Note – This is a work in progress.
I think it is important to understand the history of a nation to understand the current situation. As I am living in Serbia I am researching much about the history of the country. This little work is very subjective. It is coming from the perspective of an American. Two of my goals are to understand the smallness of Serbia and the strong feelings of ethnic identity they have for being a Serb. This is opposite to the 300 million + Americans and a nation formed on ideals and not an ethnic group.
I am also finding as I learn more about Serbia, the big difference between how Serbia is portrayed in the western media and what the country is really like. It is a fascinating place because it feels and looks like Europe, but it has always been part of another world. Serbia was controlled by the Ottoman Turks for 500 years, then behind the “iron curtain” of Communism for most of this century, and more recently, behind the international embargo during the wars during the break up of Yugoslavia.
There are an estimated 10 million Serbs worldwide. That is about the population of my home state of Michigan, which is not one of the larger states in the USA. In Serbia itself and neighboring countries, there are probably between 6.5 and 8 million. The small population of Serbs has certainly affected its history, as it has been dominated and influenced by larger nations regularly. It is surprising however, the big part it has played on the world stage, despite being so small.
Serbia is geographically small also. It is about half the size of Wisconsin, a little smaller than Maine and a little larger than South Carolina. Geography has also affected it, as it is in between “the west” (Western Europe) and “the east” (Russia/Turkey/Central Asia).
This is a work in progress, so I will be updating it from time to time as I learn more. I will be posting a bibliography below. I really enjoy living in Serbia and have much respect for the Serbs. They have treated me very kindly and made me feel welcome!
It is amazing how much this little country has been through!
I. The Serbian Glory Years (1100 AD – 1300 AD)
In traveling around to many small countries in Europe, I’ve noticed a common theme of their histories. Most of the time, the smaller “tribes” or “nations” were under the power of a larger state or empire. Some like Estonia, were not really totally free until very recent times. Serbia for much of its history, had to live under the domination of a larger state. From the Ottoman Turks to the Nazis, the Great Powers interventions have controlled the destiny of Serbia.
There was a time however, between empires that Serbia flourished. Around 900 years ago, the Byzantine Empire was collapsing and the Ottoman Turks were not in Europe yet. This window allowed the smaller nations of the Balkans to be independent, and in the case of Serbia, even expand their borders to have a mini-empire. For an American, 700-900 years ago seems like a heck of a long time ago, and it would be the very distant past, but for the Serbs, they keep track of these things. The Nemanjić Dynasty and the Serbian Empire of the that long ago time, still resonates through Serbian society. It was part of the “Greater Serbia” concept that propelled some of the Wars of Yugoslav Secession in the 1990′s.
At the time the Crusaders (Holy Roman Empire) were sacking Constantinople (Byzantine Empire), Stefan Nemanja was born near modern day Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. His life and accomplishments had huge implications for the Serbs. As a young man, he was a prisoner in Constantinople in 1172 and this experience so impressed him, that when he returned to Montenegro, he switched from being a Catholic to the Byzantine Orthodox Church and became Bishop of Raška, as the area was called then. Stefan also began building the Serbian Orthodox Church and monasteries (note to self – visit Studenica in Kosovo, his most famous monastery), which forged and preserved the Serbian culture and identity through the turbulent times that were to come. Stefan abdicated in 1197 to become an Orthodox monk. He later became known as the first Serbian Saint Simeon. His decision to devote his life to the Church, was greatly influenced by his third son, Rastko, who would become the famous Saint Sava.
Stefan founded the Nemanjić Dynasty and conferred power to his second son, Stefan Jr. The younger Stefan battled his older brother Vukan for the crown. Vukan enlisted the help of the Hungarians and in 1202, defeated Stefan. He was baptized Catholic by the Hungarian King, Imre. If he would have stayed in power, maybe today Serbia would have been Catholic. Imre died shortly thereafter, and Stefan Jr. regained the throne in 1204. Sava, once again, helped this transition by reconciling the brothers. Sava convinced Pope Honorius III to bless his brother and Serbia, and Stefan became known as First Crowned or Prvo-venčani. Sava was not finished yet, and through his diplomatic missions, got Emperor in Constantinople to grant the Serbian Orthodox Church independence from the Byzantines. Sava finally died in 1236. I can see why the grand cathedral in Belgrade is named after him.
