Stefan Uroš I of Serbia


Stefan Uroš I of Serbia

Infobox Monarch
name = Stefan Uroš I
title = King of Serbia


caption = Stefan Uroš I with his son Dragutin
reign = 1234 - 1276
coronation = 1234
predecessor = Stefan Vladislav
successor = Stefan Dragutin
consort = Hélène d'Anjou
issue = Stefan Dragutin, Stefan Milutin
religion = Serbian Orthodox
royal house = House of Nemanjić
royal anthem =
father = Stefan Nemanjić
mother = Anna
date of birth =
place of birth =
date of death =
place of death = Sopoćani monestery
buried =

Stefan Uroš I (Стефан Урош I) (d. May 1 1277) was king of Serbia from 1243 to 1276, succeeding his brother Stefan Vladislav.

Life

Stefan Uroš was the youngest son of Stefan the First-Crowned and Anna, the daughter of Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice.

In spring 1243 the Serbs rebelled and deposed their King Stefan Vladislav I, replacing him with his younger brother Stefan Uroš I. The new king remained on good terms with his predecessor, who is mentioned in some of his charters.

The reign of Stefan Uroš I coincided with the decline of Serbia's primary rivals in the Balkans, Epirus and Bulgaria. This helped Serbia become an influential local power. That development was actively fostered by its king, who encouraged rapid economic development. Saxon miners from Hungary were introduced to work and develop the Serbian silver mines at Brskovo and Rudnik. The Saxon communities were allowed a level of self-government and the right to worship in Catholic-rite churches.

Economic prosperity was also fostered by the related intensification of trade with the Dalmatian cities of Dubrovnik and Kotor. The increase in the mining of silver and in trade naturally led to the introduction of larger quantities of royal coinage, modeled after the Venetian standard.

Stefan Uroš I was forced, however, to undertake military action against several of his neighbors. In 1252–1253 he clashed with Dubrovnik, and shortly afterward his attempt to assert his authority over Zahumlje drove the local prince into the arms of the Hungarians, whose vassal he became. Into these conflicts Dubrovnik drew its allies, the Bulgarians, who invaded deep into Serbian territory in 1254. Eventually Stefan Uroš made separate peace agreements with his neighbors and the crisis passed.

During the second half of the 1260s a new war broke out with Dubrovnik, which was secretly favored by the Serbian queen. A treaty was signed in 1268, specifying the amount of protection money that Dubrovnik was expected to supply annually to the Serbian king. The arrangement remained largely unbroken for the next century.

In 1268 the Serbian king invaded the Hungarian possessions south of the Danube in Mačva, what is now northern Serbia. In spite of some initial success, Stefan Uroš was captured by the Hungarians and forced to purchase his release. A peace treaty was signed between the two kingdoms, and Stefan Uroš's son Stefan Dragutin was married to Catherine (Katalin), the daughter of the future king Stephen V of Hungary.

By the end of his reign, Stefan Uroš apparently succeeded in suppressing the autonomy of Zahumlje, where the local princes became virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the nobility. In his effort to achieve centralization, the king appears to have alienated his eldest son by refusing to grant him an appanage. The conflict between father and son exacerbated, and the king apparently considered making his younger son, the future Stefan Milutin, his heir.

Worried about the inheritance and his very life, Stefan Dragutin finally demanded to be associated on the throne in 1276. When Stefan Uroš refused, Dragutin rebelled and received help from his Hungarian relatives. The allies defeated the Serbian king and Stefan Uroš was forced to abdicate and retire to his monastic foundation of Sopoćani, where he died in c. 1277.

Family

By his wife Helena, who was either an Angevin princess or a daughter of the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Stefan Uroš I had at least three sons:
* Stefan Dragutin, who succeeded as king
* Stefan Uroš II Milutin, who succeeded as king in 1282
* Stefan

References

*cite book |last=Fine |first=John Christopher |authorlink=John Christopher Fine |title=The late medieval Balkans: a critical survey from the late twelfth century to the Ottoman Conquest |publisher=University of Michigan Press |location=Ann Arbor, Mich |year=1994 |isbn=0-472-08260-4


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