OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 51,129 Sq Km (19,741 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 4,620,300
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Bosnia-Herzegovina is a republic of
the former socialist Yugoslavia. It is bound by Croatia
to the north, northwest and west, Serbia and Montenegro
to the northeast, east and southeast as well as the Adriatic
Sea to the south. The country consists of two historical
provinces. (1.) Bosnia which lies in the Sava River Valley
and (2.) Herzegovina which occupies the Neretva River Basin
and the upper reaches of the Drina River. Around 90% of
the land area is mountainous, mostly in the north while
the low lying areas that form the southern extremities of
the Danubian Plain extend along the Sara River. Further
south lie low mountains with fertile intermontaine valleys
that give way to the Dinaric Alps. Around 40% of the land
area is wooded, of which 60% is oak and beech while the
remainder are conifers such as fir and pine. Major Cities
(pop. est.); Sarajevo 415,600, Banja Luka 142,600, Zenica
96,200 (1991). Land Use; forested 39%, pastures 20%, agricultural-cultivated
18%, other 23% (1993).
CLIMATE: Bosnia-Herzegovina's climate is different for each province.
(1.) Herzegovina and the southern area has a modified Mediterranean climate
with an average annual precipitation of 600 to 800 mm (24 to 31.5 inches)
while (2.) the central and northern area of Bosnia has a modified Pannoian
or Alpine climate with an average annual precipitation of 1,500 to 2,500
mm (59 to 98 inches). Average temperature ranges in Sarajevo are from -.5
degrees Celsius (31 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 19.6 degrees Celsius
(67 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Slav Muslims who
account for 43.8% of the population while 31% are Serbs, 17% are Croats
and the remainder are others.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 87 persons per sq km (224
persons per sq mi) (1993). Urban-Rural; 36.2% urban, 63.8% rural (1981).
Sex Distribution; 49.7% male, 50.3% female (1981). Life Expectancy at Birth;
68.0 years male, 73.0 years female (1981). Age Breakdown; 28% under 15,
29% 15 to 29, 19% 30 to 44, 16% 45 to 59, 6% 60 to 74, 2% 75 and over (1981).
Birth Rate; 14.1 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 6.4 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 7.7 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 15.2 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The majority of Croats are Roman Catholic while the
Serbs are Orthodox Christians. Whereas, the Slav Muslims are Muslims. In
addition, there are also religious minorities of Protestants, Greek or
Uniate Catholics and a small number of Jews.
LANGUAGES: Each ethnic group has its own language or dialect
with the national language Serbo-Croatian. The religious differences between
the ethnic groups accounts for the two alphabets that are used. (1.) A
Latin alphabet which is used by the Croats. (2.) A Cyrillic alphabet which
is used by the Serbs. Serbo-Croatian is basically the same language with
some minor differences reflecting religious and cultural characteristics.
German is also widely understood.
EDUCATION: Aged 15 or over and having attained: less than primary
education 49.5%, primary 24.2%, secondary 21.7%, higher 4.3% (1981). Literacy;
literate population aged 10 or over 2,962,400 or 85.5% (1981).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: Prior to independence Bosnia-Herzegovina's
history was closely tied with that of the Federative People's Republic
of Yugoslavia. On Nov. 19, 1945 the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council
(AVNOJ), which was a provisional government with Josip Broz also known
as Marshal Tito as Prime Minister, abolished the monarchy and established
the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia which consisted of Slovenia,
Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia with its semiautonomous provinces.
In Jan. 1946 a new constitution modeled around the Soviet Union was established
and opposition parties abolished. The government then embarked on a nationalization
program of industry and collectivized agricultural farms. In 1948 Yugoslavia
was expelled from the Cominform or Communist International for refusing
to become subordinate to the Soviet parent party and economic embargoes
were imposed against Yugoslavia by the Soviet bloc countries. In 1953 Tito
inaugurated a new constitution in which he became President and a modified
version of socialism was implemented. In 1955 and 1956 Pres. Tito held
negotiations with the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev over sovereignty
and the independence of the two nations socialist systems. In 1961 Yugoslavia
became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1963 a constitution
was established which made Tito president for life and in 1974 a new constitution
was adopted which gave the republics limited veto powers over federal decisions.
In the 1970's Croatian nationalism escalated which led to mass demonstrations
in Yugoslavia as well as terrorist attacks on overseas Yugoslav targets.
On May 4, 1980 Pres. Tito died and was succeeded by a collective leadership
system that Tito himself established prior to his death in the hope of
averting internal dissension. In May 1981 there were uprisings by the Albanian
ethnic population of Kosovo which again resurfaced in 1988 and 1989. In
1987 Slobodan Milosevic was elected President and in 1988 he began moves
to restrict the Serbian provinces' autonomy. In 1989 as democratic change
began to sweep through Eastern Europe, tensions between the major ethnic
groups combined with their individual nationalist aspirations began to
escalate. In Sept. 1989 legislation was approved which allowed Slovenia
the right to accede from the federation. In Jan. 1990 the communist party
surrendered its monopoly on power and announced the development of a multiparty
system of government for the federation. During the 1990 free elections
the communists only retained power in the republics of Serbia and Montenegro.
