5th-15th centuries (400s-1400s): Existence of Byzantine Empire, which ruled over much of the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Near East

6th-7th centuries (500s-600s): Arrival of the Slavic peoples in the Balkans

c. 900: peak of the First Bulgarian Empire

c. 1050: peak of the medieval Croatian kingdom

1102: Croatian royal family dies out and Croatia joins Hungary in a dynastic alliance

c. 1200: peak of the Second Bulgarian Empire 

14th century (1300s): first conquests of the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans

1350s: peak of medieval Serbian Empire

1389: Ottoman Turks win the Battle of Kosovo, which is later interpreted as the end of the medieval Serbian kingdom

1453: Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (renamed Istanbul); end of the Byzantine Empire

1526: Hungarians defeated by Turks at Battle of Mohacs; Hungarian royal family dies out and as a result Croatia and Hungary are both joined to the Austrian (Habsburg) royal family in a dynastic union

1804: Beginning of Serbian wars of independence

1820s: Greece becomes independent of Ottoman Empire

1870s: Romania becomes independent of the Ottoman Empire

1908: Bulgaria becomes independent of the Ottoman Empire

1912-1913: bloody Balkan Wars between the newly independent Balkan states (Balkan League) and the declining Ottoman Empire, and then among the Balkan League members

1914-1918: World War I brings great destruction to the region

1941-1945: World War II in the area brings great destruction but sees the establishment of new (communist) regimes which attempt in their own ways to solve the Balkans' national problems

1989: Overthrow of communist governments in Romania and Bulgaria

1991-2: Break-up of Yugoslavia

1991-5: Wars of Yugoslav succession

1999: United States leads NATO against Serbia to force a halt to the "ethnic cleansing" of the Albanian inhabitants of Kosovo

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