Section 1.0.  Link Page.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Synopsis of the History of the past 1000 years
with an Appendix on Dialects in BiH.

Illyrian tribesmen, speaking an Indo-European language akin to Albanian, were the earliest historical inhabitants of the region, rich in agriculture, forestry and minerals. A later period saw an influx of Celts before all were conquered by Rome. After Emperor Augustus, this region formed parts of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia. The region was allocated to the western half of the Empire following its division by Diocletian. But subject to continual invasion, by Goths, Huns, Alans, Avars and finally, Slavs, it came under the nominal authority of the Byzantine Empire by the 7th century. It is around this period that the name "Bosnia" first appears as "Bosona", a region centred around the Bosna River. The tribes of Croats and Serbs who settled in the region assisted the Byzantine Empire in its wars against the troublesome Avars and thus won for themselves nominally-tributary kingdoms, which in reality were difficult to control from Constantinople. An independent state of Bosnia was formed in the 1180's.
Bosnia's subsequent political history is tangled and not always well-documented.

In the late 13th or early 14th century, "Saxon" miners, (actually ethnic Germans from Hungary and Transylvania), arrived to help exploit the gold, lead, copper and especially silver ("Srebrenica" means silver) mines in the area. Eventually the area was unable to resist the rise of the Ottoman Turks who conquered the region with great speed in 1463. Bosnia had been the dividing line between East and West, Serb and Croat, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. This unfortunate region now took on new dichotomies, Turk versus European and Christian versus Muslim. In 1877 however, Russia declared war and by 1878 stood at the gates of Istanbul. The Ottomans gave up much in the ensuing peace; in fact, in the view of the Great Powers of Europe, too much.
So, in 1878 at the end of the Russo-Turkish War and as a result of the Congress of Berlin which sought to curb Russian expansion, the Congress provided that Bosnia-Herzegovina was to remain Ottoman territory, but occupied and administered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Austrians, hoping to be welcomed by the BiH population, found otherwise and were forced to conquer their new fief by force of arms, which they did in about three months of fighting in 1878.
Early administration was difficult as there were a large number of refugees, not to mention a high frequency of insurrection. In an effort to make the region realize its economic potential, the new overlords left many Turkish laws intact and tried to encourage industry and agriculture. It was into this situation and for this reason that the Austrians initiated a policy of incentives for foreign settlers, including residents from all parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In reality, Germans had already arrived in 1869 in the form of Rhenish monks, Trappists led by Pater Franz, who founded a monastery, the Kloster Maria-Stern near Banjaluka, which soon thrived. Franz placed an advertisement encouraging emigration in a religious magazine and soon settlers from the Rhineland began to arrive. The first few settlers set up in Klasnica in 1879, but the first true colony was at Windthorst, near the Croatian border, followed by daughter-colony, Rudolfstal (following Crown Prince Rudolf's 1888 visit). Franzjosefsfeld, a Protestant colony, was settled by ethnic Germans from Hungary.
Incentives were many, including tax concessions; after 1890, twelve hectares per family with no rent for the first three years and only a low mortgage which would end after ten years if Bosnian citizenship was accepted. Eventually thirty-one colonies were established with a population of about 10,000, the majority consisting of Poles, Czechs and Ruthenians, but also including some 2,000 ethnic Germans.
That the policy was greatly resented is shown by the 1910 BiH Parliament's demand for its cession, one of the first items the new body managed to pass. By that time, there were some 47,000 German and 61,000 Hungarian citizens in Bosnia-Herzegovina, although not all should be considered permanent residents as many were administrators, businessmen, and soldiers. In addition, the majority of the Hungarian group were actually ethnic Croats. Administrators toiled to gradually organize and gain support in this very diverse region which, with its three religions and many nationalities and languages was virtually a microcosm for the entire Balkan region.
On the issue of Nationality versus Religion, the two became intertwined as a result of the various historical occupations, with the result that there is much hatred between various sectors of the population in modern-day BiH. It can be said that the hatred was borne of earlier historical resentment. The pre-Ottoman situation was one of Slavic Communities principally aligned either to the Roman Catholic Religion (mainly Croatians or Slovenes) or to the Eastern Orthodox Religion (mainly Serbs). Under Ottoman Rule, many found it convenient to "convert" to Islam, in order to survive in business or to make daily life bearable under Ottoman Rule. This was mainly a phenomenon experienced by Serbs. This "conversion" was mostly for outward appearances and everyday convenience and indeed, was a situation which had been repeated elsewhere in the world under the invasive influence of other conquering empires - even in Great Britain during the Roman Invasion!!
The subsequent version of Islam as extolled in BiH was consequently very mild and shallow in comparison to that in almost all other Islamic countries. The "converted" Serbian Muslims retained many aspects of their basic Christian Orthodoxy to such an extent that Heretical Worship was practised by many in Bosnia. We have seen evidence of this even today in the 21st Century, where certain caves are still used in Bosnia for this type of worship by Muslims. However, returning to history, when the Ottoman Rule was finally terminated, many of these "converts" did not "re-convert" back to Christian Orthodoxy. Thus, to their Christian Orthodox Serb counterparts, these could never be regarded as being Serbs. In their view, to be Serb one must also be Christian Orthodox not Muslim. So we begin a period of underlying resentment. Through the passing of time and the development of the S.F.R. Yugoslavia, this resentment was buried and for many was just an event of history. The inter-marrying of Catholics with Sebs and "Muslims" was quite routine in the period of the S.F.R. Yugoslavia and for most, history was history, ideals were one thing but reality was today.
There are always fanatics and crazy people in the population of every country on the planet. Such people become focussed on issues which cause mayhem for the rest of the population. So it was in the Balkans.

