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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Bosna i Hercegovina), a socialist republic that is part of Yugoslavia (the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; SFRY), consisting of two historic provinces: Bosnia, which lies in the valley of the Sava River and its right tributaries; and Hercegovina, which occupies the basin of the Neretva River and the upper reaches of the Drina River. The total area is 51,100 sq km, and the population was 3,799,000 in 1968; according to the 1961 census, 44 percent of the population was Serbian, 23 percent Croatian, and 25 percent South Slavic Muslims. The capital of Bosnia-Hercegovina is Sarajevo, which had a population of 227,000 in 1965.

Natural features About 90 percent of the territory is mountainous. In the north, low-lying areas extend along the Sava River and form the southern outlying area of the central Danubian Plain. Further south lie stretches of low mountains with fertile intermontane valleys, rising to 2,000–2,400 m in the Dinaric Alps. The Sava valley has a temperate continental climate with annual precipitation of 600-S00 mm; in the mountainous areas the climate becomes cool and humid, with annual precipitation of 1,500–2,500 mm. About 40 percent of the area is wooded; three-fifths consists of deciduous trees (oak, beech), and the rest, of conifers (fir and pine).

Economy The national income of Bosnia-Hercegovina represented 11.5 percent of the total income of the SFRY in 1967. Large deposits of brown coal and lignite (mined in the areas of such cities as Tuzla, Zenica, Kakanj, Breza, and Banovici) and hydroelectric power amounting to about two-fifths of the total power resources of the SFRY make Bosnia-Hercegovina the largest power base in the country. About 99 percent of all the iron ore in the SFRY (from the Vareš and Ljubija mines) comes from Bosnia-Hercegovina, as does more than 50 percent of all ferrous metal products; the largest combine in the country is at Zenica, and there are plants in Ilijaš and Varea. Bauxites are mined (mainly for export; in the future this may serve as a basis for the development of an aluminum industry). The chemical industry has a number of branches, utilizing salt (mined in Tuzla), coal, and wood. There are coke furnaces at Zenica and Lukavac (where all the coke in the country is fired), a soda factory in Lukavac, electrochemical works in Jajce, and a nitrate fertilizer factory in Goražde.

The lumbering and woodworking industries are of special importance (there is a factory in Zavidovići for prefabricated houses). Bosnia-Hercegovina occupies first place in the SFRY in the production of cellulose, and there are wood-pulp mills at Prijedor, Banja Luka, Maglaj, and Drvar. Other industries include machine-building, food, and various light industries. The most important industrial centers are the Sarajevo-Zenica area—with coal-mining, ferrous-metal, and machine-building industries—and the Tuzla-Banovići area, which has coal and salt mining and chemical and machine-building industries.

Half of the territory is used for agriculture, and about 50 percent of this area is under crops or is used for vegetable patches, gardens, and vineyards. The rest consists of meadows and mountain pastures. There were about 2,700 tractors in 1968. The republic is second only to Serbia in the number of cattle and sheep. (In 1968 it had 1.1 million head of cattle, of which about 0.6 million were cows; 2.2 million sheep, and 400,000 swine.) Agriculture is carried on mainly in the north and along the river valleys. Crops include corn (in 1968, 343,000 ha, yielding a harvest of 508,000 tons), wheat (219,000 ha, yielding 344,000 tons), and potatoes (56,000 ha, yielding 369,000 tons); industrial crops include hemp (2,000 ha, yielding 5,000 tons), sugar beets, and, in Hercegovina, tobacco (6,000 ha, yielding 7,000 tons). Plums, apples, pears, and walnuts are grown, and there is viticulture in Hercegovina. Tourism is well developed.


