Yugoslavia - Country history and economic development

600s. Slavs settle in parts of the present Serbian and Montenegrin lands, comprising portions of the ancient Roman province of Illyricum, then ruled by Byzantium, from which the Slavs accept Orthodox Christianity.

1168. King Stefan Nemanja establishes the first kingdom of Serbia.

1331-55. Under King Stefan Dusan, Serbia acquires new lands as the feudal economy develops and gives way to decentralization.

1389. Ottomans rout a Christian army including Serbs under King Lazar at Kosovo Polje.

1459. Serbia is violently conquered by the Ottoman Empire and remains under its rule for nearly 4 centuries, while Montenegro, the one-time Serbian province of Zeta, remains virtually independent.

1815. A revolt frees most of Serbia from Ottoman domination; a Serbian national revival thrives. Serb nationalists aim at uniting all South Slavs under the Serbian state.

1912-13. In the Balkan Wars, Serbia annexes extensive territories, including the Sandjak, Kosovo, and the present-day Republic of Macedonia.

1914. Austria-Hungary starts World War I, occupying Serbia by 1915. The Serbian army and government flee.

1918. The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 1929) is proclaimed (it includes Montenegro).

1941. In World War II, Yugoslavia breaks up as Nazi Germany occupies Serbia. Serb nationalist Chetniks compete with Partisans led by Croatian communist Josip Broz Tito in resisting the Germans.

1945. Tito's communists proclaim the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. Serbia and Montenegro become constituent socialist republics. In 1946, the regions of Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina become autonomous provinces.

1945-80. Yugoslavia's socialist economy develops, and heavy industry is stressed, but since the late 1950s economic control is decentralized, and some private initiative is allowed.

1987. Dissatisfaction with the federation grows among constituent republics after Tito's death. Serbia, led by President Milosevic, tries to impose control over them and revokes the autonomy of Kosovo (the 90 percent ethnic Albanian province) and Vojvodina (where a sizeable ethnic Hungarian minority lives).

1991. Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia declare their independence, and Bosnia joins them in 1992. Serbia and Montenegro subsequently declare themselves the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which is not recognized by the international community. Its U.N. membership is suspended.

1991-95. The Milosevic regime plays an active role in the civil wars in Bosnia and Croatia and is severely criticized by the international community for military atrocities and the brutal oppression of domestic opposition and minorities.

1995. The Dayton peace accord puts an end to the war in Croatia and Bosnia.

1996. Mass demonstrations, led by the united democratic opposition against the Milosevic regime, begin.

1999. Mass expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, to counter the underground insurgent Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), provokes an international response, including bombing and the stationing of NATO and Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo while Montenegro declares the German mark official currency.

2000. Milosevic is defeated in presidential elections and democrat Vojislav Kostunica takes over. Montenegro aspires for independence, and Albanian separatists strike in southern Serbia. Readmission to the U.N. is approved; membership in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and in the IMF is expected. The Democratic Coalition of Serbia wins parliamentary elections in December, led by reformist Zoran Djindjic.

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