Montenegro's referendum vote for independence from the Union of Serbia and Montenegro resulted in Serbia becoming a separate sovereign republic in the summer of 2006.
With the dissolution of the Union, the six republics of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia—Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia—that were established in 1945, came to an end.
Ethnic tensions were managed by the communist ruler of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. After his passing in 1980, the federation continued for more than ten years before dissolving under Slobodan Milosevic, the leader of the Serbian nationalist movement, in the 1990s.
While Croatia and Bosnia experienced devastating wars, Slovenia and Macedonia's secession occurred relatively peacefully. Between 1992 and 2003, Serbia and Montenegro together created the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia before creating a looser union.
Kosovo formally proclaimed its independence on its own in 2008.
According to the democracy advocacy group Freedom House, the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) has been steadily eroding political rights and civil liberties in recent years, putting pressure on independent media, the political opposition, and civil society organizations.
- Capital:. Belgrade.
- Area: . 77,474 sq km (Kosovo excluded).
- Population:. (Kosovo excluded) 6.7 million.
- Language:. Serbian.
- Expected lifespan: (Men) 71 years; (Women) 77 years.
Aleksandar Vucic is in charge.
Aleksandar Vucic was elected prime minister in March 2014 following a resounding victory in early parliamentary elections for his pro-EU nationalist Progressive Party. In April 2022, he was re-elected.
Amnesty International described his tenure as one marked by violations of human rights, limitations on the right to free speech, and harassment campaigns directed at opposition figures, journalists, and media organizations in 2021.
When he took office, Mr. Vucic vowed to completely revamp Serbia's failing economy and speed up the country's move toward EU membership.
Ana Brnabic serves as prime minister.
When she assumed office in June 2017, Ana Brnabic made history by becoming Serbia's first openly gay and female prime minister.
Ms. Brnabic is independent and has experience in local government development. She has referred to herself as a technocratic and pro-European prime minister. Vukic, as president, is said to be the one with real power in Serbia, according to some detractors.
By far, the most important source of news and information is television. A small number of outlets dominate the market, including the public network's flagship, RTS1.
The average viewer watches television for more than five hours per day, which is the highest figure in all of Europe, and there are more than 90 TV channels available.
Thirty TV stations have regional licenses, while six are allowed to broadcast nationally. 70 percent of viewers watch national TV broadcasts, on average.
With up to 25 percent of the audience, RTS1 is the most watched channel in Serbia. It fiercely competes with commercial stations, including the top commercial network TV Pink.
Some significant dates in Serbian history are:.
1389 . - The battle of Kosovo Polje decimates Serb nobility as the Ottoman Empire grows.
15th to 18th centuries. - The Ottoman Empire taking over Serbia.
1817 . Serbia becomes an independent principality.
1878 . - The international agreements that recognize Serbia's independence.
1918 . - The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which later became Yugoslavia, was founded following World War One.
1945 . - Under Josip Broz Tito, Serbia joins the ranks of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which also includes Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro.
1980 . Death of Tito.
1989 . Slobodan Milosevic takes office as Serbia's president.
1991 . - Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Bosnia secede from Yugoslavia.
1992 . - The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is comprised of Serbia and Montenegro. Rising nationalist sentiment and demands for independence spark bloody clashes with Bosnian Muslims and Croats. Sanctions are imposed by UN.
1995 . The Bosnian War is over thanks to the Dayton Accords. Sanctions are lifted.
1997 . Yugoslavia's new president is Milosevic.
1998 . - The Kosovo Liberation Army revolts against Serbian rule. brutal crackdown is started by Serb forces. Numerous thousands of Kosovo Albanians leave.
1999 . - Slobodan Milosevic's defiance in the Kosovo conflict leads to NATO airstrikes against Serbian targets. The withdrawal of troops from Kosovo is accepted by Milosevic. Although officially part of Serbia, Kosovo is now under UN protection.
2002 . The Hague courtroom will now hear Slobodan Milosevic's trial for alleged war crimes and genocide.
2006 . - The Hague authorities discovered Milosevic dead in his cell.
2006 . - In a referendum, Montenegro decides to break away from Serbia and declare independence.
2008. - The US, the majority of the EU, and NATO countries gradually recognize Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, but Serbia does not.
2008 . - Serbian security forces in Belgrade apprehend former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who had spent nearly 13 years evading capture while wanted for war crimes. He is then transported to The Hague for trial.
2011. - The former commander of the Bosnian Serb military, Ratko Mladic, is detained by Serbian authorities.
2013. - A historic agreement on the rapprochement of Serbia and Kosovo is signed.
2014. EU membership negotiations start.
2016 . - A UN tribunal sentences Radovan Karadzic to 40 years in prison after finding him guilty of genocide and war crimes.
2017. - Ratko Mladic, a former commander of the Bosnian Serbs, is sentenced to life in prison for genocide and other atrocities committed during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.