Timeline

  • 1000 BC

Illyrians (ancestors of modern-day Albanians) settle in the Balkans.

  • 400 BC

Greek colonies are founded along the Adriatic coast in present-day Croatia and Albania.

  • AD 272

Roman Emperor Constantine the Great is born in what is today the city of Niš in southern Serbia; he converts to Christianity on his deathbed.

  • 5th & 6th centuries

Slav tribes (farmers and herders originally from eastern Ukraine) cross south of the Danube River.

  • 924

Ban Tomislav unites the first independent Croatian kingdom, although it's not confirmed whether he was ever crowned.

  • 1054

European Christianity divides between Catholic and Orthodox churches. Croats remain under the Catholic influence of Rome and Serbs under the Orthodox influence of Constantinople.

  • 1346–55

Peak of Serbian Golden Age under Tsar Stefan Dušan, the most powerful of all kings from the Nemanjić dynasty.

  • 1389

Serbs fight Turks at Kosovo Polje; exact events remain unclear ever since although the battle is generally considered a victory for the Ottomans.

  • 1443–68

Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg defends Albania against Ottoman Turks; they finally take control of Kruja in 1478.

  • 1520–66

The Ottoman Empire reaches the height of its power under Suleyman the Magnificent, who takes Belgrade in 1521 and besieges Vienna in 1529.

  • 1815

After the failure of the First Serbian Uprising from 1804, Serbia wins de facto independence through the Second Serbian Uprising against the Turks.

  • 1878

Serbia and Montenegro are recognised as fully independent by the Treaty of Berlin. Austro-Hungarian empire takes over Bosnia and Hercegovina.

  • 1912

The First Balkan War begins; Turks are forced to concede present-day Macedonia and Kosovo to Serbia. Albania declares independence.

  • 1918

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is formed after the end of WWI under the Serbian Karadjordjević dynasty; it's renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.

  • 1941

Hitler invades Yugoslavia by bombing Belgrade on 6 April; Croatian fascists take power in the puppet Independent State of Croatia.

  • 1945

After the end of WWII, the leader of Partisan resistance movement Tito forms the new socialist Yugoslavia.

  • 1967

Under Enver Hoxha's hard-line communist rule, Albania's Chinese-style cultural revolution attacks all religions.

  • 1978

After a gradual worsening of relations, Albania breaks with the People's Republic of China and achieves near-total isolation.

  • 1989

Serbia's president Slobodan Milošević abolishes the autonomy of the republic's two provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina.

  • 1991

Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia declare independence from Yugoslavia; wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina begin.

  • 1992

Communists lose power in Albania and the country descended into a free-market vacuum of anarchy.

  • 1995

Croatian army overruns separatist Serb territories in the so-called Operation Storm, and 150,000 civilians flee to Serbia.

  • 1995

The Dayton Agreement ends the conflict in Bosnia, dividing the country into a Serb republic (49% of the territory) and a Croat-Muslim federation (51% of the territory).

  • 1997

Anarchy reign in Albania, as the collapse of pyramid banking schemes set off a violent uprising.

  • 1999

Kosovo becomes a UN protectorate after NATO launches a 78-day anti-Serbian bombing campaign on 24 March.

  • 2001

A short armed conflict between ethnic Albanians and Macedonian security forces ends with the Ohrid Agreement.

  • 2003

Union of Serbia and Montenegro is proclaimed, replacing the rump Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which existed since 1992.

  • 2004

Slovenia is the first of ex-Yugoslav republics to join the European Union.

  • 2006

Union of Serbia and Montenegro breaks up after a referendum in Montenegro, in which 55.5% of voters voted for independence narrowly passing the 55% threshold.

  • 2008

Kosovo declares independence from Serbia. It's recognised by the US and most of the EU countries, but not by Serbia or Russia.

  • 2009

One of the first Eastern European countries to join NATO's Partnership for Peace, Albania becomes a full NATO member.

  • 2013

Croatia joins the EU as its 28th member state after a decade of negotiations.

2017

Montenegro officially joins NATO, despite political discord within the country.