Bosnia and Herzegovina (Latin script: Bosna i Hercegovina, Cyrillic script: Босна и Херцеговина) is a country on the Balkan peninsula of Southern Europe with an area of 51,129 square kilometres (19,741 sq mi). The last official census in 1991 recorded 4.4 million people, which was prior to the 1992-1995 war, while an unofficial census in 1996 by UNHCR recorded a post-war population of 3.9 million. Its 2007 residential population is estimated at approximately 4 million. Formerly one of the six federal units constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Bosnia and Herzegovina can be described as a federal democratic republic that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system, and it is a potential candidate for membership in the European Union and NATO.
The country is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples": Bosniaks, the most numerous population group of Bosnia, with Serbs in second and Croats in third. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian. In Bosnia, the distinction between a Bosnian and a Herzegovinian is maintained as a regional, rather than an ethnic distinction. The country is politically decentralized and comprises two governing entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with District Brčko as a de facto third entity.
Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for 26 kilometres of the Adriatic Sea coastline, centered around the town of Neum. The interior of the country is mountainous in the center and south, hilly in the northwest, and flat in the northeast. The nation's capital and largest city is Sarajevo, host city of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games.
The region of Bosnia is the largest geographic region of the modern state with moderate continental climate, marked by hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Smaller Herzegovina is the southern tip of the country, with Mediterranean climate and topography. Bosnia and Herzegovina's natural resources are highly abundant.
The land originally was part of the Illyria up until the Roman occupation. Following the split of the Roman Empire between 337 and 395, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. Some claim that the region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455. It subsequently changed hands between the Alans and Huns. By the sixth century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. The Slavs, a people from eastern Europe (now territory of Ukraine), were conquered by the Avars in the sixth century.
Modern knowledge of the political situation in the west Balkans during the Early Middle Ages is patchy and confusing. Upon their arrival, the Slavs brought with them a tribal social structure, which probably fell apart and gave way to Feudalism only with Frankish penetration into the region in the late ninth century. It was also around this time that the south Slavs were Christianized. Bosnia, due to its geographic position and terrain, was probably one of the last areas to go through this process, which presumably originated from the urban centers along the Dalmatian coast. The principalities of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the ninth and tenth century, but by the High Middle Ages political circumstance led to the area being contested between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire. Following another shift of power between the two in the early twelfth century, Bosnia found itself outside the control of both and emerged as an independent state under the rule of local bans.
The first notable Bosnian monarch, Ban Kulin, presided over nearly three decades of peace and stability during which he strengthened the country's economy through treaties with Dubrovnik and Venice. His rule also marked the start of a controversy with the Bosnian Church, an indigenous Christian sect considered heretical by both the Roman Catholic and Serbian Orthodox churches. In response to Hungarian attempts to use church politics regarding the issue as a way to reclaim sovereignty over Bosnia, Kulin held a council of local church leaders to renounce the heresy and embraced Catholicism in 1203. Despite this, Hungarian ambitions remained unchanged long after Kulin's death in 1204, waning only after an unsuccessful invasion in 1254.
Bosnian history from then until the early fourteenth century was marked by the power struggle between the Šubić and Kotromanić families. This conflict came to an end in 1322, when Stjepan II Kotromanić became ban. By the time of his death in 1353, he was successful in annexing territories to the north and west, as well as Zahumlje and parts of Dalmatia. He was succeeded by his nephew Tvrtko who, following a prolonged struggle with nobility and inter-family strife, gained full control of the country in 1367. Tvrtko crowned himself on October 26, 1377 as Stefan Tvrtko I by the mercy of God King of Serbs, Bosnia and the Seaside and the Western Lands.
Historians considered that he was crowned in the Serbian Orthodox Mileševa monastery. Another possibility, advanced by P. Anđelić and based on archeological evidence, is that he was crowned in Mile near Visoko in the church which was built in time of Stephen II Kotromanić's reign, where he was also buried alongside his uncle Stjepan II. Following his death in 1391 however, Bosnia fell into a long period of decline. The Ottoman Empire had already started its conquest of Europe and posed a major threat to the Balkans throughout the first half of the fifteenth century. Finally, after decades of political and social instability, Bosnia officially fell in 1463. Herzegovina would follow in 1482, with a Hungarian-backed reinstated "Bosnian Kingdom" being the last to succumb in 1527.
