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Bosnia fought for and achieved independence around 1200 A.D. It succumbed to an Ottoman invasion in 1463. Under Ottoman rule, many Christians converted to Islam to take advantage of the social and economic advantages afforded Muslims. For more than 400 years Bosnia retained a distinct identity as the Ottoman province of Bosna. Ottoman influence in Europe waned during the 18-19th centuries. Russia, which envisioned itself as the guardian of Eastern Orthodoxy defeated the Ottomans in 1878. Alarmed by Russian expansion, the European powers at the Congress of Berlin awarded Bosnia and Herzegovina (a former Ottoman sanjak along the southern boundary of Bosnia) to Austro-Hungary.

Neither the Habsburg, Ottoman or Russian empires survived World War I. Bosnia ended up in 1918 as part of the south Slavic state incarnated as the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes with the Serb ruler as king. After World War II, Bosnia came under the control of Communist partisan leader, Josep Broz (Tito). With the support of Britain and the Soviet Union, he came to power over a Communist amalgam of six republics. Bosnia, as one of the republics, was reconstituted with much the same borders as it had had at the end of Ottoman rule.

Ethnic nationalism burgeoned in the 1980s as the deterioration of the Yugoslav economy undermined Communist rule. The death of Tito in 1980 removed him as the preeminent unifying political force in Yugoslavia. Fighting broke out between the republics in 1991 when Slovenia and Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia. Bosnian territory was coveted by both Croatia and Serbia. In 1992 Bosnia was convulsed in an ethnic civil war with the Serb and Croat ethnic groups being supported by Serbia and Croatia respectively. Caught in between, Muslims suffered from both sides and fought in their self-defense. After three and a half years of bitter warfare, destruction of records, atrocities, and the displacement of refugees numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the conflict terminated with the signing of the Dayton accord in late 1995. The compromise agreement created two territorial entities in Bosnia: a Serbian dominated republic and a Muslim-Croat confederation.

The estimated 1998 population is substantially smaller than the 4.3 million in 1991 because of war and refugee displacement. There were 2,607,734 Bosnians: 40% Serbian, 38% Muslim, and 22% Croatian.

Bosnians speak Serbo-Croatian, called Bosnian in Bosnia.[1]


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Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country situated in Southeastern Europe, bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the south. Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for 26 kilometres of the Adriatic Sea coastline, centered around the town of Neum. To read more about Bosnia and Herzegovina see The World Factbook and Wikipedia.



  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Bosnia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1999.



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  • This page was last modified on 9 September 2015, at 03:49.
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