Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A very short history of Bosnia

There is evidence of civilization in this land dating to the Neolithic period, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. History buffs will have to conduct their own research of Bosnia’s earliest history. I will just outline Bosnia’s most recent history in the past twenty years.
Bosnia was part of the former Yugoslavia before it broke up into six separate nations. The official name of the country is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, abbreviated as BiH.
In the 1990 parliamentary elections in Yugoslavia, Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from the communist Yugoslavia and left the government. Other ethnic factions developed and a series of wars in the former Yugoslavia broke out.

In Bosnia, a split soon developed among three ethnic groups. The ethnic Serbs in Bosnia favored remaining with the Yugoslav government while the Bozniaks and Croats favored independence. A declaration of Bosnian sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in February and March 1992 boycotted by the great majority of the Serbs. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence shortly afterwards. Following a tense period of escalating tensions and sporadic military incidents, open warfare began in Sarajevo on April 6, 1992.The city of Sarajevo, site of the 1984 Winter Olympics, was under siege from 1992 through 1996.

Battles took place in many areas of BiH, but the siege of Sarajevo was the most intense. There was shelling and sniper fire daily in Sarajevo. The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia estimates that 102,000 civilians were killed in BiH during the war. The Bosnian government, however, maintains that 200,000 may have been killed. 8,000 mostly men and boys were massacred at Srebinica alone. Charges of ethnic cleansing and genocide have been brought against many involved in the Bosnian conflict.

UN troops ware sent to Bosnia in 1996. The UN troops are still in place today, but are reduced considerably in numbers and keep a very low profile. There have been no hostilities for more than 12 years and Bosnia is currently at peace; however, the governing body is often at odds and is considered fragile. 
(with thanks to Wikipedia)