch Nicholas was presently forced to make peace with Tsar Simeon of Bulgaria, whom he reluctantly recognized as Bulgarian emperor.
Because of this unpopular concession, Patriarch Nicholas was driven out of the regency by Constantine's mother Zoe. She was no more successful with the Bulgarians, who defeated her main supporter, the general Leo Phokas, in 917. In 919 she was replaced as regent by the admiral Romanos Lekapenos, who married his daughter Helena Lekapene to Constantine. Romanos used his position to advance to the ranks of basileopatōr in May 919, to kaisar in September 920, to co-emperor in December 920. Thus, just short of reaching nominal majority, Constantine was eclipsed by a senior emperor. Constantine's youth had been a sad one due to his unpleasant appearance, his taciturn nature, his relegation to the third level of succession, behind Christopher Lekapenos, the eldest son of Romanos I Lekapenos, he was a intelligent young man with a large range of interests, he dedicated those years to studying the court's ceremonial. Romanos kept and maintained power until 944, when he was deposed by his sons, the co-emperors Stephen and Constantine.
Romanos spent the last years of his life in exile on the Island of Prote as a monk and died on June 15, 948. With the help of his wife, Constantine VII succeeded in removing his brothers-in-law, on January 27, 945, Constantine VII became sole emperor at the age of 39, after a life spent in the shadow. Several months Constantine VII crowned his own son Romanos II co-emperor. Having never exercised executive authority, Constantine remained devoted to his scholarly pursuits and relegated his authority to bureaucrats and generals, as well as to his energetic wife Helena Lekapene. In 949 Constantine launched a new fleet of 100 ships against the Arab corsairs hiding in Crete, but like his father's attempt to retake the island in 911, this attempt failed. On the Eastern frontier things went better if with alternate success. In 949 the Byzantines conquered Germanicea defeated the enemy armies, in 952 they crossed the upper Euphrates, but in 953 the Hamdanid amir Sayf al-Daula entered the imperial territory.
The land in the east was recovered by Nikephoros Phokas, who conquered Hadath, in northern Syria, in 958, by the general John Tzimiskes, who one year captured Samosata, in northern Mesopotamia. An Arab fleet was destroyed by Greek fire in 957. Constantine's efforts to retake themes lost to the Arabs were the first such efforts to have any real success. Constantine had active diplomatic relationships with foreign courts, including those of the caliph of Cordoba Abd ar-Rahman III and of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor. In the autumn of 957 Constantine was visited by Olga of Kiev, regent of the Kievan Rus'; the reasons for this voyage have never been clarified. According to legends, Constantine VII fell in love with Olga, however she found the way to refuse him by tricking him to become her godfather; when she was baptized, she said. Constantine VII died at Constantinople in November 959 and was succeeded by his son Romanos II, it was rumored that Constantine had been poisoned by his son or his da
Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia, with about 200,000 people living in its urban area. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings. An intraregional transport hub and popular tourist destination, the city is linked to the Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula. Home to Diocletian's Palace, built for the Roman emperor in AD 305, the city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos in the 3rd or 2nd century BC, it became a prominent settlement around 650 when it succeeded the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona. After the Sack of Salona by the Avars and Slavs, the fortified Palace of Diocletian was settled by the Roman refugees. Split became a Byzantine city, to gradually drift into the sphere of the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Croatia, with the Byzantines retaining nominal suzerainty. For much of the High and Late Middle Ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and the King of Hungary for control over the Dalmatian cities.
Venice prevailed and during the early modern period Split remained a Venetian city, a fortified outpost surrounded by Ottoman territory. Its hinterland was won from the Ottomans in the Morean War of 1699, in 1797, as Venice fell to Napoleon, the Treaty of Campo Formio rendered the city to the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1805, the Peace of Pressburg added it to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and in 1806 it was included in the French Empire, becoming part of the Illyrian Provinces in 1809. After being occupied in 1813, it was granted to the Austrian Empire following the Congress of Vienna, where the city remained a part of the Austrian Kingdom of Dalmatia until the fall of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and the formation of Yugoslavia. In World War II, the city was annexed by Italy liberated by the Partisans after the Italian capitulation in 1943, it was re-occupied by Germany, which granted it to its puppet Independent State of Croatia. The city was liberated again by the Partisans in 1944, was included in the post-war Socialist Yugoslavia, as part of its republic of Croatia.