During the 1200′s, the Nemanjic Dynasty continued to expand the Serbian Empire and give the Serbs a high standard of living. Stefan Uroš I (1243-1276) developed mining and Ragusa (Dubrovnik) became a big port city for trade. The son of Stefan, Uroš, Milutin (1282-1321) battled his brother Dragutin to claim the throne. I’m starting to see a pattern in these Nemanjas. Fight your brothers for power and build monasteries. Milutin’s monastery was Gračanica and like the early Serbian monasteries, it is located in southern Serbia or Kosovo.
The Nemanjić Dynasty reached its zenith during the reign of Dušan, known as Stephen Uroš IV Dušan, (1308-1355). He took power from his father Stefan Dečanski in 1331. Dusan was a 7-foot giant, who was ruthless. He had his father locked up and eventually strangled. Dušan expanded Serbia beyond Kosovo and his armies ruled Macedonia, Greece, Albania, and much of Bulgaria. He wanted to be crowned an Emperor so he created his own “pope” by naming the Serbian archbishop, Joanikije to the status of Patriarch. This office still exists today. Dušan might have gone further and taken Constantinople, but he died suddenly in 1355. This was the beginning of the end of Serbian glory. The Turks gained a foothold in Constantinople and Dušan’s son, Stefan Uroš V, was a weak leader.
II. SERBIA RISES AGAINST THE TURKS (19th century)
The Story of Black George – Leader of the First Serbian Uprising of 1804
In the early 1800′s, Serbia was on the edge of the Ottoman Empire, a long way from the capital of the Ottomans, Istanbul. So far away in fact, that the Sultan Selim III in Istanbul did not have full control of the Belgrade province, or pashalik in Turkish. The province was run by four dahi who brutally repressed the Serbian peasants. The dahi’s soldiers, called janissaries, lived in the Belgrade fortress and periodically patrolled the sparsely populated land of Serbia.
After 500 years of Ottoman control, the Serbian Uprising of 1804 began with the execution of Serbian peasant leaders in the town of Ljubenino Polje, about 30 miles south of Belgrade. The dahis had reports that Aleksandar Nenodović was importing arms from the Hapsburg Empire from across the Danube River, just north of Belgrade. The dahis took a George Bush, proactive approach and wanted to crush a rebellion before it started. The jannissaries beheaded many of the Serbian leaders. These beheadings sparked, as Misha Glenny writes, “the beginning of modern history on the Balkan peninsula” as the Serbs began to get rid of the Ottoman Turks and their Eastern culture. This was the seća knezova or the massacre of the leaders. The word Knez you see today all over Serbia, and it is translated as “village headman”, “prince, or “duke”.
The janissaries were a sign that the Ottoman Empire was in decline. They originally were an elite guard for the Sultan, but eventually turned into autonomous dictators, and in Serbia, they basically made the Serbs, serfs of the themselves as feudal overlords. This was in direct opposition to the some wealthy Serb pig merchants, who had a rich trade with the Austro-Hungarians in Vojvodina.
They eliminated around 100 knezes, but some escaped to become hajduks (guerilla insurgents) in the forests of Serbia. One in particular, became the leader and eventually would lead the Serbs not only to down the jannisaries, but also to take on the entire Ottoman Empire.
Đorđe Petrović was a peasant from central Serbia. In Serb the Đ (đ) is pronounced like the English J, so his name is translated in English as George. He was called Karađorđe, which means Black George. George moved to the Šumadija region, which is located just south of the city of Belgrade. Šumadija means “the land of woods and forests” and in the early 1800′s, it was full of dense forests, which were useful for the hajduks to hide. The saying, “Whoever cuts down a tree, kills a Serb” is an apt axiom for the region, and it still resonates today with Serbs, even in the city. They love their trees!
