The country was divided into many such Zhupaniyas, which were originally independent of each other.
The history of the Serbs during the first five centuries after their arrival in their present country was a struggle between the attempts at union and centralization of the Zhupaniyas into one state under one government, and the resistance to such union and centralization, a struggle between the centripetal and the centrifugal political forces.
The more powerful Zhupan was tempted to subjugate and absorb the neighbouring less powerful Zhupaniyas: If successful, he would take the title of Veliki Zhupan (Grand Zhupan).
It is not to be wondered at that this struggle gave occasion for wars between the Zhupaniyas, for civil wars within the Zhupaniyas, for popular risings, court revolutions, dethronements, political assassinations and such like.
The first Serb princes who worked with more or less success at the union of several Zhupaniyas into one state, belonged to what might be called " the Visheslav dynasty."
Bosnia reclaimed her own independence; so did Rashka, whose Grand Zhupans came forward as leaders of the Serb national policy, which aimed at freedom from Greek suzerainty and the union of all the Serb Zhupaniyas into one kingdom under one king.
About the middle of the 12th century all the Serb Zhupaniyas were acknowledging the suzerainty of the Byzantine emperors.
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