In 1991, Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia amid the Croatian War of Independence. By a popular theory, the city draws its name from the spiny broom, after which the Greek colony of Aspálathos or Spálathos was named; the theory is dubious as it's Spanish broom, a frequent plant in the area. Given their similar flowers, it is understandable; as the city became a Roman possession, the Latin name became Spalatum or Aspalatum, which in the Middle Ages evolved into Aspalathum, Spalathum and Spalatro in the Dalmatian language of the city's Romance population. The Croatian term became Split or Spljet, while the Italian-language version, became universal in international usage by the Early Modern Period. In the late 19th century, the Croatian name came to prominence, replaced Spalato in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after World War I. For a significant period, the origin of the name was erroneously thought to be related to the Latin word for "palace", a reference to Diocletian's Palace which still forms the core of the city.
Various theories were developed, such as the notion that the name derives from S. Palatium, an abbreviation of Salonae Palatium; the erroneous "palace" etymologies were notably due to Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, were mentioned by Thomas the Archdeacon. The city, however, is several centuries older than the palace. Although the beginnings of Split are traditionally associated with the construction of Diocletian's Palace in 305, the city was founded several centuries earlier as the Greek colony of Aspálathos, or Spálathos, it was a colony of the polis of Issa, the modern-day town of Vis, itself a colony of the Sicilian city of Syracuse. The exact year the city was founded is not known, but it is estimated to have been in the 3rd or 2nd century BC; the Greek settlement lived off trade with the surrounding Illyrian tribes the Delmatae. After the Illyrian Wars of 229 and 219 BC, the city of Salona, only a short distance from Spálathos, became the capital of the Roman Province of Dalmatia.
The history of Spálathos becomes obscure for a while at this point, being overshadowed by that of nearby Salona, to which it would become successor. The Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293 began the construction of an opulent and fortified palace fronting the sea, near his home town of Salona, selecting the site of Spálathos; the Palace was built as a massive structure, much like a Roman military fortress. The palace and the city of Spalatum which formed its surroundings were at times inhabited by a population as large as 8,000 to 10,000 people. Between 475 and 480 the Palace hosted Flavius Julius Nepos, the last recognised Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Salona was lost to the Ostrogothic Kingdom in 493, along with most of Dalmatia, but the Emperor Justinian I regained Dalmatia in 535–536; the Pannonian Avars sacked and destroyed Salona in 639. The Dalmatian region and its shores were at this time settled by tribes of Croats, a South Slavic people subservient to the Avar khagans; the Salonitans regained the land under Severus the Great in 650 and settled the 300-year-old Palace of Diocletian, which could not be besieged by the Slavic tribes of the mainland.
The Emperor Constans II granted them an Imperial mandate to es
The Serbs are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group that formed in the Balkans. The majority of Serbs inhabit the nation state of Serbia, as well as the disputed territory of Kosovo, the neighboring countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, they form significant minorities in North Slovenia. There is a large Serb diaspora in Western Europe, outside Europe there are significant communities in North America and Australia; the Serbs share many cultural traits with the rest of the peoples of Southeast Europe. They are predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christians by religion; the Serbian language is official in Serbia, co-official in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is spoken by the plurality in Montenegro. The modern identity of Serbs is rooted in traditions. In the 19th century, the Serbian national identity was manifested, with awareness of history and tradition, medieval heritage, cultural unity, despite living under different empires. Three elements, together with the legacy of the Nemanjić dynasty, were crucial in forging identity and preservation during foreign domination: the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Serbian language, Kosovo Myth.
