Yugoslavia; Patterns of Economic Activity

Yugoslavia; Patterns of Economic Activity

Yugoslavia; Patterns of Economic Activity

Yugoslavia; Patterns of Economic Activity

Excerpt

THE PEOPLE OF YUGOSLAVIA BEFORE 1800

The history of " Yugoslavia" does not begin until 1918, as there was no united Yugoslav state before that date. However, the Yugoslav peoples have an old, colorful, variegated, and often heroic past, a past filled with conquests and rebellions, statesmen and scoundrels, feudal lords and oppressed serfs, disastrous defeats and inspiring struggles for freedom.

The Yugoslavs (or South Slavs) migrated from north of the Carpathians into their present home in the sixth and seventh centuries A. D., and came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire in the south or the Frankish Empire in the north. At that time, the South Slavs were not politically united, but constituted a loosely organized collection of tribes, under local chieftains. In the course of the eighth and ninth centuries, the people were converted to Christianity; some, the ancestors of the Serbs, Montenegrins, and Macedonians, received Christianity from the East, from Byzantium, whereas the others, the Croats and Slovenes, were won to the new faith by missionaries from the West, from Italy or Germany.

This fact might be of no great importance were it not for the schism that took place in 1054 into the Roman and Eastern churches, followed by centuries of controversy, hatred, and conflict. This cleavage split the South Slavs into two main religious groups, Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. It was later intensified because the religious dividing line coincided roughly with an important political dividing line between those who lived for several centuries under Ottoman oppression, and those who either escaped this rule completely or bore it only a comparatively short time. While the Slovenes and the Croats participated in the culture of Catholic Europe, the Serbs, Montenegrins, and Macedonians felt the influence of Byzantine civilization and later suffered for five centuries under the repressive regime of the Turks.

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