until 1204 Ottoman Rule

Serbia an independent kingdom, 1204-1459

In 1219 Stephen Nemanja's elder son, SAVA, established the SERBIAN AUTOKEPHALOUS CHURCH (autokephalous means independent, i.e. independent from the Patriarch of Constantinople which during the Latin Empire (1204-1261) was forced to accept papal supremacity and Latin liturgy. Thus, the Serbian Orthodox Church was established, with the seat of it's archbishop at ZICA, then moced to PEC.
The greatest King of the Nemanjic dynasty was STEPHEN DUSAN (1331-1355) who took on the title Tsar of the Serbs and Greeks in 1346; under him, the Serbian kingdom greatly expanded, including the Belgrade area, Albania, Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia.
Immigrating German miners from Transylvania developed copper, tin, silver and lead mines; Serbia became one of Europe's leading supplier of metals. Stephen Dusan is also known for the codification of law which took place during his reign.
Under Stephen Dusan's successor STEPHEN UROS (1355-1371) civil war broke out over Dusan's succession, and many of the areas gained by Dusan were lost again. Meanwhile the Ottomans had emerged as a new political factor on the Balkans peninsula, and the BATTLE OF KOSOVO POLJE in 1389 resulted in a disastrous defeat of the Serbs; Prince LAZAR HREBELJANOVIC fell.
The Ottomans did not yet take over the country and soon were distracted by Tamerlane's invasion. Only after Constantinople had fallen to them in 1453 were they willing to focus on frontier areas such as Serbia; with the fall of SMEDEROVO FORTRESS in 1459, the Serbian state ceased to exist.

Serbia's Kings/Tsars/Princes/Despots, 1202-1459
Stephen I.
Stephen Radoslav
Stephen Vladislav
Stephen Uros I.
Stephen Dragutin
Stephen Uros II. Milutin
Stephen Uros III. Decansk
Stephen Dusan, Tsar since 1346
Stephen Uros (1st Tsar of that name)
Prince Lazar
Stephen Lazarevic, since 1402 despot
George Brancovic
Lazar Brancovic

Servia, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
History of Serbia and Montenegro, from yunet
History of Montenegro : Nemanjic's period (1186-1353), from Montenet
Biography of St. Sava, from St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, from yunet, extensive
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 8th 2004

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