The four centuries of Ottoman rule also had a drastic impact on Bosnia's population make-up, which changed several times as a result of the empire's conquests, frequent wars with European powers, migrations, and epidemics. A native Slavic-speaking Muslim community emerged and eventually became the largest of the ethno-religious groups (mainly as a result of a gradually rising number of conversions to Islam), while a significant number of Sephardi Jews arrived following their expulsion from Spain in the late fifteenth century. The Bosnian Christian communities also experienced major changes. The Bosnian Franciscans (and the Catholic population as a whole) were protected by official imperial decree. The Orthodox community in Bosnia, initially confined to Herzegovina and Podrinje, spread throughout the country during this period and went on to experience relative prosperity until the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, the schismatic Bosnian Church disappeared altogether.
As the Ottoman Empire thrived and expanded into Central Europe, Bosnia was relieved of the pressures of being a frontier province and experienced a prolonged period of general welfare and prosperity. A number of cities, such as Sarajevo and Mostar, were established and grew into major regional centers of trade and urban culture. Within these cities, various Sultans and governors financed the construction of many important works of Bosnian architecture (such as the Stari most and Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque). Furthermore, numerous Bosnians played influential roles in the Ottoman Empire's cultural and political history during this time. Bosnian soldiers formed a large component of the Ottoman ranks in the battles of Mohács and Krbava field, two decisive military victories, while numerous other Bosnians rose through the ranks of the Ottoman military bureaucracy to occupy the highest positions of power in the Empire, including admirals, generals, and grand viziers. Many Bosnians also made a lasting impression on Ottoman culture, emerging as mystics, scholars, and celebrated poets in the Turkish, Arabic, and Persian languages.
However, by the late seventeenth century the Empire's military misfortunes caught up with the country, and the conclusion of the Great Turkish War with the treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 once again made Bosnia the Empire's westernmost province. The following hundred years were marked by further military failures, numerous revolts within Bosnia, and several outbursts of plague. The Porte's efforts at modernizing the Ottoman state were met with great hostility in Bosnia, where local aristocrats stood to lose much through the proposed reforms. This, combined with frustrations over political concessions to nascent Christian states in the east, culminated in a famous (albeit ultimately unsuccessful) revolt by Husein Gradaščević in 1831. Related rebellions would be extinguished by 1850, but the situation continued to deteriorate. Later agrarian unrest eventually sparked the Herzegovinian rebellion, a widespread peasant uprising, in 1875. The conflict rapidly spread and came to involve several Balkan states and Great Powers, which eventually forced the Ottomans to cede administration of the country to Austria-Hungary through the treaty of Berlin in 1878.
Though an Austro-Hungarian side quickly came to an agreement with Bosniaks although tensions remained in certain parts of the country (particularly Herzegovina) and a mass emigration of predominantly Slavic dissidents occurred. Some think that it was a planned Austro-Hungarian takeover of the land called Herzegovina because many Croats from Croatia were settled there. However, a state of relative stability was reached soon enough and Austro-Hungarian authorities were able to embark on a number of social and administrative reforms which intended to make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model colony". With the aim of establishing the province as a stable political model that would help dissipate rising South Slav nationalism, Habsburg rule did much to codify laws, to introduce new political practices, and generally to provide for modernization. The Austro-Hungarian Empire built the three Roman Catholic churches in Sarajevo and these three churches are among the only 20 Catholic churches in the state of Bosnia. Although successful economically, Austro-Hungarian policy - which focused on advocating the ideal of a pluralist and multi-confessional Bosnian nation (largely favored by the Muslims) - failed to curb the rising tides of nationalism. The concept of Croat and Serb nationhood had already spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina's Catholics and Orthodox communities from neighboring Croatia and Serbia in the mid nineteenth century, and was too well-entrenched to allow for the wide-spread acceptance of a parallel idea of Bosnian nationhood. By the latter half of the 1910s, nationalism was an integral factor of Bosnian politics, with national political parties corresponding to the three groups dominating elections. The idea of a unified South Slavic state (typically expected to be spear-headed by independent Serbia) became a popular political ideology in the region at this time, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Austro-Hungarian government's decision to formally annex Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908 (see Bosnian Crisis) added to a sense of urgency among these nationalists. The political tensions caused by all this culminated on June 28, 1914, when Serb nationalist youth Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo; an event that proved to be the spark that set off World War I. Although some Bosnians died serving in the armies of the various warring states, Bosnia and Herzegovina itself managed to escape the conflict relatively unscathed.
