The nineteenth century commenced when Serbian economy was in transition from the feudal towards the capitalistic economic system. Trade, owing to Belgrade’s exceptional position, handicrafts and to a lesser degree agriculture were the only parts of the economy capable of adapting to the newly created changes and channeling them into all other parts of the society. At the same time, they were the advocates of development and a factor of integration.

Owing to their great personal endeavors, economic conditions and wise business moves, a certain number of businessmen and craftsmen in Belgrade expanded their business operations, merged their capital, established banks and other economic institutions. They were respected members of society and the advocates of economic development. They opened new roads of integration with the western markets and affirmed Belgrade as Serbia’s import-export center, via which 90 percent of the goods were imported.

In order to enable future development, it was necessary to improve road and river traffic routes. Due to this reason, measures were taken to improve the condition of the main road, the Constantinople road, which was a part of the European traffic routes, and to introduce regulation into river routes and implement traffic lines.

By introducing regular lines along the Danube and Sava rivers, the trade in goods was improved and increased, especially after 1856, when the regime for international traffic was implemented on the Danube River.

The most important event in Serbia’s economy was the completed construction of the Belgrade – Nis railroad line and the line across the Sava Bridge in 1884, because railroads were a means of integration and the spine of the capitalistic manufacturing system. It was also one of the most important structural elements of industrialization and modernization at the beginning of the 20th century.

The expansion of Belgrade’s economy ended with World War I, which brought in its wake massive destruction of the country and Europe’s geopolitical rearrangement. The newly established state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and as of 1929 the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, with Belgrade as its capital, was characterized by modernization of all aspects of life. The basis of modernization was industrialization.

In 1929, there were 107 industrial companies in Belgrade, amongst which the largest ones managed to continue with their operations; first of all, the breweries Vajfert and Bajloni, the steam mill of the Popovic brothers and the textile firm of Kosta Ilic and sons. From 1927 to 1934 a few airplane-manufacturing plants were established. The airplane motors plant in Rakovica manufactured the first truck in Yugoslavia in 1938.

Belgrade, with its developed economy was the industrial and business center of the country and the center of various state, political and cultural institutions; and was by the middle of the 20th century one of Europe’s capitals, integrated into European politics, culture and business.

Belgrade was connected to the European railroad network by the Sava Bridge on August 20, 1884, and after its stop in Belgrade, the Orient Express continued its voyage towards Nis.

The railroad station was built in 1884. Soon Belgrade became the railroad center, which developed into the largest railroad junction in the Balkans. Heavy transit transport was carried out via Belgrade

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