In 1908-09., the Habsburg Monarchy of Austro-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina.  The army practice of requisitioning horses, wagons, cows, grain and fodder was greatly disliked. This in addition to the drafting of men to the armed forces left many of the colonies in very difficult economic circumstances. Many of the 8200 or so colony inhabitants evacuated to other parts of the Empire at this time. At the same time, many BiH Citizens were placed in prison camps; some 3300 and perhaps as many as 5500 BiH Citizens were held in camps in Bosnia and Hungary; 700-2200 are thought to have died there. Such measures, as well as periodic, notorious crackdowns on students, did little to help Austria's war effort and even less for her support in the region.
The famous shot fired by Gavrilo Princip in 1914 to assassinate Crown-Prince and Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand and touch off the fuse of the 1st World War can be seen in this context -- reaction to an attempt by the Empire to gain legitimate, permanent control of the region. Ironically, the Arch-Duke was a great friend of Bosnia-Herzegovina and was promoting policies to benefit both its population and the country, but crazy fanatics had to interfere to try and realize their ideals over reality.
By 1918, Austria-Hungary and the Central Powers were defeated and under the Treaty of Trianon, Bosnia-Herzegovina became part of the newly-created Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Even at this point, however, many of the German immigrants who now had made homes and lived all their lives in the region desired to stay and become part of the new regime. However, between 1918 and March of 1923, Serbian Orthodox volunteers and agitators hungry for land, harassed many of the settlers and their descendants until a law was passed forbidding such activities. In the meantime, many of the colonists had left.
In April 1941, the new State fell to combined German, Italian, Bulgarian and Hungarian forces, the army capitulating after an eleven-day campaign. For Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 2nd World War was really the simultaneous waging of four separate wars: the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, the war of the Axis occupiers against resistance movements, the civil war between Croatian extremists (Ustashe) against Serbians and, finally, that amongst the two main resistance organizations, the Chetniks (mostly Serb Royalists) and the Communist Partisans. In such a situation, it is hardly surprising that many atrocities were committed.

Combining brilliant organization with ruthless tactics, Tito's Partisans eventually gained the support of all the Allies and proved dominant in the struggle, leading to the founding of Communist Yugoslavia - The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The resulting "nation", which it was said comprised "six states, five languages, four races, three religions, and two alphabets, all united by a single desire to be separated from the rest", lasted until 1989. During this period of its history, Bosnia and Hercegovina struggled to gain the political status of that of the other Socialist Republic (SR) components of the Federal Republlic. It was initially designated a Narodna Republika (NR) or "Peoples Republic" but through dogged persistence, was eventually elevated to that of SR.

With the break-up of SFR Yugoslavia, the history of Bosnia took a new turn and a history which is still very much in the process of being decided. We can only hope that as it has been the focus of so many different European struggles and diversities, at last it may find the peace it truly deserves. Throughout its history, despite multitudinous internal differences, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina have usually found a way to live harmoniously, if only the rest of the world, including their neighbouring countries, would leave them in peace!!

