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The three main ethnic groups in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosniak, Serb, and Croat, and languages are Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian (formerly "Serbo-Croatian"). Nationalities are Bosniak (Muslim), Bosnian Serb, and Bosnian Croat. Religions include Islam, Serb Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, some Protestant sects, and some others.

The aboriginal inhabitants of Bosnia were Jllyrians (Desidiates, Ardieri, Autariates, etc.) of the Celto-Illyrian stock of the lápades, who dwelt in the N.W. (the present district of Bihac). For the first centuries of the Christian era, Bosnia was part of the Roman Empire. Bosnia is mentioned in history for the first time in the Roman period (34 B. C.), and in close connection with Dalmatia. After the fall of Rome, Bosnia was contested by Byzantium and Rome's successors in the west.

The Roman sway over these lands was repeatedly shaken and finally destroyed (end of the 4th cent.) by the invasions of the Goths, which were followed in 610 by an inroad of the Croatians and by another of the Servians. The S.W. part of the country embraced Christianity under Justinian (627-566), and the rest of it was converted by the Servian apostles Cyril and Methodius about the year 880. Slavs settled the region in the 7th century, and the kingdoms of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia in the 9th century.

From 940 onwards Bosnia was governed by elective princes or 'bans', who afterwards became feudatories of the Hungarian kings. The 11th and 12th centuries saw the rule of the region by the kingdom of Hungary. The medieval kingdom of Bosnia gained its independence around 1200 A.D. In 1377 the ruling Ban assumed the title of King Stephan Tvertko I.

Bosnia, which had borne its part in the fatal battle of Kosovo field (1389), was inevitably drawn into the vortex. The catastrophe of this land received a peculiar character from its religious condition. The mass of the people, high and low, was firmly devoted to the Patarine or Bogomilian tenets, which Catholics and Greeks branded as Manichaeanism. It is one of that series of religions which range from Armenia to Aquitaine, including Albigensians at one extremity and Paulicians at the other, all apparently descended from the ancient "heresies" of Adoptianism. But the Catholics were eager to crush the heresy. When King Stephen Thomas embraced Catholicism (1446), the Pope and the King of Hungary hoped that the false doctrines would be extirpated.

Following the Great War, Bosnia became part of the South Slav state of Yugoslavia, only to be given to the Nazi-puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in World War II. During this period, many atrocities were committed against Jews, Serbs, and others who resisted the occupation. The Cold War saw the establishment of the Communist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito, and the reestablishment of Bosnia as a republic with its medieval borders within the federation of Yugoslavia.

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Page last modified: 17-10-2013 19:35:34 ZULU