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The fate of small European nations was often dictated by larger global geopolitical events. As the actions of the world's major powers almost without fault swept up small and powerless nations in their wake, ethnicities, sovereignties, and centuries of history were often thoroughly destroyed. Serbia can be in many ways regarded as an iconic example of such a turbulent and tumultuous fate - as the machinations of large Empires decided its fate, destiny, and its independence. But even the smallest of nations can cling fiercely to their identity, to their religion, and above all - to the immortal feeling of hope that is ingrained in every oppressed person.
The Serbian Nation is venerable in every regard, its roots stretching far back in time. Its history was often instrumental in the great scale of European developments, and its position was in many ways the key to its importance. Nevertheless, the fate of Serbia was often directly linked to the fate of the great empires of the world, who coveted its strategic geopolitical position and its wealth of resources. Simply put, Serbia was ever at the crossroads of cultures, at the center of the windswept battlefield of the East and the West, of Islam and Christianity. And it is this position that led to much suffering of its folk.
Serbs emerged as a major facet of a broader Slavic ethno-linguistic cultural group, and were noted in history with the earliest mentions of these peoples. Through their struggle for independence from Byzantine rule, and their shaky adoption of Christianity, this Slavic nation carved out its own place in history through a passionate desire for freedom. Throughout the early and mid Medieval period, it rose as a powerful European state, culminating with the rise of the immense Serbian Empire in the 14th century. Alas, history is ever-changing, and the Serbian golden era was abruptly stopped in its tracks with the arrival of the Ottoman Turks. Their arrival signified a new era in European history, and a new fight between Europe and Asia, and above all, between two major religions, Islam and Christianity. In the centuries that followed, the Ottoman Empire was a thoroughly foreign object in this part of Europe, and gradually attempted to completely change its identity. The foothold that the Ottomans gained in the Balkans opened the critical "Eastern Question" which would prove to be instrumental for the development of the world in which we live today.