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Excerpts from different Encyclopediae

We have seen that Serbian kingdom and the Serbian civilization, before the Islamic occupation of the Balkans, was one of the most developed European cultures.

How did the great civilization collapse? It was at Kosovo, in 1389, in one of the largest battles of medieval - and all times.

  • Worldmark Encyclopedia, Edition 1998, Vol 5, "Europe" page 525,
    Entry: Kosovo and Vojvodina
    Kosovo is the term deeply embedded in the Serbian national consciousness - it draws from the 1389 Serbian defeat by the Turks. KOSOVO WAS THE CENTER OF THE SERBIAN KINGDOM IN THE MIDDLE AGES, FULL OF OLD SERBIAN EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES and other reminders of a fully developed medieval Serbian culture that have survived five centuries of harsh Ottoman rule until liberated in 1912. Firmly attached to their Christian faith and opposed to conversion into Islam, large number of Serbs were forced to leave the Kosovo region because of Turkish persecution. In their place Muslim Albanians were settled in increasing numbers... By the end of WWII, the Kosovo area was already about 70% Albanian...
    (End quote)

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Edition 1910, Vol. 27, pp 443, 444
    Entry: Turkey, History
    Turkish Sultan - Murad I, 1359-1389
    When, on death of Cantacusenus, John Paleologus remained sole occupant of the [Byzantine] imperial throne, Murad declared war against him and conquered the country right up to Andrianople; the capture of this city, the second capital of the emperors, was announced in official letters to the various Mussulman rulers by Murad. Three years later, in 1364, in Philippolis fell to Lala Shahin, the Turkish commander in Europe. The states beyond the Balkan now began to dread the advance of the Turks; at the instigation of the pope an allied army of 60,000 Serbs, Hungarians, Wallachians and Moldavians attacked Lala Shahin. Murad, who had returned to Brusa, crossed over to Biga, and send on Haji Ilbeyi with 10,000 men; these fell by night on the Serbians and utterly routed them at a place still known as the "Serbians' coffer" [at Maritsa river]. In 1367 Murad made Andrianople his capital...
  • Meanwhile the king of Bosnia, acting in collusion with the Karamanian [rebel Turkish] prince, attacked and utterly defeated Timur Tash Pasha, who lost 15,000 out of an army of 20,000 men. The princes and kings who had consented to pay tribute [to the Turkish Sultan] were by this success encouraged to rebel... Lazarus, king of Serbia, joined the rebel princes. Murad thereupon returned to Europe with a large force... Ali Pasha then joined his master at Kossovo. Here Lazarus, king of Serbia, had collected an army of 100,000 [HUNDRED THOUSAND!] Serbs, Hungarians, Moldavians, Wallachians and others.

    On 27th of June 1389 THE GREATEST OF THE BATTLES OF KOSSOVO WAS FOUGHT... (End quote)

  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Edition 1986, Vol. , page 969
    Entry: KOSOVO, Battle of:
    Kosovo also spelled Kossovo (June 28 [June 15, old style], 1389), BATTLE fought at Kosovo Polje [polje = field in Serbo-Croatian] (Field of Blackbirds), Serbia (now in Yugoslavia), between the armies of the Serbian Prince Lazar and the Turkish forces of the Ottoman Sultan Murad I (reigned (1360-89). The battle ended in a Turkish victory, the collapse of Serbia, and the complete encirclement of the crumbling Byzantine Empire by Turkish armies.
  • Murad captured numerous fortified places near Constantinople and utilized internal troubles in Byzantium and the Slavic states to extend Turkish conquests in the Balkan peninsula. Moving into Serbia, he marched as far as Kosovo, where he was confronted by Lazar's army.

    At first the victory seemed to be on the side of the Serbs, when the Sultan was killed by a Serbian noble, Milos Obilic (or Kobilic), who made his way into the Turkish camp on the pretext of being a deserter and forced his way into the Sultn's tent and stabbed him with a poisoned dagger. The confusion that followed was quickly quelled by Bayezid, the Sultan's son, who succeeded in surrounding the Serbs and inflicting a crushing defeat on the army. Lazar was taken prisoner and executed; the Serbs were forced to pay tribute to the Turks and promised to do military service in the Sultan's army. (End quote)

    Encyclopedia Britannica, Edition 1910, Vol. 27, Page, 444
    Entry: Turkey, History (quote)

    Bayezid I. 1389-1403
    After being proclaimed on the field of Kossovo, Bayezid's first care was to order the execution of his brother Yakub Chelebi...
    (End quote)

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History of the Balkans

Big powers and civil wars in Yugoslavia
(How was Yugoslavia dismantled and why.)

Proxies at work
(Muslims, Croats and Albanians alike were only proxies of the big powers)

The Aftermath

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First posted: June 10, 1998
Last revised: May 31, 2004