When the Principality of Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, Orthodoxy became crucial in defining the national identity, instead of language, shared by other South Slavs. The tradition of slava, the family saint feast day, is an important ethnic marker of Serb identity, is regarded their most significant and most solemn feast day; the origin of the ethnonym is unclear. Genetic studies on Serbs show that they have close affinity with the rest of the Balkan peoples, those within former Yugoslavia. Serbia's people are among the tallest in the world, after Montenegro and the Netherlands, with an average male height of 1.82 metres. Slavs settled the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries. Up until the late 560s their activity was raiding, crossing from the Danube, though with limited Slavic settlement through Byzantine foederati colonies; the Danube and Sava frontier was overwhelmed by large-scale Slavic settlement in the late 6th and early 7th century. What is today central Serbia was an important geo-strategical province, through which the Via Militaris crossed.
This area was intruded by barbarians in the 5th and 6th centuries. The numerous Slavs assimilated the descendants of the indigenous population; the history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the 10th-century work De Administrando Imperio, which describes the Serbs as a people living in Roman Dalmatia, subordinate to the Byzantine Empire. Numerous small Serbian states were created, chiefly under Vlastimorović and Vojislavjević dynasties, located in modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. With the decline of the Serbian state of Duklja in the late 11th century, "Raška" separated from it and replaced it as the most powerful Serbian state. Prince Stefan Nemanja conquered the neighbouring territories of Kosovo and Zachlumia; the Nemanjić dynasty ruled over Serbia until the 14th century. Nemanja's older son, Stefan Nemanjić, became Serbia's first recognized king, while his younger son, founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in the year 1219, became known as Saint Sava after his death.
Over the next 140 years, Serbia expanded its borders, from numerous minor principalities, reaching to a unified Serbian Empire. Its cultural model remained Byzantine, despite political ambitions directed against the empire; the medieval power and influence of Serbia culminated in the reign of Stefan Dušan, who ruled the state from 1331 until his death in 1355. Ruling as Emperor from 1346, his territory included Macedonia, northern Greece and all of modern Albania; when Dušan died, his son Stephen Uroš V became Emperor. With Turkish invaders beginning their conquest of the Balkans in the 1350s, a major conflict ensued between them and the Serbs, the first major battle was the Battle of Maritsa, in which the Serbs were defeated. With the death of two important Serb leaders in the battle, with the death of Stephen Uroš that same year, the Serbian Empire broke up into several small Serbian domains; these states were ruled by feudal lords, with Zeta controlled by the Balšić family, Raška, Kosovo and northern Macedonia held by the Branković family and Lazar Hrebeljanović holding today's Central Serbia and a portion of Kosovo.
Hrebeljanović was subsequently accepted as the titular leader of the Serbs because he was married to a member of the Nemanjić dynasty. In 1389, the Serbs faced the Ottomans at the Battle of Kosovo on the plain of Kosovo Polje, near the town of Pristina. Both Lazar and Sultan Murad; the battle most ended in a stalemate, afterwards Serbia enjoyed a short period of prosperity under despot Stefan Lazarević and resisted failing to the Turks until 1459. The Serbs had taken an active part in the wars fought in the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire, organized uprisings. After allied Christian forces had captured Buda from the Ottoman Empire in 1686 during the Great Turkish War, Serbs from Pannonian Plain joined the troops of the Habsburg Monarchy as separate units known as Serbian Militia. Serbs, as volunteers, massively joined
Tomislav of Croatia
Tomislav was the first King of Croatia. He became Duke of Croatia in c. 910, was elevated to kingship by 925 and reigned until 928. At the time of his rule, Croatia forged an alliance with the Byzantines during their struggle with the Bulgarian Empire, with whom Croatia went to war that culminated in the decisive Battle of the Bosnian Highlands in 926. To the north there were conflicts with the Principality of Hungary. Croatia kept its borders and to some extent expanded on the disintegrated Pannonian Duchy. Tomislav attended the Church Council of Split in 925, convened by Pope John X to discuss the use of Slavic language in liturgy and the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Croatia and the Byzantine Theme of Dalmatia. Although the Pope sought to prohibit Slavic liturgy, the Council did not agree, while jurisdiction was given to the Archbishop of Split instead of the Croatian Bishop Gregory of Nin. Since the historical sources about Tomislav are scarce, the exact year of his accession and his death are not known.
