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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Description

Before it dissolved in 1991, Yugoslavia was made up of six republics: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Macedonia. Slovenia and Croatia were the first to declare their independence on June 25. Bosnia followed suit in a February 27 - March 1, 1992 referendum. Two days later on March 3 hostilities broke out in Bosnia, beginning a war that would last over three years.

Before the war the Bosnian population was made up of three main ethnic groups: Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian, with Muslims being the majority. The remainder of Yugoslavia was however overwhelmingly Serbian, which is why the Serbian population of Bosnia was against the push for independence. Following the referendum, the Serbian population, with the help of the Yugoslav National Army, gained control of an estimated 70% of Bosnia. Their goal was to create a Serb Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Muslims and Croats living within those areas were forced to flee, murdered outright, or detained and starved. This policy became known as “ethnic cleansing”. An estimated 100,000 people would die before the war ended on December 14, 1995 with the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.

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