George worked hard to establish himself in Šumadija. His homestead eventually has sheep, pigs, horses, and cattle. He forged close relationships with the men in the area, which formed the core of the Serbian army. These men led to organizing thousands of Serbs and they easily defeated the jannissaries. They became so powerful, that they also defeated the Sultan’s army in 1805 in a battle close to the southern Serb city of Niš.
They were close to cutting a deal with the Sultan when greater events intervened. The Russians, French, and Turks were battling for supremacy of the region. Black George aligned with the fellow Christian Orthodox Russians. The Russian army came and occupied Belgrade, which was under siege by the Ottomans. Black George was in trouble when the Russian Tsar Alexander I, withdrew his troops from Belgrade to fight against Napoleon. The Ottomans quickly moved three of their armies to take control of Belgrade, and Black George fled to Austria on October 3rd, 1813.
A famous battle during the First Serb Uprising, took place on May 31, 1809, when Serb forces clashed with occupying Ottoman Turks.
Historical sources say that one of the commanders of the uprising, Stevan Sinđelić, after realizing that he could no longer defend his position against the Turks who outnumbered the Serbs, advised his men to leave and save themselves if they wished, before firing his gun into a gunpowder storage.
The explosion that was triggered in this way killed all Serb soldiers, some 3,000 of them, and about 6,000 Turks. After the battle, the Turks’ reprisals included erecting of the Ćele Kula (Skull Tower), built out of skulls of 952 Serb soldiers.
Today, the monument holds 58 skulls, and it is believed that Sinđelić’s is among them.
In 1817, Black George secretly returned to Serbia. The Serb leadership assassinated him, not only because he was a threat to them, but he also during his exile, aligned himself with the Greek revolution. The Serbs wanted an independent Serbia, not one under the more populous Greeks.
In looking at the legacy of George Petrović, he may have been considered a failure. His movement ultimately did not give Serbia independence. He also died a violent death at age 47.
But looking at it from a different perspective, his accomplishments were great. He rose from being an illiterate cattle and pig farmer, to leading the largest Christian army inside the Islamic Ottoman Empire. One of his rivals succeeded a few years later in gaining Serbian autonomy, but learned from the mistakes of George. Black George’s descendents however, became a Serb monarchial dynasty. The House of Karađorđević, or House of Black George ruled Yugoslavia from 1903 – 1941. Today, Crown Prince Aleksandar, a descendent of Black George, is living in the Royal Palace, near my home in suburb of Dedinje. He doesn’t have any formal political power, but is a figurehead and there is some talk of Serbia returning to a constitutional monarchy.
My personal connection with Black George, is the Crown Prince Alexander’s second wife, Katherine Batis, called me earlier this year to help her with a charity fashion show for breast cancer she was holding at the palace.
King Petar Karađorđević I
King Petar was the grandson of “Black George” but only came to power late in his life. The Karađorđević Dynasty didn’t start right away after Black George because the Obrenović family had a couple of generation of rulers. The Obrenović family might still be on the throne today if it were not for the poor decisions of Alesandar Obrenović. King Alesandar in 1903 was murdered, chopped into pieces and thrown out the window of the palace. He angered influential military offices by interfering with their management. He also was unpopular with the public in general because he wanted to marry a much older woman with a dubious past. Many people did not want to see her children from a previous marriage ascend to the throne.
Petar was a career military man and was a good leader for Serbia at the time. He led the Serbian army in the Balkan Wars and World War I. He fought for France in the Franco-Prussian wars as a young man in addition to later fighting for the Serbs in Bosnia against the Austro-Hungarians. He bravely stayed in Serbia during World War I and traveled with the army through the mountains in the long march to Corfu (more on that below).
