Serbian Kings, Tsars and Princes

Stefan Nemanja was a Grand Župan (prince) of Raška who united the Serbian lands in the 12th century. Serbia became virtually independent of the Byzantine Empire by the late 12th century. Stefan's son and successor was also named Stefan, and after his time members of the Nemanjić dynasty adopted the title Stefan after taking power.

In 1346 Stefan Uroš IV Dušan proclaimed himself a Tsar (meaning "emperor", ultimately related to Latin Caesar). The empire was short-lived; Serbia suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Ottomans in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 and became a vassal state.

Over the next several decades Serbia was ruled by princes who held the title of Despotes (a Greek word, from which we get the modern term despot). Serbia was finally conquered by the Ottomans in 1459 and would not be fully independent again for 400 years. During this time Serbia was often a battleground in the wars between the Ottomans and the Kingdom of Hungary and later the Habsburg Empire.

In the early 19th century, with the Ottoman Empire on the decline, the Serbs revolted. Serbia became a kingdom again in 1882. The final three kings were rulers of Yugoslavia, of which Serbia was only a portion. The last king, Petar II, was deposed by the Communists.

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NameYearsOther Names
Stefan I Nemanja1166-1196(Stephen)
Stefan II Nemanjić1196-1228(Stephen)
Stefan Radoslav I1228-1233
Stefan Vladislav I1233-1243
Stefan Uroš I1243-1276
Stefan Dragutin I1276-1282
Stefan Uroš II Milutin1282-1321
Stefan Uroš III Dešanski1321-1331
Stefan Uroš IV Dušan1321-1355
Stefan Uroš V Nejaki1346-1371
Lazar I Hrebeljanović1373-1389
Stefan III Lazarević1389-1427(Stephen)
Đurađ Branković1427-1456(George)
Lazar II Branković1456-1458
Jovan Nenad1526-1527(John)
Đorđe Petrović1804-1813(George, Karađorđe)
Miloš Obrenović1815-1839; 1858-1860
Milan II Obrenović1839
Mihailo III Obrenović1839-1842; 1860-1868(Michael)
Aleksandar Karađorđević1842-1858(Alexander)
Petar I1903-1921(Peter)
Petar II1934-1945(Peter)