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Approximate region of Herzegovina
|Founded by||Stjepan Vukčić Kosača|
|• Land||12,276 km2 (4,740 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Herzegovina (// or //; Serbo-Croatian: Hercegovina / Херцеговина, [xɛ̌rtsɛɡov̞ina]) is the southern and smaller of two main regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, other being Bosnia. It never had strictly defined geographical or cultural-historical borders, nor has it ever been defined as an administrative whole in the geopolitical and economic subdivision of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The larger of two Bosnia and Herzegovina regions, Bosnia, is to the west and north of Herzegovina, while Croatian region Dalmatia is to the south-southwest, and Montenegro is to the east-southeast. The land area is c. 11,500 km2 (4,400 sq mi), or around 23% of the total area of the present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, to c. 12,300 km2 (4,700 sq mi), or around 24% of the country.
The name Herzegovina itself stems from the archaic Serbo-Croatian term borrowed from German, hercegovina, a land ruled by a Herzog (the German term for a duke) thus literally meaning 'duchy' or 'dukedom'.
The name Hercegovina derives from archaic Serbo-Croatian word herceg, as distorted form of noun herzog borrowed from German for duke, thus, making it literally a duchy or dukedom. The first among Kosača dukes to use the noun herceg instead of duke (Serbo-Croatian: vojvoda) as his title was Stjepan Vukčić Kosača. In 1482, the lands of Stefan Vukčić's successors were occupied by Ottoman forces. The Ottomans were the first to officially use the name Herzegovina (Hersek) for the region in their administrative affairs. 
Herzegovina is a southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its borders and territory have never been geographically or culturally-historically strictly defined, nor has ever been defined as an administrative whole in the geopolitical and economic subdivision of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is also true considering regionalisation in the modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The larger of two Bosnia and Herzegovina regions, Bosnia, is to the west and north of Herzegovina, and the border between two regions, Herzegovina and Bosnia, is unclear as it has never been strictly defined. To the south-southwest of region lies Croatian region Dalmatia, and to the east-southeast is Montenegro.
The terrain of Herzegovina is mostly hilly karst with high mountains in the north such as Čvrsnica and Prenj, except for the central valley of the river Neretva. The upper reaches of the River Neretva lie in northern Herzegovina, a heavily forested area with fast-flowing rivers and high mountains. Konjic and Jablanica lie in this area.
The Neretva rises on Lebršnik Mountain, close to the Montenegro border, and as the river flows west, it enters Herzegovina. The entire upper catchment of the Neretva constitutes a precious ecoregion with many endemic and endangered species. The river carves through the precipitous karst terrain, providing excellent opportunities for rafting and kayaking, while the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains and forests is a challenging hiking terrain. The Neretva's tributaries in the upper reaches are mostly short, due to the mountainous terrain: the River Rakitnica has cut a deep canyon, its waters being one of the least explored areas in this part of Europe. The Rakitnica flows into Neretva upstream from Konjic. The Neretva then flows northwest, through Konjic. It enters the Jablanica Reservoir (Jablaničko jezero), one of the largest in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lake ends near the town of Jablanica. From here on, the Neretva turns southward, continuing toward the Adriatic Sea. With the mountains lining its shores gradually receding, the Neretva enters a valley where the city of Mostar lies. It flows under the old bridge (Stari most) and continues, now wider, toward the town of Čapljina and the Neretva Delta in Croatia before emptying into the Adriatic Sea.
Mostar is the best-known urban area and the official capital. It is the only city with over 100,000 citizens. There are no other large cities in Herzegovina, though some have illustrious histories.
Stolac, for example, is perhaps Herzegovina's oldest city. Settlements date from the Paleolithic period (Badanj Cave). An Illyrian tribe lived in the city of Daorson. There were several Roman settlements alongside the Bregava River and medieval inhabitants left large stone grave monuments called stećak in Radimlja. Trebinje, on the Trebišnjica River, is the southernmost city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the Montenegro border.
In the modern state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, area of Herzegovina is divided between two entities, Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Republika Srpska's part of Herzegovina, commonly referred to as East Herzegovina or, as of late, "Trebinje Region", is administratively divided into municipalities of Trebinje, Bileća, Gacko, Nevesinje, Ljubinje, Berkovići, Istočni Mostar and Foča.
The locals of Herzegovina are known by the demonym Herzegovinians (Serbo-Croatian: Hercegovci / Херцеговци; singular masculine: Hercegovac / Херцеговац, feminine: Hercegovka / Херцеговка). While the population of Herzegovina throughout history has been ethnically mixed, the Bosnian War in the 1990s resulted in mass ethnic cleansing and large-scale displacement of people. The last pre-war census in 1991 recorded a population of 437,095 inhabitants.
- Croats generally populate the areas closest to the Croatian border focused on Mostar, Ljubuški, Široki Brijeg, Čitluk, Grude, Posušje, Čapljina, Neum, Stolac, Ravno, Livno, Tomislavgrad and Prozor-Rama
- Bosniaks mainly live in the areas along the Neretva, such as Mostar, Konjic and Jablanica, to a significant extent in Stolac, Čapljina, and to a lesser extent in Nevesinje, Gacko, Trebinje.
- Serbs are the majority in East Herzegovina, including the municipalities of Berkovići, Bileća, Gacko, Istočni Mostar, Ljubinje, Nevesinje, and Trebinje.