He was the first leader of Yugoslavia, or as it was known then as the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. We visited his museum in Senjak. In his final years, he spent quietly in a beautiful home near our school. The municipality has recently renovated the house and it is used for exhibitions, concerts, and other events. Below is a picture of one of the rooms with a montage picturing King Petar.
Write a bit more about Petar’s descendents and maybe the Balkan Wars
World War I
It can be said that Serbia started World War I. In 1908 The Austro-Hungarian Empire (AHE) annexed Bosnia-Hercegovina and this upset the Bosnian Serbs, who were 43% of the population of the province. A poor Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip joined the Black Hand resistance group. This was a time of political assassinations as world-wide from 1900 to 1913, 40 heads of state, and politicians were murdered, including US President William McKinley. On June 28 1914, AHE big shot Franz Ferdinand visited Sarajevo. Bad choice of day as that is the anniversary of Battle of Kosovo and an emotional day for Serbs to begin with. Franz narrowly missed being hit with a bomb, as another member of the Black Hand attempted to assassinate him in a morning procession through the city. His procession sped away to safety as the bomb bounced off the back of his car and exploded nearby, wounding part of his entourage and bystanders. Later, Franz decided to visit the hospital to check on the victims of the bombing. On the way, Franz’s Czech driver made a wrong turn down Franz Josep street and while reversing, the car stalled. Gavrilo Princip being a Serb, was eating a sandwich and probably enjoying a cigarette in a cafe on that same street. Gavrilo was most likely mad that his friend missed with the bomb. What a surprise to see Ferdinand’s car stalled right near the cafe. Gavrilo walked out and from five feet away, killed the visiting dignitary. Gavrilo accidentally also murdered his wife as he was aiming for the Military Govenor of Bosnia, Oskar Potiorek. Gavrilo then tried to commit suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill, but it oxidized and only caused him great pain.
Gavrilo was only 19 years old at the time and was sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty because of his young age. He ended up dying four years later of tuberculosis in the harsh prison camp conditions. He is revered in Serbia today as a defender of the Serbian nation. There is a street named after him in Belgrade and many parents name their sons Gavrilo.
World War II
In 1941 the threat of war throughout Europe was imminent. Prince Paul, the Serbian monarch led a weak government that was trying to keep together the Croats and Serbs. He was negotiating with an aggressive Germany to avoid war. Prince Paul favored a deal with Hitler that would avoid a war by bonding the Yugoslavian economy to the Nazi New Order and giving freedom of movement for German troops and equipment through the country. This would suit Germany in its assault on Russia which they were beginning to plan shortly. In return, Germany was prepared to offer enlarging Yugoslavia by annexing the port city of Salonika, Greece and its surroundings. Despite the majority of Serbs disagreeing with this and three Serbian ministers resigning in protest, Tri-Partite Pact was signed between Yugoslavia and Germany in Vienna on March 25, 1941.
This announcement led to a coup d’etat led by Serbian officers in the Yugoslav army on March 27, two days later. Many Serbs did not agree with appeasing the Nazi regime to avoid war. In one hour, the entire regime of Prince Paul was overthrown without a single loss of life. This led to celebrations in Belgrade, with Serbs chanting, “Bolje rat nego pakt!” which meant War Rather Than the Pact. The Serbs chose their ideals instead of trying to deal with the Nazis and they knew it meant total warfare. They had seen the Nazi Blitzkrieg in Poland, Belgium, and Holland previous to this. Like Lazar before, they chose to live and suffer for their ideals. The Serbs were offered a compromise like Sweden and Turkey, but they did not take it. On April 6, 1941, Germany bombed Belgrade and on May 4, 1941, Hitler declared the Yugoslavian state no longer existed. Some experts believe the five-week delay that Germany had to make to subdue Yugoslavia before invading Russia, may have cost them that campaign and eventually the war.
Josip Broz Tito
“Tito” is one of those classic “strongmen”, caudillos, or dictators. His charismatic personality, ruthlessness, and military success, brought him to power and held Yugoslavia together for almost 50 years. Quite an astonishing life he lived, in part because of the turbulent times of two world wars.
