Sarajevo • Banja Luka • Tuzla • Zenica • Bijeljina • Mostar • Prijedor • Brčko • Cazin • Doboj • Zvornik • Živinice • Bihać • Travnik • Gradiška • Gračanica • Sanski Most • Lukavac • Tešanj • Velika Kladuša • Srebrenik • Teslić • Gradačac • Visoko • Zavidovići • Kakanj • Prnjavor • Livno • Laktaši • Kalesija • Bugojno • Tomislavgrad • Žepče • Trebinje • Jajce • Derventa • Široki Brijeg • Bosanska Krupa • Novi Grad • Vogošća • Modriča • Konjic • Novi Travnik • Kozarska Dubica • Pale • Goražde • Foča •
|THE BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVIA COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the continent of South America
Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag Description of Bosnia and Herzegovina:The Bosnia and Herzegovina flag was officially adopted in February, 1998.
The blue and white colors are from the Pan-Slavic Tricolore. The prominate gold shield is taken from the arms of King Stephen Tvrtho, 1376-1391. The fleur-de-Lis is symbolic of family ties to the Anjous, the ruling Hungarian dynasty in the 14th century.
Official name Bosna i Hercegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Form of government emerging republic with bicameral legislature (House of Peoples ; House of Representatives )
Head of state Chairman of the Presidency of the Republic2: Mladen Ivanić
International authority See footnote 3.
Head of government Prime Minister (Chairman of the Council of Ministers): Denis Zvizdić
Official languages Bosnian; Croatian; Serbian
Official religion none
Monetary unit convertible marka (KM4, 5)
Population (2014 est.) 3,765,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 19,772
Total area (sq km) 51,209
- Urban: (2005) 45.7%
- Rural: (2005) 54.3%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2011) 72.7 years
- Female: (2011) 78.9 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: (2010) 99.4%
- Female: (2010) 96.5%
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 4,740
1All seats are nonelective.
2Nominally a tripartite (Serb, Croat, Bosniak [Bosnian Muslim]) presidency with a chair that rotates every eight months.
3High Representative of the international community per the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement/EU Special Representative.
4The KM is pegged to the euro.
5The euro also circulates as semiofficial legal tender.
- 1 Background of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 2 Geography of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 3 Demography of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 4 Economy of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 5 Government and Society of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 6 Cultural Life of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 7 History of Bosnia Herzegovina
- 8 Bosnian conflict
- 9 Bosnian crisis of 1908-Balkan history
- 10 Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004
- 11 Disclaimer
Background of Bosnia Herzegovina
The three constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats, and languages are Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian. Religions include Islam, Serbian Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, some Protestant sects, and some others
Bosnia and Herzegovina, country situated in the western Balkan Peninsula of Europe. The larger region of Bosnia occupies the northern and central parts of the country, and Herzegovina occupies the south and southwest. These historical regions do not correspond with the two autonomous political entities that were established by the internationally brokered Dayton Accords of 1995: the Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Republic), located in the north and east, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, occupying the western and central areas. The capital of the country is Sarajevo; important regional cities include Mostar and Banja Luka.
The land has often felt the influences of stronger regional powers that have vied for control over it, and these influences have helped to create Bosnia and Herzegovina’s characteristically rich ethnic and religious mix. Islam, Orthodox Christianity, and Roman Catholicism are all present, with the three faiths generally corresponding to three major ethnic groups: Bosniacs, Serbs, and Croats, respectively. This multiethnic population, as well as the country’s historical and geographic position between Serbia and Croatia, has long made Bosnia and Herzegovina vulnerable to nationalist territorial aspirations.
Ruled by the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century, the region came under the control of Austria-Hungary in 1878 and subsequently played a key role in the outbreak of World War I. In 1918 it was incorporated into the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, where it had no formal status of its own. After World War II it became a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the disintegration of that state in 1991, the majority of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for independence in a 1992 referendum. Much of the country’s Serb population, however, opposed independence and boycotted the referendum.
War soon consumed the region, as ethnic nationalists within Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support of Serbia and Croatia in some cases, tried to take control of territories they claimed as their own. Horrific ethnic cleansing campaigns between 1992 and the end of 1995 killed thousands and violently displaced more than two million people in much of Bosnia and Herzegovina. International intervention into the Bosnian conflict led finally to a peace agreement, the Dayton Accords, in late 1995. The Dayton agreement ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it also established the country as a fragile, highly decentralized, and ethnically divided state in which an international civilian representative remains authorized to impose legislation and to remove domestic officials in order to protect the peace. Although the vast majority of citizens continue to desire sustainable peace, they hold to different ideas about the best configuration of the state, and some even question its future existence.
Geography of Bosnia Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina make up a triangular-shaped republic, about half the size of Kentucky, on the Balkan peninsula. The Bosnian region in the north is mountainous and covered with thick forests. The Herzegovina region in the south is largely rugged, flat farmland. It has a narrow coastline without natural harbors stretching 13 mi (20 km) along the Adriatic Sea.
The roughly triangular-shaped Bosnia and Herzegovina is bordered on the north, west, and south by Croatia, on the east by Serbia, on the southeast by Montenegro, and on the southwest by the Adriatic Sea along a narrow extension of the country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a largely mountainous terrain. The Dinaric Alps dominate the western border with Croatia, and numerous ranges, including the Kozara, Vlašic, Plješevica, Grmeč, Cincar, and Raduša, run through the country, generally in a northwest-southeast direction. The highest peak, reaching 7,828 feet (2,386 metres), is Maglić, near the border with Montenegro. In the south and southwest is the Karst, a region of arid limestone plateaus that contain caves, potholes, and underground drainage. The uplands there are often bare and denuded (the result of deforestation and thin soils), but, between the ridges, depressions known as poljes are covered with alluvial soil that is suitable for agriculture. Elevations of more than 6,000 feet (1,800 metres) are common, and the plateaus descend abruptly toward the Adriatic Sea. The coastline, limited to a length of 12 miles (20 km) along the Adriatic Sea, is bounded on both sides by Croatia and contains no natural harbours. In central Bosnia the rocks and soils are less vulnerable to erosion, and the terrain there is characterized by rugged but green and often forested plateaus. In the north, narrow lowlands extend along the Sava River and its tributaries.
Geologic fault lines are widespread in the mountainous areas. In 1969 an earthquake destroyed 70 percent of the buildings in Banja Luka.
The principal rivers are the Sava, a tributary of the Danube that forms the northern boundary with Croatia; the Bosna, Vrbas, and Una, which flow north and empty into the Sava; the Drina, which flows north, forms part of the eastern boundary with Serbia, and is also a tributary of the Sava; and the Neretva, which flows from the southeast but assumes a sharp southwestern flow through the Karst region, continues through Croatia, and empties into the Adriatic Sea. Rivers in the Karst flow largely underground. Numerous glacial lakes dot the landscape. Bosnia and Herzegovina is also rich in natural springs, many of which are tapped for bottled mineral water or for popular thermal health spas.
Although situated close to the Mediterranean Sea, Bosnia and Herzegovina is largely cut off from its climatic influence by the Dinaric Alps. The weather in the Bosnia region resembles that of the southern Austrian highlands—generally mild, though apt to be bitterly cold in winter. In Banja Luka the coldest month is January, with an average temperature of about 32 °F (0 °C), and the warmest month is July, which averages about 72 °F (22 °C). During January and February Banja Luka receives the least amount of precipitation, and in May and June it experiences the heaviest rainfall.
Herzegovina has more affinity to the Croatian region of Dalmatia, which can be oppressively hot in summer. In Mostar, situated along the Neretva River, the coldest month is January, averaging about 42 °F (6 °C), and the warmest month is July, averaging about 78 °F (26 °C). Mostar experiences a relatively dry season from June to September. The remainder of the year is wet, with the heaviest precipitation between October and January.
- Plant and animal life
About two-fifths of the country is forested with pine, beech, and oak. Fruits are common; among them are grapes, apples, pears, and especially plums. The country’s rich and varied wildlife includes bears, wolves, wild pigs, wildcats, chamois (goatlike animals), otters, foxes, badgers, and falcons.
Demography of Bosnia Herzegovina
- Ethnic groups and religions
Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to members of numerous ethnic groups. The three largest are the Bosniaks, the Serbs, and the Croats. Continuing efforts by the international community to promote the return of persons forcibly displaced during the Bosnian conflict (1992–95) to their original homes, as well as domestic political sensitivities, blocked the conduct of a census well into the 21st century. Nevertheless, it is estimated that Bosniaks constitute more than two-fifths, Serbs roughly one-third, and Croats less than one-fifth of the population.
The three groups share the same South Slav heritage. The major cultural difference between them is that of religious origin or affiliation—a difference that may be explained in part by the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, which allowed autonomous religious communities to coexist under its rule. Indeed, “Serb” and “Croat” referred first to the people of two South Slav tribes and then mainly to the people of Serbia and Croatia until the 19th century, when nationalist movements in the Balkans encouraged Bosnians practicing Serbian Orthodoxy to be labeled as Serbs and Bosnians practicing Roman Catholicism to be labeled as Croats. The idea of a broader Serb or Croat “nation” was appealing to regional leaders who coveted Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territory. Serb or Croat nationalism also appealed to educated Bosnians, who were often excluded from high state positions by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s imperial rulers. (The Ottoman Empire was succeeded by Austria-Hungary, which took control in 1878.) A sense of nationalism later developed among Bosnian Muslims as well. In the 20th century “Muslim” came to be used as an ethnic, not only religious, identifier; it was replaced in the 1990s by “Bosniak.”
The association of religion with national identity has meant that religious identity has remained important. The role of religion within all three populations was elevated by the demise of communism, the revival of nationalism in the wake of Yugoslav disintegration, and the violence of the war. Nevertheless, attendance at church and mosque services continues to be low.
The mother tongue of the vast majority is Serbo-Croatian, a term used to describe, collectively, the mutually intelligible languages now known as Serbian, Croatian, or Bosnian, depending on the speaker’s ethnic and political affiliation. There are some minor regional variations in pronunciation and vocabulary, but all variations spoken within Bosnia and Herzegovina are more similar to one another than they are to, for example, the speech of Belgrade (Serbia) or Zagreb (Croatia). A Latin and a Cyrillic alphabet exist, and both have been taught in schools and used in the press, but the rise of nationalism in the 1990s prompted a Serb alignment with Cyrillic and a Croat and Bosniak alignment with the Latin alphabet.
- Settlement patterns
More than one-half of the population is rural. The arid plateaus in the southern region are less populated than the more hospitable central and northern zones. Villages are of variable size. Houses are either of an old, small, steep-roofed variety or of a larger, multistoried, modern type.
An urban-rural divide is a significant part of Bosnian culture, with urbanites tending to view villagers as primitives and villagers often being defensive about this view. Young villagers are frequently anxious to move to town. During the 1960s and ’70s the urban population almost doubled. This shift particularly affected the economic and industrial centres of Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Zenica, Tuzla, and Mostar, around which sprawling suburbs of apartment blocks were built. Traditional settlement patterns were disrupted by the postindependence war, with the population of many cities swelled by refugees.
Patterns of ethnic distribution before 1992 created an intricate mosaic. Certain areas of the country contained high concentrations of Serb, Croat, or Bosniak inhabitants, while in others there was no overall ethnic majority or only a very small one. Towns were ethnically mixed. Many larger villages also were mixed, although, in some of these, members of different ethnic groups tended to live in different quarters. Most smaller villages were inhabited by only one group. Much of the violence of the postindependence war had the aim of creating ethnic purity in areas that once had a mixture of peoples. In addition to killing thousands, this ethnic cleansing displaced about half the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina either within its borders or abroad. Estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of displaced persons eventually returned to their prewar homes, but a significant portion of the displaced population resettled in areas where they were among the majority ethnic group.
- Demographic trends
When it was a part of the Yugoslav federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina had one of the lowest death rates and among the highest live birth rates of Yugoslavia’s republics, and its natural rate of increase in population was high in comparison with most of them. By the early 21st century, however, the birth rate had declined, the death rate had climbed, and the natural rate of increase had fallen below zero. The 1992–95 war had radically altered the demographic situation. Of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced during the war, a significant portion of them emigrated.
Economy of Bosnia Herzegovina
As a republic of the Yugoslav federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina adhered to the unique economic system known as socialist self-management. In this system, business enterprises, banks, administration, social services, hospitals, and other working bodies were intended to be run by elected workers’ councils, which in turn elected the management boards of the bodies. In practice the level of workers’ control was extremely variable from enterprise to enterprise, since ordinary workers often were not motivated to participate except in matters such as hiring, firing, and benefits and in any case lacked the necessary time and information to make business decisions. In the 1980s Yugoslavia’s large foreign debt and rising inflation lowered the standard of living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the period immediately following the 1991 war in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s official economy collapsed. Huge increases in the price of oil, falling imports and exports, hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, insolvent banks, and unpaid pensions all resulted in a swelling black market, or informal economy. In addition, the 1992–95 war (see Bosnian conflict) caused widespread destruction.
International financial organizations were heavily involved in the postwar reconstruction of the economy. As a result, inflation fell, exports increased and were diversified, and the gross domestic product (GDP) experienced growth, at least until a global financial crisis began in 2008. However, privatization was contentious and remains incomplete. Moreover, the number of workers in the informal sector and the unemployment rate both remain stubbornly high. Remittances from Bosnians working abroad continue to be a significant source of income.
- Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a significant agricultural region, with some one-third of its land under cultivation or in pasture. The most fertile soils are in the north, along the Sava River valley. In hillier areas, land is employed for both cultivation and grazing. Principal crops include corn (maize), potatoes, wheat, plums, cabbages, and apples. In Herzegovina and in the more sheltered areas of Bosnia, tobacco is grown. Sheep are the major livestock, although cattle and pigs are raised, and apiculture is practiced. With about two-fifths of the country forested, timber, as well as furniture and other wood products, have been important exports. Fishing potential is increasingly exploited.
- Power and resources
Bosnia and Herzegovina has reserves of iron ore around Banja Luka and in the Kozara Mountains, bauxite near Mostar, and lignite and bituminous coal in the regions around Sarajevo, Zenica, Tuzla, and the Kozara Mountains. Zinc, mercury, and manganese are present in smaller quantities. Forests of pine, beech, and oak provide a source of timber. The country possesses considerable hydroelectric potential; there are several hydroelectric and thermal power plants.
Manufacturing historically represented a large part of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s economy. In the wake of the war, however, the country struggled to reinvigorate industrial production. Metal manufactures, iron and steel, sawn wood and wood products, food, and textiles are among the products produced in various parts of the country.
- Finance, trade, and services
The Dayton Accords created a largely autonomous central bank, which has sole authority over monetary policy and the issuing of currency. The national currency, the convertible marka (konvertibilna marka; KM), is pegged to the euro. After the war, fiscal consolidation was strong, and most banks are now privately owned. Foreign direct investment was substantial in the early 21st century, but foreign investors faced serious obstacles, including a complex legal and regulatory framework, less than transparent business procedures, and a weak judiciary. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest trading partners are Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia.
The service sector accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP, with retail trade and restaurants being an important component. There have been efforts to revive tourism by attracting visitors to the country’s rich cultural heritage sites, gorgeous mountains, and aquamarine rivers.
- Labour and taxation
The largest portion of the labour force is engaged in services, followed respectively by manufacturing and agriculture. Labour unions have been largely fragmented and weak in the postwar economy. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s autonomous entities, the Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Republic) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, have different tax policies. The individual income tax rate in both entities is relatively low. Other taxes include corporate tax, property tax, and value-added tax.
- Transportation and telecommunications
The major obstacle to transportation in Bosnia and Herzegovina has always been the mountainous topography. In addition, much of the transportation infrastructure was destroyed in the postindependence war. The railway system, begun under Austro-Hungarian rule (1878–1918), connects Sarajevo with major towns to the north and with Zagreb (Croatia) and Belgrade (Serbia). Another line runs south from Sarajevo to Mostar and on to Ploče on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. However, few lines are direct, and as a result roads of variable quality have in many cases been the preferred means of passenger and freight transportation. Scheduled air services connect Sarajevo with other Balkan capitals, such as Belgrade and Zagreb, as well as with other European and international destinations.
Although Bosnia and Herzegovina has lagged behind its neighbours with regard to citizens’ use of telecommunications, the number of cellular phone subscribers increased dramatically during the first decade of the 21st century. During the same period, the number of Internet users grew exponentially.
