The Republic of Serbia (Serbian: Република Србија or Republika Srbija), is a landlocked country in Central and Southeastern Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by Hungary on the north; Romania and Bulgaria on the east; Albania and the Republic of Macedonia on the south; and Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the west. The capital is Belgrade.
Once a powerful medieval Kingdom and an Empire (which at times ruled most of the Balkans), the modern state of Serbia emerged in 1817 following the Second Serbian Uprising. Later, it expanded its territory further south to include Kosovo and Metohija and the regions of Raška and Vardar Macedonia (in 1912). Finally, Vojvodina (formerly an autonomous Habsburg crownland named Voivodship of Serbia and Tamiš Banat) proclaimed its seccession, and united with Serbia in November 25, 1918, preceded by the Syrmia region a day before. The current borders of the country were established following the end of World War II, when Serbia became a federal unit within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Serbia became an independent state again in 2006, after Montenegro left the union which was formed after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1990s.
In 17th and early 20th century English works, the country was often referred to as Servia. The usage was often resented by Serbs, who felt that the use of “Servia” linked the Serbs to the Latin servus, a slave or servant. The British press stopped using the term by the 1930s, allegedly due to the efforts of Vojislav M. Petrović (Војислав М. Петровић, publisher of the Serbian grammar in London. However, scholars today agree that Serbian name did not derive from word servus.
The basic name, Serboi, originates in the works of Tacitus, Plinius and Ptolemy in the 1st and 2nd centuries, describing a people living north of the Caucasus. Following the migration into Central Europe, White Serbs established a state called Sorbia (White Serbia) in the 5th century. Their arrival in the Balkans is thought to have happened in 630, when Serbs settled among the other Slavic tribes that settled there a century earlier and mixed with them forming a medieval Serbian nation. Serbian kings were crowned as Kings of all Serbs rather than Kings of Serbia, and were using the terms Serb lands rather than Serbia itself. This is due to the fact that the Serbs were dispersed into several different tribal statelets such as Duklja and Travunija, rather than living in one unified country; however, the first unified state was achieved under the Vlastimirovic dynasty in the 9th century and has reemerged several times during Serbian history.
Serbia is located in Europe, on the Balkan peninsula and in the Pannonian Plain. It is placed at the crossroads between Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. The Danube river (2850 km) flows through the northern third of the country; it is 588 km long and forms the border with Croatia and part of Romania. The Sava river forms the southern border of the Vojvodina province, flows into the Danube in central Belgrade, and bypasses the hills of the Fruška Gora in the west. Sixty kilometers to the northeast of Belgrade, the Tisa river flows into the Danube and ends its 1350 km long journey from Ukraine, and the partially navigable Timiş River (60 km/350 km) flows into the Danube near Pančevo. The Begej river (254 km) flows into Tisa near Titel. All five rivers are navigable, connecting the country with Northern and Western Europe (through the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal–North Sea route), to Eastern Europe (via the Tisa–, Timiş–, Begej– and Danube–Black sea routes) and to Southern Europe (via the Sava river).