Created out of the ashes of Austria-Hungary's defeat in WWI, the Kingdom
of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes - changed to Yugoslavia in 1929 - was in
theory a single autonomous state, but ethnic tensions were not far from
After invasion and a series of overlapping civil wars in WWII, a lid was
kept on national aspirations by the creation of a federation of six
nominally equal republics. In Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina were given
autonomous status. But from 1991 Yugoslavia fell apart.
A series of splits saw the bloodiest fighting in Croatia and Bosnia. A
peace deal created the self-governing Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika
Srpska) and Muslim Croat Federation. Kosovo become a UN protectorate
after inter-ethnic fighting and Nato bombardment in 1999.
In 2003 Yugoslavia disappeared from the map of Europe. Replaced for a
short time by the looser union of Serbia and Montenegro, the latter
broke away in 2006. Two years later, Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians
declared independence from Serbia.