The territory of the Republic of Serbia covers the area of 88,361 square kilometers. It has two autonomous provinces – Vojvodina, which makes 24% of the area, and Kosovo-Metohija, with 12.3%. Serbia is divided into 150 municipalities, 23 cities and Belgrade and the capital city. There are 29 administrative districts, not including the City of Belgrade, which is the seat of the state administration bodies. Serbia has 6,169 settlements, of which 207 urban ones. Based on the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the province of Kosovo-Metohija has been under the temporary civil and military administration of the UN since June 10, 1999.
According to the census in 2002, the biggest cities in Serbia are Belgrade, which has bit more than 1.5 million inhabitants, followed by Novi Sad (almost 300 thousand), Nis (250 thousand) and Kragujevac (more than 175 thousand).
First information of the Serbian state dates back to the 7th century and the dynasty of Vlastimirovic. The founder of most significant medieval state of Serbia, also known as Raska, as well as of the Nemanjic dynasty, was Grand Duke Stefan Nemanja, the Serbian ruler from the 12th century. The Serbian medieval state was under the strong political and cultural influence of the Byzantine Empire. In 1217, during the rule of Stefan the First Crowned, Serbia has become an independent kingdom, and reaches the peak power in 1346 as the empire of Stefan Dusan, who had declared himself the "emperor of Serbs and Greeks".
The Ottoman Turks defeated the Serbian aristocracy in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, and they took rule over Serbia in 1459, after the fall of Smederevo. Their reign lasted until 1804, when the neighboring Habsburg Monarchy held the northern part of Serbia under its rule. National uprisings, in 1804 lead by Djordje Petrovic, known as Karadjordje, and again in 1815 under Milos Obrenovic, have lead to the creation of the autonomous Serbian dukedom. From 1813 to 1882 the Serbian state was headed by princes, and from 1882 the kings of the Obrenovic dynasty. Serbia got its first Constitution on February 15, 1835. At the Berlin Congress in 1878 Serbia has received international recognition.
With the coup in May 1903 and the assassination of King Aleksandar Obrenovic, coming to rule again is the dynasty Karadjordjevic, i.e. the successors of Karadjordje Petrovic. Crowned as the new king was Petar I Karadjordjevic. Under his rule Serbia has expanded its territory to the south, after the victory in Balkan wars. With great human and material sacrifice, Serbia has contributed to the victory of the Entente in the First World War. After 1918, along with Montenegro, Serbia was the only to bring its sovereignty and independence in the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, which was renamed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. In the Second World War, parts of Serbia were occupied by the Axis forces, i.e. the Nazi Germany and its allies – Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Albania, as well as the marionette pro-fascist creation called the Independent State of Croatia. Immediately after the war, in 1945, as the successor of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was formed, and the same year it was renamed again into the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1963 it changed the name again, this time into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It consisted of six republics and two autonomous provinces, while the head of the state was Josip Bros Tito. After the fall apart of SFR Yugoslavia, from 1992 to 2003, along with Montenegro, Serbia made the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. From 2003 they were members of the State Union of Serbian and Montenegro, while since June 5, 2006, the Republic of Serbia has been an independent and sovereign country.