According to Countryaah, the first residents of the land area we know today as Bosnia and Herzegovina were illiterate and Celter. Forces of the Roman Empire crossed the Adriatic in the mid-2nd century BCE, and founded the Illyrian province; here the border between the Orient and the western world went. The slaves, who immigrated from Poland and Ukraine, settled in the area in the 7th century AD, and “devoured” little by little the Illyrian and Celtic populations.
From the middle of the 12th century, Bosnia became subject to the Hungarian bishop of Kalocsa. The joint efforts of the Pope and Hungarians to establish a religious supremacy over Bosnia met strong, local resistance.
Bosnia constituted a bastion for the Bogomilas – or Cathars – who were one of southern Europe’s most influential pagan groups. Both the Christian, Orthodox Serbian and Catholic Croatian neighbors led several crusades against these Gentiles.
Bando Prijezda founded the Kotroma dynasty, 1254-1395, which conquered the Hum province of Herzegovina. In 1377 Tvrko was inaugurated as king of Serbia, Bosnia and the adjacent coastal areas. The Turkish invasion began in 1386, and in 1389 the Serbs were defeated at Kosova. Tvrko succeeded in obtaining new conquests in the west and in 1390 he was declared king of Rashka, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia and the coastal areas.
The Ottoman Empire occupied Constantinople in 1453 and invaded Serbia in 1459. The pope called for war against the Turks but did not receive the adequate support. Bosnia became a province of the Ottoman Empire in 1463. Hum resisted the pressure a little longer, but in 1482 the port city of Novi, today Herzegnovi, fell, and Herzegovina was also incorporated as an Ottoman province.
The Bosnian Bogomiles converted in large numbers to Islam, and then there were not only Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, but now also Muslim slaves. The Muslims constituted the elite, while their Christian brothers formed the so-called “raia”. From this point on, the relationship between the three social groups became extremely complicated, with religion being a divisive factor.
Initially, the Turkish governor – the Pasha – set his headquarters in Banja Luka, but then moved to Sarajevo. In 1580, Bosnia was divided into eight smaller regions, led by 48 hereditary “kapetas”, which constituted the feudal power in the territories. were mined metals and weapons manufactured.
During the period from the 16th to the 17th century, Bosnia played an important role in the Turks’ wars against Austria and Venice. Prince Eugen of Savoy entered Sarajevo in 1697. The Savo River, which formed the northern border of Bosnia, also became the northern border of the Ottoman Empire as a result of the Karlowitz Treaty. Hercegovina and the part of Bosnia that was located east of Una were transferred to Austria in 1718 and then returned to the Turks in 1739.
The Bosnian nobility resisted Turkish dominance throughout the 19th century. In 1837 the regent of Hercegovina declared the country independent. The uprisings quickly became a chronic state in which Christians and Muslims united against the bureaucracy and corruption of the Ottomans.
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A local conflict in Herzegovina in 1875 led to an uprising that spread to Bosnia. Austria, Russia and Germany tried with great success to mediate between the Turks and the rebels. The Sultan’s promise to reduce taxes, allow religious freedom and establish a provincial council was also rejected.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the sovereign countries born from the dissolution of the old Yugoslavia (1992), which risked disappearing in the subsequent civil war, characterized by devastation and the so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’. It then settled (with the Dayton agreements, 1995 ; see below: History) in a new original form of political-territorial unity: a single state divided into two largely autonomous entities, one Croatian-Muslim (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Federacija Bosna i Hercegovina – 51 % of the territory) and the other Serbian (Serbian Republic – Republika Srpska – 49%); entities whose internal borders have been drawn in an attempt to respect complicated ethnic divisions.
In a population estimated to be less than 3.7 million residents in 1998, according to United Nations estimates (and therefore drastically decreased compared to the years before the civil war: 4.4 million at the 1991 census), the two main ethnic-religious groups, and fiercely rival, are that of Muslims (44 % of the total population in 1991) and that of the Serbs, of Orthodox Christian religion (31 %); followed by number of Croats (17 %), of Catholic faith, who are ultimately connected with Muslims, Montenegrins, Orthodox, and other minor groups.
Capital of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (as well as of the Croatian-Muslim entity) is the battered and semi-destroyed city of Sarajevo, whose population amounted to more than 400,000 residents at the 1991 census and had dropped by 1997, an estimate, to 360,000. The second largest city in the country, Banja Luka, has around 140,000 residents; remain below 100,000all the other urban centers, the largest of which are Zenica, Tuzla and Mostar, the capital of the historical region of Herzegovina; of decidedly smaller dimensions is the town of Pale, where the capital of the Serbian entity has settled. The population of all these cities, during the nineties, has undergone variations both in the number (obviously of a negative sign, due to losses and exodus), and in the ethnic composition, due to escapes, expulsions and ‘exchanges’ of groups of different ethnic groups.