OFFICIAL NAME: Bosnia and Herzegovina
CAPITAL CITY: Sarajevo
POPULATION: 3,531,159 (Source:
AREA: 51,129 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
RELIGION: Muslims 50.7%, Serbian Orthodox 30.7%, Catholics 15.2%, Others/Uninformed
CURRENCY CODE: BAM
ENGLISH NAME: Bosnia and Herzegovina
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Bosnians 50.1%, Serbs 30.8%, Croats 15.4%, others/not 3.7%
GDP PER residents: 4808 USD (2015)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 75 years, women 79.7 years (2015)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.733
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 85
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .ba
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of
the Balkans. The formal demarcation of the republic follows the old boundaries
of the time as a state of Yugoslavia. The country is divided into two ethnically
based parts: the Bosnian-Croatian Federation (51% of the country) and the
Serbian Republika Srpska (49% of the country). As a result of the 1992-95 civil
war, the country received extensive foreign aid to rebuild its economy, politics
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Bosnia and Herzegovina - Constitution
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is from
1995. Formally, the central government in Sarajevo is in power, but in reality
the three states with their own parliaments and political leaders have great
opportunities to conduct foreign and economic policy.
Federally, the executive power lies with a presidential council with three
members representing resp. the Bosniaks, the Croats and the Serbs. The members
are elected by direct election every four years, and the one who gets the most
votes becomes chairman in the first instance. After eight months, the chairman
is replaced by a rotation system.
The Federal Parliament consists of two chambers: Predstavnićki Dom ("House of
Representatives") and Dom Naroda ("House of the People"). The first consists of
42 members elected for four years in direct elections divided by 14 to each of
the three ethnic units. This chamber must approve the Council of Ministers,
which is appointed by the Presidential Council. The President of the Council of
Ministers appoints ministers to be approved by Predstavnićki Dom. The second
chamber consists of 15 members with five from each of the three ethnic
groups. They are elected by the parliaments of the Bosnian Croat Croat
Federation and Republika Srpska.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - military
The armed forces are (2006) divided into two parts, which after 2003,
however, are subject to a common Ministry of Defense and a small common defense
staff. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which includes the Muslim and
Croatian populations, has a regular force of 8,000, trains 8,400 conscripts and
has a reserve of 40,000. The regular strength of the Republic of Srpska is
4,000, it trains 4,200 conscripts and has a reserve of 20,000. Ie. that each
ethnic group has a third of the strength. The equipment is primarily older
ex-Yugoslav. The federation has a mixed force of transport helicopters, while
Republik Srpska also has a dozen light fighter jets.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - literature
Although the residents of Bosnia-Herzegovina have spoken and written the
same language, the ethnic composition makes it difficult to speak of a Bosnian
literature as an organic whole with a continuous development. Before
independence in 1991, people were not talking about Bosnian literature either,
but about literature in Bosnia.
The Turkish conquest of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1463 led to a sharp
Islamization of the area; the population was divided into two groups, a Muslim,
privileged upper class and a Christian lower class (rayah) without rights.
The first developed its special oriental-inspired culture; the authors wrote
for a time in Turkish, Arabic and Persian and later switched to writing their
religious or secular poems in the vernacular (Serbo-Croatian), but with Arabic
characters. This literature, which in both expression and content was distinctly
oriental, is called alhamijado.
The Christian Serbs and Croats had no real opportunity to develop a
continuous literature. When the Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492,
some of them found refuge in Bosnia, where with their special culture they
contributed to the complicated "cultural mosaic" of this extreme Turkish
With the Austrian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, conditions
changed completely. Sarajevo did not seem attractive to the Serbian and Croatian
students and intellectuals. Instead, they oriented themselves either towards
Serbia or towards the Habsburg monarchy, and stayed, for example, in connection
with education, shorter or longer in Budapest, Vienna, Belgrade or Zagreb. For a
long time, therefore, there was no cultural center in Bosnia-Herzegovina itself.
