The division of Bosnia & Herzegovina began as early as the Roman times when
most of the lands fell under Roman rule, but the divide between Roman and Byzantine
control ran through this same area. With the division of the Christian church into
east and west, the people in the region also became divided. Although ethnically
and linguistically similar, some people adopted Catholicism and others adopted Eastern
Orthodox. Even today the descendants of these people remain divided here and elsewhere
in the region as the Croats tend to be Catholic and the Serbs tend to be Orthodox.
In the 1500s the Turks arrived and took control over the region. Like the earlier
rulers, the Turks introduced Islam to the people and many people adopted this religion,
people that today are known as Bosniaks (a citizen of the country is called a "Bosnian;"
the term Bosniak specifies that the person is Muslim).
More than just religion though, the cultures of these people are greatly divided.
The Croats tend to look west for inspiration and allies as they identify more closely
with Western Europe and have adopted many cultural aspects from there. The ethnic
Serbs tend to look towards Russia for inspiration as many cultural aspects from
Russia and Eastern Europe have been adopted. Lastly, the Bosniaks tend to look towards
Turkey for inspiration as they share many foods, clothing, and traditions with Turkey.
Under Yugoslav rule, the country and people unified to a great degree, however this
unity was more in the way of coexistence than changing cultures or actual friendship.
After the end of communism, Bosnia & Herzegovina experienced a huge amount of
violence between the people. Although most violence in the country has ended, the
people remain culturally divided as each religious group continues to seek outside
allies while continuing on their cultural path, which diverges from the others.
Despite this, the people still share many similarities, including in the lifestyle
for many, in language, and in ethnicity, although all three groups may argue these
The blue, yellow, and white
on the flag of Bosnia & Herzegovina represent neutrality and peace. The large
yellow triangle is a rough representation of the country and its shape; while the
three points on the triangle symbolize the Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. The white
stars represent Europe and are cut off on top and bottom to show that Europe continues
Name: Bosnia & Herzegovina
Independence: March 1, 1992
Currency: Convertible Mark
Population: 3,875,723 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Bosniak, Serb, & Croat
Language: Bosnian & Croatian
Religion: Muslim, Orthodox, & Catholic