Under the "Dayton Agreement", the modern State of Bosnia and Herzegovina is an International Protectorate which administers a complex and uneasy domestic political situation.

In the synopsis above, we could have stated many other facts but have chosen not to do so. History is History and the past cannot be changed. Our Society will associate with anyone and everyone in BiH, whatever their status or religion. A person's Religion or Nationality is a PRIVATE MATTER and should not be the concern of anyone else. The more recent history of the many peoples of BiH has been fraught with too many people trying to concern themselves with the private matters of others, instead of getting on with their own lives and minding their own business!! The situation has not been helped in recent years by the occasional insensitive and interfering activities of so-called diplomats from other powerful countries.

Calendar of Significant Events Before and During Austro-Hungarian Administration and Annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
and the lead-up to the 1st World War :

1848....Franz Joseph becomes emperor of Austria and Hungary.
1866....Prussia defeats Austria at Sadowa (Königgrätz).
1867....Ausgleich settlement between Franz Joseph and the Magyar Leadership.
1878....Congress of Berlin after the Russo-Turkish War. Result: The Austro-Hungarian Empire assumes administrative supervision of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1879....Andrássy and Bismarck sign the Dual Alliance.
1882....Italy joins the Dual Alliance, which now becomes the Triple Alliance.
1882....Milan Obrenović becomes King of Serbia.
1883....King Carol of Rumania becomes a "silent partner" of the Triple Alliance.
1889....Aleksandar Obrenović replaces Milan Obrenović as King of Serbia.
1894....The Franco-Russian Alliance is created.
1898....Archduke Franz Ferdinand is recognized as the Heir-apparent of Austria-Hungary.
1903....Aleksandar Obrenović is overthrown in Serbia and is replaced by King Peter of the Karađorđević dynasty. [His Rule finished in 1918.]
1904....Signature of the Anglo-French Entente.
1908-1909....Habsburg Monarchy annexes Bosnia-Herzegovina prompting a crisis with Serbia and Russia.
1912, March-May....Signature of Balkan League between Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. Montenegro joins later.
1912, September....Delegations meet in Vienna.
1912, October....1st Balkan War begins. Russia keeps 3rd-year troops on duty and Austria-Hungary mobilizes some troops.
1912, November....Delegations meet in Budapest and there is an intensification of the crisis with Russia and Serbia.
1912, December....1st war-peace crisis with Serbia; Franz Joseph and Foreign Minister Berchtold refuse to opt for war with Serbia.
1912, December....Conferences of Ambassadors and Ministers in London to end the Balkan fighting.
1913, February....Germany cautions Austria-Hungary on its crisis with Russia and Serbia.
1913, March....Austria-Hungary and Russia reduce their troop mobilizations.
1913, April....Scutari falls to Montenegro with an ensuing crisis.
1913, May....2nd war-peace crisis; Austria-Hungary demands and gets Montenegro to abandon Scutari.
1913, May....The Treaty of London ends the 1st Balkan War.
1913, June....Bulgaria attacks Serbia;   Greece, Turkey, Rumania and Montenegro attack Bulgaria - the 2nd Balkan War starts.
1913, July....Bulgaria asks for peace.
1913, October....3rd war-peace crisis: Austria-Hungary demands and gets Serbian evacuation of Albanian Towns.
1914, February....Russia revamps its troop-mobilization timetables.
1914, April....Franz Joseph illness.
1914, May....Delegations meet in Budapest.
1914, late May....Gavrilo Princip, Grabež and Čabrinovič return to Bosnia for the assassination attempt on Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
1914, 28 June....Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie at Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1914, 05 July....Austria-Hungary receives support from Berlin for action against Serbia.
1914, 07 July....The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy Common Council favours war with Serbia; The Hungarian Prime Minister Tisza opposes war.
1914, 14 July....The Hungarian Prime Minister Tisza agrees to war with Serbia on the stipulation that the Monarchy gains no additional territory.
1914, 19 July....The Habsburg Monarchy Common Council approves the terms of an ultimatum to Serbia.
1914, 20-23 July....In St. Petersburg, the French reaffirm their diplomatic support of Russia.
1914, 23 July....Austria-Hungary gives a 48-hour ultimatum to Serbia for an external investigation into the existence of a Serbian-led conspiracy behind the Sarajevo Assassination.
1914, 25 July....The Serbian reply rejects the ultimatum.
1914, 25 July....Serbia orders troop mobilization and Russia takes some preliminary mobilization steps.
1914, 28 July....Austria-Hungary partially mobilizes troops and declares war on Serbia. A halt in the Beograd Plan is suggested but Vienna rejects it.
1914, 29 July....Scattered Austro-Hungarian shelling of Serbian Territory. Germany attempts to win German Neutrality.
1914, 30 July....Russia orders a general mobilization of troops. Britain rejects the German overtures on neutrality.
1914, 31 July....Germany declares state of threatening danger of war and demands that Russia cease its troop mobilization.
1914, 31 July....Austria-Hungary orders a general mobilization of troops.
1914, 01 August....France refuses to accept German demands of neutrality in the event of a Russian-German War, so France and Germany mobilize their troops.
1914, 01 August....Germany declares war on Russia.
1914, 02 August....Britain gives a limited assurance to France on the defence of its northern coasts.
1914, 02 August....Germany invades Luxembourg.
1914, 03 August....Germany invades Belgium and also declares war on France.
1914, 04 August....Britain declares war on Germany.
1914, 06 August....Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.

