Zeta under the BalšićiMontenegro
The Balšić family ruled Zeta, whose territory encompassed parts of present-day Montenegro and northern Albania, from 1356. In the mid-14th century, Zeta was divided into Upper and Lower Zeta, governed by magnates. After Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–55), his son Stefan Uroš V ruled Serbia during the fall of the Serbian Empire; a gradual disintegration of the Empire as a result of decentralization in which provincial lords gained semi-autonomy and eventually independence. The Balšići wrestled the Zeta region in 1356–1362, when they removed the two rulers in Upper and Lower Zeta. Ruling as lords, they empowered themselves and over the decades became an important player in Balkan politics.