History of the Serbs
The History of the Serbs spans from the Early Middle Ages to present. Serbs, a South Slavic people, traditionally live in Serbia, Montenegro and Herzegovina, Croatia and Republic of Macedonia. A Serbian diaspora dispersed people of Serb descent to North America. Slavs settled in the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries, where they subsequently absorbed the local population; the earliest found mention of the Serbs is from Einhard's Royal Frankish Annals, written in 822, when Ljudevit went from his seat at Sisak to the Serbs, with Einhard mentioning "the Serbs, who control the greater part of Dalmatia". The Serbs created numerous small states located in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. One of the most powerful Serbian states during this period was Raška, which separated from the Serbian state of Duklja in the 11th century. Ruled by Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja from 1169 to 1196, Serbia conquered the neighbouring Slavic territories of Kosovo and Zachumlje. Subsequently, he created the Nemanjić dynasty.
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, 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 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, Serbia did not fall to the Turks until 1459. There exists c. 30 Serbian chronicles from the period between 1390 and 1526. The Serbs had taken an active part in the wars fought in the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire, organized uprisings; because of this, they suffered their territories were devastated. Major migrations from Serbia into Habsburg territory ensued; the period of Ottoman rule in Serbia lasted from the second half of 15th century to the beginning of the 19th century, interrupted by three periods of Habsburg occupation during Habsburg-Ottoman wars.
In early 1594, the Serbs in Banat rose up against the Ottomans. The rebels had, in the character of a holy war, carried war flags with the icon of Saint Sava. After suppressing the uprising, the Ottomans publicly incinerated the relics of Saint Sava at the Vračar plateau on April 27, 1595; the incineration of Sava's relics provoked the Serbs, empowered the Serb liberation movement. From 1596, the center of anti-Ottoman activity in Herzegovina was the Tvrdoš Monastery in Trebinje. An uprising broke out in 1596, but the rebels were defeated at the field of Gacko in 1597, were forced to capitulate due to the lack of foreign support. 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 the Austrian side. In 1688, the Habsburg army entered the territory of present-day Central Serbia. Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden called Serbian Patriarch Arsenije III Čarnojević to raise arms against the Turks.
As Serbia fell under Habsburg control, Leopold I granted the title of duke. In early November, Arsenije III met with Habsburg commander-in-chief, General Enea Silvio Piccolomini in Prizren. A large migration of Serbs to Habsburg lands was undertaken by Patriarch Arsenije III; the large community of Serbs concentrated in Banat, southern Hungary and the Military Frontier included merchants and craftsmen in the cities, but refugees that were peasants. Serbia remained under Ottoman control until the early 19th century, with the eruption of the Serbian Revolution in 1804; the uprising ended in the early 1830s, with Serbia's autonomy and borders being recognized, with Miloš Obrenović being recognized as its ruler. The last Ottoman troops withdrew from Serbia in 1867, although Serbia's independence was not recognized internationally until the Congress of Berlin in 1878; when the Principality of Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, Orthodoxy became crucial in defining the national