(Former) Yugoslavia; key historical events
Page last modified 22/3/2019
See also Eastern Europe
See also Greece/Turkey
See also Russia/USSR
26/5/2011, Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic was arrested in Serbia, for crimes of genocide.
28/2/2009, Former Serbian President Milan Milosevic was acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribune for the Former Yugoslavia.
21/7/2008, Radovan Karadic, Serbian leader during the break-up of Yugoslavia, wanted for war crimes against the Bosnians, was captured and sent to The Hague for trial.
17/2/2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. The EU and NATO backed Kosovo, but Russia opposed it.
3/6/2006, Montenegro declared independence from Serbia.
11/3/2006, Former President Slobodan Milosevic died, see 13/2/2002.
23/7/2004, The historic Mostar Bridge, destroyed on 9/11/1993, and subsequently restored, was reopened by Charles, Prince of Wales.
13/2/2002, The trial of former President Milosevic (born 20 August 1941) began in The Hague, under a UN war crimes tribunal. He was accused of presiding over the deaths of 250,000 non-Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. He died on 11 March 2006, with the trial still underway.
7/5/2001, In Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia, Muslims attempted to reconstruct the Ferhadja Mosque. However a mass riot by Serb Nationalists ensued, and 300 elderly Bosnian Muslims were beaten and stoned to death.
1/4/2001, Former President Milosevic surrendered to police special forces, to be tried at The Hague for war crimes.
23/1/2001, The UN War Crimes prosecutor Del Ponte demanded that Serbia hand over ex-President Milosovic.
1/11/2000, Yugoslavia’s new democratic government joined the UN, after 8 years of the country being ostracised from the UN under President Milosevic.
5/10/2000, President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia resigned after widespread demonstrations across Serbia and the withdrawal of Russian support. He had lost the elections of 24/9/2000 but failed to acknowledge defeat; crowds stormed the parliament building and TV station in Belgrade in protest. Finally the election winner, Vojislav Kostunica, was able to take office.
10/12/1999, Franjo Tudjman, President of Croatia, died.
19/8/1999, In Belgrade, thousands of demonstrators demanded the resignation of President Slobodan Milosevic.
12/6/1999, The UN and NATO peacekeeping force KFOR entered Kosovo.
10/6/1999, NATO suspended air strikes against the Serbs after Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw his forces from Kosovo.
9/6/1999, In the Kosovo War, Yugoslavia and NATO signed a peace treaty.
7/5/1999, In Yugoslavia, three Chinese Embassy workers were killed and twenty wounded when a NATO aircraft mistakenly bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
24/3/1999. NATO launched air strikes against Yugoslavia. This was the first attack by NATO on a sovereign country. In Kosovo, there was escalating violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, and President Slobodan Milosevic was accused of ethnic cleansing, driving thousands of Albanians from their homes. NATO’s Operation Allied Force was to curb Serbian military activities.
20/3/1999, Serbs launched an offensive in Kosovo.
15/1/1999, Massacre at Racak, Kosovo, during the Yugoslav civil war.
22/3/1996. The War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague made its first indictment; three Muslims and a Croat were charged with torture, rape, and murder of Serbs.
19/3/1996, Sarajevo was reunited when Bosniak authorities took control of the last district occupied by Sertbs.
29/2/1996, The siege of Sarajevo ended.
2/1/1996, UN troops entered Bosnia on a peacekeeping mission.
14/12/1995, The Dayton Peace Accord was signed in Paris, ending the Yugoslav conflict.
4/12/1995, NATO troops landed in the Balkans.
25/11/1995, A ceasefire was declared in the Republics of former Yugoslavia, following a peace agreement signed at Dayton, Ohio. Bosnia would be a united Republic comprising the Muslim-Croat areas and the Serb Republic, unifying the city of Sarajevo. Individuals charged with war crimes were banned from holding public office.
16/11/1995, The UN tribunal charged Radovan Karadic and Ratko Mladic with genocide during the Bosnian War.
1/11/1995, Participants in the Yugoslav War began negotiations at the Wright -Patterson air force base, Ohio, USA.
30/8/1995. UN forces attacked key Serb positions in Bosnia. The NATO campaign continued into October.
28/8/1995, Serbian mortar bomb near Sarajevo market killed 37 civilians.
5/8/1995, Croatian forces captured the town on Knin.
