Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Bosnia and Herzegovina (pronounced /ˈbɒzni.ə ænd hɜrtsɨˈɡoʊvɨnə/ or /ˈbɑzni.ə ænd hɛərtsəgoʊˈviːnə/ (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian Latin: Bosna i Hercegovina; Cyrillic: Босна и Херцеговина) is a country in South-East Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina (also: Bosnia-Herzegovina/Bosnia and Hercegovina) is almost landlocked, except for 26 kilometres of Adriatic Sea coastline, centered on the town of Neum. The interior of the country is mountainous centrally and to the south, hilly in the northwest, and flatland in the northeast. Inland is the larger geographic region with a moderate continental climate, marked by hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plane topography.
The country is home to three ethnic groups so-called "constituent peoples", a term unique for Bosnia-Herzegovina. These are: Bosniaks, the largest population group of three, with Bosnian Serbs in second and Bosnian Croats in third. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian. The term Herzegovinian is maintained as a regional rather than ethnic distinction, while Herzegovina has no precisely defined borders of its own. The country is politically decentralized and comprises two governing entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with District Brčko.
Formerly 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. Bosnia and Herzegovina can be described as a Parliamentary democracy that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system, and it is a potential candidate for membership in the European Union and NATO. Additionally, the nation has been a member of the Council of Europe since 24 April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its