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The territory of Bosnia and Herzegowina was colonized just in Neolit era.. In late Bronze period there were settled warlike Indoeuropean tribes (Illyrs) in this area. Later, in 4th and 3rd century B.C. they were mixed with Celtics, who came here.


Early Colonization and Beginning of Middle Ages  

At the end of 3rd century, the conflict between Illyrs and Roman Empire broke out. At that time period, a lot of colonizers settled here. At the end of 1st century, the Christianity came. In middle of 5th century, the tribes of Ostrogotes conquested Illyria, anyway, at the end of 6th century, Justinian Emperor received it back and joined to Byzantia Empire. Within this time period, Slaves moved from northeast, and started to colonize today´s territory of Bosnia and Herzegowina. At the end of 9th century, these tribes were christianized. (Bosnia was probably one of these last areas which undergone this process).


Middle Ages

However, Bosnia territory changed its owners quite often.  It was a part of Serbian-Croatian Kingdom, later formed also a part of Hungarian Kingdom, rival of Byzantia Empire. First Bosnian ruler (who is worth to be mentioned), was Ban Kulin, who guaranteed three hundred years of peace and stability. However, period of his reign is connected with beginnings of controversy Bosnian Church. (Roman Catholic as well as Orthodox Church took it as heretical one). And Hungarians tried to take advantage of it. The controversy regarding Bosnian Church had to justify the fact, to get Bosnia under their supremacy. Nevertheless, their efforts grew weak after unsuccessfull invasion in 1254. Since that time, till early 14th century, the Bosnian history is marked with fight for power between  Subic and Kotromanic Parentages. This conflict finished in 1322, when the rule got Stephen II. Kotromanic. He succeded ( till his death in 1353) to join the areas in north and west, including Dalmatia, to his Empire. Later, his nephew Tvrtko followed. He had to solve the disputes with aristocracy as well as inside own parentage, and his full control over the country was got even in 1367. His rule meant for Bosnia power as well as territory development (swing) , culminating in 1377, when the country was declared as independent Kingdom . However, his death ( in 1391) was a beginning of great decline of Kingdom. The Ottomans started their conquesting campaign , and in the first half of 15th century, they were a serious threat for the whole Balkan. At least, after a period of political and social instability, Bosnia fell down in 1463, and Herzegowina followed 19 years later.


In Ottoman Submission

With arrival of Ottomans, for Bosnia started new era . New system of soil possession was introduced, the administation units were reorganized , and complete new stratification, to class- or religion competence ,was designed. Ottoman Empire occured to expand into Central Europe, so consequently fell off a pression of border province. This fact  meant an arrival of prosperity. Many towns were founded (Sarajevo, Mostar) and these quickly became regional centres of business and culture. Various sultans and governors participated on its development. They financed constructions of important buildings. Bosnians played in cultural as well as in political history of empire quite important roles. Bosnian soldiers formed great ingredients of Ottomans troops in battles  near Mohacs and on Krbavsko polje (field). Many of them reached, through military burocracy, the posts of generals, admirals or viziers. However, military failures at the and of 17th century, and Karlowitze Peace of 1699 meant that Bosnia became again the western province of  the Empire. Following century was marked with further military failures, many civil riots and several plague epidemies.  All this, and further events, including non-wished reforms, culminated in 1831 in uprising of Hussein Gradaščevic. Despite of the fact that it was unsuccessfull, a wave of against-Ottoman spirits was started. Farmers´ uprising of 1875 changed to Herzegowina revolt, which extended into several other Balkan states. Big Powers were forced , that  Ottoman Empire had to be handed over (on base of Berlin Agreement of 1878) to Austria-Hungary Empire administration.


Austria-Hungary Intermezzo

Austria-Hungarian occupation units had immediately crushed armed resistance, however, the uneasy situation in Herzegowina continued.  Nevertheless, the situation stabilized soon in such way, and Austria-Hungarian officers introduced reforms, which Bosnia and Herzegowina  would be transformed into model colony. They wished to reach a dissolving of South-Slave nationalism. Austria-Hungary was, with its new policy, quite successfull, but, on the other hand, especially from the economical point of view, it did not succeeded to muffle the rising manisfests of nationalism. In middle of 19th century, there was penetrated here, from Croatia and Serbia, a nationalism concept (draft). At the beginning of 20th century, this nationalism became an integral factor of Bosnian politics. The idea of unificated South-Slave state, with Serbia as a leader, became quite popular political ideology. When Austria-Hungary Empire decided in 1908 to annex formally  Bosnia nad Herzegowina territories, the nationalists had a feeling of acts. All culminated on 28th June 1914, when Gavrilo Princip, young Serbian nationalist, murdered in Sarajevo Franz Ferdinand, successor to Austria-Hungary throne. However, this event caused as an inflaming for first explosion of 1st World War.


