Bosnia and Herzegovina ( or ; Serbo-Croatian: Bosna i Hercegovina [BiH] / Боснa и Херцеговина [БиХ]), sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina, and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is an almost landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 km long surrounding the town of Neum. It is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south; Serbia to the east; and Montenegro to the southeast. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland, Bosnia, is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip, Herzegovina, has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography.
proclaimed independence]] in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995.
Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina has grown at double digit rates in recent years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique music, architecture, and its festivals, some of which are the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe. The country is home to three main ethnic groups or, officially, constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second, and Croats third. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is usually identified in English as a Bosnian. Minorities, defined under the constitutional nomenclature "Others", include Jews, Roma, Poles, Ukrainians, and Turks. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is highly limited, as the country is largely decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third unit, the Brčko District, governed under local government. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of 10 cantons.
Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks highly in terms of human development, and has an economy dominated by the industry and agriculture sectors, followed by the tourism and service sectors. The country has a social security and universal healthcare system, and primary- and secondary-level education is tuition-free. It is a member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, PfP, CEFTA, and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean upon its establishment in July 2008. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan.
The first preserved widely acknowledged mention of Bosnia is in De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century (between 948 and 952) describing the "small land" (χωρίον in Greek) of "Bosona" (Βοσώνα).
The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could derive from Illyrian *"Bass-an-as"), which would derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh"—meaning "the running water". According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia "adapted the Latin designation [...] Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna and themselves Bosniaks [...]".
The name Herzegovina ("herzog's [land]", from German word for "duke") originates from Bosnian magnate Stjepan Vukčić Kosača's title, "Herceg (Herzog) of Hum and the Coast" (1448). Hum, formerly Zahumlje, was an early medieval principality that was conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century. The region was administered by the Ottomans as the Sanjak of Herzegovina (Hersek) within the Eyalet of Bosnia up until the formation of the short-lived Herzegovina Eyalet in the 1830s, which remerged in the 1850s, after which the entity became commonly known as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On initial proclamation of independence in 1992, the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that accompanied it the official name was changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina.