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Bosnia & HerzegovinaBosnia & Herzegovina refers to two historic regions that use the same names; Bosnia consists of about 80% of the modern day country while Herzegovina makes up part of the southern stretches of the country. The country is also divided politically with the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina making up one part and Republika Srpska making up the other part. Republika Srpska essentially has its own government, but recognizes the government in Sarajevo as the national capital.

The name Bosnia likely comes from the Bosnia River, but may also mean "flowing water" or "boundry." This term has been in use since the Roman times. Herzegovina comes from the German word herzog meaning "duke" and the word ovina, which means "land."

Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина

Introduction:

Bosnia & Herzegovina is a country that has undergone massive cultural change after massive cultural change and today remains a land of confusion and diversity. While most people share ethnic and linguistic similarities, the people rarely identify in the same way and since each massive cultural change was only adopted by some people, the culture of the Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs are vastly different.

The mountainous landscape of Bosnia & Herzegovina has made the people somewhat isolated and heavily reliant on the lands and animals present to make a living. This reliance on the lands has been the focal point in the region for centuries and even today many people's lifestyle is dependent on the lands, animals, seasons, weather, and geography. However, due to the mountains, over time as new ideas were introduced to the people, only some people accepted and adopted these changes, while others held on to their past cultures, making the cultures of the people quite diverse.

The blue, yellow, and white on the flag of Bosnia & Herzegovina represent neutrality and peace. The large yellow triangle is a rough representation of the country and its shape; while the three points on the triangle symbolize the Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. The white stars represent Europe and are cut off on top and bottom to show that Europe continues on.

Name: Bosnia & Herzegovina
Independence: March 1, 1992
Capital: Sarajevo
Currency: Convertible Mark
Population: 3,875,723 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Bosniak, Serb, & Croat
Language: Bosnian & Croatian
Religion: Muslim, Orthodox, & Catholic

The division of Bosnia & Herzegovina began as early as the Roman times when most of the lands fell under Roman rule, but the divide between Roman and Byzantine control ran through this same area. With the division of the Christian church into east and west, the people in the region also became divided. Although ethnically and linguistically similar, some people adopted Catholicism and others adopted Eastern Orthodox. Even today the descendants of these people remain divided here and elsewhere in the region as the Croats tend to be Catholic and the Serbs tend to be Orthodox.

In the 1500s the Turks arrived and took control over the region. Like the earlier rulers, the Turks introduced Islam to the people and many people adopted this religion, people that today are known as Bosniaks (a citizen of the country is called a "Bosnian;" the term Bosniak specifies that the person is Muslim).

More than just religion though, the cultures of these people are greatly divided. The Croats tend to look west for inspiration and allies as they identify more closely with Western Europe and have adopted many cultural aspects from there. The ethnic Serbs tend to look towards Russia for inspiration as many cultural aspects from Russia and Eastern Europe have been adopted. Lastly, the Bosniaks tend to look towards Turkey for inspiration as they share many foods, clothing, and traditions with Turkey.

Under Yugoslav rule, the country and people unified to a great degree, however this unity was more in the way of coexistence than changing cultures or actual friendship. After the end of communism, Bosnia & Herzegovina experienced a huge amount of violence between the people. Although most violence in the country has ended, the people remain culturally divided as each religious group continues to seek outside allies while continuing on their cultural path, which diverges from the others. Despite this, the people still share many similarities, including in the lifestyle for many, in language, and in ethnicity, although all three groups may argue these similarities.

Learn More About Bosnia & Herzegovina:

The Land:
Geography WeatherWildlife

The Past:
History Architecture

The Food:
Food SpecialtiesDining EtiquetteDrinks

The Culture:
Way of Life EthnicityLanguageReligion DressBehaviorIdentity

Map of Bosnia & Herzegovina:

Map of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Information for Bosnia & Herzegovina was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks