Despot Đurađ

Despot Đurađ Branković was a son to the ruler of Kosovo, Vuk Branković, and Mara, Prince Lazar’s daughter. He was born in 1377, and ruled in Serbia from 1427 to 1456. In his early years he often argued with his uncle, Despot Stefan, about the politics towards the Turks, but Despot named him as his successor, anyway. Through his wife, Irene Kantakouzenos (Cantacuzenus), he became a relative to the Byzantine Crown. As it happened, he had to rule in the hardest of times for Serbia – when the Turks relentlessly advanced and made him a tragic figures of the Serbian history. He had to balance between Hungary and Turkey, had to give his daughter Mara as a wife to Sultan Murad, the other daughter he married to a relative of the Hungarian Court, and his sons were blinded in Turkish captivity. He was lavishly giving money to the Dubrovnik officials, who in turn took him in when he lost his lands. He even managed to recover Smederevo after it fell under the Turks in 1439, and with the help of the European League against the Ottoman Turks he drove them to the east – but all in vain.  The new Sultan Mehmed conquered Constantinople in  1453, and then started for Serbia. Despot died in 1456 – just in time to avoid witnessing the fall of his country and the disagreement among his heirs before the final defeat.


The wife, Irene Kantakouzenos (remembered by the common folk as Jerina the Cursed), daughter Mara Branković, daughter Kantakouzenos (Catherine) Branković