Government and Society of Bosnia Herzegovina
- Constitutional framework
The internationally brokered Dayton Accords—the peace agreement negotiated in Dayton, Ohio, U.S., in November 1995—established Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state composed of two highly autonomous entities, the Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Republic) and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The latter is a decentralized federation of Croats and Bosniaks. Each entity has its own legislature and president. The central institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina include a directly elected tripartite presidency, which rotates every eight months between one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat member. The presidency, as the head of state, appoints a multiethnic Council of Ministers. The chairman of the council, who is appointed by the presidency and approved by the national House of Representatives, serves as the head of government. The parliament is bicameral. Members are directly elected to the 42-seat lower house (House of Representatives), in which 28 seats are reserved for the Federation and 14 for the Republika Srpska. Members of the upper house (the House of Peoples, with five members from each ethnic group) are chosen by the entity legislatures.
The central institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina are weak, with the bulk of governmental competencies residing in the two entities. Internationally led efforts to replace the unwieldy and costly constitutional structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a more functional one, capable of integrating into the European Union, have been opposed by the country’s nationalist leaders.
- Local government
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is decentralized; it is administratively divided into 10 cantons, which in turn are divided into dozens of municipalities (općine). The Republika Srpska is relatively centralized and is administratively divided into dozens of municipalities (opštine). Citizens of both entities directly elect mayors and representatives to municipal and cantonal assemblies. Arbitration in 1997 established Brčko , in the northeast, as a self-governing special district.
The Dayton Accords established the Constitutional Court, which has exclusive jurisdiction to decide any dispute that arises between the entities, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entities, or between the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three of the nine members of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the president of the European Court of Human Rights; the others are selected by the entities. The State Court, comprising administrative, appellate, and criminal divisions, has jurisdiction over matters regarding national law. Each entity also has its own Supreme Court and lower courts. Since its establishment by the United Nations Security Council in 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has exercised jurisdiction over grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions as well as for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. In 2002 Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national courts gained jurisdiction over cases that did not involve major political and military figures.
- Political process
In 1990 the League of Communists of Yugoslavia fragmented, and multiparty elections were held in each of the country’s six constituent republics. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the national parties—the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (Stranka Demokratske Akcije; SDA), the Serbian Democratic Party (Srpska Demokratska Stranka; SDS), and the Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica; HDZ)—formed a tacit electoral coalition. The three swept the elections for the bicameral parliament and for the seven-member multiethnic presidency, which had been established by constitutional amendment “to allay fears that any one ethnic group would become politically dominant.” They attempted to form a multiparty leadership, but their political and territorial ambitions (and those of their powerful patrons in Zagreb [Croatia] and Belgrade [Serbia]) were incompatible. The parliament failed to pass a single law, and war was stoked by neighbouring nationalists in the spring of 1992. Following the establishment of peace in 1995, the nationalist SDS, HDZ, and SDA continued to win voter support, although other parties that shared nationalist agendas, such as the Serb Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (Stranka Nezavisnih Socijaldemokrata; SNSD) and the Bosniak Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina (Stranka za Bosnu i Hercegovinu; SBiH), gained prominence as well. The institutionalization of ethnicity in the political system has put parties with less ethnocentric agendas, such as the Social Democratic Party (Socijaldemokratska Partija; SDP), at a disadvantage, though the SDP, too, has gained seats in the parliament and the tripartite presidency.
The Yugoslav People’s Army was designed to repel invasion, and, as part of its strategy, it used the geographically central republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a storehouse for armaments and as the site of most military production. Bosnian Serb forces, aided by the Yugoslav People’s Army and fighting for a separate Serb state, appropriated most of this weaponry. Elsewhere the Croatian Defense Council, aided by Zagreb, and the (mainly Bosniak) Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were formed, but cooperation between them soon broke down. The Dayton Accords provided for the state to retain two separate armies, one from the Republika Srpska and the other from the Federation. At the urging of international actors eager to facilitate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, the army was unified in 2003. Policing, however, remains decentralized.
- Health, welfare, and housing
The health system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is decentralized, which in practice has resulted in inequitable access to health care and uneven levels of service. Informal payments for care are more common than legally mandated co-payments. The poverty rate in rural areas is about twice that of urban areas. In the early 21st century the country ranked toward the bottom of the “high human development” level of the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which broadly measures quality of life. It ranked lower than virtually all other European countries, excepting some former Soviet republics.
International programs have helped to rebuild housing stock that was significantly damaged during the postindependence war. In urban areas, most citizens reside in apartments privatized after the war, while those living in rural areas largely reside in private homes.
Taken when Bosnia and Herzegovina was still part of Yugoslavia, the 1991 census reported that 14 percent of people aged 15 or older were illiterate, with older women accounting for a significant portion of the illiterate population. In independent Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens have good access to educational opportunities, and it is estimated that the adult illiteracy rate fell to about 5 percent by the early 21st century. However, the current fractured educational system, in which students learn according to ethnically coloured, often biased curricula, has had the effect of creating three separate sets of citizens, each unfamiliar with and distrustful of the others. The higher education system is also ethnically divided, although reforms have been launched to meet European higher education standards. The oldest and largest of the country’s universities, the University of Sarajevo, was founded in 1949. The Universities of Banja Luka, Tuzla, and Mostar were founded in the 1970s.
Cultural Life of Bosnia Herzegovina
- Cultural milieu
Diverse European and Turkish influences are felt in the cultural life of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are considerable variations between traditional and modern and between rural and urban culture as well.
- Daily life and social customs
Family ties are strong, and friendship and neighbourhood networks are well developed. Great value is placed on hospitality, spontaneity, and the gifts of storytelling and wit. Summer activities include strolling on town korza (promenades), and throughout the year popular meeting places are kafane (traditional coffeehouses) and kafići (modern café-bars). Bosnian cuisine is a matter of pride and displays its Turkish influence in stuffed vegetables, coffee, and sweet cakes of the baklava type, as well as in the national dish of ćevapi, or ćevapčići. These small rolls of seasoned ground meat, typically a mixture of beef and lamb, are grilled and usually served in a bread pocket. The plums that grow in the country are often made into thick jam or slivovitz, a popular brandy.
- The arts
During the 1970s Sarajevo, with a less repressive atmosphere than that of the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade (now in Serbia), gave rise to a dissident rock-and-roll culture. The most popular band of the time, Bijelo Dugme (“White Button”), enjoyed a large following throughout the country. The city has produced other popular musical groups and artists, such as Zabranjeno Pušenje, Divlje Jagode, Elvis J. Kurtović, and Crvena Jabuka. International artists toured the country during the 1992–95 war in the service of humanitarian causes, and they continue to do so, adding to a strong domestic tradition of musical and cultural performance. Folk songs remain popular and well-known.
Sarajevo enjoys an active literary culture as well, with a number of publishing houses releasing contemporary and classic writing from the region. Popular writers include Amila Buturović, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Meša Selimović, and Fahrudin Zilkić. Ivo Andrić, born in Dolac, Bosnia, received the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature. Andrić’s novels, such as Na Drini ćuprija (1945; The Bridge on the Drina), are concerned with the history of Bosnia.
In the Yugoslav era Sarajevo was an important film centre, gaining international renown through the work of director Emir Kusturica, whose films depict the private face of Yugoslavia’s history. His Sječaš li se Dolly Bell? (Do You Remember Dolly Bell?) won the Golden Lion award at the 1981 Venice Film Festival. Danis Tanović won an Oscar in 2002 for his film No Man’s Land, about human relationships during the 1992–95 war.
- Cultural institutions
The National Museum (Zemaljski Muzej) in Sarajevo offers items from the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age), Roman findings, medieval tombstones (stećci), the Jewish illuminated manuscript known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, and folk costumes. Sarajevo’s National Theatre hosts productions by local, regional, and international groups. The Italian opera star Luciano Pavarotti lent his talent to raise funds for the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar, an institution that offers courses in music, filmmaking, photography, and acting.
- Sports and recreation
Bosnians, like many Europeans, share a passion for football (soccer). The country fields dozens of professional and semiprofessional teams, and virtually no Bosnian village lacks a field and a few players willing to populate it. The civil war of the 1990s caused the Bosnian football league to break into three comparatively weak divisions along ethnic lines, with Bosniak, Serb, and Croat teams that rarely played against anyone not of their own allegiance. In 2000 the Croat and Bosniak divisions agreed to interethnic play, joined by the Serb league in 2002. During the Yugoslav era Bosnia and Herzegovina had powerful basketball players, and the sport is still widely popular. However, as with football, ethnic division plagued the sport in the 1990s.
During the period of Yugoslav rule, Bosnian athletes competed in many Olympic Games, and the Winter Games of 1984 were held in Sarajevo. (Sarajevo’s ski runs built for the Games were later used as firing ranges for Serb and Yugoslav army artillery during the civil war.) Newly independent Bosnia and Herzegovina formed a national Olympic committee in 1992, which the International Olympic Committee recognized in 1993. The country’s first Olympic appearance came in 1992 at Barcelona, Spain. Despite the ongoing war, an interethnic team also participated in the 1994 Winter Games at Lillehammer, Nor. Athletes from the country have continued to participate in subsequent Winter and Summer Games.
Bosnia and Herzegovina features large national parks—Sutjeska, Kozara, and Una—and nature reserves. Mountains and open spaces offer hiking, skiing, and hunting. Hunting is a popular pastime, and assorted hunting societies include thousands of members.
- Media and publishing
In comparison with news outlets in much of communist eastern Europe, the news media in Yugoslavia were relatively independent, censorship being achieved more through implicit threat than through direct intervention. The warring factions during the 1992–95 war appropriated most media for the distribution of propaganda. Following the war, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska each began operating public radio and television stations. Numerous private stations also exist. Among the many newspapers, magazines, and popular journals circulating in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the Sarajevo dailies Dnevni Avaz and Oslobodjenje and the Banja Luka daily Nezavisne Novine.
History of Bosnia Herzegovina
Called Illyricum in ancient times, the area now called Bosnia and Herzegovina was conquered by the Romans in the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. and folded into the Roman province of Dalmatia. In the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. , Goths overran that portion of the declining Roman Empire and occupied the area until the 6th century, when the Byzantine Empire claimed it. Slavs began settling the region during the 7th century. Around 1200, Bosnia won independence from Hungary and endured as an independent Christian state for some 260 years.
The expansion of the Ottoman Empire into the Balkans introduced another cultural, political, and religious framework. The Turks defeated the Serbs at the famous battle of Kosovo in 1389. They conquered Bosnia in 1463. During the roughly 450 years Bosnia and Herzegovina were under Ottoman rule, many Christian Slavs became Muslim. A Bosnian Islamic elite gradually developed and ruled the country on behalf of the Turkish overlords. As the borders of the Ottoman Empire began to shrink in the 19th century, Muslims from elsewhere in the Balkans migrated to Bosnia. Bosnia also developed a sizable Jewish population, with many Jews settling in Sarajevo after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. However, through the 19th century the term Bosnian commonly included residents of all faiths. A relatively secular society, intermarriage among religious groups was not uncommon.
Neighboring Serbia and Montenegro fought against the Ottoman Empire in 1876 and were aided by the Russians, their fellow Slavs. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, following the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), Austria-Hungary was given a mandate to occupy and govern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an effort by Europe to ensure that Russia did not dominate the Balkans. Although the provinces were still officially part of the Ottoman Empire, they were annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire on Oct. 7, 1908. As a result, relations with Serbia, which had claims on Bosnia and Herzegovina, became embittered. The hostility between the two countries climaxed in the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, by a Serbian nationalist. This event precipitated the start of World War I (1914–1918). Bosnia and Herzegovina were annexed to Serbia as part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes on Oct. 26, 1918. The name was later changed to Yugoslavia in 1929.
When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, Bosnia and Herzegovina were made part of Nazi-controlled Croatia. During the German and Italian occupation, Bosnian and Herzegovinian resistance fighters fought a fierce guerrilla war against the Ustachi, the Croatian Fascist troops. At the end of World War II, Bosnia and Herzegovina were reunited into a single state as one of the six republics of the newly reestablished Communist Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito. His authoritarian control kept the ethnic enmity of his patchwork nation in check. Tito died in 1980, and with growing economic dissatisfaction and the fall of the iron curtain over the next decade, Yugoslavia began to splinter.
In Dec. 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia and asked for recognition by the European Union (EU). In a March 1992 referendum, Bosnian voters chose independence, and President Alija Izetbegovic declared the nation an independent state. Unlike the other former Yugoslav states, which were generally composed of a dominant ethnic group, Bosnia was an ethnic tangle of Muslims (44%), Serbs (31%), and Croats (17%), and this mix contributed to the duration and savagery of its fight for independence.
Ethnic Antgonism Erupts in War
- Both the Croatian and Serbian presidents had planned to partition Bosnia between themselves. Attempting to carve out their own enclaves, the Serbian minority, with the help of the Serbian Yugoslav army, took the offensive and laid siege, particularly on Sarajevo, and began its ruthless campaigns of ethnic cleansing, which involved the expulsion or massacre of Muslims. Croats also began carving out their own communities. By the end of Aug. 1992, rebel Bosnian Serbs had conquered over 60% of Bosnia. The war did not begin to wane until NATO stepped in, bombing Serb positions in Bosnia in Aug. and Sept. 1995. Serbs entered the UN safe havens of Tuzla, Zepa, and Srebrenica, where they murdered thousands. About 250,000 died in the war between 1992 and 1995.
U.S.-sponsored peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, led to an agreement in 1995 that called for a Muslim-Croat federation and a Serb entity within the larger federation of Bosnia. Sixty thousand NATO troops were to supervise its implementation. Fighting abated and orderly elections were held in Sept. 1996. President Izetbegovic, a Bosnian Muslim, or Bosniak, won the majority of votes to become the leader of the three-member presidency, each representing one of the three ethnic groups.
But this alliance of unreconstructed enemies had little success in creating a working government or keeping violent clashes in check. The terms of the Dec. 1995 Dayton Peace Accord were largely ignored by Bosnian Serbs, with its former president, arch-nationalist Radovan Karadzic, still in de facto control of the Serbian enclave. Many indicted war criminals, including Karadzic, remain at large. NATO proved to be a largely ineffective peacekeeping force.
After the Dayton Peace Accord, Challenges Remain
- The crucial priorities facing postwar Bosnian leaders were rebuilding the economy, resettling the estimated one million refugees still displaced, and establishing a working government. Progress on these goals has been minimal, and a massive corruption scandal uncovered in 1999 severely tested the goodwill of the international community.
In 1994, the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia opened in The Hague, Netherlands. In Aug. 2001, Radislav Drstic, a Bosnian Serb general, was found guilty of genocide in the killing of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995. It was the first genocide conviction in Europe since the UN genocide treaty was drawn up in 1951. In 2001, the trial of former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic began. He was charged with crimes against humanity. The expensive and lengthy trial ended without a verdict when he died in March 2006.
Under pressure from Paddy Ashdown, the international administrator of Bosnia authorized under the Dayton Accord, Bosnian Serb leaders finally admitted in June 2004 that Serbian troops were responsible for the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995. Until then, Serb leaders had refused to acknowledge guilt in the worst civilian massacre since World War II. In Feb. 2007, the International Court of Justice ruled that the massacre was genocide, but stopped short of saying Serbia was directly responsible. The decision spared Serbia from having to pay war reparations to Bosnia. The court's president, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, however, criticized Serbia for not preventing the genocide. The court also ordered Serbia to turn over Bosnian Serb leaders, including Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karakzic, who are accused of orchestrating the genocide and other crimes. Bosnians expressed disappointment with the ruling; they had demanded that Serbia pay war reparations.
In Dec. 2004, the European Union officially took over NATO's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. It is the largest peacekeeping operation the EU has undertaken. In March 2005, Ashdown, the international administrator, sacked Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the presidency, charging him with corruption and abuse of office. Covic became the third member of the Bosnian presidency forced to resign since the tripartite presidency was established.
Small Steps Toward Inclusion in the EU
- Elections in Oct. 2006 reinforced the lingering ethnic tensions in the country. The Serbian coalition, which favors an independent state, narrowly defeated the Muslim-Croat Federation that prefers moving toward a more unified country. In Jan. 2007, Bosnian Serb Nikola Spiric took over as prime minister and formed a new government. He resigned in Nov. 2007 to protest reforms introduced by an international envoy, who was appointed under the Dayton Accords by the UN and the European Union and has the power to enact legislation and dismiss ministers. Spiric said the reforms, which the EU said would help the country's entrance into the organization, would diminish the influence of Bosnian Serbs and enhance those of other ethnic groups. Crisis was averted later in November, when Spiric and the country's Croat and Muslim leaders agreed on a series of reforms approved by Parliament.
