Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina (in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian: Bosna i Hercegovina, Босна и Херцеговина, abbreviated to BiH, БиХ) is a country on the Balkan peninsula, in southern Europe. It borders Croatia to the north and to the west, Serbia to the east, Montenegro to the south and has a narrow access to the Adriatic Sea. The capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Sarajevo. The country has 51 187 km² and 4 621 598 inhabitants (July 2010 est.).
Due to its complex inheritance from former Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina obtained hardly its independence in 1992, suffered the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995 and, since then, this country has become a quite variegated state, recognizing three constituent nationalities, one language with three names and two autonomous regions.
- The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are officially called “Bosnians”. They comprise three, main “constituent nationalities”:
- Bosniaks (or, unofficially, “Muslims”, 48%), whose main religious culture is Islam (the terms “Bosnians”, for the citizens of the whole state, and “Bosniaks”, for the ethnic group, are often confused).
- Croats (14.3%), whose main religious culture is Catholicism.
- Serbs (37.1%), whose main religious culture is Orthodoxy.
- The official language of the state is Serbo-Croatian, officially “designated by one of the three terms: Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian” (according to the 1993 language law). “Both alphabets, Latin and Cyrillic, are equal” (according to the same law).
- The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina (as it is officially named) comprises the two following autonomous regions, called “entities”:
- The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is also called, in order to avoid confusion with the whole state, Muslim-Croat Federation or Bosniak-Croat Federation. It lies in the center and the west. It is mainly inhabited by Bosniaks (Muslims) and Croats.
- The Republika Srpska, in the east and the north. It is mainly inhabited by Serbs.
- It has to be noted that the little Brčko District is shared by both entities.