Yugoslavia is commonly associated with communist dictator Josip Tito, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914 and a brutal civil war in the 1990s. What fewer people know is that, at one time, Yugoslavia was part of the Austro Hungarian Empire.
The region has, in fact, gone through many iterations, including as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes starting in 1918, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia beginning in 1929.
After World War II, the region was arranged as a federation of six republics – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia – based on ethnic and historic lines. Yugoslavia was relatively stable under the iron grip of communist and revolutionary statesman Josip Broz Tito, but ethnic tensions simmered. When Tito died in 1980, there was no one to stamp out the fire and a civil war broke out, with repercussions that are still being felt today.
By 1992 only Serbia and Montenegro remained in what was called "the third Yugoslavia"; everywhere else had broken away after many bloody conflicts. In 2003, the name Yugoslavia was ditched, and the region became the country of Serbia and Montenegro.
Finally, in 2006 – just 13 years ago – Serbia and Montenegro became independent countries, which they remain today. Both are relatively safe to visit (Montenegro especially) and are excellent spots for history-lovers to travel to.