On July 21, 2008, Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb president during the war in Bosnia in the 1990s, was charged with genocide, persecution, deportation, and other crimes against non-Serb civilians. Karadzic orchestrated the massacre of almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 in Srebrenica. He was found outside Belgrade. The arrest will likely bring Serbia closer to joining the European Union.
Since the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2010, Bosnia had been in a political deadlock, without a government. In Dec. 2011, the Bosniak, Serb and Croatian communities successfully produced a government, bringing the country a little closer to EU membership.
In Oct. 2012, the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic began his defence at his war crimes trial in The Hague. Karadzic stands accused of ten charges of genocide and crimes against humanity during the war in the 1990s, including the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo.
2014 Brings Worst Flooding in a Century
- In May 2014, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina were hit with the heaviest rains and flooding in over a century. Electricity was lost in several towns and villages. At least 44 people were killed in the flooding, and authorities believed that the death toll could rise. Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic declared a state of emergency for the whole country. During a news conference, Vucic said, "This is the greatest flooding disaster ever. Not only in the past 100 years; this has never happened in Serbia's history."
In Bosnia, rivers surpassed record levels and army helicopters had to evacuate dozens stranded in their homes in the town of Maglaj. Authorities could not reach Doboj, a town in northern Bosnia, because all roads leading to the town were washed out. The government sent troops to central and eastern towns where thousands had to be evacuated, their homes destroyed by the floods. Sarajevo meteorologist Zeljko Majstorovic said, "This is the worst rainfall in Bosnia since 1894, when weather measurements started to be recorded."
In Nov. 2014, the new presidency took office. Mladen Ivanić was named chairman of the presidency. Dragan Čović and Bakir Izetbegović would serve with him as members of the presidency.
- Ancient and medieval periods
When the Romans extended their conquests into the territory of modern Bosnia during the 2nd and 1st centuries bce, the people they encountered there belonged mainly to Illyrian tribes. Most of the area of modern Bosnia was incorporated into the Roman province of Dalmatia. During the 4th and 5th centuries ce, Roman armies suffered heavy defeats in this region at the hands of invading Goths. When the Goths were eventually driven out of the Balkans by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in the early 6th century, the Bosnian territory became, notionally at least, part of the Byzantine Empire.--->>>>>Read On.<<<<
European history [1992–1995]
by:John R. Lampe
Bosnia and Herzegovina: peace agreement, 1995
World leaders applauding after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paris, December 14, 1995. Seated (from left) are Slobodan Milošević, Franjo Tudjman, and Alija Izetbegović. Standing (from left) are Felipe González, Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Helmut Kohl, John Major, and Viktor Chernomyrdin.
Bosnian conflict, ethnically rooted war (1992–95) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a former republic of Yugoslavia with a multiethnic population comprising Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Serbs, and Croats. After years of bitter fighting that involved the three Bosnian groups as well as the Yugoslav army, Western countries with backing by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) imposed a final cease-fire negotiated at Dayton, Ohio, U.S., in 1995.
Background In 1946 the People’s Republic (from 1963, Socialist Republic) of Bosnia and Herzegovina became one of the constituent republics of the Federal People’s (from 1963, Socialist Federal) Republic of Yugoslavia, and life in Bosnia and Herzegovina underwent all the social, economic, and political changes that were imposed on the whole of Yugoslavia by its new communist government. Bosnia and Herzegovina was particularly affected by the abolition of many traditional Muslim institutions, such as Qurʾānic primary schools, rich charitable foundations, and Dervish religious orders. However, a change of official policy in the 1960s led to the acceptance of “Muslim” as a term denoting a national identity: the phrase “Muslim in the ethnic sense” was used in the 1961 census, and in 1968 the Bosnian Central Committee decreed that “the Muslims are a distinct nation.” By 1971 Muslims formed the largest single component of the Bosnian population. During the next 20 years the Serb and Croat populations fell in absolute terms as many Serbs and Croats emigrated. In the 1991 census Muslims made up more than two-fifths of the Bosnian population, while Serbs made up slightly less than one-third and Croats one-sixth. From the mid-1990s the term Bosniak replaced Muslim as the name Bosnian Muslims use for themselves.
In the 1980s the rapid decline of the Yugoslav economy led to widespread public dissatisfaction with the political system. That attitude, together with the manipulation of nationalist feelings by politicians, destabilized Yugoslav politics. Independent political parties appeared by 1989. In early 1990, multiparty elections were held in Slovenia and Croatia. When elections were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December, new parties representing the three national communities gained seats in rough proportion to their populations. A tripartite coalition government was formed, with the Bosniak politician Alija Izetbegović leading a joint presidency. Growing tensions both inside and outside Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, made cooperation with the Serbian Democratic Party, led by Radovan Karadžić, increasingly difficult.
In 1991 several self-styled “Serb Autonomous Regions” were declared in areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina with large Serb populations. Evidence emerged that the Yugoslav People’s Army was being used to send secret arms deliveries to the Bosnian Serbs from Belgrade (Serbia). In August the Serbian Democratic Party began boycotting the Bosnian presidency meetings, and in October it removed its deputies from the Bosnian assembly and set up a “Serb National Assembly” in Banja Luka. By then full-scale war had broken out in Croatia, and the breakup of Yugoslavia was under way. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s position became highly vulnerable. The possibility of partitioning Bosnia and Herzegovina had been discussed during talks between the Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman, and the Serbian president, Slobodan Milošević, earlier in the year, and two Croat “communities” in northern and southwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, similar in some ways to the “Serb Autonomous Regions,” were proclaimed in November 1991.