In early 1991 racial tensions, due to the country's complex ethnic patchwork,
began to escalate into violence between the Croat police and Serbs as the
country slowly drifted into civil war. In Mar. 1991 the leaders of the
six republics began negotiations on the country's future, although they
resulted in nothing more than a stalemate. On June 25, 1991 Slovenia and
Croatia declared their independence with Slovenia opting for complete secession.
On Feb. 29 and Mar. 1, 1992 a referendum resulted in 63% of the Bosnian
population voting for independence from Yugoslavia, although most Serbs
boycotted the vote. On Mar. 3, 1992 the Serb forces began shelling of Bosanski
Brod in northern Bosnia with fighting spreading to all parts of the republic
by the middle of that month. On March 27, 1992 the Serb leaders proclaimed
the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, declaring it to be part
of Yugoslavia. On April 6, 1992 the EU recognized the Republic of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, followed by the US on the 7th while Bosnia and Herzegovina
joined the UN on May 22, 1992. The Yugoslav army who fought along side
with the Bosnian Serbs instigated the so-called "ethnic cleansing
policy" directly mainly at the Muslim and Croat population causing
thousands to flee into Croatia. This policy also included massacres, rapes
and imprisonment in brutal internment camps likened to that of the WWII
Nazi regime. On July 3, 1992 the mostly Croat area of western Herzegovina
proclaimed itself as an autonomous region under the name of Herzeg-Bosna,
which prompted international criticism that Croatia also wanted the partition
of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a result of the Yugoslav involvement in the
conflict the UN imposed trade sanctions on Greater Serbia and Montenegro
while a peace conference on Aug. 26-27, 1992 failed to achieve a ceasefire.
On Sept. 14, 1992 the UN authorized the deployment of addition UN peacekeeping
troops. By Dec. 1992, the Serb forces were in control of some 90% of the
republic with Croat forces controlling a smaller area. Also during 1992,
as a result of the continuing conflict the Bosnian capital Sarajevo with
its mostly Muslim population had been under siege for around eight months
and faced severe food shortages, disease and cold winters. On Feb. 2, 1993
a joint EU-UN initiative named Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance as chief negotiators.
The Owen-Vance plan proposed dividing the republic into 10 autonomous provinces
based largely along ethnic lines with the Serbs getting around 46% of the
territory, the Muslims 30% and the Croats 24%. Although the Bosnian Croats
accepted the plan, the Muslim government didn't and the Bosnian Serbs agree
subject to ratification of their parliament, which refused to do so. On
June 4, 1993 the UN established 6 "safe areas" for the Muslims
in mostly eastern and central Bosnia while on June 18, 1992 the UN dispatch
some 7,600 soldiers to protect the areas. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Muslim
government forces began an offensive against Croat forces in central Bosnia
and make some considerable headway while the Bosnian Serbs continued to
besiege Sarajevo from the hillsides. In Sept. 1993 Lord Owen and Thorvald
Stoltenberg led another round of negotiations on the British warship "Invincible",
although they broke down after the Muslims rejected the plan of a three
republic union. Further initiatives also broke down while internal division
within Bosnian Serbs ranks also beginning to appear. In Dec. 1993, further
proposed cease-fires also failed with the conflict continuing.
CURRENCY: The de facto currency is the Dinar (D) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $10,667,000,000 (1990).
Public Debt; N/A. Imports; D 21,130,000,000 (1990). Exports; D 23,271,000,000
(1990). Tourism Receipts; N/A. Balance of Trade; D 2,141,000,000 (1990).
Economically Active Population; 992,000 or 22.7% of total population (1991).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its traditional trading partners were
the former USSR, other former East European communist countries and members
of the Non-Aligned Movement.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Apples, Bauxite, Brown Coal, Chromite, Copper,
Corn, Grapes, Iron Ore, Lead, Lignite, Livestock, Mercury, Pears, Plums,
Salt, Silver, Sugar Beets, Timber, Tobacco, Walnuts, Wheat, Zinc.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Chemical Refining, Fertilizers, Lumbering,
Mining, Hydroelectric Power, Petroleum Refining, Wood Processing.
MAIN EXPORTS: Agricultural Produce, Chemicals, Electric Power, Fertilizers,
Iron Ore, Timber.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 1,039 km (646 mi) (1990),
passenger-km N/A., cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 21,268 km (13,215 mi)
(1991). Vehicles; cars 438,080 (1990), trucks and buses 50,578 (1990).
Merchant Marine; N/A. Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation
of 518,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 733,000 (1990). Television; receivers
629,000 (1990). Telephones; units 600,000 (1993).
MILITARY: 92,000 (1995) total active duty personnel with 100%
army while military expenditure accounts for N/A. of the Gross National
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