The literary journals were for the first many years the most important
mouthpieces of Bosnian poets and writers, and at the same time became an opening
to European currents. The most important periodicals, Bosanska vila (The Bosnian
Fairy, 1885-1914), Zora (Dawn, 1896-1901), Nada (Hope, 1895-1903) and Behar (The
Flower, 1900-10), mixed national agitation with delayed European romanticism and
memories of folk poetry.
The magazine Zora brought together a number of Serbian, Croatian and Muslim
poets from Bosnia-Herzegovina: Aleksa Šantić (1868-1924), Svetozar Ćorović
(1875-1919), Jovan Dučić, Osman Djikić (1879-1912), Avdo Karabegović 1900). At
the same time, Serbian and Croatian writers from Serbia and Croatia, such as
Jovan Zmaj Jovanović (1833-1904), Laza Kostić (1841-1910), Janko Veselinović
(1862-1905), Stevan Sremac (1855-1906), Sima Matavulj, (1852 -1908) Radoje
Domanović (1873-1908) and Ivo Ćipiko (1869-1923), diligent contributors, thus
acting as a kind of teacher for the younger Bosnian writers.
The period up to and after World War I was a fruitful time for literature in
Bosnia, with authors such as Edhem Mulabdić (1862-1954), Petar Kočić
(1877-1916), Abdurezak Hifzi (1886-1972), Isak Samokovlija (1889- 1955), Hamza
Humo (1895-1970) and Borivoje Jeftić (1894-1959), although significant authors
such as Ivo Andrić, Antun Branko Šimić (1898-1925), Mesa Selimović, Skender
Kulenović (1910-78), Branko Copić (1915-1984) et al. had left Bosnia and had
settled in Belgrade or Zagreb as Serbian and Croatian writers, respectively.
With the formation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later
Yugoslavia) after World War I, Bosnia-Herzegovina became part of this new state,
recognizing only the three state-bearing nations and their literatures.
The Muslim writers in many cases chose to join the Serbian or Croatian
literature. With a number of collections of poems, primarily The Sleeping
Stone (1966), Mak Dizdar (1917-71) positioned himself as the most important
Bosnian poet of the post-war period.
Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991 and the formation of the
independent state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the literature has been defined as
consisting of three literatures: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian; all writers born
in Bosnia and Herzegovina are considered Bosnian writers, even if they choose to
join the Croatian literature as Hasan Kikić (1905-1942) or the Serbian as Meša
Selimović or as Ivo Andrić, first the Croatian and then the Serbian.
The civil war and the bombing of Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs have, of
course, left strong traces in the literature. The war became the first major
theme of Bosnian literature, and in besieged Sarajevo, literature became a
rallying point and a symbol of the will to survive.
One of the first witness of the war was the 13-year-old Zlata Filipovic (b.
1980) diary Zlatas diary (1993, da. 1994) who quietly described the
fear in the besieged Sarajevo. The lyricist Ferida Duraković's (b. 1957)
collection of poems The Heart of Darkness (1994) is also about the war
that destroyed her Sarajevo, while Nenad Veličković (b. 1962) ironically
describes daily life during the bombings. Ozren Kebo (b. 1959) has written a
Sarajevo chronicle in her Welcome to Hell: Sarajevo, User Manual.
As a result of the war, several writers left Bosnia-Herzegovina and settled
abroad. Aleksandar Hemon (b. 1964) has from his new home in Chicago written the
short story collection A Question of Bruno (1995, da. A Question of
Bruno, 2002) and later the novel Nowhere Man (2002, da. 2004),
both in English.
The playwright and author Dževad Karahasan (b. 1953) lives in Germany today
and describes in the novel Diary of a Relocation (1994) the destruction
of Sarajevo and the human solidarity that arises under inhuman conditions.
Dario Džamonja (1955-2001) returned to Sarajevo after five years in the
United States and wrote a series of short stories about Sarajevo's turbulent