Balkans from 1450-present

Present-day Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Greece

In 1600s & 1700s, Northern Balkans were under control of Austrian Habsburgs, and Southern Balkans were under Ottoman control

Greek Independence

Greeks were under Ottoman control, but Greek Orthodox religion & Greek language survived

In 1821, Alexander Ypsilanti led Greek Nationalist rebellion

European nations refused to help Greeks: Believed Ottoman decline would allow Russian expansion into Balkans, compromising European balance of powers

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Russians helped Greeks get independence in 1830

Ottomans refused to accept an armistice, so Russian, French, British navies attacked Ottomans at Navarino

Ottomans looked to Europe for help against Greeks. Russia, France, Britain were busy with internal reforms, so they wanted an armistice

Start of World War 1

Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was visiting Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina province

Gavrilo Princip, member of Serbian independence terrorist group, shot Ferdinand

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after Serbia refused to allow Austria-Hungary to investigate the crime

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Germany refused to respect Belgian neutrality, so Britain declared war on Germany

Germany declared war on Russia & its ally, France. Wanted to attack France through Belgium

Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary to protect the Slavs. Later declared war on Germany as it allied with Austria-Hungary

Revolution in Austria-Hungary & Creation of Yugoslavia

  • Austria-Hungary broke apart into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, & Romania

    • A Serbian monarchy (under Austro-Hungarian control) became Yugoslavia

    • Yugoslavia encompassed present-day Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia


In the Cold War, Albania was part of the East Bloc. Yugoslavia also had a communist regime but wasn't part of the East Bloc. 

Breakup of Yugoslavia

After death of Yugoslavian leader in 1980, power passed to individual provinces. Also, Revolutions of 1989 in East Bloc increased the ethnic conflict

Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic wanted Greater Serbia, a land where all Serbians live, strengthening the nationalist movement in Serbia

Croatia & Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia

In Jul 1995, Bosnian Serbs (Christian) took over Srebrenica (a Muslim Bosnian city) & killed many Muslim Bosnians, so NATO bombed the Bosnian Serbs

In 1992, Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence. Christian Serbs made up 30% of the population & didn't want rule under Muslim Bosniaks. Bosnia-Herzegovina ordered "ethnic cleansing" (genocide) of all its Serbs

Serbian army occupied 30% of Croatia but failed to attack Slovenia