Bosnia and Herzegovina: an overview

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian) is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, and to the southeast by Serbia and Montenegro. Bosnia-Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for 26 km (16 miles) of coastline on the Adriatic Sea along the city of Neum. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Sarajevo.

The centre and south of Bosnia and Herzegovina is mountainous (Balkans), the northwest is hilly and the northeast is flatland. Inland is the largest geographic area with a temperate continental climate, characterized by hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The extreme south has a Mediterranean climate and plane topography.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to three ethnic groups, or so-called “constituent peoples”, a term unique to Bosnia-Herzegovina: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats from first to third in population. Regardless the ethnic group, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as Bosnian. The terms Bosnia and Herzegovina are a regional and geographical division rather than an ethnic or politic distinction. There are not precise borders defined between Bosnia and Herzegovina but roughly speaking Herzegovina is in the southern half of the country, being Mostar its main city.

The country is politically decentralized and comprises two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic in English), with a third region, the District of Brcko to be administered by two.

Previously, BiH was one of the six federal units constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. BiH is as a parliamentary democracy that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system, and is a potential candidate for accession to the European Union and NATO. In addition, the nation has been a member of the Council of Europe since 24 April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union since its creation in 2008.

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