So my first story is Medieval Serb kingdoms and the Serbian Empire (info sourced from wikipedia).
Golubac fortress overlooking the Danube river
Medieval Serb kingdoms and the Serbian EmpireAccording to legend, the Serbs were ruled by the descendants of the Unknown Archont who led them to the Balkans from White Serbia; its three related medieval dynasties follow a continuous bloodline all the way to the 1400s A.D. The earliest rudimentary Serb state arose in the mid ninth century, although it was mostly a vassal principality to the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires alternatively. Official adoption of Christianity soon followed (under Prince Mutimir Vlastimirović). The First dynasty died out in 960 A.D. with the death of Prince Časlav, who managed to unify all the Serb populated lands, centred between contemporary South Serbia and Montenegro, almost all of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the coastal south of Croatia. Following this, Serb lands were soon incorporated under direct Byzantine rule after their defeat of the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018 AD. Around 1040 AD an uprising in the coastal Serb lands, in the medieval state of Duklja, overthrew Byzantine rule. Duklja then assumed domination over the Serbian lands between 11-12th centuries under the dynasty of Vojislavljević (who, according to legend, they were descendants of the 1st dynasty).
In 1077 A.D. Duklja became the first Serb Kingdom (under Michael I- ruler of Tribals and Serbs), following the establishment of the catholic Bisphoric of Bar. From late 12th century onwards, a new state called Raska, centred in present-day southern Serbia, rose to become the paramount Serb state. Over the 13th and 14th century, it ruled over the other Serb lands (the Hum, Travunia and Duklja/Zeta, whereas Bosnia was detached from Serbia proper by its incorporation into Hungary). During this time, Serbia began to expand eastward (toward Nis), southward into Kosovo and northern Macedonia and northward toward Srem and Macva for the first time. This shift away from the Adriatic coast brought Serbia increasingly under the influence of the Eastern Orthodox, although a substantial proportion of Catholics were found in the coastal regions. Although Europe had already experience the East-West Schism by this time, such a split was far less concrete than it is today, and Catholic Slavs in Bosnia and the Dalmatian coast practised Christianity in a similar way to Orthodox Slavs - priests married, wore beards and gave liturgy in Slavic rather than Latin. By the beginning of the 14th century Serbs lived in four distinctly independent kingdoms- Dioclea, Rascia, Bosnia and Syrmia.
The House of Nemanjić, descendants of the kings of Duklja, moved from Duklja to Raška, signalling a shift towards continental Serbia in the late 12th century. A direct result of this was the establishment of the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1217, which rivalled the Catholic Bishopric of Bar. Under the Nemanyaden, Medieval Serbia reached its economic, legal, military and religious apogee. The Serbian Kingdom of Raška was proclaimed in 1219, joined later by the Kingdom of Syrmia and the Banovina of Mačva. Finally, the Serbian Empire under Stefan Dušan was formed in 1346. Under Dušan's rule, Serbia reached its territorial peak, becoming one of the larger states in Europe, portraying itself as the heir of the run-down Byzantine Empire, and indeed was the most powerful Balkan state of
the period. The renowned Dušan's Code, a universal system of laws, was enforced. The Serbian identity has been profoundly shaped by the rule of this dynasty and its accomplishments, with Serbian Orthodox Church assuming the role of the national spiritual guardian.
Medieval Serbia at its greatest extent under Emperor Stefan Dušan, one of Europe´s mightiest rulers at the time.
Coronation of Emperor Dušan
Karađorđe Petrović, leader of the First Serbian uprising in 1804
As a result of internal struggle between rival noble families, and heavy losses inflicted by the Ottomans in the epic Battle of Kosovo, the Serbian Empire had dissolved into many states by the beginning of the 15th century. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, constant struggles took place between various Serbian kingdoms on the one hand, and the Ottoman Empire on the other. The turning point was the fall of Constantinople and its last emperor (of Serbo-Greek ethnicity) Constantine Dragaš- Paleologus, to the Turks. The Serbian Despotate fell in 1459 following the siege of the "temporary" capital Smederevo, followed by Bosnia a few years later, and Herzegovina in 1482. Montenegro was overrun by 1499. Belgrade was the last major Balkan city to endure Ottoman onslaughts, when it joined the Catholic Kingdom of Hungary. Serbs, Hungarians and European crusaders heavily defeated the Turkish in the Siege of Belgrade of 1456. Several Serbian despots ruled in parts of Vojvodina as vassals of the Hungarian kings with the title of Hungarian barons. After repelling Ottoman attacks for over 70 years, Belgrade finally fell in 1521, along with the greater part of the Kingdom of Hungary. Forceful conversion to Islam became imminent, especially in the southwest (Raška, Kosovo and Bosnia). Republic of Venice grew stronger in importance, gradually taking over the coastal areas.
