English: Locator map of Braničevo District.

English: Locator map of Braničevo District. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)BRANIČEVO

District south of the Danube and east of the River Morava, now in Serbia, and named after a town and former fortress on the River Pek some way above its confluence with the Danube.   The town is no longer important enough to find its way into general atlases of Europe.

Its history was very similar to that of Belgrade, higher up the Danube.   Both were frontier  towns in the Byzantine Empire, both fell to Bulgaria in the 9th century, both were recovered early in the 11th century.   In the late 12th century Hungary and Byzantium contended for them both;  in the first half of the 13th century the competition was between Hungary and Bulgaria.

In the late 1250s and the 1260s Braničevo was held together with the larger border of Maèva by the Russian Prince Rostislav, a son-in-law of  Bela IV of Hungary, and after his death c.1262, by his son Bela.   When Bela died in 1272 Braničevo came under a Hungarian governor, but by the 1280s it was in the hands of two brothers, Bulgarian boyars called Drman and Kudelin.  In 1291 Milutin, the reigning King of Serbia, and his brother Dragutin, the former Serb King, who held Mačva as a fief from the King of Hungary, drove the brothers out and added Braničevo to Dragutin’s territory.   When he died in 1316 his son succeeded but Milutin turned him out and took control of the district.

In 1359, four years after the death of Serbia’s great King, Stephen Duãan, a Serb family, the Rastislalići, gained control of the district with the aid of the Hungarians, whose suzerainty the Rastislalići acknowledged.   Lazar, the Prince of Serbia, drove them out in 1379 and Braničevo remained attached to Serbia until 1437 when it was taken by the Ottoman Turks, two years before Serbia itself was temporarily destroyed.   When the Sultan restored the Serb Principality under George Branković in 1444 Braničevo was among the towns and fortresses allocated to him.   Serbia’s independence finally ended in 1459.

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