Yugoslavia Table of Contents
Figure 2. Military Frontier Province Between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, ca. 1600-1800
Source: Based on information from Great Britain, Admiralty, Naval Intelligence Division, Yugoslavia II: History, Peoples, and Administration, London; 1944, 20.
Figure 3. Expansion of Serbia, 1804-1914
Tombstones of heretical Bogomil sect, Bosnia
Courtesy Sam and Sarah Stulberg
Before Yugoslavia became a nation, the Slovenes, Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Macedonians, and Albanians had virtually independent histories. The Slovenes struggled to define and defend their cultural identity for a millennium, first under the Frankish Kingdom and then under the Austrian Empire. The Croats of Croatia and Slavonia enjoyed a brief independence before falling under Hungarian and Austrian domination; and the Croats in Dalmatia struggled under Byzantine, Hungarian, Venetian, French, and Austrian rule. The Serbs, who briefly rivaled the Byzantine Empire in medieval times, suffered 500 years of Turkish domination before winning independence in the nineteenth century. Their Montenegrin kinsmen lived for centuries under a dynasty of bishop-priests and savagely defended their mountain homeland against foreign aggressors. Bosnians turned to heresy to protect themselves from external political and religious pressure, converted in great numbers to Islam after the Turks invaded, and became a nuisance to Austria-Hungary in the late nineteenth century. A hodgepodge of ethnic groups peopled Macedonia over the centuries. As the power of the Ottoman Empire waned, the region was contested among the Serbs, Bulgars, Greeks, and Albanians, and also was a pawn among the major European powers. Finally, the disputed Kosovo region, with an Albanian majority and medieval Serbian tradition, remained an Ottoman backwater until after the Balkan Wars of the early twentieth century.
Data as of December 1990