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SerbiaThe origin of the name Serbia is unknown, but most likely comes from the old Slavic word serb, which means "same." Other theories say the name comes from the Indo-European word ser, meaning "watch over" or "protect"; or the Iranian word srbi, meaning "freeman."

Srbija / Сербия

Introduction:

Serbia is a country that has changed direction, focus, and power multiple times and with these changes the culture and lifestyle of the people have also changed. A big reason for these many changes is the country's location, which has split it between east and west; plus the mountainous landscape has divided the people, allowing some introductions to stay and others to never arrive.

Reaching back to the Roman and Byzantine Empires, the lands of modern day Serbia fell under the control of the east, including the Byzantine Empire. The lands of modern day Serbia essentially fell on the border and most of the country's neighbors to the west and north fell under the rule of the west. When the Slavic people established themselves in the region, they were divided by this shift and the most noticeable difference between these people today comes in the form of religion; Serbia remained tied to the east and converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and remains so today, although most of their western and northern neighbors clung to Catholicism.

Despite the religious differences, the Serbs had many cultural ties to the other people from the region and remain tied to these people today. These people are arguably the same in terms of ethnicity and language, although many locals argue these points. Despite the similarities, it was religion that most obviously divides the people and hence is among the strongest identifying features for the people of Serbia and the Balkan Peninsula today, even if religious services are rarely attended by the majority of the population.

The similarities in the Balkan Peninsula are also magnified due to Serbian dominance over the region during a couple stretches of time. The Serbs dominated the region politically and spread their influence to neighbors as numerous cultural aspects were exchanged, not to mention the movement of ethnic Serbs who later lived throughout much of the peninsula. However, foreign invasions, particularly from the Ottoman Turks and Austrians, and later foreign rulers changed the culture, but also magnified Serbian pride.

Serbian pride led to a distinct culture that magnified the culture's individual traits and what makes the culture unique. This led to conflicts with foreign rulers and the eventual assassination of the Austrian Archduke and the beginning of World War I. This cultural distinction continued into the Yugoslav period as Serbs dominated the relationship for much of the time, but eventually lost power as Yugoslavia crumbled.

Today, the Serbian people return to finding their path forward and redefining their culture and identity. The Serbs remain strongly tied to their religious identity and great history, but with rapid changes in technology, communication, and infrastructure, the people find themselves seeking a balance between past and present. Despite the changes, the culture remains firmly rooted in the past, the religion, the language, the ethnicity, the foods, and the people.

Serbia's flag is modeled after the flag of the Pan-Slavic flag with the red, blue, and white stripes. In this background is the country's coat of arms, which prominently displays a double headed eagle, which represents Serbia itself.

Name: Republic of Serbia
Independence: June 5, 2006
Capital: Belgrade
Currency: Serbian Dinar
Population: 7,243,007 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Serb & others
Language: Serbian
Religion: Serbian Orthodox

Information for Serbia was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks