Bosnia Herzegovina reveals its true destiny in its own name. The name “Bosnia” in fact is derived from the river Bosna, which has its origins near the capital, Sarajevo. And “Bosna”, in Illyrian “boghi-na”, means “flowing”. Instead, Herzegovina means “Dukedom”, which this area of the Balkans actually became from 1448. Thus, we could literally translate Bosnia Herzegovina as the “Flowing Dukedom”. And here we can begin to feel the essence of a land that has seen history flow through it, has seen realms and populations, cultures and religions pass by, as every border land has done. This happens for those border countries, defined by a limes [Roman boundary], which are capable of gathering together so many difficult destinies. That is why to be a border country also means to stand as a door, a place of access and a passage between East and West.

Bosnia Herzegovina was a part of the Roman Empire during the early centuries of the Christian era. Then it was fought over between Byzantium and the western barbaric kingdoms. In the 7th century AD, the Slavs settled there. In the following centuries, the Kingdoms of Croatia, Doclea and Rascia/Serbia and the Dukedoms of Zachumlia and Terbunia came to life and these shared the control of Bosnia in the 9th century. At the beginning of the new millennium – until the 12th century – Bosnia was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary/Croatia until it gained its independence as the medieval kingdom of Bosnia around 1200.

This independence lasted until 1463 when the Ottoman Turks conquered the region. During this long period, the Islamic religion arrived in these lands. The Ottoman rule continued until 1878 or, in other words, until the birth of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Bosnia Herzegovina people were a part of this Empire until 1908.

At this point, the history of Bosnia Herzegovina intertwines with that of the other nations that were coming to life in Europe, after the disintegration of the empires – and after the end of the imperial era – and one obviously thinks of the Ottoman and the Austrian- Hungarian Empire. Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of World War I there were many in Europe who encouraged and fought for that procedure which will later be called nation building, namely the construction of national sovereign States. This happened also for the southern Slavs who, in Serbia and in other Balkan regions, began to desire their own home state. It was therefore not by chance that World War I began symbolically with the attack by Gavrilo Princip and with the consequent assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Habsburg in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.

After the “Great War”, Bosnia became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and after the end of World War II and the victory over Nazi-Fascism, Bosnia Herzegovina was one of the Republics that made up the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia under the guidance of Jozip Broz, known as Tito. With the Bosnian-Herzegovina “Declaration of Sovereignty” of 15th October 1991 and the referendum in February 1992, Bosnia Herzegovina began its process of separation from Yugoslavia; it also underwent a war that began in April 1992 and finally concluded with the Dayton (Ohio) Treaty of 21st November 1995, an agreement which was officially sealed in Paris on 14th December 1995.

Today, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a member of the United Nations since 1992, is one of the states that has emerged from the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

The borders of the present Bosnia Herzegovina are 1459 km long, Serbia to the north-east (312 km), Montenegro to the south-east (215 km), and Croatia to the north, south and south-west (932 km). The city of Neum, in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, is the only way out to sea, with a coastline 23 km long.

The climate of Bosnia-Herzegovina is characterized by hot summers and cold winters. In the highest areas – the highest point is Mount Maglic, at an altitude of 2386 metres – summers are cool while winters are freezing; going towards the coast, the climate is mild, on the whole, with rainy winters.

The territory of Bosnia Herzegovina is characterized by mountains alternating with valleys; and it is also for this reason that cultivated lands make up only 14% of Bosnia, 5% to permanent harvests and 20% to permanent pastures. But most of all, there are forests; and not by chance, amongst the principal natural resources there are these woodlands, as well as coal, iron, bauxite, manganese, copper, chromium, aluminium, zinc and hydroelectric energy generated thanks to the abundance of waterways.

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Short story about Bosnia and Herzegovina
Short story about Bosnia and Herzegovina, history, tourist guide