Ottoman and Austrian rule
The Early modern period saw the loss of Serbia's independence to the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, interrupted briefly by the revolutionary state of the Emperor Jovan Nenad in the 16th century. Modern times witnessed the rise of the Habsburg Monarchy (known as the Austrian Empire, later Austria-Hungary), which fought many wars against the Ottoman Turks for supremacy over Serbia. Three Austrian invasions and numerous rebellions (such as the Banat Uprising) constantly challenged Ottoman rule. Vojvodina endured a century long Ottoman occupation before being ceded to the Habsburg Empire in the 17th-18th centuries under the terms of the Treaty of Karlowitz (Sremski Karlovci). As the Great Serb Migrations depopulated most of Kosovo and Serbia proper, the Serbs sought refuge in more prosperous (and Christian) North and West were granted imperial rights by the Austrian crown (under measures such as the Statuta Wallachorum in 1630). The Ottoman persecutions ofChristians culminated in the abolition and plunder of the Patriarchate of Peć in 1766. As Ottoman rule in the South grew ever more brutal, the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I formally granted the Serbs the right to their autonomous crown land, speeding up their migrations into Austria.
Karađorđe Petrović, leader of the First Serbian uprising in 1804
The Serbian Revolution and independence (Principality of Serbia)
For the first time in Ottoman history an entire Christian population had risen up against the Sultan. The entrenchment of French troops in the western Balkans, the incessant political crises in the Ottoman Empire, the growing intensity of the Austro-Russian rivalry in the Balkans, the intermittent warfare which consumed the energies of French and Russian Empires and the outbreak of protracted hostilities between the Porte and Russia are but a few of the major international developments which directly or indirectly influenced the course of the Serbian revolt. During the First Serbian Uprising (first phase of the revolt) led by Karađorđe Petrović, Serbia was independent for almost a decade before the Ottoman army was able to reoccupy the country. Shortly after this, the Second Serbian Uprising began. Led by Miloš Obrenović, it ended in 1815 with a compromise between the Serbian revolutionary army and the Ottoman authorities. The famous German historian Leopold von Ranke published his book "The Serbian revolution" (1829). They were the easternmost bourgeois revolutions in the 19th-century world. Likewise, Principality of Serbia abolished feudalism- second in Europe after France.
The Convention of Ackerman (1826), the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) and finally, the Hatt-i Sharif of 1830, recognized the suzerainty of Serbia with Miloš Obrenović I as its hereditary Prince. The struggle for liberty, a more modern society and a nation-state in Serbia won a victory under first constitution in the Balkans on 15 February 1835. It was replaced by a more conservative Constitution in 1838.
In the two following decades (temporarily ruled by the Karadjordjevic dynasty) the Principality actively supported the neighboring Habsburg Serbs, especially during the 1848 revolutions. Interior minister Ilija Garašanin published The Draft (for South Slavic unification), which became the standpoint of Serbian foreign policy from the mid-19th century onwards. The government thus developed close ties with the Illyrian movement in Croatia-Slavonia (Austria-Hungary). Following the clashes between the Ottoman army and civilians in Belgrade in 1862, and under pressure from the Great Powers, by 1867 the last Turkish soldiers left the Principality. By enacting a new constitution without consulting the Porte, Serbian diplomats confirmed the de facto independence of the country. In 1876, Montenegro and Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, proclaiming their unification with Bosnia. The formal independence of the country was internationally recognized at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, which formally ended the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78; this treaty, however, prohibited Serbia from uniting with Principality of Montenegro, and placed Bosnia and Raška region under Austro-Hungarian occupation to prevent unification.
Kingdom of Serbia
From 1815 to 1903, Kingdom of Serbia was ruled by the House of Obrenović (except from 1842 to 1858, when it was led by Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević). In 1882, Serbia, ruled by King Milan, was proclaimed a Kingdom. In 1903, the House of Karađorđević, (descendants of the revolutionary leader Đorđe Petrović) assumed power. Serbia was the only country in the region that was allowed by the Great Powers to be ruled its own domestic dynasty. During the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), the Kingdom of Serbia tripled its territory by acquiring part of Macedonia, Kosovo, and parts of Serbia proper. As for Vojvodina, during the 1848 revolution in Austria, Serbs of Vojvodina established an autonomous region known as Serbian Vojvodina. As of 1849, the region was transformed into a new Austrian crown land known as the Serbian Voivodship and Tamiš Banat. Although abolished in 1860, Habsburg emperors claimed the title Großwoiwode der Woiwodschaft Serbien until the end of the monarchy and the creation of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918.