One of the few unexamined pieces of the Balkan jigsaw, the Sandzak region, straddling the border area between the now independent states of Serbia and Montenegro, is heir to a complex and contested history, characterised by foreign occupation and domestic conflict. The heartland of the first Serbian medieval kingdom, the area fell under the control of the Ottoman Turks in the late fourteenth century. But as the Ottoman Empire was rolled back during the tumultuous nineteenth century, the Sandzak, positioned at the interface between the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires, became the focus of Great Power politics.
Divided by Serbia and Montenegro during the Balkan Wars, occupied by the Austrians during the First World War, the Sandzak was then incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. The area was again occupied by Italian and German forces during the Second World War, during which internecine conflicts between competing domestic political forces intensified. Granted autonomous status by the communist-led Partisans in 1943, the Sandzak was again divided between Serbia and Montenegro in 1945. Yet this short period of autonomy remained a powerful symbol, and as Yugoslavia began to unravel in the 1990s, the 'Sandzak Question' re-emerged.
The Sandzak: A History attempts to demystify the enigma of this little-know part of the Balkans. Offering a detailed yet succinct analysis of its religious and ethnic dynamics, the authors chart a course through conflicting historical narratives to provide a comprehensive overview of the complex history of this contested land.