Josip Broz was born in Kumrovec, Croatia in 1892 to a Croatian father and Slovene mother. His grandfather was the last generation of serfs. Broz came from a very different world than today. His father was a very poor businessman and battled alcoholism, and Broz left home at age 15 and for five years he traveled and worked in Croatia, Austria, and Germany. Croatia at this time was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (AHE) and the majority of the population was poor. Josip worked in factories but always ended up fleeing because of his union organizing activities. He was fascinated with heavy industry and the struggle against the unfairness of the class system. He was a full-on believer in the socialist and communist ideals of governance.
Broz was then drafted into the WWI Hapsburg Army of the AHE for their declaration of war against Serbia. His regiment was sent to the Carpathian mountains to stop the Russians from advancing to Budapest and attacking Serbia. He was taken as a prisoner when his unit was overrun and sent to Siberia. He almost died a couple of times but managed to escape and ended up in St. Petersburg for the Bolshevik Revolution. Broz joined the Red Guard and the Communist Party while in Russia.
WWI saw the ending of the AHE and in 1920 he returned to Croatia which was then a monarchy led Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. He really became a radical communist during this period and was forced to go underground as communist party was illegal. He was eventually caught and was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor in a Zagreb jail from 1928 to 1933. It was a blessing in disguise. He was safely in jail, while the Yugoslav government was capturing and executing his fellow party members. This is a recurrent theme in his life. He was fortunate to make it through two wars and the many political battles. In those days, political leaders emerged not so much through elections, but through surviving purges and killing competitors.
Upon release from prison, he continued to work covertly for the communist party. Broz was in exile in Austria in 1934 when King Aleksander was assassinated. The Communist Party then sent him to the USSR to work for Comintern (a Moscow-backed international communist organization). This was a bad time to be there as Stalin was going crazy and killing many political competitors. He once again, managed to survive and he also gained his nickname, “Tito” which was his comrade code name. Some say it is short for Walter, others believe the name originates from a type of Soviet pistol. Many of his friends and colleagues were murdered by the Soviet government and eventually Tito rose to head the communist party of Yugoslavia. He returned to Zagreb in 1940 on the eve of World War II.
When Hitler’s Germany destroyed Belgrade and invaded Yugoslavia, Tito was there to lead a resistance movement called the Partisans. The USSR asked him to defeat the fascists. Serbia was a complicated and horrific mess during WWII. Germany and Italy occupied it and installed a Quisling regime in Croatia called the Ustaše. With the Germans, the Ustaše set up concentration camps whose goal was the elimination of Serbs, Roma, and any one else that was not in their movement. Naturally resistance movements formed in the country. The two major groups were the Chetniks and Tito’s Partisans. The Chetniks were Serbs while the Partisans were a mix of Yugoslavian nationalities. Tito installed a discipline that made the Partisans more effective against the Nazis. There were also battles between the Partisans and Chetniks that would carry over into the secession of Yugoslavia war 50 years later.Winston Churchill, the WWII British Commander-in-Chief recognized that the Partisans were “killing more Nazis” and lent the support of the British military to them instead of the Chetniks. This really helped Tito.
Yugoslavia was different from the rest of the Eastern Europe countries in that it cleared the Nazis without the help of the Soviet Red Army. Tito’s Partisans used the mountains of Bosnia to use guerrilla war against the occupiers. Tito played up his own legend in subsequent years, but he was an effective military leader. Tito was ruthless in retribution upon taking control of the country in the waning stages of the war. There were many military and civilian massacres and executions of Ustaše, collaborators, and political rivals. It is not fair to judge the past from the standards of today, but Tito would probably be a war criminal if this had occurred today. With the ending of World War II, this gave Tito and the Partisans full power and popularity in Serbia
The Soviet Union had more influence in the Soviet Bloc of eastern Europe, than in Yugoslavia. Tito was a fanatical socialist, but I like to call him “Stalin Lite” as he would generally just imprison or banish political enemies instead of like Stalin, murdering them. Tito eventually broke with Stalin and the Russians and this gave Yugoslavia a special status during the Cold War of the 1950′s, 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s.Without World War II, I don’t think Tito could have come to power and controlled Yugoslavia for so long. As with most dictators, in order to hold power for that many years, he had to eliminate many potential rivals. The secret police used interrogation, torture, and imprisonment to keep Yugoslavia together and Tito in power.
