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Bosnia and Herzegovina Information - Page 2
The country of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been inhabited since early times. The earliest known inhabitants were Illyrian tribes. The Illyrians were conquered by the Romans in 9 AD and the region became part of the Roman Empire.

From the late fifth century Slavic peoples began to move into the area, part of a much wider migration of tribes into Europe.

Between the tenth and twelfth centuries the region was controlled successively by Croatia and Hungary. Bosnia eventually achieved independence under the leadership of Ban Kulin. However in the second half of the fifteenth century both Bosnia and Herzegovina were conquered by the Ottoman Turks whose rule lasted for four centuries.

In the nineteenth century the Turkish Empire weakened and following the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78) Bosnia and Herzegovina was administered by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Austria formally annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908.

In 1914 the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian organisation known as the Black Hand. This became one of the causes of the First World War (1914-18) when millions of people were killed throughout Europe.

Following the War, the Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenes was formed which also included Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. In 1929 the name of the Kingdom was changed to Yugoslavia.

After the Second World War (1939-45) Yugoslavia became the Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia).

Although Yugoslavia (1945-1991) was run as a communist government, the country's leader, Josip Broz "Tito" distanced himself from the USSR.

After Tito's death in 1980 there was a struggle for political control of the country. Within ten years the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had become weak and at the beginning of the 1990s the republics began to break away and declare independence.

Independence in Bosnia and Herzegovina was followed by fighting within the country leading to three years of inter-ethnic war. The NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) became responsible for the stabilisation of the peace following the Dayton Peace Agreement at the end of 1995.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the poorest republics in the former federation of Yugoslavia. The three-year inter-ethnic war caused much destruction of infrastructure and industries. Following the war the international community (the EU, the World Bank, United States of America, Japan and Islamic countries) assisted with reconstruction.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has implemented a privatisation programme and the country is keen to attract foreign investment.

The services sector provides the highest percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by industry. Agriculture earns the smallest percentage of the GDP.

Industries include oil refining, mining, steel, construction materials, vehicle and aircraft assembly, wooden products, domestic appliances, textiles and tobacco.

The tourist industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina is keen to expand. The country's natural environment lends itself to the development of eco-tourism and Neum, on the Adriatic coast, has plenty of tourist facilities. (2008)

Cultural events take place throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the capital city, ballets, operas and drama productions are performed in the National Theatre of Sarajevo. The Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra also performs at the National Theatre.

The Sarajevo Film Festival, established in 1995, is an annual event.

In 1961 Ivo Andric was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Born near Travnik, Ivo Andric was the author of "Bridge over the Drina" the first of a trilogy of historical novels set in the Balkans.

Basketball and football are popular sports in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Volleyball is also played.

There are opportunities for sports such as mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing.

In 1984 Sarajevo hosted the fourteenth Winter Olympic Games. Jahorina Mountain near Sarajevo, a centre for the Games, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's main venues for skiing and winter tourism.

All religious holidays are celebrated.

Other days commemorated are Independence Day (from Yugoslavia) - 1 March and National Day - 25 November.

News from Bosnia and Herzegovina is available from Newslink.

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