Historical survey The territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era (a mooring place near the estuary of the Usora River was discovered in 1950). The oldest inhabitants were the Illyrians. Toward the end of the third century B.C, early slave-holding states appeared on the territory of present-day Bosnia-Hercegovina (Ardiei, Daorsi, and Iapidi or Giapidi). From the first century A.D. they were subjugated by the Romans and incorporated into the province of Dalmatia. During Roman rule in Bosnia-Hercegovina, the slave-holding system became firmly established. After forming part of the kingdom of the Ostrogoths from the end of the fifth century to about A.D. 535, the territory came under Byzantine rule. In the sixth and seventh centuries it was settled by Slavs. In the eighth and ninth centuries, the Slavs were subjected to the process of feudali-zation. In documentary sources of the mid-tenth century, mention is made for the first time of the existence of the ǎupe (small tribal principalities) of Trebinje, Zahumlje, Travunja, Poganija (Neretva), and Bosna. From the 12th to 14th centuries, Bosnia was a feudal principality headed by a ban; the best-known bans were Kulin (ruled from 1180 to 1203 or 1204) and Stepan Kotromanic (ruled from 1322 to 1353). From the end of the 12th century, Bogomilism, on the basis of which the so-called Bosnia Church was founded, spread through the country. In the 14th century, particularly under Tvrtko I (ruled from 1353 to 1391), when Bosnia was proclaimed a kingdom, its size increased considerably. (A part of the Serbian lands and of the Adriatic coast, including the towns of Kotor, Split, Ŝibenik, and Trogir, was annexed.) After the death of Tvrtko I, a long period of feudal disintegration and internal strife set in. During the struggle between the representatives of the powerful feudal families, one of the rulers of the southern part of the Bosnian kingdom—Stepan Vukčić— proclaimed himself duke (herceg) in 1448, and his domains became known as Hercegovina. Bosnia and Hercegovina were captured by the Turks in 1463 and 1482 respectively. In 1583, Bosnia and Hercegovina were united into the Bosnian pashaluk. Most of the feudal lords and part of the population were converted to Islam. The Turkish feudal-military service system became prevalent in Bosnia and Hercegovina. At the beginning of the 19th century, the struggle of the people against national and social oppression became intensified, and there were peasant insurrections from 1804 to 1813. The termination of feudal internal strife in the middle of the 19th century created favorable conditions for the development of trade, and in 1872 the first railway was opened (between Banja Luka and Novi). However, Bosnia and Hercegovina remained socially and economically backward. More than 90 percent of the population was engaged in agriculture, and there were no sizable industrial undertakings; only handicraft workshops existed. Only in the 1840’s and 1850’s did the commercial middle bourgeoisie of the country begin to take an active part in the people’s struggle for liberation. The peasantry, which suffered under the harsh feudal and national yoke, repeatedly rose up in arms, and there were insurrections in 1834, 1852–53, 1857–58, 1861–62, and other years. They were cruelly suppressed by the feudal lords and the Turkish rulers. The culminating point in the Bosnian and Hercegovi-nian liberation movement came with the Bosnian-Hercegovinian uprising of 1875–78, which led to a serious international situation known as the Bosnian crisis of 1875–78. By a decision of the Congress of Berlin of 1878, Austria-Hungary was authorized to occupy and administer Bosnia and Hercegovina, which were in fact converted into a colony of Austria-Hungary.

At the beginning of the 20th century, 140 enterprises were operating in Bosnia and Hercegovina, employing about 23,000 workers (according to the 1907 census). The first trade unions were established in 1905. The strikes which broke out in 1905 in a number of towns, including Sarajevo and Zenica, developed into a general strike in 1906. In 1909 the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Hercegovina was founded. In October 1908, Bosnia and Hercegovina were annexed by Austria-Hungary. This led to a wave of protest—not only in Bosnia and Hercegovina but in neighboring Slavic countries—and to the Bosnian crisis of 1908–09. In 1910 a peasant movement developed all over Bosnia, and about the same time the revolutionary organization “Young Bosnia,” some members of which engaged in individual terrorism, came into existence. In 1918, after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Bosnia and Hercegovina became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (since 1929, Yugoslavia); in 1921 they were combined into a single territorial province.

In the general revolutionary atmosphere which developed in all countries under the influence of the October Revolution in Russia, the struggle of the toiling masses intensified—there were peasant demonstrations in early 1919, a workers’ general strike in support of Soviet Russia in February 1919, and so on. The Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Hercegovina, headed by Dj. Djaković, played an active part in the creation in April 1919 of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. The failure to solve social and national questions led to further tireless struggles by the working people of Bosnia-Hercegovina for their rights (there were peasant uprisings in Hercegovina in 1931–32 and workers’ demonstrations in the 1920’s and 1930’s).

Bosnia-Hercegovina was one of the main centers of the war of national liberation of the peoples of Yugoslavia against the fascist aggressors from 1941 to 1945. After the liberation of the country in 1945, Bosnia-Hercegovina became part of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, with the status of a people’s republic. Agrarian reforms were carried out in 1945, and large and medium industry, wholesale and retail trade, banks, and means of transport were nationalized between 1946 and 1948. Since 1963, Bosnia-Hercegovina has been a socialist republic of the SFRY.


Beliakova, N. P. “Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskie predposylki natsional’noosvoboditel’nogo dvizheniia v Bosnii i Gertsegovine v 1908–1914.” Kratkie soobshcheniia In-ta slavianovedeniia AN SSSR, 1954, no. 12.
Pisarev, Iu. A. “Krest’ianskie volneniia v Bosnii i Gertsegovine v 1910 g. i agrarnaia reforma 1911 goda.” Novata i noveishaia istoriia, 1960, no. 6.
Gil’ferding, A. [F.] Bosniia, Gertsegovina i Staraia Serbiia. St. Petersburg, 1859.
Lavrov, P. Anneksiia Bosnii i Gertsegoviny i otnoshenie k nei slavianstva. St. Petersburg, 1909.
Klaić, V. Povijest Bosne do propasti kraljevstva. Zagreb, 1882.
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Slipičević, F. Bosna i Hercegovina od Berlinskog kongresa do kraja Prvog Svjetskog rata (1878–1918). Zagreb, 1954.
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V. G. KARASEV (to 1941) and V. A. PEKSHEV (since 1941)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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