Kingdom of Serbia, Croatia nad Slovenia

When the 1st World War was over, Bosnia was embodied into South-Slave SHS Kingdom. Political life in Bosnia was characteristic with two main trends: social and economical disturbances , owing to soil re-distribution. Foundation of Yugoslav Kingdom in 1929 brought change of administrative regions into banats ( they were created against all historical and ethnical frontiers, so they scratched out any trace of Bosnia influence). In 1939, there was signed Cvetkovic-Macek agreeement, so Croatian banat was created. This was not something special, as total porcioning of Bosnia among Serbia and Croatia. At that time,  Yugoslav foreign policy started to be busy with raising threat from part of Germany, or Third Reich. Finally, Yugoslavia was occupied by Hitler troops on 6th April 1944.


2nd World War

Within Second World War, Bosnia  became a part of German Puppet State of Croatia. This meant that extended persecution followed – Jewish population was nearly exterminated. Serbian nationalist as well as royalist movements changed to partisan revolt. However, its fatal consequence was in fact that partisans often committed  bestialities on Bosnian Moslems. As a reaction, several Bosnia-Moslem paramilitary units joined Axed, in order to return it their bestialities. In 1941, Josip Broz Tito appeared on scene. He organised his own multiethnical revolt. On 25th November 1943, antifascist Commitee for National Liberation of Yugoslavia, with Tito as a leader, decided, on their first conference in Jajce, that Bosnia and Herzegowina borders will be ( in after-war Yugoslavia) renewed in extention from Ottoman Empire time period. Tito´s revolt was, thanks to his success, supported by Allies, and at the end of war, all fell into foundation of socialist Yugoslavia .Bosnia and Herzegowina  was officially declared, in a Constitution of 1946, as one of six  republics of new state.


From War to War.

Bosnia was chosen, thanks to its advantageous position, as a centre of military industry. This led to a fact that in Bosnia there was considerable concentration of army materials as well as personalities. Existence of Bosnia inside Yugoslavia was, in principle, prosperous. Moreover, thanks to Yugoslav doctrine of „Brotherhood and Unity“, the multiethnical society developped successfully from cultural as well as social point of view. Within 1950-1970, a hard Bosnian political elite started to be formed. ( as representants were, first of all, Djemal Bijedič, Brank Mikulič and Hamdia Pozderač). They strengthened and protected sovereignity of Bosnia and Herzegowina. Their efforts formed a base for Bosnian independence, and  were reinforced within confusion period after Tito´s death (1980). After a fall of socialist Yugoslavia, the communist doctrine of tolerance was abandoned. So, there were created possibilities for extention of nationalist movement influence. After Parliamentary elections in 1990, the National Movement  was represented by three parties, presenting three various ethnics, trying to dismiss Communists from the power. Croatia and Slovenia declared an independence shortly, however, the war followed. Bosnia and Herzegowina fell, with its three nations, into  hardly solved situation. It was a contradiction, whether to stay in Yugoslavia ( hardly supported by Serbians) or to leave ( popular among Bosnians and Croatians). Sovereignity declaration of October 1991 followed after referendum for independence on Yugoslavia in March 1992( this was not accepted by Bosnian Serbs). 64% of population participated on referendum, whereas 98% voted independence, so Bosnia and Herzegowina was declared as an independent state. Eccentric period followed , and number of armed conflicts arose . Finally, on 6th April broke out an open war. The international acknowledgement of Bosnia and Herzegowina meant that JNA ( Yugoslav People Army) left Bosnian territory officially. Thanks to use of  ammunition in Bosnia from JNA magazines, and supportt of volunteers, the Serbian offensives  in 1992 were succesfull, amd so they got a control over most of country. After sign and acceptance of Washington Agreements of March 1994, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegowina was established. However, it was not the end of fights. In July 1995, there happened terrible events in small town of Srebrenica. More than two thousands of Bosnian men were murdered here. Even sign of so called Dayton Agreement in Paris ( between Alia Isetbegovic – representant of Bosnia and Herzegowina, Franjo Tudzman – representant of Croatia, and Slobodan Milishevic – representant of Yugoslavia) brought an end to fights. However, war was cruel. 95 000-100 000 people died, and 2 millions of people escaped from the country as refugees.




Bosnia and Herzegovina


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