It is disappointing to read of Tito’s later years he turned into this materialistic almost king like figure. It is not good for any organization, whether it be a business, school, or country, to have a leader for too long. Tito was “cool” as he lived the cosmopolitan lifestyle, founding the Non Aligned Movement, and jet setting with celebrities. But in the end, his legacy after World War II did not put Yugoslavia on course for future success. He did keep the country together, but his policies and leadership were the roots for the violence when communism fell and the country broke up. He also left a horrible economy, not able to compete with Western Europe.
What could he have done differently? He could have made better constitution, giving clear guidelines on the powers of the states versus the federal government. I would have given much regional autonomy, but strong economic bonds. He could have put the best people in key government positions instead of trying to hang on to power by rotating them all the time. He also should have opened up the economy which would have boosted the standard of living. The borderline Yugoslavian states, like Slovenia, Kosovo, Macedonia, would then want to be part of a stronger union instead of fearing Serbian domination. I am not sure if the failed experiment (it failed three times!) of Yugoslavia could ever have been sustained, but I feel Serbia and the other now independent states would be much better off together, than alone.
They celebrate Tito’s birthday here in Serbia on the 25th of May, the same day as mine, so I feel I have special bond with him. His museum is very close to my house and I will do a post on my visit.
What Should Have Been – Draža Mihailović
Post Tito / End of Yugoslavia (1980 – 1999)
When Tito died in 1980 it was an end of an era. Although he did not set up well his succession, the seeds of Yugoslavia’s destruction were sown, while he was still in office. Tito did a lot to keep the different cultural groups together in one country. He did not however, keep them completely happy. The richer regions like Slovenia and Croatia complained that a portion of their wealth (In Slovenia it was actually around 8%) went to support the poorer regions of Kosovo. In Kosovo, Tito and then Milosevic, put down Kosovar Albanian rebellions. And at Tito’s death, the economy was heading towards disaster with a foreign debt of $17 billion and 60% inflation. In 1974, Tito made a new constitution giving more autonomy to the states. All of these foretold the break up.
A couple of major factors caused the breakup of Yugoslavia. The first was the end of communism and the social, economic and political turbulence that it caused. The second was selfish politicians using this time of uncertainty to gain power. They did this through using the media to get people to think about their ethnic background and how they are being abused.
KOSOVO (re-do this section entirely)
add a bit about the future of Serbia and post-war stuff
This is a very controversial and emotional subject for many people in the Balkans. I hope this part of my history of Serbia does not spark emotive and divisive comments from my readers. The purpose of this section of the history is for me to learn more about the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo and the history of the two regions. It is not to choose one side or the other. I again state that readers of this post do not make comments that invite conflict between Kosovars and Serbs. I am enjoying my time living in Serbia and am trying to understand the region. I am not trying to justify either side.
What sparked my recent interest in Kosovo, were the transcripts of Serbia’s law suit with the United Nation’s International Court of Justice regarding Kosovo’s declaration of independence. In December of 2009, Serbia brought before the court, the idea that Kosovo’s declaration of independence was illegal. The B 92 website had all of the case summaries kindly archived. It made for interesting reading. I am very interested in learning more about Kosovo and Serbia’s connection to it. I see graffiti often in Belgrade referring to Kosovo, mostly in the form of slogans. “Kosovo is Serbia” There is not much detail attached to them, and I wanted to learn why Serbians feel so strongly about Kosovo.
