Smederevo (Смедерево) is a city and municipality in Serbia on the Danube at 44.67° North, 20.93° East. In 2002 the city had a total population of 77,808 (2002), and the surrounding municipality had a population of 109,809. It is the administrative center of the Podunavlje District of Serbia.
In Serbian, the city is known as Smederevo (Смедерево), in Latin as Semendria, in Romanian as Semendria, in Hungarian as Szendrő or Vég-Szendrő, in Turkish as Semendire, and in German as Semendria or Smederewo.
The modern founder of the city was the Serbian prince Đurađ Branković in the 15th century, who built the Smederevo fortress in 1430 as new Serbian capital. When he became lord of Tokaj in Hungary, he planted vines from Smederevo on his estates there; from these came the famous Tokaji white wine. Smederevo was the residence of Branković and the capital of Serbia from 1430 until 1439, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire after a two months siege.
In 1444 according to the Peace of Szeged between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire the Sultan gave back Smederevo to Đurađ Branković, the ally of John Hunyadi. On 22 August 1444 the Serb prince peacefully took possession the evacuated town.
After Hunyadi broke the peace treaty Đurađ Branković remained neutral. Serbia became a battleground territory between Kingdom of Hungary and the Ottomans so the angry Branković captured Hunyadi after his defeat at the Second Battle of Kosovo in 1448. Hunyadi was imprisoned in Smederevo fortress for a short time.
In 1454 Sultan Mehmed II sieged Smederevo and devastated Serbia. The town was delibareted by Hunyadi. In 1459 Smederevo was captured by the Ottomans after the death of Branković. The town became a Turkish border-fortress, and played an important part in Hungarian-Ottoman wars until 1526. Because of its strategic location, Smederevo was gradually renewed and enlarged. For a long period, the town was the capital of the Sanjak of Smederevo.
In autumn 1476 a joint army of Hungarians and Serbs tried to capture the fortress from the Ottomans. They built three wood counter-fortresses, but after months of siege Sultan Mehmed II himself came to drive them away. After fierce fighting the Hungarians agreed to march off.
In 1494 Pál Kinizsi tried to capture Smederevo from the Ottomans but he was stricken with palsy and died. In 1512 John Zápolya sieged unsuccessfully the town.
During the First Serbian uprising in 1806, the city became a temporary capital of Serbia, as well as the seat of Praviteljstvujušči sovjet, a government headed by Dositej Obradović. The first basic school was founded in 1806.
During World War II, the city was occupied by German forces, who placed an arsenal of ammunition in the fortress. On June 5, 1941 a catastrophic explosion severely damaged the fortress and killed thousands of people in the city.