South Slavs, Ottoman period

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Summary

The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the South Slavic languages. They inhabit a contiguous region in the Balkan Peninsula, southern Pannonian Plain and eastern Alps, and are geographically separated from the body of West Slavic and East Slavic people by the Romanians, Hungarians, and Austrians. They include the Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Slovenes. They are the main population of the Central and Southern European countries of Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

Details

So long as the non-Slavic Byzantine Empire was strong it served as an effective buffer to Ottoman incursions into southeastern Europe and in turn the lands of the South Slavs. Eventually its power waned in the face of conquests by other powers, and the rising Turkish Empire found one weakness after another in southeastern Europe.

The Ottomans captured Thessaloniki from the Venetians in 1387. The Ottoman victory at Kosovo in 1389 effectively marked the end of Serbian power in the region, making possible the Ottoman expansion into Europe. Stefan Lazarević of Serbia became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire. The Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, widely regarded as the last large-scale crusade of the Middle Ages, failed to stop the advance of the victorious Ottoman Turks and put an end to the Second Bulgarian Empire.

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