When the European Community (EC; later succeeded by the European Union) recognized the independence of Croatia and Slovenia in December, it invited Bosnia and Herzegovina to apply for recognition also. A referendum on independence was held during February 29–March 1, 1992, although Karadžić’s party obstructed voting in most Serb-populated areas and almost no Bosnian Serbs voted. Of the nearly two-thirds of the electorate that did cast a vote, almost all voted for independence, which President Izetbegović officially proclaimed on March 3, 1992.
Independence and war Attempts by EC negotiators to promote a new division of Bosnia and Herzegovina into ethnic “cantons” during February and March 1992 failed: different versions of those plans were rejected by each of the three main ethnic parties. When Bosnia and Herzegovina’s independence was recognized by the United States and the EC on April 7, Bosnian Serb paramilitary forces immediately began firing on Sarajevo, and the artillery bombardment of the city by Bosnian Serb units of the Yugoslav army began soon thereafter. During April many of the towns in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina with large Bosniak populations, such as Zvornik, Foča, and Višegrad, were attacked by a combination of paramilitary forces and Yugoslav army units. Most of the local Bosniak population was expelled from these areas, the first victims in the country of a process described as ethnic cleansing. Although Bosniaks were the primary victims and Serbs the primary perpetrators, Croats were also among the victims and perpetrators. Within six weeks a coordinated offensive by the Yugoslav army, paramilitary groups, and local Bosnian Serb forces brought roughly two-thirds of Bosnian territory under Serb control. In May the army units and equipment in Bosnia and Herzegovina were placed under the command of a Bosnian Serb general, Ratko Mladić.
From the summer of 1992, the military situation remained fairly static. A hastily assembled Bosnian government army, together with some better-prepared Bosnian Croat forces, held the front lines for the rest of that year, though its power was gradually eroded in parts of eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian government was weakened militarily by an international arms embargo and by a conflict in 1993–94 with Croat forces. But later in 1994, Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks agreed to form a joint federation. The United Nations (UN) refused to intervene in the Bosnian conflict, but UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) troops did facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. The organization later extended its role to the protection of a number of UN-declared “safe areas.” However, the UN failed to protect the safe area of Srebrenica in July 1995, when Bosnian Serb forces perpetrated the massacre of more than 7,000 Bosniak men (see Srebrenica massacre).
Several peace proposals during the war failed, largely because the Bosnian Serbs—who controlled about 70 percent of the land by 1994—refused to concede any territory. In February 1994, in NATO’s first-ever use of force, its fighters shot down four Bosnian Serb aircraft that were violating the UN-imposed no-fly zone over the country. Later that year, at the UN’s request, NATO launched isolated and ineffective air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets. Following the Srebrenica massacre and another Bosnian Serb attack on a Sarajevo marketplace, NATO undertook more concentrated air strikes late in 1995. Combined with a large-scale Bosniak-Croat land offensive, this action led Bosnian Serb forces to agree to U.S.-sponsored peace talks in Dayton in November. Serbian Pres. Slobodan Milošević represented the Bosnian Serbs. The resulting Dayton Accords called for a federalized Bosnia and Herzegovina in which 51 percent of the land would constitute a Croat-Bosniak federation and 49 percent a Serb republic. To enforce the agreement, formally signed in December 1995, a 60,000-member international force was deployed.
It was originally estimated that at least 200,000 people were killed and more than 2,000,000 displaced during the 1992–95 war. Subsequent studies, however, concluded that the death toll was actually about 100,000.
Bosnian crisis of 1908-Balkan history
Bosnian crisis of 1908, state of severe international tension caused by the annexation by Austria-Hungary of the Balkan provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Congress of Berlin (1878) had given Austria-Hungary the right to occupy and administer Bosnia and Herzegovina temporarily, but the provinces officially remained possessions of the Ottoman Empire. Still, the Austrian administration tried mightily and at great expense to improve the strategically valuable region economically and to link it closely with Austria-Hungary. When in July 1908 the Young Turks staged a revolution in Constantinople (now Istanbul), established a constitutional government, and inaugurated a reform program, the Austrian foreign minister Graf (count) Lexa von Aehrenthal resolved to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina before the new Turkish regime could regain control over them.
To that end Aehrenthal met the Russian foreign minister, Aleksandr P. Izvolsky, at Buchlau, in Moravia; and, on Sept. 16, 1908, Izvolsky agreed that Russia would not object to the annexation. Aehrenthal pledged that in return Austria would not object to opening the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to Russian warships, an advantage that had been denied to Russia since 1841. By a rescript of Oct. 7, 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Izvolsky, unprepared for such immediate action, could not control the strong popular opposition to the annexation that developed in Russia. Furthermore, Serbia, which was closely related to Bosnia and Herzegovina geographically and ethnically, was outraged by the annexation. It demanded that Austria cede a portion of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia, and Izvolsky, pressed by anti-Austrian opinion in Russia, was forced to support the Serbian claims. Austria, however, firmly supported by its ally Germany, threatened to invade Serbia if that country persisted in its demands. Russia, having failed to secure equally strong support from its ally France, could not risk a war against both Austria-Hungary and Germany for Serbia’s sake, and in March 1909 Izvolsky notified Germany that Russia accepted Austria’s annexation. Although the crisis was resolved without immediate warfare, the resulting embittered relations between Serbia and Austria-Hungary and Russia’s resentment at having been deceived and humiliated contributed to the outbreak of World War I.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Area: 51,209 sq km (19,772 sq mi) Population (2004 est.): 3,870,000 Capital: Sarajevo Heads of state: Nominally a tripartite presidency chaired by Dragan Covic, Sulejman Tihic ...>>>read on<<<
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