The establishment of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, however, brought the redrawing of administrative regions into banates that purposely avoided all historical and ethnic lines, removing any trace of a Bosnian entity. Serbo-Croat tensions over the structuring of the Yugoslav state continued, with the concept of a separate Bosnian division receiving little or no consideration. The famous Cvetković-Maček Agreement agreement that created the Croatian banate in 1939 encouraged what was essentially a partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia. However, outside political circumstances forced Yugoslav politicians to shift their attention to the rising threat posed by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Following a period that saw attempts at appeasement, the signing of the Tripartite Treaty, and a coup d'état, Yugoslavia was finally invaded by Germany on April 6, 1941.
Once the kingdom of Yugoslavia was conquered by Nazi forces in World War II, all of Bosnia was ceded to the Independent State of Croatia. The Nazi rule over Bosnia led to widespread persecution of Jewish, Serbian and Gypsy civilians. The Jewish population was nearly exterminated and roughly at least 700,000 Serbs died as a result of genocide perpetrated by the Croatian Ustasha. Many Serbs in the area took up arms and joined the Chetniks; a nationalist and royalist resistance movement that conducted guerrilla warfare against both the fascist Ustashe and the communist Partisans. The Chetniks received initial support from the UK and USA. Most Chetniks were Serbs and Montenegrins, although the army also included some Slovenes, Croats, and Muslims by nationality.
Starting in 1941, Yugoslav communists under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito organized their own multi-ethnic resistance group, the Partisans, who fought against both Axis and Chetnik forces. On November 25, 1943 the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia with Tito at its helm held a founding conference in Jajce where Bosnia and Herzegovina was reestablished as a republic within the Yugoslavian federation in its Habsburg borders. Military success eventually prompted the Allies to support the Partisans, but Josip Broz Tito declined their offer to help and relied on his own forces instead. All the major military offensives by the antifascist movement of Yugoslavia against Nazis and their local supporters were conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its peoples bore the brunt of fighting. Eventually the end of the war resulted in the establishment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with the constitution of 1946 officially making Bosnia and Herzegovina one of six constituent republics in the new state.
The 1990 parliamentary elections led to a national assembly dominated by three ethnically-based parties, which had formed a loose coalition to oust the communists from power. Croatia and Slovenia's subsequent declarations of independence and the warfare that ensued placed Bosnia and Herzegovina and its three constituent peoples in an awkward position. A significant split soon developed on the issue of whether to stay with the Yugoslav federation (overwhelmingly favored among Serbs) or seek independence (overwhelmingly favored among Bosniaks and Croats). The Serb members of parliament, consisting mainly of the Serb Democratic Party members, abandoned the central parliament in Sarajevo, and formed the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 24, 1991, which marked the end of the tri-ethnic coalition that governed after the elections in 1990. This Assembly established the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 9, 1992, which became Republika Srpska in August 1992. On November 18, 1991, the party branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina of the ruling party in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole," on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Croat Defence Council (HVO) as its military part. The Bosnian government did not recognize it. The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared Herzeg-Bosnia illegal, first on September 14, 1992 and again on January 20, 1994.
A declaration of Bosnia and Herzegovina sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in February and March 1992 boycotted by the great majority of the Serbs. The turnout in the independence referendum was 63.7% and 99.4% voted for independence. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence shortly afterwards. Following a tense period of escalating tensions and sporadic military incidents, open warfare began in Sarajevo on April 6.
Secret discussions between Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia were held as early as March 1991 known as Karađorđevo agreement. Following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbs attacked different parts of the country. The state administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina effectively ceased to function having lost control over the entire territory. The Serbs wanted all lands where Serbs had a majority, eastern and western Bosnia. The Croats and their leader Franjo Tuđman also aimed at securing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croatian. The policies of the Republic of Croatia and its leader Franjo Tuđman towards Bosnia and Herzegovina were never totally transparent and always included Franjo Tuđman’s ultimate aim of expanding Croatia’s borders. Bosnian Muslims, the only ethnic group loyal to the Bosnian government, were an easy target, because the Bosnian government forces were poorly equipped and unprepared for the war.
International recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina increased diplomatic pressure for the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) to withdraw from the republic's territory which they officially did. However, in fact, the Bosnian Serb members of JNA simply changed insignia, formed the Army of Republika Srpska, and continued fighting. Armed and equipped from JNA stockpiles in Bosnia, supported by volunteers and various paramilitary forces from Serbia, and receiving extensive humanitarian, logistical and financial support from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska's offensives in 1992 managed to place much of the country under its control.
Initially, the Serb forces attacked the non-Serb civilian population in Eastern Bosnia. Once towns and villages were securely in their hands, the Serb forces - military, police, the paramilitaries and, sometimes, even Serb villagers – applied the same pattern: Bosniak houses and apartments were systematically ransacked or burnt down, Bosniak civilians were rounded up or captured, and sometimes beaten or killed in the process. 2.2 million refugees were displaced by the end of the war. Men and women were separated, with many of the men detained in the camps. The women were kept in various detention centres where they had to live in intolerably unhygienic conditions, where they were mistreated in many ways including being raped repeatedly. Serb soldiers or policemen would come to these detention centres, select one or more women, take them out and rape them.
In June 1992 the focus switched to Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf where the Croat Defence Council (HVO) efforts to gain control were resisted. On June 18, 1992 the Bosnian Territorial Defence in Novi Travnik received an ultimatum from the HVO which included demands to abolish existing Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions, establish the authority of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and pledge allegiance to it, subordinate the Territorial Defense to the HVO and expel Muslim refugees, all within 24 hours. The attack was launched on June 19. The elementary school and the Post Office were attacked and damaged. Gornji Vakuf was initially attacked by Croats on June 20, 1992, but the attack failed. The Graz agreement caused deep division inside the Croat community and strengthened the separation group, which led to the conflict with Bosniaks. One of the primary pro-union Croat leaders, Blaž Kraljević (leader of the HOS armed group) was killed by HVO soldiers in August 1992, which severely weakened the moderate group who hoped to keep the Bosnian Croat alliance alive. The situation became more serious in October 1992 when Croat forces attacked Bosniak civilian population in Prozor burning their homes and killing civilians. According to Jadranko Prlić indictment, HVO forces cleansed most of the Muslims from the town of Prozor and several surrounding villages.
By 1993, when an armed conflict erupted between the predominantly Bosniak government in Sarajevo and the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, about 70% of the country was controlled by Republika Srpska. Ethnic cleansing and civil rights violations against non-Serbs were rampant in these areas. DNA teams are still digging through the mass graves which were left as a result of the campaign. One single most prominent example is the Srebrenica Massacre, ruled genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
In March 1994, the signing of the Washington Accords between the leaders of the republican government and Herzeg-Bosnia led to the creation of a joint Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which absorbed the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and that held by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation soon conquered the small Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia.
A NATO bombing campaign began in August, 1995, against the Army of Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre. In December 1995, the signing of the Dayton Agreement in Dayton, Ohio by the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović), Croatia (Franjo Tuđman), and Serbia (Slobodan Milošević) brought a halt to the fighting, roughly establishing the basic structure of the present-day state. The number of identified victims is currently at 97,207, and the recent research estimates the total number to be less than 110,000 killed (civilians and military), and 1.8 million displaced. This is being addressed by the International Commission on Missing Persons.
The Bosnian government charged Serbia of complicity in genocide in Bosnia during the war at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling of February 26, 2007 effectively determined the war's nature to be international, though exonerating Serbia of direct responsibility for the genocide committed by Serb forces of Republika Srpska. The ICJ concluded, however, that Serbia failed to prevent genocide committed by Serb forces and failed to punish those who carried out the genocide, especially general Ratko Mladić, and bring them to justice.
The judges ruled that the criteria for genocide with the specific intent (dolus specialis) to destroy Bosnian Muslims were met only in Srebrenica or Eastern Bosnia in 1995. The court concluded that the crimes committed during the 1992-1995 war, may amount to crimes against humanity according to the international law, but that these acts did not, in themselves, constitute genocide. The Court further decided that, following Montenegro's declaration of independence in May 2006, Serbia was the only respondent party in the case, but that "any responsibility for past events involved at the relevant time the composite State of Serbia and Montenegro".
The representation of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is by elites who represent the country's three major groups, with each having a guaranteed share of power.