4/8/1995, Croatians launched Operation Storm, against Serbian forces in Krajina, compelling them to retreat to Bosnia.
11/7/1995. Bosnian Serbs marched into Srebrenica as Dutch UN peacekeepers left. Later; large numbers of Bosniak men and boys were massacred.
3/6/1995. UN rapid intervention force sent to Bosnia.
5/8/1994. NATO air strike on Bosnian Serb positions near Sarajevo.
10/4/1994. NATO air strikes against the Serbs around Gorazde.
28/2/1994. Four Serbian planes shot down by US F-16 pilots over Bosnia, for violating the US-imposed no-fly zone there.
9/2/1994, The Vance-Owen peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced.
5/2/1994. 70 killed and 200 injured in a Serb mortar attack on Sarajevo marketplace.
17/12/1993. Warring parties in Bosnia agreed to a ceasefire from the 23rd December to the 3rd January. However despite the ceasefire, on 25/12/1993, Serb gunmen fired over 1,300 rounds into Sarajevo, killing 6 civilians.
9/11/1993. The historic 16th century Mostar Bridge was demolished by a barrage of shells from Croat forces fighting Muslims.
13/6/1993. Serb shells hit a hospital in the Muslim town of Gorazde, killing 50 people.
18/4/1993. The Muslim town of Srebrenica surrendered to Serb forces.
7/4/1993. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia joined the United Nations.
1/4/1993. Britain agreed to send aircraft to enforce the no-fly zone over Bosnia.
19/3/1993. UN relief convoy reached Srebrenica, Yugoslavia.
2/3/1992, Violent clashes in Sarajevo between Serbs, Croats and Muslims.
1/3/1992, A referendum in Bosnia-Hercegovina, boycotted by Serbs, produced a majority in favour of independence from Yugoslavia.
25/2/1993. The USA announced it was to drop food and medicine to Muslims besieged by Serbs in Bosnia.
14/1/1993. The UK aircraft carrier Ark Royal set sail for the Adriatic as part of British reinforcements for peacekeeping troops in Bosnia. Also today the first British soldier was killed, shot by a sniper, in Bosnia, whilst escorting an ambulance.
29/10/1992. The Muslim town of Jajce fell to the Serbs.
3/8/1992. Reports from Bosnia told of Nazi-style concentration camps and ethnic cleansing.
30/5/1992. The UN agreed wide-ranging sanctions against what was left of Yugoslavia as the Belgrade –Serbian government suppressed other races and attempted to establish a ‘greater Serbia’ by force. When in January 1992 the EC recognised Croatian and Slovenian independence, a third of Croatia was occupied by Serb forces. A new phrase entered the language – ‘ethnic cleansing’, as Bosnian Muslims and other non-Serbs were forcibly expelled from villages overrun by Serb forces. Images of concentration camps reminded people, of the horrors of World War Two as pictures of skeletal Bosnian detainees behind barbed wire reached the West. By mid-July 1992 the Bosnian capital Sarajevo had been under siege for over 100 days, shelled by Serb gunners in the hills above the city, and snipers roamed freely in the streets. Civilian casualties were appalling, and by the end of September 1992 relief efforts stalled. Winter loomed, and with it the spectre of mass starvation in the heart of Europe.
7/4/1992. The EC and USA recognised Bosnia-Hercegovina’s independence.
6/4/1992, Serbian troops began the siege of Sarajevo, after Serbs in Bosnia objected to Bosniaks and Croats seeking independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina from Serbia.
21/2/1992, The UN Security Council approved Resolution 743 and decided to send peacekeeping troops to Yugoslavia.
2/2/1992, Serbia accepted the UN Peace Plan.
15/1/1992. As the old Yugoslavia broke up, the EC recognised Slovenian and Croatian independence.
8/1/1992, Bosnian Serbs declared their own Republic within Bosnia and Hercegovina in protest at Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats decision to seek recognition from the EC.
7/12/1991, After a 67-day siege, Serbian forces bombarded the centre of Dubrovnik.
11/1991, The US passed the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act 1991. Under this Act, US financial support would be withdrawn by those Yugoslav states that failed to declare independence from Serbia/Yugoslavia within 6 months.
