Serbia until 1204

The Serbs have settled in the area south of the Danube and Sava rivers probably in the 7th century, as part of the Avar expansion. At that time they were pagans; in subsequent centuries, they were converted to Orthodox faith. The Serbs are first documented in De administrando imperii, a text compiled under Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII. Porphyrogenitus, around the middle of the 10th century. At that time, Serbia was regarded a vassal principality of the Byzantine Empire, headed by the VELIKI ZUPAN (Grand Zupan).
This principality then disintegrated, and two Serbian principalities, ZETA and RASKA, emerged in the 11th century.
Grand Zupan STEPHEN NEMANJA of Raska (1169-1196) fought to expand his realm and gain independence from Byzantium. In 1186 Zeta was conquered; Stephen Nemanja retired in 1196 to become a monk. In 1204 the crusaders took Constantinople, thus establishing Serbian independence as a fact. Already in 1202 had Pope Innocent III. sent royal insignia to Grand Zupan, now King, Stephen, the second son of Stephen Nemanja.

History of Serbia and Montenegro, from yunet
History of Montenegro : Nemanjic's period (1186-1353), from Montenet
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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