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a nation in Yugoslavia, numbering 8.1 million persons (1971 census), of whom about 6 million live in Serbia and the rest in various parts of Bosnia and Hercegovina and in eastern Croatia. In addition, about 180,000 Serbs live outside of Yugoslavia, chiefly in Rumania and Hungary but also in the USA. They speak Serbo-Croatian, and most of the believers among them are Greek Orthodox. There are also small groups of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.

In the sixth and seventh centuries South Slavic tribes, the ancestors of the modern Serbs, settled large parts of the central Balkan Peninsula, where they intermingled with the local romanized Illyrian and Thracian population. The name “Serbs” is first mentioned in ninth-century sources. In the early Middle Ages a feudal state developed slowly among the Serbs, and the political center shifted between the interior and the coastal regions. Medieval Serbia reached its zenith in the reign of Stephen Duŝan (1331–55).

Soon after the defeat at Kosovo in 1389, the Serbian lands came under Ottoman rule, which lasted for several centuries. Turkish oppression retarded the historical development of the Serbian people, who remained economically and culturally backward for many years. Vestiges of patriarchal and clan relations persisted for a long time in Serbian society.

The national liberation struggle promoted the growth of national consciousness among the Serbian people. The center of the liberation movement was the area now called Vojvodina, where capitalist relations emerged among the Serbs in the 18th century. The Serbs’ liberation from Turkish oppression began with the first (1804–13) and second (1815) Serbian uprisings, after which part of the Serbian territory was proclaimed the Principality of Serbia. It was not until 1878, however, that Serbia gained its independence and extended its frontiers. Even then, a considerable part of Serbia remained under Turkish and Austrian rule.

The consolidation of the Serbian nation was accelerated in the third quarter of the 19th century. The Serbian Omladina (1866–72) called for national unity among all Serbs regardless of state boundaries. In 1918 the Serbs and other Yugoslav (South Slavic) peoples united to form a single state, called the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Renamed Yugoslavia in 1929, the kingdom was dominated by the Greater Serbia bourgeoisie. In the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, formed in 1945, and later in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Serbs have constituted one of several equal nations in a federation, within which they are participating in the building of socialism and developing their national culture. Although the Serbs form a homogeneous nation, the names of individual ethnographic groups, usually derived from place names, are still used. Among such groups are the Ŝumadijans, Užicans, and Mačvans.


Narody Zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
Many believe that by defying the court ruling, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodok is aiming to highlight the weakness of post-war Bosnia's central authorities in Sarajevo and set the stage for a vote on secession.
No, all attention was focused on four small towns in the north where around 50,000 Serbs were supposed to elect their local councils and mayors.
Izetbegovic is the Bosniak member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, an institution that emerged from the peace deal that ended the Bosnian war and set up a precarious system of power-sharing between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.
Franjo Tudman adopted the symbolism and anti-Serb ideology of the NDH and publicly crowed that he is happy his wife is "neither a Serb nor a Jew." He also engaged in holocaust revisionism by minimizing the number of Ustasa victims and accusing the Jews of running the dreadful Jasenovac death camp.
Tadic, a reformer who already voiced his regret for all suffering caused by Serbs during the bloody break-up of communist Yugoslavia, paid a historic visit to Vukovar, a Danube river town devastated by the Serb-led Yugoslav army and militia.
Karadzic, the former president of the Serb Republic, head of the Serbian Democratic Party and supreme commander of the Bosnian Serb army, is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination and murder.
Marko Jaksic, a Serb leader, said: "The assembly is the foundation of the Serb protection of Kosovo.
A first analysis would suggest that the defiance by a Serb enclave that, with the encouragement of Belgrade, refuses to accept the independent Kosovo state, is unacceptable.
A Serb demonstrator was yesterday in a coma after being shot in the head.
Trouble flared when UN forces stormed a courthouse in Mitrovica occupied by Serb protesters, who fired live ammunition and hurled rocks and grenades.
One day after Kosovo Albanians declared independence from Serbia, rallies against the move were held in several Serb enclaves in the newly independent state.
Tensions were higher than usual after Nato troops on Kosovo's border refused to allow in several busloads of Serbs who wanted to join the Kosovo Serb rally.