23/11/1991. Croats in Vukovar surrendered to Serb forces. Serbs now planned to attack the 150,000 Croats in Osijek region. Capture of Osijek would give the Serbs control of the fertile eastern plains of Croatia.
26/10/1991. The Yugoslav army was besieging Dubrovnik and shelling its historic centre.
8/10/1991, The Croatian Parliament cut all remaining ties with Yugoslavia.
2/10/1991, The Yugoslav Army bombarded Dubrovnik.
8/9/1991, Macedonia became independent from Yugoslavia.
26/8/1991. Yugoslav Federal forces and Serb guerrillas launched a fierce attack on Vukovar in eastern Croatia. The city of 50,000 people was roughly half Serb and half Croat. Yugoslav planes bombed Vinkovici, 20 miles from Vukovar.
29/7/1991, Yugoslavia edged further into civil war. The country’s ethnic mix in 1991 was 36% Serb, 20% Croatian, 9% Moslem, 8% Slovene, 8% Albanian, 6% Macedonian, 3% Montenegrin, 2% Hungarian. The two richest republics, Slovenia and Croatia, seceded, against the wishes of the militarily strongest republic, Serbia. Two helicopters were shot down over the Slovenian capital, Llubljana, where Federal tanks were on the streets. Airports and borders were closed. An EC delegation went to Belgrade to warn that all EC aid will be cut off if the Federal, Yugoslav, army did not return to barracks in Slovenia and elsewhere.
27/7/1991. A week of violence in Yugoslavia left 50 dead.
11/7/1991. Violence between Serbs and Croats continued to escalate, especially in eastern Croatia where Serb and Croat villages and even houses were mixed together.
25/6/1991, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia. The European Community and the USA said they would not recognise this move.
12/5/1991. Serbs in Croatia voted for union with Serbia. On 20/5/1991 Croatia voted overwhelmingly for independence from Serbia. Croatia formally declared independence on 30/5/1991. This was the beginning of a bloody conflict that ended with the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
2/5/1991. Clashes between Serbs and Croats left 35 dead.
31/3/1991, In Yugoslavia, troops moved to control fighting between Serbs and Croats.
23/12/1990. Slovenia voted in a referendum to secede from Yugoslavia.
10/12/1990, In the Serbian Republic, the Communist Party won free elections.
9/12/1990, Slobodan Milosevic became President of Serbia.
3/9/1990, Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo staged a 24-hour strike, following the imprisonment of trades union leader Hajrullah Gorani.
17/8/1990. Armed Serb Nationalists seized Croatian territory near the town of Knin.
8/5/1989, Slobodan Milosevic became President of Serbia.
1/3/1989, A curfew was imposed in Kosovo; protests continued at alleged intimidation of the Serb minority.
27/2/1989, Belgrade imposed emergency powers in Kosovo as Yugoslavia’s Serbs attempted to resist secession by ethnic Albanians.
15/9/1988. The Federation of Yugoslavia looked increasingly fragile as 200,000 Serbs protested in Belgrade against persecution of them in the province of Kosovo by ethnic Albanians. Kosovo was the home of Serbian culture, and had a Serbian king for two centuries. By 1988 it was populated by 1.7 million ethnic Albanians and only 200,000 Serbs. Serbs make up 40% of Yugoslavia’s 23 million population. Serbians organised more mass anti-Albanian demonstrations on 25/9/1988.
4/5/1980. Joseph Tito, President of Yugoslavia since 1953, died, aged 87, after a long illness. He was born in Kumrovec, near Zagreb, Croatia, on 7/5/1892; one of 15 children in a peasant family. He became a metal worker and an active trade unionist. In World War One he fought on the Carpathian and Bukovinan fronts before being seriously wounded, in 1916, by a howitzer, captured, with his entire brigade, and incarcerated in the Urals. After 1917 he joined the Bolshevik Revolution and fought in the Red Guard during the Russian Civil War. On returning to Croatia he joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY), for which he was imprisoned for 5 years. In August 1936 he was nominated General Secretary of the CPY Politburo, escaping the Stalinist purges that saw off most of his contemporaries. Yugoslavia was initially neutral in World War Two, but Hitler invaded it after the overthrow of the pro-Axis Prince Paul. Tito led a successful guerrilla campaign against the Nazis and by 1943 was able to form a provisional government with himself as President, also as Secretary of Defence and Marshall of the Armed Forces. His rule was generally popular; he was seen as a patriot and war hero, and he gave Yugoslavia prosperity and stability until his death in 1980. His funeral was attended by 140 state delegations; only the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005 had more delegations and news coverage.
