Balkan Wars

(1912–13) Two military conflicts that deprived the Ottoman Empire of almost all its remaining territory in Europe. In the First Balkan War, the Balkan League defeated the Ottoman Empire, which, under the terms of the peace treaty (1913), lost Macedonia and Albania. The Second Balkan War broke out after Serbia, Greece, and Romania quarreled with Bulgaria over the division of their joint conquests in Macedonia. Bulgaria was defeated, and Greece and Serbia divided up most of Macedonia between themselves. The wars heightened tensions in the Balkans and helped spark World War I.

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or Balkan Peninsula

Peninsula, southeastern Europe. Located between the Adriatic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean and Black seas, it contains many countries, including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria. From 168 BC to AD 107, part of the area was incorporated into Roman provinces, including Epirus, Moesia, Pannonia, Thrace, and Dacia. It was subsequently settled by Slavic invaders, Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, and Slavonized Bulgars, the last of whom were pushed into the Balkan region in the 6th century. It was gradually organized into kingdoms, many of which were overrun by the Ottoman Empire in the 14th–15th century. The factional strife that occurred there from the early 20th century, provoking the continual breakups and regroupings of different states, introduced the word balkanize into English.

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Bulgarian Stara Planina

Mountain range, southeastern Europe. It extends east to west across central Bulgaria from the Black Sea to the Serbian border; the highest point is Botev Peak, at 7,795 ft (2,376 m). The range forms the major divide between the Danube River in the north and the Maritsa River in the south. It is crossed by about 20 passes (notably Shipka Pass), several railway lines, and the Iskur River.

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