Bibliography :

Fine, John van, (1987)..."The Late Medieval Balkans: a Critical Survey From the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest." (Pub: Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press).
Glenny, Misha [Michael], (1990)..."The Rebirth of History: Eastern Europe in the Age of Democracy." (Pub:  Penguin Books, London; New York.)
Malcolm, Noel, (1994)..."Bosnia, A Short History." (Pub:  Macmillan London Ltd.; New York: New York University Press; ISBN 0-8147-5520-8.)
Williamson Jr., Samuel R. (1991)..."Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War." (Pub:  Macmillan Education Ltd., London, ISBN 0-333-42081-0 pbk. and ISBN 0-333-42080-2.)

More on current DIALECTS USED IN BOSNIA & HERCEGOVINA and the Littoral :
As stated in Section 4.4. on the Main Introductory Homepage of the Dinaric Karst in Bosnia & Hercegovina, the Republic uses 2 Official Alphabetic Scripts for 3 Official Languages. An extended Latin Aphabet is used in the Bosnian (Bosanski) and Croatian (Hrvatski) Languages of the BiH Federation Territory, whilst the Serbian Cyrillic Alphabet is used in the Serbian (Srpski) Language of the BiH "Republika Srpska" Territory. In this latter instance, the Constitution of the "Republika Srpska" political entity distinctly refers to the Serbian Language as having two principal dialects; namely the "ijekavian" dialect and the "ekavian" dialect.
To understand the differences in dialects, we must now temporarily ignore the different scripts and proceed only in the Latin version for simplicity. We will begin with an explanation and then by using and comparing some common words, we will illustrate the different dialects as used by Serbs and Croatians.
(i)....ekavski - the principal dialect used by Serbs in BiH,
...............................(with sub-dialect štokavski) :
(ii)...ijekavski - the principal dialect used by Croatians in BiH,
...............................(with sub-dialect kajkavski) :
The difference stems from the fact that the so-called "jat" sound of the Old Slavonic Language, (from which the modern languages has developed), has become "e" in Serbian (hence the appellation e'kavski), and either "je" or "ije" in Croatian, (giving the appellation ije'kavski).
........examples by simple comparison of nouns :
..................ekavski versions :  lepo;  devojka; mleko.
..................ijekavski versions :  lijepo;  djevojka;  mlijeko.
(iii)..ikavski - an almost extinct dialect used in colloquial language in Split (Dalmatia) and its surroundings and in some of the nearby Adriatic Islands :
...............................(with sub-dialect čakavski) :
..................ikavski versions :  lipo;  divojka;  mliko.
An explanation of the indicated sub-dialects :
Roughly co-inciding with the above dialects, there is also the difference between the equivalents of the interrogative particle "što?" (= what?); "kaj?" and "ča?".
The corresponding sub-dialects are therefore known as štokavski; kajkavski and čakavski, as associated and indicated above.
As a matter of further interest, in comparison with the nearly extinct "ikavski" dialect, its associated sub-dialect "kajkavski" still survives in parts of Croatia, including Zagreb. It is used only colloquially for informal talk and conversation.

One might come to the conclustion that there is only one single language but with two principal dialects. When "nationality" issues are objectively analysed from the philological aspect, some uncomfortable conclusions can be met with !!

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