23/6/1978, Josip Broz Tito was nominated Yugoslav President for life.
29/7/1971. Tito was re-elected president of Yugoslavia.
3/11/1970. Peter II, King of Yugoslavia, died.
2/6/1956, President Tito of Yugoslavia visited Moscow, USSR, as relations improved between the two countries.
15/12/1955, Bulgaria was admitted to the United Nations.
15/10/1953 , Italy and
14/1/1953. Marshall Tito was elected President of Yugoslavia. He had been leader of Yugoslavia since 1945.
23/10/1951, Fatmir Sejdiu, President of Kosovo, was born.
28/6/1948. Yugoslavia ceased to be a
19/4/1946, The USSR recognised the Republic of Yugoslavia.
31/1/1946, Yugoslavia introduced a new Constitution, creating six constituent Republics; Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia. However these were subordinated to the centre, on the model of the USSR.
29/11/1945. King Peter of
Yugoslavia was ousted from power and a
12/11/1945. Marshall Tito’s National Front Party secured an overwhelming majority in general elections.
15/5/1945, The last Nazi fighters in Yugoslavia ceased resistance.
For more events of World War Two in Europe see France-Germany
2/12/1944, Ibrahim Rugova, president of Kosovo, was born.
29/11/1943, The Jacje Congress began (ended 30/11/1943). Delegates from various regions of Yugoslavia met in the Bosnian town of Jacje, which had been taken by Tito’s partisans from the Nazis in September 1942. The Congress was organised by the AVNOJ (Anti-Fascist National Liberation Committee), and decided on various aspects of Yugoslavia’s post war governance and leadership.
5/5/1941, Natalija Obrenovic, Queen of Serbia, died.
6/3/1936, Yugoslavian Prime Minister Milan Stojadinović survived an assassination attempt when a Macedonian deputy shot at him on the floor of the Chamber. Stojadinović was unhurt as another deputy struck the assailant's arm and caused the shots to go wild.
9/10/1934, Alexander (1888 – 1934), King of Yugoslavia
since 1921, was assassinated by Croatian terrorists from the Ustase Movement in
16/2/1933, Fearing German aggression, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia formed the Little Entente, with a Permanent Council,
1930, The Balkan Entente was set up. It included Greece, Romania, Turkey and Yugoslavia; it was essentially a defensive alliance against the expansionist aims of Bulgaria, which was seeking to regain territories lost to Greece and Yugoslavia under the Treaty of Neuilly (1919). In the 1930, as authoritarian regimes gained power in all members of the Balkan Entente, the entire region moved politically closer to Germany and Italy.
3/10/1929. The name
of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and
Slovenes was changed to
21/5/1929, King Alexander I of Yugoslavia used his dictatorial powers to ban the Croat Party and other political factions.
6/1/1929, King Alexander I of Yugoslavia became dictator.
20/6/1928, During a heated debate in the Yugoslav Parliament, a Serb deputy pulled a gun and shot dead three Croat members, including the opposition leader. Shortly afterwards, the King of Yugoslavia declared a ‘royal dictatorship’, superseding Parliament.
6/9/1923, King Peter of Yugoslavia was born.
16/8/1922, Peter I of Yugoslavia died, aged 77, and was succeeded by his 33-year old son, Alexander I.
16/8/1921. King Peter of
Yugoslavia died at
5/6/1921, Italy and Yugoslavia signed an agreement over control of Fiume.
12/11/1920, The first Treaty of Rapallo was signed,
For main European events of World War One see France-Germany
4/12/1918. The proclamation of the Kingdom
of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, or
29/11/1918. King Nicholas
of Montenegro was deposed and his country was united with
24/11/1918, Serbia took control of the Backsa, Baranya and western Banat regions from Hungary.
29/10/1918, Croatia declared its independence.
17/10/1918. Yugoslavia became independent from Austro-Hungary.
20/7/1917, The Pact of Corfu proclaimed the Union of
South Slavs, or
15/12/1915, Serbian troops retook Belgrade from the Austrians.
14/10/1915. Bulgaria and Serbia each declared war on the other.
