Lead: With the Ottoman Empire nearly everywhere dominant in the Balkans, Serbs, Montenegrins, Albanians, Macedonians dreamed of independence.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1566 the Ottoman Empire of the Turks had reached its greatest extent pushing its rule in North Africa almost all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and had nearly taken the Austrian capitol of Vienna. The nationalities of the Balkans: Serbs, Albanians, Bosnians, Bulgarians and Romanians struggled against Turkish rule and dreamed of going their own independent way but had little recourse. Living conditions were difficult but many Balkan peasants were better off than their European counterparts. Under the Turks, each Christian paid a head tax and was required give one-tenth of his produce to his Turkish landlord, but overall, taxes were light, a peasant was not required to remain for life on the land which he worked, nor could he be forced from the land. Balkan Christians retained much more religious freedom than did minorities in the West. Throughout the peninsula, the Orthodox Church preserved the religion, culture, and national identity of the various Balkan clans.

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