Slavs settled in the Balkans in the 7th century. What later became known as Herzegovina was divided between Croatia, Zachlumia and Travunija in the Early Middle Ages. Parts of the region were later ruled by various medieval rulers, with the eastern part mostly within Medieval Serbia, and the western part in the Kingdom of Croatia. During the 13th and 14th centuries the Bosnian bans Stjepan I Kotromanić and Stjepan II Kotromanić joined these regions to the Bosnian state, with the King Tvrtko I Kotromanić extending territories even further, beyond what is modern-day Herzegovina proper.
During these times, parts of Herzegovina, or Hum, as it was called at the time, were ruled by powerful Bosnian magnates of Kosača and Vuković families, most notably by Vlatko Vuković, Sandalj Hranić, and Sandalj's nephew Stjepan Vukčić of the Bosnian family ruled the Hum region independently, only nominally recognizing Bosnian overlordship.
In a document sent to Frederick III on January 20, 1448, Stjepan Vukčić was titled Herzog (duke) of Saint Sava, lord of Hum and Littoral, Grand duke of the Bosnian kingdom. Following the Ottomans conquest and fall of Bosnian Kingdom, Duchy of Hum became known as Herzog's lands or Herzegovina.
In 1482, the lands of Stefan Vukčić's successors were occupied by Ottoman forces. The Ottomans were the first to begin officially using the name Herzegovina (Hersek) for the region.
The Bosnian beylerbey Isa-beg Ishaković mentioned the name in a letter from 1454. In the Ottoman Empire, Herzegovina was organized as a sanjak, the Sanjak of Herzegovina, within the Bosnia Eyalet. According to the Turkish census of Herzegovina from 1477, some villages were mentioned as being "in the possession of Vlachs," while others, were listed as "Serb settlements" and mostly deserted. According to Ottoman defters, at the end of 15th century in Herzegovina were at least 35,000 of Vlachs.
As a result of the Treaty of Karlowitz of 1699, the Ottomans gained access to the Adriatic Sea through the Neum-Klek coastal area. The Republic of Dubrovnik ceded this to distance themselves from the Venetian Republic's influence. The Ottomans benefitted from this in gaining the region's salt.
As a result of the Bosnian Uprising (1831–32), the Vilayet was split to form the separate Herzegovina Eyalet, ruled by semi-independent vizier Ali-paša Rizvanbegović. After his death, the eyalets of Bosnia and Herzegovina were merged.
The new joint entity was after 1853 commonly referred to as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbs in the region revolted against the Ottomans (1852–62) and were aided by the Montenegrins, who sought the liberation of the Serb people from Ottoman rule.
Montenegro did succeed in liberating and annexing large parts of Herzegovina before the Berlin Congress of 1878, including the Nikšić area; the historical Herzegovina region annexed to Montenegro is known as East or Old Herzegovina.
The historical Herzegovina region in the Principality of Montenegro was known as East or Old Herzegovina. The Serb population of Herzegovina and Bosnia hoped for annexation to Serbia and Montenegro. The Franciscan order opened the first university in Herzegovina in 1895 in Mostar.
In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed the province, leading to the Bosnian Crisis, an international dispute which barely failed to precipitate a world war immediately, and was an important step in the buildup of international tensions during the years leading up to the First World War. The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand came as a direct result of the resentment of the Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Austro-Hungarian rule.
During World War I, Herzegovina was a scene of inter-ethnic conflict. During the war, the Austro-Hungarian government formed Šuckori, Muslim para-militia units. Šuckori units were especially active in Herzegovina. Persecution of Serbs conducted by the Austro-Hungarian authorities was the first incidence of active "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1918, Herzegovina became a part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia). In 1941 Herzegovina fell once again under the rule of the fascist Independent State of Croatia. During World War II, Herzegovina was a battleground between fascist Croat Ustaše, royalist Serb Četniks, and the communist Yugoslav Partisans; Herzegovina was a part of the Independent State of Croatia, administratively divided into the counties of Hum and Dubrava, then in 1945, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina became one of the republics of Second Yugoslavia. It remained so until the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
During the Bosnian War, large parts of western and central Herzegovina came under control of the Croat republic of Herzeg-Bosnia (which later joined the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) while eastern Herzegovina became a part of Republika Srpska.
The region has rich history and diverse culture, with variety of important monuments of cultural-historical heritage.
- Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and Roman Catholic Diocese of Trebinje-Mrkan
Herzegovina's natural landmarks include many features.
- The falls of Kravica, on the Trebižat river, consist of several waterfalls near the city of Ljubuški and a popular spot for the local people, to take a bath in the hot Herzegovinian weather, or just to enjoy the view.
- The Hutovo Blato is a bird reserve, one of the most important in Europe and a gathering place for many international ornithologists.
- Vjetrenica is a cave system and a unique ecosystem. It is located near the border with Croatia, in Popovo Polje in the Ravno municipality. The cave has not been explored totally yet, but it is open to visitors. A large number of endemic cave-dwelling species have been discovered there, and new ones can be expected to be discovered still.
- Blagaj is also known as the origin of the Buna River, inside a cave system.
- Neum at the Adriatic Sea, Bosnia and Herzegovina's only coastal town, is also a tourist attraction.
- Međugorje has one of the most visited sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Rock formation "Hajdučka vrata" on Čvrsnica
The "Old Bridge" ("Stari most") in Mostar, rebuilt in 2004.
Neum and the Herzegovinian coast.
Počitelj, Old town
Bilećko jezero (Bileća Lake)
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- Official results from the book: Ethnic composition of Bosnia-Herzegovina population, by municipalities and settlements, 1991. census, Zavod za statistiku Bosne i Hercegovine - Bilten no.234, Sarajevo 1991. 1991.
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This was first incidence of active "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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