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Bos/Hrv/Srp 30 Nov 10

Timeline: The Ottomans and the Balkans

Chronology :

Turkic tribe known as Ottomans forms small state in western Anatolia.

Ottomans invade and begin to occupy Bulgaria.

Ottomans defeat Serbs and their allies at Battle of Maritsa.

Ottomans inflict second defeat on Serbs, now led by Prince Lazar, at the Battle of Kosovo, beginning slow conquest of Serbia.

Ottomans move their capital from Asia Minor to Edirne (Adrianople) in Europe, signaling their intention to become a major European power.

Ottomans encircle and conquer Constantinople, ending the Byzantine Empire.

Fall of Smederevo liquidates last remnant of independent Serbian state.    

Ottomans almost complete conquest of Bosnia, executing last king of Bosnia, Stjepan Tomasevic, at Jajce.

Albanian warrior prince Skenderbeg dies. Within a decade of his death, Ottomans overrun most of Albania.

Croatian nobility annihilated at Battle of Krbava in Lika, opening way to Ottoman conquest of much of Croatia.

Hungarian army crushed at Battle of Mohacs, opening way for Ottoman conquest of Hungary.

Sultan decrees restoration of Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, vacant since the 1460s. Return of Patriarchs to Pec stimulates revival of Serbian identity within Ottoman Empire.

Habsburgs conquer Ottoman-ruled Hungary and Croatia, forging new frontier between “Austrian” and “Turkish” empires. Failed uprising among Serbs in Kosovo results in mass emigration of Serbs to Habsburg Slavonia and Vojvodina.

Series of Serbian uprisings ends in establishment of small autonomous Serbian principality within Ottoman Empire under Prince Milos Obrenovic.

Serbian princes consolidate control over new state by expelling Ottoman garrison from Belgrade.

Uprising in Bulgaria triggers Russo-Turkish war the following year. This ends in Turkish defeat and creation at Congress of Berlin of autonomous Bulgaria within the Ottoman Empire.

Austria occupies Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia throws off last vestiges of autonomy, becoming formally independent and receiving territory to the south. Montenegro also gains territory at expense of Albanians.

So-called “Ilinden” uprising in Macedonia ends in defeat, as Serbs, Greeks and outside powers hold aloof. Ottomans remain in control of Macedonia.

Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina, humiliating Serbia. Montenegro’s prince declares himself a king and Bulgaria’s king declares himself a tsar. Young Turk revolution in Constantinople aims to revive Ottoman Empire.

Anti-Ottoman revolts sweep northern Albania and Kosovo, but rebels’ failure to coordinate or gain support of outside powers allows Ottomans to retain control.

Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece unite and declare war on Ottomans, overrunning “Turkey-in-Europe”, but then fighting with each other over the spoils.

First and Second Balkan wars end with most of Macedonia, claimed by Bulgaria, going to Serbia and Greece. Serbia also gains Kosovo. Albania declares independence but is unable to secure most majority-Albanian land for the new state.

After more than six centuries, the Ottomans are expelled from the continent, except for Constantinople and eastern Thrace.

Marcus Tanner is a journalist, historian and author of Croatia, a Nation Forged in War, among other books. He has reported on the Balkans for more than 20 years. He edits Balkan Insight and was editor for the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence from 2007 to 2010.

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