The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotates among three members (Bosniak, Serb, Croat), each elected as the Chair for an eight-month term within their four-year term as a member. The three members of the Presidency are elected directly by the people (Federation votes for the Bosniak/Croat, Republika Srpska for the Serb).
The Chair of the Council of Ministers is nominated by the Presidency and approved by the House of Representatives. He or she is then responsible for appointing a Foreign Minister, Minister of Foreign Trade, and others as appropriate.
The Parliamentary Assembly is the lawmaking body in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consists of two houses: the House of Peoples and the House of Representatives. The House of Peoples includes 15 delegates, two-thirds of which come from the Federation (5 Croat and 5 Bosniaks) and one-third from the Republika Srpska (5 Serbs). The House of Representatives is composed of 42 Members, two-thirds elected from the Federation and one-third elected from the Republika Srpska.
The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the supreme, final arbiter of legal matters. It is composed of nine members: four members are selected by the House of Representatives of the Federation,two by the Assembly of the Republika Srpska, and three by the President of the European Court of Human Rights after consultation with the Presidency.
However, the highest political authority in the country is the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the chief executive officer for the international civilian presence in the country. Since 1995, the High Representative has been able to bypass the elected parliamentary assembly, and since 1997 has been able to remove elected officials. The methods selected by the High Representative have been criticized as undemocratic. International supervision is to end when the country is deemed politically and democratically stable and self-sustaining.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has several levels of political structuring under the federal government level. Most important of these levels is the division of the country into two entities: Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina covers some 51% of Bosnia and Herzegovina's total area, while Republika Srpska covers around 49%. The entities, based largely on the territories held by the two warring sides at the time, were formally established by the Dayton peace agreement in 1995 due to the tremendous changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina's ethnic structure. Since 1996 the power of the entities relative to the federal government has decreased significantly. Nonetheless, entities still have numerous powers to themselves. The Brcko district in the north of the country was created in 2000 out of land from both entities. It officially belongs to both, but is governed by neither, and functions under a decentralized system of local government. The Brčko district has been praised for maintaining a multiethnic population and a level of prosperity significantly above the national average.
The third level of Bosnia and Herzegovina's political subdivision is manifested in cantons. They are unique to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, which consists of ten of them. All of them have their own cantonal government, which is under the law of the Federation as a whole. Some cantons are ethnically mixed and have special laws implemented to ensure the equality of all constituent peoples.
The fourth level of political division in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the municipalities. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided in 74 municipalities, and Republika Srpska in 63. Municipalities also have their own local government, and are typically based around the most significant city or place in their territory. As such, many municipalities have a long tradition and history with their present boundaries. Some others, however, were only created following the recent war after traditional municipalities were split by the IEBL. Each canton in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of several municipalities, which are divided into local communities.
Besides entities, cantons, and municipalities, Bosnia and Herzegovina also has four "official" cities. These are: Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, and East Sarajevo. The territory and government of the cities of Banja Luka and Mostar corresponds to the municipalities of the same name, while the cities of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo officially consist of several municipalities. Cities have their own city government whose power is in between that of the municipalities and cantons (or the entity, in the case of Republika Srpska).
Bosnia is located in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia (932 km) to the north and south-west, Serbia (302 km) to the east, and Montenegro (225 km) to the southeast. The country is mostly mountainous, encompassing the central Dinaric Alps. The northeastern parts reach into the Pannonian basin, while in the south it borders the Adriatic. The country has only 20 kilometres (12 mi) of coastline, around the town of Neum in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, although surrounded by Croatian peninsulas it is possible to get to the middle of the Adriatic from Neum. Although the city is surrounded by Croatian peninsulas, by United Nations law, Bosnia has a right of passage to the outer sea. Neum has many hotels and is an important tourism destination.
The country's name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them. Bosnia occupies the northern areas which are roughly four fifths of the entire country, while Herzegovina occupies the rest in the south part of the country.
The major cities are the capital Sarajevo, Banja Luka in the northwest region known as Bosanska Krajina, Bijeljina and Tuzla in the northeast, Zenica and Doboj in the central part of Bosnia and Mostar, the capital of Herzegovina.
The south part of Bosnia has Mediterranean climate and a great deal of agriculture. Central Bosnia is the most mountainous part of Bosnia featuring predominate mountains Vlašić, Čvrsnica, and Prenj. Eastern Bosnia also features mountains like Trebević, Jahorina, Igman, Bjelašnica and Treskavica. It was here that the 1984 Winter Olympics were held.
