After many battles, including two crucial (on the banks of the river Marica in 1371 - where the forces of noblemen from Macedonia were defeated, and on Kosovo Polje (Kosovo Plain) in 1389, where the vassal troops commanded by prince Lazar - the strongest regional ruler in Serbia at the time - suffered a catastrophic defeat), the Turks finally seized the entire Serbian territory in 1459 when Smederevo fell into their hands. Serbia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries.
The country started issuing stamps in 1866. Click here to see some early Serbian stamps.
Resulting from the uprisings and subsequent wars against the Ottoman Empire, the independent Principality of Serbia was formed and granted international recognition on Berlin conference in 1878 (together with Montenegro).
This period was marked by the alternation of two dynasties
descending from Djordje Petrovic - Karadjordje, leader of the First Serbian
Uprising and Milos Obrenovic, leader of the Second Serbian Uprising. The Kingdom
of Serbia was proclaimed in 1882.
The coup d'etat in 1903, bringing Karadjordje's grandson to the throne with the title of King Peter I opened the way for parliamentary democracy in Serbia.
Serbia assumed leadership of the movement to unite the southern Slavs in the early 20th century, especially after the defeat of Turkey during the Balkan Wars (1912-13). The assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown by a Serbian nationalist in 1914 led to an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia, which escalated into World War I.
During WW1 Serbian territory was occupied by Austro-Hungarian
forces (from 1914 till 1918). In that period overprinted Bosnian stamps had
been in use (example).
When the war ended in 1918, Serbia's ruler was crowned King of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, of the newly-created greater South Slav state (later renamed Yugoslavia).
In 1940 Germany and its allies attacked and quickly conquered Yugoslavia. Northern parts of Serbia were occupied by Hungary and from the rest of Serbian territory German puppet state under General Nedic was formed. Click here to see some stamps from that period.
Many Serbs who despised Gen. Nedic for his readyness to serve the Germans joined a Serbian nationalist resistance movement, popularly called the "Chetniks" and headed by another royal Yugoslav army officer, Col. Draza Mihailovic. Though initially supplied by British airdrops, Mihailovic soon stopped fighting the Germans. Thereafter there was little anti-German guerrilla activity within Serbia proper, as the Chetniks turned their attention to "safer" targets more in line with their nationalist ideology, which envisioned an ethnically pure Greater Serbia. So, all Serbs who wanted to oppose the Nazis joined the partisan forces established by Yugoslav communists.
After WW2 provisional issues were briefly used in northern parts of Serbia. These were overprinted definitive Hungarian stamps.
Since 1945 Serbia had been a part of Yugoslavia. The
disintegration of Yugoslavia was caused by the rise to power of Slobodan Milosevic
as president of the Serbian Republic and his embrace of an extreme Serb nationalist
agenda. That agenda calls for a solution of the "national question"
by the creation of a Greater Serbia, uniting all Serbs in a single state. By
the end of 1987, Milosevic was speaking of scrapping the federal constitution
and the collective presidency altogether, calling for a new, recentralized Yugoslavia,
united under a single strong hand.
By the summer of 1991 Slovenia, the most prosperous and Westernized republic, decided it had had enough of Milosevic's attempts to seize control of the federal presidency. When Milosevic tried to block the Croatian member of the collective presidency from taking his turn at the federal helm, the Slovenes issued an ultimatum. As the deadline passed without a response from Belgrade, the Slovene parliament declared for independence (in theory, the right of each republic to secede was guaranteed under Tito's federal constitution). In Belgrade the Serbs responded with outrage and the Yugoslav federal army (with a 70% Serb officer corps) was called upon to intervene to stop Slovenia from seceding. Following a brief struggle, Slovenia achieved its independence and Yugoslav troops were evacuated to bases in neighboring Croatia. After the defeat in Slovenia, Serbs also military intervened in Croatia and Bosnia.
On April 27th, 1992, Serbia and Montenegro formed new state, named Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This state was however not a legal successor of old Yugoslavia.
So, despite all changes after 1991, Serbian Post was
still issuing stamps with inscription Yugoslavia. However obligatory stamps
which are valid only in Serbia bear inscription Serbia in Cyrillic (example).
On March 14th, 2002, the country was renamed into Serbia and Montenegro. Both entities gained semi-independent status.
Following Montenegro's decision to split from a joint union Serbia's parliament proclaimed the Balkan republic a sovereign state on June 5th, 2006 and the only successor of the former Serbia and Montenegro state. The assembly instructed all state institutions to complete the process for Serbia's statehood within the next 45 days, including assuming the duties and responsibilities previously in the hands of the federal administration. Serbian postal administration also adopted to the new circumstances and started issuing stamps with inscription Serbia. First stamps of new Republic of Serbia can be seen here. This meant the end of Yugoslav stamps.
- Baranya and Temesvar