Serbia became a stand-alone sovereign republic in the summer of 2006 after Montenegro voted in a referendum for independence from the Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The end of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro marked the closing chapter in the history of the separation of the six republics of the old Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia which was proclaimed in 1945 and comprised Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
Under Yugoslavia’s authoritarian communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, the lid was kept on ethnic tensions. The federation lasted for over 10 years after his death in 1980, but under Serbian nationalist leader Slobodan Milosevic it fell apart through the 1990s.
The secession of Slovenia and Macedonia came relatively peacefully, but there were devastating wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Serbia and Montenegro together formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1992 and 2003.
- Republic of Serbia
- Capital: Belgrade
- Population 9.8 million (UN, 2012, includes Kosovo; UN mission estimates Kosovo population as circa 2 million)
- Area 88,361 sq km (34,116 sq miles) (includes Kosovo)
- Major language Serbian
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 72 years (men), 77 years (women)
- Currency Dinar