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Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Languages: Serbian History

Supplementary materials to support first year language program

Geography, People, and Economy






77, 474 square kilometers


Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnianm Romani


Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant



Life Expectancy:


GDP per Capita:


Literacy Percent:



Industry: automobiles, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tries, clothes, pharmaceuticals

Agriculture: Wheat, maize, sunflower, sugar beats, raspberries, apples, sour cherries, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, beef, pork, meat products, dairy products 

Exports: automobiles, iron and steel, rubber, clothes, wheat, fruits and vegetables, nonferrous metals, electric appliances, metal products, weapons and ammunition


Information taken from CIA Factbook.


389 - Serb nobility decimated in battle of Kosovo Polje as Ottoman Empire expands.

15th - 18th centuries - Serbia absorbed by Ottoman Empire.

1817 - Serbia becomes autonomous principality.

1878 - Serbian independence recognised by international treaties.

1918 - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes formed after World War I.

1929 - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

1945 - Together with Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, Serbia becomes one of republics in new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito.

1980 - Tito dies.

1989 - Slobodan Milosevic becomes President of Serbia.

1991 - Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia break away from Yugoslavia.

1992 - Montenegro and Serbia form Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Rising nationalist and independence aspirations bring bloody conflict with Croats and Bosnian Muslims. UN imposes sanctions on Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

1995 - Dayton accords bring end to Bosnian war. Sanctions lifted.

1997 - Milosevic becomes Yugoslav president.

1998 - Kosovo Liberation Army rebels against Serbian rule. Serb forces launch brutal crackdown. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians flee.

1999 - Defiance by Milosevic over Kosovo sparks Nato air strikes against Serbian targets. Milosevic agrees to withdraw forces from Kosovo. Kosovo becomes UN protectorate but remains de jure part of Serbia.

2000 - Milosevic accused of rigging presidential election win against Vojislav Kostunica. Mass street demonstrations ensue. Protesters storm parliament. Milosevic quits. Mr Kostunica sworn in as president. Federal Republic of Yugoslavia joins UN. Djindjic goes on to become Serbian prime minister.

2001 April - Milosevic arrested in Belgrade and charged with misuse of state funds and abuse of office.

2002 February - Trial of Slobodan Milosevic on charges of genocide and war crimes begins in The Hague.

2002 Yugoslav, Montenegrin and Serbian leaders sign EU mediated accord to set up new Union of Serbia and Montenegro in place of Yugoslavia.

2003 Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments approve constitutional charter for Union of Serbia and Montengro. Yugoslav parliament consigns Yugoslavia to history by approving constitutional charter for Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

2006  Nato admits Serbia to its Partnership for Peace pre-membership programme, despite having earlier expressed reservations over the failure to apprehend war crime suspects such as Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

2007 21 January - First parliamentary election since the break-up of the union with Montenegro in June 2006. Ultra-nationalist Radical Party makes gains but fails to win enough seats to form a government.

2007 Talks on the future status of Kosovo end in stalemate, with the province's ethnic Albanian leadership vowing to unilaterally declare independence. Serbia says it will resist independence moves.

2008 Democratic Party leader Boris Tadic re-elected Serbian president defeating nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, giving a boost to Serbia's aspirations to join the EU. UN-administered Kosovo declares itself independent. Serbia says declaration illegal.

2008  Mirko Cvetkovic sworn in as new prime minister. Leads coalition government bringing together the pro-EU Democratic Party and the nationalist Socialist Party. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who evaded capture on war crimes charges for almost 13 years, is arrested by Serbian security forces in Belgrade and flown to The Hague to stand trial. European Union mission takes over the policing of Kosovo from the United Nations. Russia and Serbia finalise a controversial energy deal that will hand Moscow control of Serbia's oil distribution network, in return for building a gas pipeline that will take Russian gas through Serbia to southern European markets.


Timeline information taken from BBC News.




Image taken from Encyclopedia Brittanica.

History of Serbia

The Europa World Plus entry for Serbia provides a strong introductory overview to the history of the country throughout the twentieth century.

Additionally, this Encyclopedia Article provides a thorough history of Serbia, dating back to the Iron Age. The references informing this article are helpfully documented.

History of the Serbian Language

While UCLA’s previously wonderful resource, the Language Materials Project, is unfortunately currently unfunded, the UCLA Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures website provides a wonderful overview of the history of the Serbian language. Beyond history, this page covers linguistic affiliation, language variation orthography, the language’s role in society and provides a linguistic sketch.



A language of Serbia

ISO 639-3srp

Population  4,500,000 in Serbia (2006). Population total all countries: 7,020,550.
Region  Also in Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Libya, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation (Europe), Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey (Europe), Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Zambia.
Alternate names   Montenegrin
Dialects  Shtokavski (Stokavian), Torlakian.
Classification  Indo-European, Slavic, South, Western
A member of macrolanguage Serbo-Croatian [hbs] (Serbia).
Language use  Official language. National language.
Language development  Fully developed. Bible: 1804–1968.
Writing system  Cyrillic script. Latin script, used in Macedonia.
Comments  Previously considered a part of the Serbo-Croat language. Torlakian spoken in south and east. Influence from Bulgarian [bul]. Some linguists consider it transitional between Shtokavski and Macedonian [mkd]. SVO; postpositions; genitives, articles, adjectives, numerals, relatives after noun heads; question word initial; 1 suffix; case determines subject, object; obligatory verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject, object, other noun phrase; passive for each tense, not commonly used today; causatives marked by separate words; comparatives marked by prefix; CCVCVC; nontonal. Christian.

Also spoken in:


Language name   Serbian
Population  297,000 in Albania (2007).
Region  Southwest.
Alternate names  Montenegrin
Comments  Muslim.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Language name   Serbian
Population  1,300,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2004).
Alternate names  Montenegrin
Language use  Official language.



Language name   Serbian
Population  33,300 in Macedonia (2001).
Language map  Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Dialects  Serbian.
Comments  Christian.



Language name   Serbian
Population  198,000 in Montenegro (2006).
Comments  Muslim.



Language name   Serbian
Population  27,000 in Romania (2002 census).
Comments  Christian, Muslim.


Russian Federation (Europe)

Language name   Serbian
Population  4,160 in Russian Federation (2002 census).
Comments  Christian, Muslim.



Language name   Serbian
Population  20,000 in Turkey (1980). 2,345 monolinguals (1965 census). Ethnic population: 61,000.
Region  West Turkey, scattered.
Alternate names  Bosnian
Language use  Also use Turkish [tur].
Comments  Muslim.