The rule of his successors was marked by a series of civil wars in Croatia and gradual weakening of the country. Tomislav's ancestry is not known, but he maybe hailed from the House of Trpimirović. There is a time difference of twenty years between the first attestation of Tomislav's name and the last mention of Muncimir, his predecessor as the Duke of Croatia; the historical records of him are scarce. Tomislav succeeded Muncimir, son of Trpimir I, on the throne of the Duchy of Croatia, either directly in about 910, the most accepted view, or after the rule of different figures following Muncimir's death. In any case, Tomislav gained the throne of Croatia at some time between 910 and 914. In Historia Salonitana, a chronicle from the 13th century written by Thomas the Archdeacon from Split, Tomislav was mentioned as the Duke of Croatia in 914. Following the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in the late 9th and early 10th century, the Hungarians began raiding and expanding their territory.
They threatened the Duchy of Pannonia, still nominally under Frankish suzerainty, killed the last Pannonian Duke Braslav. The Hungarians fought against Croatia, although it wasn't a primary target of their raids; the Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja mentions that Tomislav, whose rule was specified at 13 years fought many battles with the Hungarians. Since the Venetian chronicler Andrea Dandolo and a notary of King Béla III mention Hungarian victories against Croatia in the same period, both sides had occasional gains. Croatia did manage to maintain its northern borders, but to expand on a part of the collapsed Pannonian Duchy, such as its former capital Sisak; the plains north of Sisak were difficult to defend in front of the Hungarian cavalry, while Sisak was well fortified since the times of Duke Ljudevit. The sparsely populated area between the Sava and Drava rivers was on the outskirts of the Hungarian state, as well as of the Duchy of Croatia, centered on the coastal areas, so neither country had the power to strengthen its rule there after the dissolution of the Duchy of Pannonia.
East of Croatia, the power of the First Bulgarian Empire increased significantly. After a war between the Bulgarian Knyaz Boris I and Croatian Duke Trpimir I, the Croatian-Bulgarian relations were good. Papal legates went through Croatian territory, where they received protection, to Bulgaria; the situation changed in the 10th century during the reign of Simeon I, who decided to subordinate the Byzantine Empire to his rule. Tomislav's realm covered most of Southern and Central Croatia, the Dalmatian coast excluding the Theme of Dalmatia, parts of western present-day Herzegovina and northern and western present-day Bosnia. In the early 10th century Croatia was divided into 11 counties: Livno, Imotski, Pset, Bribir, Knin and Nin. 3 counties, Lika and Gacka, where under the rule of a ban. Within Tomislav's state, after its expansion, there were more than eleven counties. Byzantine emperor and chronicler Constantine VII states in De Administrando Imperio that at its peak Croatia could have raised a vast military force composed out of 100,000 infantrymen, 60,000 horsemen and a sizable fleet of 80 large ships and 100 smaller vessels.
However, these figures are viewed as a considerable exaggeration and an overemphasis of the Croatian army. Tomislav became King of Croatia by the year 925, he was the first Croatian ruler whom the Papal chancellery honoured with the title "king". It is said that Tomislav was crowned in 924 or 925, this is not certain, it is not known when. The letters in which Tomislav was called a king were preserved in a version of Thomas the Archdeacon's History of Salona. In a note preceding the text of the Council conclusions in Split in 925 it is written that Tomislav is the king "in the province of the Croats and in the Dalmatian regions". In the 12th canon of the Council conclusions in 925 the ruler of the Croats is called "king", while in a letter sent by the Pope John X Tomislav is named "King of the Croats". Although there are no inscriptions of Tomislav to confirm the title inscriptions and charters confirm that his 10th century successors called themselves "kings". In older historiography it was assumed that Tomislav was crowned at the field of Duvno near Tomislavgrad, although there are no contemporary records of this event.
Such a conclusion was derive