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Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia and Herzegovina (also written Bosnia-Hercegovina) is a mountainous country in the western Balkans. Its capital is Sarajevo and it was formerly one of the six federal units constituting Yugoslavia. The republic gained its independence in the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and due to the Dayton Accords, it is currently a protectorate of the international community, administered by a High Representative selected by the European Parliament. It is also decentralized and administratively divided into two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves are historical-geographic regions which today have no political status.

Bosna i Hercegovina
Босна и Херцеговина
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Coat of arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina
(In detail) (Full size)
Map showing the location of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nations Bosniaks,
Official languages Bosnian,
Capital Sarajevo
Presidency - Collective Head of State Borislav Paravac (currently Chairman)
Dragan Čović
Sulejman Tihić
Chair of the Council of Ministers Adnan Terzić
High Representative Paddy Ashdown
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 124th
 51,129 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 119th
Independence April 5, 1992
Currency Convertible Mark
Time zone
 - in summer
National anthem Intermeco
Internet TLD .ba
Calling code 387


Main article: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina

For the first centuries of the Christian era, Bosnia was part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, Bosnia was contested by Byzantium and Rome'Slavs" title ="Slavs">Slavs settled the region in the 7th century, and the kingdoms of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia in the 9th century. The 11th and 12th centuries saw the rule of the region by the kingdom of Hungary. The medieval banate of Bosnia gained autonomy by the end of the 12th century, and grew into an independent kingdom in 1377 under king Tvrtko Kotromanić. Bosnia remained independent up until 1463, when Ottoman Turks conquered the region and established the Province of Bosnia.

During the four centuries of Ottoman rule, many Bosnians dropped their ties to Christianity in favor of Islam. Bosnia was under Ottoman rule until 1878, when it became a colony under Austria-Hungary. While those living in Bosnia were from 1908 officially in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, South Slavs in Serbia and elsewhere were calling for a South Slav state; World War I began with the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, which was organized by Serb nationalists. Following the war, Bosnia became part of the South Slav kingdom of Yugoslavia, only to be ceded to Nazi-puppet Croatia in World War II. The Cold War saw the establishment of the Communist Yugoslavia under Tito, and the reestablishment of Bosnia as a republic within its Ottoman borders.

The Bosnian declaration of sovereignty in October of 1991, was followed by a referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in February of 1992. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia - responded with armed attacks on Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas. In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the end of the war more than 200,000 had been killed and more than 2 million people fled their homes (including over 1 million to neighboring nations and the west). On November 21, 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegovic), Croatia (Franjo Tudjman), and Serbia and Montenegro (Slobodan Milosevic) signed a peace agreement that brought to a halt the three years of armed invasion of Serbia and Montenegro on sovereign Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Agreement divides Bosnia and Herzegovina roughly equally between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (51%) and the Bosnian Serb entity - Republika Srpska (49%). The enforcement of the implementation of the Dayton Agreement was through a UN Mandate using a NATO led multinational force IFOR (Implementation Force) which subsumed the forces of the UNPROFOR (UN Protection Force) on 20 December 1995. After a year this force transitioned to the SFOR (Stabilisation Force). At the end of 2004 the command of this force was passed from NATO to the EU.

NOTE: On Thursday, December 02, 2004, Military Operations were officially transferred from NATO to the EU through the newly established EUROFOR, the European Union's own Armed Forces for the Continent of Europe.


Main article: Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotates among three members (Bosniak, Serb, Croat), each elected as the Chair for a 8-month term within their 4-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. She/he 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.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Political divisions

Main article: Political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. The district of Brčko is not part of either entity.

The Federation is further divided into ten cantons (each subdivided into municipalities):

The RS is divided into municipalities which are grouped into seven regions:


Main article: Geography of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia is located in the Western Balkans, bordering Serbia and Montenegro to the east and Croatia to the north and south-west. The port city of Neum in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton is the only link to the sea.

The country'Herzegovina" title ="Herzegovina">Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them. Bosnia occupies roughly the northern two thirds of the country, while the southern third is Herzegovina.

The major cities are the capital Sarajevo, Banja Luka in the northwest region known as Bosanska Krajina, Tuzla in the northeast and Mostar, the capital of Herzegovina.

See also: List of cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Main article: Economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Next to the Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the poorest republic in the old Yugoslav Federation. For the most part, agriculture has been in private hands, but farms have been small and inefficient, and food has traditionally been a net import for the republic. The centrally planned economy has resulted in some legacies in the economy. Industry is greatly overstaffed, reflecting the rigidity of the planned economy. Under Josip Broz Tito, military industries were pushed in the republic; Bosnia hosted a large share of Yugoslavia's defense plants.

Three years of interethnic strife destroyed the economy and infrastructure in Bosnia, causing unemployment to soar and production to plummet by 80%, as well as causing the death of anywhere between 60 and 200 thousand people and displacing half of the population. With an uneasy peace in place, the economic output has been recovering, but GDP still remains below the 1990 level.


Main article: Demographics of Bosnia and Herzegovina

According to the 1991 census, Bosnia is 44% ethnically Muslim (now almost all them declare as Bosniaks), 31% Serb, and 17% Croat, with 6% people declaring themselves Yugoslavs.

There is a strong co-relation between ethnic identity and religion; 88% of Croats are Roman Catholics, 90% of Bosniaks practice Islam, and 99% of Serbs are Orthodox Christians.

According to 2000 data from the CIA World Factbook, Bosnia is ethnically 48% Bosniak, 37.1% Serb, 14.3% Croat, 0.6% other.


Main article: Culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina

See also:

Miscellaneous topics

External links

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Dependencies: Faroe Islands | Gibraltar | Guernsey | Jan Mayen | Jersey | Isle of Man | Svalbard

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