Servia, a kingdom of the Balkan Peninsula, south of the Danube, and bordering on Bosnia, Hungary, Roumania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, with an area of 18,750 sq. m. The surface is mountainous; the highest peaks occur in the frontier chains (6382 feet in the SW.); and there are many isolated peaks and groups, clothed with forests and parted by fertile valleys. The principal highway of the country is through the central valley of the Morava, stretching SSE. from the Danube. Servia is essentially an agricultural country. Of the total area 58 1/2 per cent. is cultivated, the principal crops being wheat, maize, and other cereals, and grapes for wine. Plums are dried and exported to a value between £250,000 and £500,000 a year, and from them the Servian brandy is made. Large herds of swine are fed on the acorns of the oak forests, and then driven into Hungary to be sold. Cattle and sheep are exported, also wheat and other cereals, hides, wine, wool, timber, and cordage. The total exports for the five years ending 1905 averaged over £2,630,000 annually. The imports consist principally of cottons, woollens, salt, timber, iron, steel, and other metals, hides, sugar, coffee, glass, paper, tobacco, machinery, etc, and range from £1,500,000 to over £2,000,000. And there is a rapidly growing transit trade. By far the greater portion of the foreign trade of Servia is in the hands of Austria-Hungary, and is concentrated at Belgrade, the capital. But a little is done by Nisch, the chief town of southern Servia, by rail (since 1889) through Salonica (q.v.). The manufacturing industry is still in its infancy, but clothing and carpets are made by the women in their own homes. The country is naturally rich in minerals, and a little coal, lignite, quicksilver, lead, silver, antimony, copper, and oil shale is mined. Belgrade is the capital. Along the valley of the Morava passes the railway from Vienna to Constantinople; and Nisch or Nissa, on this line, is connected by rail (1889) with Salonica.
The Servians are a well-built, stalwart Slavonic (or perhaps in part Slavonised Albanian) race, proud and martial by temperament; the most striking feature of their social life is the family community or Zadruga. Their literature is rich in poetry, especially lyrics. Pop. (1884) 1,901,736; (1900) 2,493,770, including some 160,000 Rou-manians, 46,000 Gypsies, and 20,000 of other nationalities. Besides these the Montenegrins (250,000) are almost all pure Servians by race, as are also the Bosnians and Herzegovinians (1,300,000), not to speak of over 2,400,000 Servians in other parts of Austria-Hungary. The people of Servia belong to the Greek Catholic Church. There are 1100 elementary schools, some technical and theological schools, and a university (300 students) at Belgrade. Servia is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy, the legislative power being vested in the king and the National Assembly or Skupshtina. Besides this body and the ministry, there is a senate of sixteen members, elected by the king and the Skupshtina, which acts as a permanent state council. The national income in 1904 was £3,312,000, and nearly balanced the expenditure; the debt is over £1S,800,000. There is a standing army (with universal military service) of 27,000, and a war strength of 300,000.
The Servians came from the Carpathians into these regions in the 7th century, and were Christianised and founded a great state which about 1350 embraced not merely the present kingdom but Albania and great part of Bulgaria and Macedonia; but at Kossovo in 1389 the Turks crushed the Servian power and made Servia first tributary and then a pashalik of the Ottoman empire. A national rising against Turkish tyranny had some success under Kara George in 1807-10, and through Russian influence it was arranged that Servia should have some measure of internal autonomy. Still more successful was a rising in 1815 under Obrenovich. Under his successors there was considerable progress; and after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, Servia obtained complete independence, and became a kingdom. King Milan abdicated in 1889. On 11th July 1903 a party of officers, representing a wide conspiracy, assassinated King Alexander and Queen Draga. A few weeks afterwards Prince Peter Karageorgevitch was proclaimed king.
See Denton, Servia and the Servians (1862); and books on the Balkan States by Laveleye (trans. 1887) and Miller (1906).