Prince Mihailo Obrenović’s Decree on the Constitution of the Society of Serbian Letters (detail) passed on 7 November 1841
(Archives of Serbia – DS, 1841-425)

History Of The Academy

The history of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) began on November 7, 1841, when the Society of Serbian Letters (Društvo srbske slovesnosti, SSL) was founded with the aim of researching the Serbian language and promoting sciences in it. According to its fields of activity, the SSL was divided into five sections. From 1847, it published the results of its work in Glasnik Društva srbske slovesnosti (Herald of the Society of Serbian Letters). Due to a strengthening within SSL of a liberal stream, which was highly critical of the regime, the work of the Society was discontinued in January of 1864. The work resumed on June 29 of the same year when the Serbian Learned Society (Srpsko učeno društvo, SLS) was founded. The SLS continued the work of collecting and publishing documents related to Serbian history, geography and ethnography and resumed publishing Glasnik. Members of the Society disagreed on its main task – the liberals among them believed that education of the people was their main task, whereas the conservatives propagated scientific work. As their differences were irreconcilable, the Serbian Royal Academy (Srpska kraljevska akademija, SRA) was established in 1886, whereas the SLS continued its work until 1892, when it merged with the Academy. The SRA comprised four professional academies: Academy of Arts, Academy of Natural Sciences, Academy of Social Sciences, and Academy of Philosophical Sciences. A large number of systematic and long-term research projects, some of them still continuing today, started under its roof.

After World War II, the official name of the Academy was changed to Serbian Academy of Sciences and in 1960 to Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA). The division into professional academies was replaced by a division into departments, of which there are currently eight.