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Stephen Uroš I
King of Serbia
Stephen Uroš I with his son Dragutin
Reign 1234 - 1276
Coronation 1234
Predecessor Stefan Vladislav
Successor Stephen Dragutin
Stephen Dragutin of Serbia
Stefan Milutin
House House of Nemanjić
Father Stefan Nemanjić
Mother Anna
Born c.1222
Died May 1, 1277 (aged 55)
Sopoćani monastery
Religion Serbian Orthodox

Stephen Uroš I (Serbian Cyrillic: Стефан Урош I; c.1223 - May 1, 1277) was king of Serbia from 1243 to 1276, succeeding his brother Stefan Vladislav.


Stephen 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 Stephen Vladislav I of Serbia, replacing him with his younger brother Stephen Uroš I. The new king remained on good terms with his predecessor, who is mentioned in some of his charters.

The reign of Stephen 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.

Silver Coin of Stephen Uroš I

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.

Stephen 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 Stephen 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 Stephen Uroš's son Stephen Dragutin of Serbia was married to Catherine, the daughter of the future king Stephen V of Hungary.

By the end of his reign, Stephen 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, Stephen Dragutin finally demanded to be associated on the throne in 1276. When Stephen 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.


By his wife Helen, who was either an Angevin princess or a daughter of the Latin Emperor of Constantinople, Stephen Uroš I had at least three sons:

Preceded by
Stephen Vladislav I
King of Serbia
Succeeded by
Stephen Dragutin


  • Fine, John V.A. (1994). The late medieval Balkans: a critical survey from the late twelfth century to the Ottoman Conquest. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08260-4.  


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