22//9/1915. Bulgaria mobilised its army and declared war on Serbia.
For main European events of World War One see France-Germany
16/8/1915, The Allies promised the Kingdom of Serbia, should victory be achieved over Austria-Hungary and its allied Central Powers, the territories of Baranja, Srem and Slavonia from the Cisleithanian part of the Dual Monarchy, along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and eastern Dalmatia from the Krka River to Bar.
2/4/1913, Montenegro rejected demands from five European nations (Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia) to withdraw its troops from Albania.
13/2/1912, Bulgaria and Serbia signed an agreement forming the Balkan League.
1911, The secret organisation ‘Ujedinjenje ili Smrt’ (Unification of Death), commonly known as the ‘Black Hand’ was formed by Serbian nationalist Army officers. Its objective was the political unificastion of all Serbian peoples in the Balkans; this organisation was behind the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, the event that precipitated World War One.
28/8/1910. Montenegro declared independence from Turkey under King Nicholas I, 69, who ruled for 9 years.
made demands on
28/10/1908, Enver Hoxha, Stalinist dictator of Yugoslavia from the end of World War Two till his death in 1985, was born. He declared the country atheist in 1967.
1/9/1903, Macedonian rebels blew up a Hungarian steamer, killing 29.
31/8/1903, Unrest continued in the Balkans, with atrocities committed by all sides.
15/6/1903, The Serbian Assembly elected Prince Peter, 59, to succeed Alexander I, who had been assassinated on 11/6/1903 along with his wife and several courtiers.
11/6/1903, King Alexander Obrenovic of Serbia and Queen Draga were assassinated in Belgrade by army officers. King Alexander had been pro-Austrian and this outraged Serbs who, under the Black Hand organisation, wanted to take control of ‘Serb’ lands from Austria (including those such lands inhabited by Bosnian, Macedonians and Croats). The Black Hand were strong in the Serbian military and the Serbian Government had been reluctant to remove them, despite pressure from other European countries to do so, for fear of provoking their own assassination.
11/2/1901, Death of Milan, father of King Alexander I of Serbia.
1898, The Dalmatian Language became extinct when its last known speaker, Anthony Udina, died in a mine explosion.
7/5/1892, Josip Broz (Marshal Tito), Yugoslav Communist President, was born in Kumrovec, near Klanjec, on the border of Croatia and Slovenia.
6/3/1889, King Milan Obrenovic IV of Serbia abdicated aged 34 and went to live in paris. He was succeeded by his 13-year-old son Alexander I.
6/3/1878, Serbia was formally constituted an independent kingdom.
29/7/1875. The peasants of the two mountain provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina put up resistance to the Ottoman Turks. The Bosnians wanted to join Serbia but the Hercegovinians wanted to join Montenegro. See 16/9/1875.
12/8/1860, King Danilo I of Montenegro was assassinated. He was succeeded by his 19-year-old nephew, Nicholas I.
5/11/1817. Serbia was granted partial autonomy by the Ottoman Turks.
1815, A second Serbian rebellion against Turkish rule.
28/10/1813. British troops occupied Ragusa (Dubrovnik).
1804, A Serbian rebellion against Turkish rule under Karageorge (Black George, or George Petrovitch) regained the district of Belgrade. However the Ottoman Turks soon regained control of the region.
1481, The last Bosnian King, Stefan Tomasevic, was beheaded by the Ottoman Turks.
1426, Ottoman Turkey took control of Bosnia.
15/6/1389. Serbia was crushed by the Ottoman Turks (see 20/12/1355). At a battle in Kosovo, at the ‘field of the blackbirds’, the entire Serbian nobility was wiped out. Hrebeljanovic Lazar, Prince of Serbia from 1371 (born 1329) was executed by the Turks. The Ottomans had already invaded Bulgaria.
1386, Sultan Murad I of the Ottoman Turks was defeated by Serbia at the Battle of Plocnik.
1358, The Republic of Dubrovnik was founded when the territory ceased to recognise Venetian sovereignty. It suffered a major earthquake in 1667. In 1806 it was occupied by Napoleon I, and became part of the Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813). The Congress of Vienna (1814-15) awarded the territory to Austria; it remained under the rule of Vienna as part of Dalmatia until 1918, whenh it became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia).
1101, Bosnia was annexed from Byzantium by Hungary.