Republic bounded on the E and SE by Serbia and Montenegro and to the N and W by Croatia.
Sarajevo is the capital. Inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, it was settled by Slavs in the seventh century a.d. and became a separate political entity apart from Serbia in a.d. 960. Bosnia was ruled by Hungary from the mid-12th century but was a Turkish province by 1463 and an important outpost in the Turkish struggles with Venice and Austria. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878 Bosnia and Herzegovina was assigned to Austro-Hungary. The growth of Serbian nationalism resulted in the assassination of the Austrian archduke Francis (Franz) Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, an event that sparked World War I.
Bosnia and Herzegovina were annexed to Serbia in 1918 and in 1946 became one of the six peoples’ republics of Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia. Conflict followed between Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. Many Bosnian Serbs opposed the establishment of the new republic, in which they were a minority. Serbs from both Serbia and Bosnia, began to carve out the Serbpopulated areas and declared the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croats in Bosnia, also fearing Bosniak (Muslim Bosnian) domination, declared their own Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna. In 1993, bombing and artillery fire, mainly by Serb forces, destroyed much of Sarajevo and other cities throughout the country. In 1994, Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats agreed to a cease-fire and established a joint Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During 1995, Serb forces shelled the besieged capital of Sarajevo, and attacked the UN-proclaimed “safe areas” of Tuzla, Zepa, and Srebrenica. There were mass deportations of Bosniaks, and widespread instances of rape and execution of civilians, especially in Srebrenica. In late 1995, the Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian governments negotiated the Dayton accords in Dayton Ohio. The Dayton accords called for a Bosnian republic with a central government and two semiautonomous regions, one dominated by the Serbs, the other by the Bosniaks and the Croats in a federation. The peace was to be guaranteed by NATO peacekeeping forces who arrived in 1996. In 2002 unsupervised elections, nationalists were elected over moderates. In 2004, the European Union took over responsibility for Bosnian peacekeeping forces from NATO.