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Serbia Information - Page 2
Like its neighbours, Serbia suffered from the expansionism of the Ottoman Turks.

The Turks defeated the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389; Smederevo the last Serb stronghold fell in 1459.

It was not until the early nineteenth century that the Ottoman Empire weakened. The Congress of Berlin, in 1878, recognised Serbia as an independent nation. However, the Ottomans were not finally driven from Europe until the Balkan Wars (1912-1913).

The year following the Balkan Wars, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo. As the assassin was a Bosnian Serb Austria attacked Serbia beginning the First World (1914 to 1918).

The formation of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenes followed the War; the Kingdom included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia. In 1929 the name of the Kingdom was changed to Yugoslavia.

After the Second World War (1939-1945) Yugoslavia became the Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia which consisted of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Serbia also had two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina (with a high Serb population) in the north and Kosovo (with a high Albanian population) in the south.

Although Yugoslavia (1945-1991) had a communist government, the country's leader, Josip Broz "Tito" distanced himself from the USSR. After Tito's death (1980) there was a struggle for political control of the country and in 1991 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated: Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia declared independence followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbia and Montenegro became known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

The break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia resulted in military actions by the Yugoslav army and a civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kosovo suffered inter-ethnic unrest and civil war leading to the US-NATO aerial bombardment of Serbia and the deployment of KFOR (NATO-led peacekeeping force K-For) and UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) to secure and administer the Kosovo region on behalf of the international community.

The end of the year 2000 saw a newly elected government in Serbia. In March 2002 an agreement was signed by Serbian and Montenegrin officials redefining relations between Serbia and Montenegro. A decision was made to change the name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to Serbia and Montenegro.

Montenegro held an independence referendum in 2006 under rules set by the EU. Montenegro formally declared its independence from Serbia on 3 June 2006.

The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija declared independence on 17 February 2008.

The economic situation in Serbia and Montenegro suffered from wars following the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; the economic sanctions imposed by both the US and the EU, and the NATO bombing in 1999.

With the change in government, towards the end of 2000, aid was forthcoming from members of the international community. The EU negotiated a package for reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

In the summer of 2006 the political union between Serbia and Montenegro was dissolved. This was followed by the declaration of independence by the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija in 2008.

Agricultural products are wheat, maize, sugar beets and sunflowers. Cattle and pigs are reared.

Industries include sugar, agricultural machinery, transportation equipment, electrical and communication equipment, paper and pulp and lead. (2008)

Cultural events take place throughout Serbia. In the capital city, ballets, operas and drama productions are performed in the National Theatre of Belgrade. The Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra performs concerts all year.

Over the centuries the visual culture of Serbia has been preserved in numerous religious buildings.

The Ethnologic Museum of Serbia in Belgrade houses collections of national costumes and other aspects of national culture.

Football, volleyball and basketball are among sports played in Serbia.

Winter sports are popular; the most well known winter sports resort in Serbia is Kopaonik.

In January 2022 Novak Djokovic, Serbia's tennis star, made world headlines when he entered Australia to defend his tennis title but had failed to satisfy the Australian authorities about his Covid-19 vaccination status.

Religious groups in Serbia observe their own holidays. The Orthodox Christmas is celebrated at the end of the first week in January. Other days celebrated include New Year and International Workers Day (1 May).

News is available from Newslink.

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