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Thursday 18th April
Serbia Facts
Serbia is in a geographic area in southeastern Europe known as the Balkans. The Balkans includes countries of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia, as well as Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania.

Djerdap National Park is the location of the 8,000 year-old Neolithic site of Lepenski Vir.

Belgrade, Serbia's capital, is one of the oldest European cities dating back over six thousand years.

The name Beograd (Belgrade) is derived from the Slav for "white city". The fortress of Beograd was built of stone.

The Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, was born in Nis in Serbia in 274 AD.

Stefan Nemanja, the Serbian ruler, founded the Monastery of Djurdjevi Stupovi in the twelfth century.

The Monastery of Studenica was built in the twelfth century after the abdication of Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the first powerful Serbian State.

Rastko, the son of Stefan Nemanja, was the first Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church and was canonised as St Sava.

The Miroslav Gospel, written in the twelfth century, is the oldest preserved Serbian manuscript.

The occupation of Serbia by the Ottoman Empire led to many Serbs moving away from the regions of Kosovo and southern Serbia.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were two uprisings against the Turks. George Petrovic known as Karageorge led the First Serbian Uprising and Milos Obrenovic was the leader of the Second Serbian Uprising.

The Royal Family Karadjordjevic of Serbia is related to the British Royal Family through Queen Victoria and the Greek Royal Family.

The formation of the Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenes followed the First World War. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia were also part of the Kingdom.

After the Second World War (1939-1945) Yugoslavia became the Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia consisting of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia.

The break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s resulted in much conflict. 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.

On 14 March 2002 an agreement was signed by Serbian and Montenegrin officials that redefined the relations between Serbia and Montenegro. A decision was made to change the name of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to Serbia and Montenegro.

During the conflict in Kosovo many ethnic Albanians fled to Albania.

Zoran Djindjic, the Serbian Prime Minister, was assassinated in Belgrade in March 2003.

The Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro took effect on 4 February 2003.

In the middle of March 2004 ethnic tensions flared again in Kosovo. At least twenty-three people were killed in two days of rioting. Extra NATO peace troops were sent to the region.

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

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

Former Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladic was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison.

In April 2013 Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement normalising their relationship.

Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was found guilty of genocide and war crimes in 2016 and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

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.

Towards the end of 2022 ethnic tensions flared again, over Serbian/Kosovan car number plates; Serbian troops on the border between Kosovo and Serbia were reported on 27 December 2022 as being in a state of combat readiness with the Serbian president stating that all measures be taken to protect the Serbian people in Kosovo. The inflammatory issue was the order by officials in Pristina to replace Serbian vehicle licence plates with Republic of Kosovo licence plates. The border between Kosovo and Serbia, the Merdare crossing, an important for road freight and has international rail links, was closed.

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