Eastern Bosnia is heavily forested along the river Drina, and overall close to 50% of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested. Most forest areas are in Central, Eastern and Western parts of Bosnia. Northern Bosnia contains very fertile agricultural land along the river Sava and the corresponding area is heavily farmed. This farmland is a part of the Parapannonian Plain stretching into neighbouring Croatia and Serbia. The river Sava and corresponding Posavina river basin hold the cities of Brčko, Bosanski Šamac, Bosanski Brod and Bosanska Gradiška.
The northwest part of Bosnia is called Bosanska Krajina and holds the cities of Banja Luka, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Cazin, Velika Kladuša and Bihać. Kozara National Park is in this forested region.
There are seven major rivers in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Una river in the northwest part of Bosnia flows along the northern and western border of Bosnia and Croatia and through the Bosnian city of Bihać. It is a very beautiful river and popular for rafting and adventure sports.
The Sana flows through the city of Sanski Most and Prijedor and is a tributary of the river Sava in the north.
The Vrbas flows through the cities of Gornji Vakuf - Uskoplje, Bugojno, Jajce, Banja Luka, Srbac and reaches the river Sava in the north. The Vrbas flows through the central part of Bosnia and flows outwards to the North.
The River Bosna is the longest river in Bosnia and is fully contained within the country as it stretches from its source near Sarajevo to the river Sava in the north. It gave its name to the country.
The Drina flows through the eastern part of Bosnia, at many places in the border between Bosnia and Serbia. The Drina flows through the cities of Foča, Goražde and Višegrad.
The Neretva river is a large river in Central and Southern Bosnia, flowing from Jablanica south to the Adriatic Sea. The river is famous as it flows through the famous city of Mostar.
The Sava river is the largest river in Bosnia and Herzegovina but not the largest river that is flowing through Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Sava river flows through Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Sava is making a natural border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and towns like Brčko, Bosanski Šamac, Bosanska Gradiška lies on the river.
Phytogeographically, Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region and Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. According to the WWF, the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.
Bosnia faces the dual problem of rebuilding a war-torn country and introducing market reforms to its formerly centrally-planned economy. One legacy of the previous era is a greatly overstaffed military industry; under former leader Josip Broz Tito, military industries were promoted in the republic, resulting in the development of a large share of Yugoslavia's defense plants but fewer commercially viable firms.
For the most of Bosnia's history, agriculture has been based on small and inefficient privately-owned farms; food has traditionally been a net import for the republic.
The war in the 1990s caused a dramatic change in the Bosnian economy. GDP fell 75% and the destruction of physical infrastructure devastated the economy. While much of the production capacity has been restored, the Bosnian economy still faces considerable difficulties. Figures show GDP and per capita income increased 10% from 2003 to 2004; this and Bosnia's shrinking national debt being positive trends, but high unemployment and a large trade deficit remain cause for concern.
The national currency is the Euro-pegged Convertible Mark (BAM), controlled by a currency board. Annual inflation is the lowest relative to other countries in the region at 1.9% in 2004. The international debt was $3.1 billion (2005 est) - the smallest amount of debt owed of all the former Yugoslav republics. Real GDP growth rate was 5% for 2004 according to the Bosnian Central Bank of BiH and Statistical Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the highest income equality rankings in the world, ranking eighth out of 193 nations.United Nations Table 15: Inequality in income or expenditure. Human Development Report 2006. United Nations Development Programme. (2006). Retrieved on 2007-01-09.. Overall value of foreign direct investment (1999–2007):
*Total (1994 - 2007): 4.6 billion €
The top investor countries (1994 - 2007) in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:
Foreign investments by sector for 1994-June 2007:
The Bosnian communications market was completely liberalised in January 2006. Three fixed-line incumbent operators offer services although each offers services predominantly in a particular region of the country. After years of stagnant growth, Internet penetration is on the rise, with broadband services such as cable and ADSL experiencing a surge in popularity. Mobile services are offered by three network operators, which unlike their fixed-line counterparts, offer services on a national level. Mobile data services are available, including high-speed EDGE services. This report offers a concise overview of Bosnia’s telecom sector, covering the regulatory environment, major players and market developments, while offering a wealth of performance and financial statistics.