The first case summary I read was from Kosovo’s legal team. Their lawyers (the legal team sounded British ala Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’ Diary – one of my wife’s favorite movies) referred to documents and events I was not familiar with such as the Security Council Resolution, the peace talks, and the conflict in Kosovo in the late 1990′s. I will read more about this as I dig deeper into the topic. Their basic argument was because of the Serbian government’s long history of suppression and acts of violence toward Kosovars, the Kosovo people wanted to be independent of Serbia. The legal team pointed out the long process of attempting to have both sides compromise. Basically, Serbia wanted to keep Kosovo a province of Serbia while Kosovo wanted to be independent. The lawyers highlighted that Kosovo did compromise by granting protections of minorities in the Kosovo constitution. Serbians are the only significant minority in Kosovo. They also attacked Serbia’s claim that the declaration of independence by Kosovo was not illegal as no international legal documents forbid an eventual declaration. The lawyers also argued that Kosovo differs from other regions within countries seeking independence such as Cyprus or Georgia.
My idea with this section is to read most of the transcripts from the cases and then make up my own mind on what should have happened. I don’t see much of a compromise on the part of the Kosovars. I also should read more about the history of the most recent conflict.
What did Serbia lose when Kosovo broke away?
- Kosovo had about 20% of Serbia’s population. There are around 2 million inhabitants, mostly ethnic Albanians. There were approximately 300,000 ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo.
- Kosovo was approximately 12% of the area of Serbia. Serbia proper is about the size of the US state of South Carolina, and Kosovo is close to the size of US state of Delaware.
- Kosovo is the poorest country in Europe with an average annual income per capita of $2,500. This is compared to $10,500 per capita income for Serbia.
- Kosovo is a historic region for the Serbs. The famous field of the black birds, is near Pristina. This is the site of the 1389 battle against the Ottoman Turks. It was one of the decisive battles in the Ottomans eventual domination of Serbia. There are also many Serbian Orthodox Christian monasteries in Kosovo.
Further Reading (add all of my resources)
Barnett, Neil Tito – Life & Time Series London: Haus Publishing Limited, 2006
Bataković, Dušan Editor Kosovo and Metohija – Living in the Enclave Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, 2007
Drakulić, Slavenka They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in the Hague Penguin Books 2004
Fonseca, Isabel Bury Me Standing – The Gypsies and Their Journey Vintage Books 1995
Fromkin, David Kosovo Crossing- American Ideals Meet Reality on the Balkan Battlefields The Free Press, New York 1999
Glenny, Misha The Fall of Yugoslavia - The Third Balkan War New York: Penguin Books, 1996
Glenny, Misha The Balkans – Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999 New York: Penguin Books, 1999
Goodwin, Jason Lords of the Horizon: A History of the Ottoman Empire Picador Books 1998
Judah, Tim The Serbs – History, Myth & Destruction of Yugoslavia New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000
Judah, Tim Kosovo – War and Revenge New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002
Kaplan, Robert D. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History Picador, 1993
Karahasan, Dyevad Sarjevo Exodus of a City Connectum, Sarajevo, 2010
Lučarević, Kerim The Battle for Sarajevo – Sentenced to Victory Sarajevo, 2000
Martin, David Ally Betrayed: The Uncensored Story of Tito and Mihailovich New York: Prentice Hall Inc., 1946
Nedeljković, Mile Topola – Karageorge’s Fortified Town – Oplenac Topola, Serbia: The Endowment of King Peter I, 1998
Owen, David Balkan Odyssey Harcourt Brace, USA 1995
Udovički, Jasminka & Ridgeway, James, editors Burn This House: The Making and Unmaking of Yugoslavia Duke University Press 1999
Various Authors Dubrovnik in War Matica Hrvatska, Dubrovnik, 2002
Vlahović, Petar Serbia The Country, People, Life and Customs Ethnographic Museum Belgrade, 2004
West, Rebecca Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia Penguin Books 1944