The rich history of Bosnia and Herzegovina demonstrates the uniqueness of a country where four religions (Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Christian Orthodoxy and Islam) have each given their personal mark to the development of a specific civilization, combining the heritage of the Neolithic, Iliric, Classical, Greco-Roman and Slavic cultural elements. Mutual influences and the unity of those cultural and natural values on a relatively small geographic area, resulted in the specific political, economic, cultural and international character of Bosnia and Herzegovina throughout history.

Xth Century

The State of Bosnia first appeared in the Xth Century. At that time Bosnia extended from the Drina river to the Adriatic sea. The socio-legal position of Bosnia in the Medieval period was challenged by Byzantium, Hungary and the neighboring states of Croatia and Serbia who tried to take Bosnian territory to expand Catholicism and Christian Orthodoxy. During the reign of Kulin Ban (1180-1204), Bosnia was developing as an independent and internationally recognized country. At the same time, her neighbors tried to destroy the specific religion known as the Bosnian-Bogomil Church. Being created between the two Christian religions, this Bosnian-Bogomil Church gave specific emphasis to the spiritual development of Bosnia during three centuries.

XIIth Century

During the XIIth Century, the Bosnian State was established on the parliamentary principle, with specific religious and political relations. With the crowning of King Tvrtko I (in 1377), Bosnia became a kingdom, and during his rule (1353-1391) Bosnia reached maximum size stretching from the Sava river to the islands of Korcula and Hvar, and from Zrmanja and Knin to Sjenica and Lim. Subsequently, Bosnia was ruled by the Kotromanjic dynasty.

The times of the Ottomans

During the occupation of the Balkan countries by the Ottoman Empire, Bosnia came under Turkish rule in 1463 when the Sultan Mehmed Conqueror captured the Castle of Babovac and ended the Kotromanjic Dynasty. The Turks established the area called Bosnian Sanjak. From 1580 the Pashadom was the form of rule in Bosnia. The Ottoman Empire brought numerous changes to the Bosnian society. A large part of the Slavic population converted to the Islam religion, and became known as Bosniacs. New towns of the Islamic-Oriental type were developed, and the economy was changed by the introduction of an estate-landowner system. The Bosniacs included in the Ottoman system supported the Turkish occupations of the West Balkans and Central Europe. After the big Vienna War (1683-1699) Bosnia became the West Province of the Ottoman Empire. The Karlovac Peace Contract (1699) confirmed the historical borders of Bosnia on the North, West and South. During the XVIIIth Century, and in the first half of the XIXth Century, the Bosniacs engaged in defensive wars against Austria and Venice, and at the same time were also demanding an autonomous status within the Ottoman Empire. Adopted Ottoman institutions (landowners, captains, janissaries) were accepted as Bosnian. There were numerous reforms and rebellions, such as the movement of Huseinbeg Gradascevic (1831-32), which finally defined the extent of Bosnian autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. By the military intervention of Omer-pasa Latas, the Bosnian beys were defeated with long historical consequences. The undertaken reforms during the 1860's brought to Bosnia certain provincial autonomy.

The times of Austria-Hungary

After the Christian Rebellion (1875-78) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the great Eastern Crisis began which resulted in the Berlin Congress (1878) giving a mandate to Austria-Hungary to occupy Bosnia. After great resistance, mostly by the Bosniacs, the Austro-Hungarian Empire established its authority in Bosnia, leaving the country as "Corpus Separatum" within its historical borders. Thus, Bosnia entered the group of countries known as European countries. After this annexation (1908), Bosnia established its Parliament in 1910 to include representation of all its nations. During the years of the Austro-Hungarian power, Bosnia and Herzegovina had important changes in both the economic and cultural sense. At the end of the First World War, Bosnia and Herzegovina was separated from the Habsburg Empire by its National Council, and, together with Croatia and Slovenia, created the State of the Slovenians, Croats and Serbs, which was united with Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians by the Geneva Treaty.

Between the two world wars

According to the Vidovdan Constitution (1921) Bosnia and Herzegovina maintained its specific position up to the abolishment of this Constitution in 1929. After that, the country was divided into four parts. In 1939, by the Cvetkovic-Macek Agreement, one part of Bosnia was included in the Banland of Croatia.

WWII and after

After the disintegration of Yugoslavia (1941), Bosnia and Herzegovina came under the authority of the Independent State of Croatia, being on the separation line between the German and Italian occupation zones. During the Second World War (1941-1945), Bosnia and Herzegovina supported the antifascist fight. In November 1943, the Anti-Fascist Council was established and Bosnia and Herzegovina regained its statehood and legal status. Documents from the First Session of the Anti-Fascist Council placed Bosnia and Herzegovina in the State of Yugoslavia as a separate unit based on the principles of equality of all nations living within Bosnia. In 1946, within the Yugoslav State, Bosnia and Herzegovina got its constitution and the status of a Republic. Within the Yugoslav Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only Republic which was defined by its historic existence, instead of a newly created national one.


In the process of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, after the multi-parties elections in 1990, and after the citizens' Referendum (conducted February 28 to March 1, 1992), Bosnia and Herzegovina determined to be an independent and sovereign country within its historical borders. By Resolution Number 755 of the United Nations Security Council, on May 20, 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina was internationally recognized as an independent country