According to an estimation of the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world between 1995 and 2020.
Lonely Planet, in ranking the best cities in the world, ranked Sarajevo, the national capital and host of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, as #43, ahead of Dubrovnik at #59, Ljubljana at #84, Bled at #90, Belgrade at #113, and Zagreb at #135. Tourism in Sarajevo is chiefly focused on historical, religious, and cultural aspects (see Sites of interest in Sarajevo). Bosnia has also become an increasingly popular skiing and Ecotourism destination.
Some of the tourist attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina include:
Bosnia is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples": Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The former are overwhelmingly Muslims, whereas Serbs tend to be Orthodox Christians and Croats Catholics. A Y-chromosome haplogroups study published in 2005 found that "three main groups of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in spite of some quantitative differences, share a large fraction of the same ancient gene pool distinctive for the Balkan area".
In 1910 Bosnia and Herzegovina had a population of 1,898,044 where 825,918 (43.49%) were Orthodox, 612,137 were Muslims (32.25%), 434,061 were Catholics (22.87%) and 26,428 (1.39%) others.
According to the 1931 census, there were 2,323,555 persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Orthodox 1,028,139 (44.25%); Muslims 718,079 (30.90%); Catholics 547,949 (23.58%); other: 29,388 (1.27%) of the total population.
The list of victims of the 1941-1945 war, made in 1964, is kept in the Documentation of the Federal Bureau of Statistics in Belgrade. It contains the names of 179,173 persons killed in the war born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This list is not complete.
Large population migrations during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s have caused a large demographic shift in the country. No census has been taken since 1991, and none is planned for the near future due to political disagreements. Since censuses are the only statistical, inclusive, and objective way to analyze demographics, almost all of the post-war data is simply an estimate. Most sources, however, estimate the population at roughly 4 million (representing a decrease of 350,000 since 1991).
According to the 1991 census, Bosnia and Herzegovina had a population of 4,377,033. Ethnically, 1,902,956 (43.47%) were Bosniak, 1,366,104 (31.21%) Serbs, and 760,852 (17.38%) Croats, with 242,682 (5.54%) Yugoslavs. The remaining 2.38% of the population - numbering 104,439 - consists of various other ethnicities. According to 2000 data from the CIA World Factbook, Bosnia's largest ethnic groups are Bosniaks (48.0%), Serbs (37.1%) and Croats (14.3%). Likewise, 40% of the population are Muslims, 31% are Orthodox Christians, 15% are Roman Catholics, and 14% are listed as other.
There is a strong correlation between ethnic identity and religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as is shown by the fact that 95% of Bosniaks would identify themselves as Muslims, 95% of Croats are Catholics whilst 95% of Serbs are Orthodox Christians. Tensions between the three constitutional peoples remain high in BiH and often provoke political disagreements.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a rich literature, including poets such as Antun Branko Šimić, Aleksa Šantić, Jovan Dučić and Mak Dizdar and writers such as Ivo Andrić, Meša Selimović, Branko Ćopić, Miljenko Jergović, Isak Samokovlija, Abdulah Sidran, Petar Kočić and Nedžad Ibrišimović. The National Theater was founded 1919 in Sarajevo and its first director was famous drama-play writer Branislav Nušić. Magazines such as Novi Plamen, Most and Sarajevske biljeznice are some of the more prominent publications covering cultural and literary themes.
The visual arts in Bosnia and Herzegovina were always evolving and ranged from the original medieval tombstones (stecak) to paintings in Kotromanić court. However, only with the arrival of Austro-Hungarians did the painting renaissance in Bosnia really begin to flourish. The first educated artists from Europeean academies appeared with the beginning of 20th century. Among those are: Gabrijel Jurkić, Petar Tiješić, Karlo Mijić, Špiro Bocarić, Petar Šain, Đoko Mazalić, Roman Petrović i Lazar Drljača. Later such artists such as: Ismet Mujezinović, Vojo Dimitrijević, Ivo Šeremet, Mica Todorović and others came to rise. After World War II artists like: Virgilije Nevjestić, Bekir Misirlić, Ljubo Lah, Meha Sefić, Franjo Likar, Mersad Berber, Ibrahim Ljubović, Dževad Hozo, Affan Ramić, Safet Zec, Ismar Mujezinović, Mehmed Zaimović rose in popularity. Ars Aevi a museum of contemporary art that includes works by renowned world artists was founded in Sarajevo.
Traditional Bosnian and Herzogovinian songs are ganga, rera, and from Ottoman era the most popular is sevdalinka. Pop and Rock music has a tradition here as well, with the more famous musicians including Goran Bregović, Davorin Popović, Kemal Monteno, Zdravko Čolić, Johnny Štulić, Edo Maajka, Dino Merlin and Tomo Miličević. Also, it would be unfair not to mention some of the talented composers such as Đorđe Novković, Esad Arnautalić, Kornelije Kovač, and many pop and rock bands, e.g. Bijelo Dugme, Indexi, Zabranjeno Pušenje, who were among the leading ones in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia is home to the composer Dušan Šestić, the creator of the current national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina and father of singer Marija Šestić, and pianist Sasha Toperich.
Sarajevo Film Festival, founded in 1994, has become the biggest and most influencing in southeast Europe.
Bosnian cuisine uses many spices, but usually in very small quantities. Most dishes are light, as they are cooked in lots of water; the sauces are fully natural, consisting of little more than the natural juices of the vegetables in the dish. Typical ingredients include tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, courgettes, dried beans, fresh beans, plums, milk, and cream called Pavlaka. Bosnian cuisine is balanced between Western and Eastern influences. As a result of the Ottoman administration for almost 500 years, Bosnian food is closely related to Turkish, Greek, and other former Ottoman and Mediterranean cuisines. However, due to years of Austrian rule, there are many influences from Central Europe. Typical meat dishes include primarily beef and lamb. Some local specialties are ćevapi, burek, dolma, sarma, pilaf, goulash, ajvar and a whole range of Eastern sweets. The best local wines come from Herzegovina where the climate is suitable for growing grapes. Plum or apple rakia is produced in Bosnia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has produced many athletes. Many of them were famous in the Yugoslav national teams before Bosnia and Herzegovina's independence.
Some notable local Olympians were:
The Bosna basketball club from Sarajevo were European Champions in 1979. The Yugoslav national basketball team, which medaled in every world championship from 1963 through 1990, included Bosnian players such as Dražen Dalipagić and Mirza Delibašić. Bosnia and Herzegovina regularly qualifies for the European Championship in Basketball. Jedinstvo Women's basketball club, based in Tuzla, has won the 1979 European Championships in Florence.
The Tuzla-Sinalco karate club from Tuzla has won the most Yugoslav championships, as well as four European Championships and one World Championship.
The Bosnian chess team has been Champion of Yugoslavia seven times, in addition to winning four European championships: 1994 in Lyon, 1999 in Bugojno, 2000 in Neum, and 2001 in Kalitea. Borki Predojević (from Teslić) chess club has also won two European Championships: Litohoreu (Greece) in 1999, and Kalitei (Greece) in 2001.
Middle-weight boxer Marjan Beneš has won several B&H Championships, Yugoslavian Championships and the European Championship. In 1978 he won the World Title against Elish Obeda from Bahamas. Another middle-weight boxer, Ante Josipović won the Olympic Gold in Los Angeles, 1984. He also won Yugoslavian Championship in 1982, the Championship of the Balkans in 1983, and the Beograd Trophy in 1985.
Football (also known as soccer) is the most popular sport in B&H. It dates from 1903, but its popularity grew significantly after the World War II. At local level, Sarajevo (1967 and 1984), Željezničar (1972) have both won the Yugoslavian Championship. The former Yugoslav national football team has included a number of Bosnian players, such as Josip Katalinski, Dušan Bajević, Miroslav – Ćiro Blažević, Ivica Osim, Safet Sušić, and Mirsad Fazlagić.
In football, the independent Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team has not qualified for a European or World Championship. Bosnian national teams have struggled to draft the best national players. Many players born in Bosnia and Herzegovina choose to play for other countries due to their ethnic identification and because of higher salaries offered by other teams. For example Mario Stanić and Mile Mitić were both born in Bosnia, but play for Croatia and Serbia respectively. Other internationally famous players from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have made similar choices, are: Zoran Savić, Vladimir Radmanović, Zoran Planinić , Aleksandar Nikolić and Savo Milošević.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the current world champion in paralympic volleyball. Many of the players lost their legs in the War of 1992-1995.
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