Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs.

The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris, in 1995).

 

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Map Bosnia

 

People

Population: 4.0 million (July 2004 est.).

Population growth rate: 0.45 % (2004 est.).

Life expectancy at birth: 72.6 years.

Religions: Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 14%.

Ethnic groups: Serb 37.1%, Bosniak 48%, Croat 14.3%, other 0.6% (2000). Note: Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim - an adherent of Islam.

Language: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian.

Nationality: Bosnian(s), Herzegovinian(s).

 

Geography

Country name: Bosnia and Herzegovina (local: Bosna i Hercegovina).

Capital: Sarajevo.

Government type: emerging federal democratic republic .

Independence: 1 March 1992 (from Yugoslavia; referendum for independence was completed 1 March 1992; independence was declared 3 March 1992).

Administrative divisions: there are two first-order administrative divisions and one internationally supervised district - Brcko district (Brcko Distrikt), the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosna i Hercegovina) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska; note - Brcko district is in northeastern Bosnia and is an administrative unit under the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the district remains under international supervision.

Note: within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro (Montenegro), and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east.

Terrain: mountains and valleys.

Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes.

Total area: 51,129 km˛.

Coastline: 20 km.

Highest point: Maglic 2,386 m.

Climate: hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast.

Ports and harbors: Bosanska Gradiska, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac, and Brcko (all inland waterway ports on the Sava), Orasje.

 

 

Economy

Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked next to The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the poorest republic in the old Yugoslav federation. Although agriculture is almost all in private hands, farms are small and inefficient, and the republic traditionally is a net importer of food. Industry has been greatly overstaffed, one reflection of the socialist economic structure of Yugoslavia. TITO had pushed the development of military industries in the republic with the result that Bosnia hosted a number of Yugoslavia's defense plants. The interethnic warfare in Bosnia caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. GDP remains far below the 1990 level. Economic data are of limited use because, although both entities issue figures, national-level statistics are limited. Moreover, official data do not capture the large share of black market activity. The konvertibilna marka (convertible mark or BAM)- the national currency introduced in 1998 - is now pegged to the euro, and the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina has dramatically increased its reserve holdings. Implementation of privatization, however, has been slow, and local entities only reluctantly support national-level institutions. Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the Communist-era payments bureaus were shut down. The country receives substantial amounts of reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.

Currency: marka (BAM).

Industries: steel, coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, manganese, bauxite, vehicle assembly, textiles, tobacco products, wooden furniture, tank and aircraft assembly, domestic appliances, oil refining (2001).

 

Main source: CIA - The World Factbook 2004.

 

Neum Bosnia Herzegovina

 

Mostar Bridge

 

The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government was charged with conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing most government functions. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place although troop levels are being reduced.

 

Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia. A good place for climbing, skiing, camping and fishing. The park hosts the highest point of the country: Maglic, with 2,386 m (photo www.bhtourism.ba).

 

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Neum (above), a resort in southern Adriatic Sea coast (photo www.bhtourism.ba).

 

Locals walk over the Old Bridge at Mostar during its reopening in 2004. A divide between the town's Muslim and Croat communities. The "Old Bridge", or Stari Most, which is the towns symbol, was destroyed during the Balkan war in 1993. Mostar, an old city with Mediterranean climate, was devastated by war. It is now in reconstruction. (U.S. Air Force photo).

 

 

 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

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