Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Overview

Bosnia and Herzegovina, republic of the Balkan peninsula. It is limited to the north and west with Croatia and to the east and south with Serbia and Montenegro. It constituted the former Yugoslavia . It declared its independence in 1992, starting a civil war. It has a territory of 51,129 km2 controlled by several military forces. Its capital is Sarajevo.


The dinarian alps run across the north of the country. Much of the territory is located in Karst, a plateau consisting of limestone, with irregular formation. The main river is the Sava. There are large differences in temperature between summer and winter.


Before the war, it had 4,124,000 inhabitants. Sunni Muslims are the largest ethnic group (44% of the population). Serbs were, before the conflict, 31% and Croats, 17%. The three groups speak Serbian-Croatian (see Yugoslavian languages). The main religions are Islam, Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Sarajevo (with 415,631 inhabitants in 1991), Banja Luka (142,644 inhabitants) and Zenica (145,577 inhabitants) are the main cities. The 1974 constitution was revised between 1989 and 1991. The political system is multiparty and the legislative body is bicameral. After the Dayton agreements (1995), a Serbian Republic of Bosnia and a Croat-Muslim Federation coexist on Bosnian territory.


It is one of the poorest republics in the former Yugoslavia. In 1993, the economy was paralyzed and most of the population subsisted thanks to humanitarian aid from abroad. The economic deterioration has intensified due to the economic blockade on the part of Serbia and Croatia. The current currency is the former Yugoslavia Dinar. In 1991, the gross domestic product was 14 million dollars, but the real growth rate this year was -37%.


According to EQUZHOU, the current territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of Illyria. After the fall of the Roman empire, the Vandals and the Slavs conquered the territory, governing it until the 12th century. From that time, Hungary dominated the region and converted Bosnia into a banate under the control of a ban (viceroy), which extended Hungarian authority over the principality of Hum. Stephan Tvtko widened its borders and, in 1376 , proclaimed himself king of Serbia and Bosnia. After his death, a Bosnian leader took over the Hum region, which was renamed Herzegovina.

The two territories were provinces of the Ottoman empire from 1483 until the end of the 19th century, although there were conflicts between ethnic groups (Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs and Muslims). The Austro-Hungarian monarchy annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, turning the region into a center of nationalist unrest. In 1914 Francisco Fernando, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo, a fact considered the trigger of World War I. In 1918, Bosnia and Herzegovina became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, under the monarchical regime of King Alexander. In 1929, the kingdom was renamed Yugoslavia (“country of the southern Slavs”).

During World War II, the Axis powers invaded and dismembered Yugoslavia. At the end of the war, Josip Broz (Tito) created a Yugoslav federation that had Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of the constituent republics. Ethnic tensions, contained during his long term, continued and even intensified after Tito’s death in 1980. Alija Izetbegovic was appointed president in 1990. When Croatia and Slovenia proclaimed their independence in 1991, several Serbs, residents of other republics, created the Serbian Autonomous Regions.

This attitude, contested by the Bosnian government, sparked armed conflicts that were aggravated when Macedonia declared its independence in September 1991. In a plebiscite that took place in February and March 1992, open to all ethnic groups (but boycotted by most Serbs), voters decided to separate from the former Yugoslavia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina declared their independence. Despite the recognition of independence by the UN (United Nations), the conflict has intensified. By May 1992, when Serbia and Montenegro were constituted as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (RFI), Serbian forces had gained control of more than two thirds of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Bosnian government has requested UN intervention, and the international community has become aware of many human rights violations in the country (see War of the former Yugoslavia). According to the Dayton agreements, which ended the war, two semi-autonomous entities started to coexist in the new country: the Federation of Bosnia, made up of Muslims and Croats, and the Serbian Republic of Bosnia (Srpska). On September 14, 1996, the first elections were held, overseen by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, from which the collective presidency formed by the Bosnian Alija Izetbegovic, the Serbian Moncilo Krajinisk and the Croatian Kresimir Zubak arose. Izetbegovic is simultaneously president of the Federation of Bosnia, while the presidency of the Serbian Republic (Srpska) corresponded to Biljiana Plavsic. NATO ) remain in the country to ensure compliance with the agreements.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Overview

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