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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Balkan peninsula as defined by the Soča-Krka-Sava border in the north.

The Balkans (often referred to as the Balkan Peninsula, although the two are not coterminous) is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains, which run through the centre of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia. The region has a combined area of 550,000 km2 (212,000 sq mi) and a population of about 55 million people.

"Balkan" comes from a Turkish word meaning "a chain of wooded mountains".[1] The ancient Greek name for the Balkan Peninsula was the "Peninsula of Haemus” (Χερσόνησος τοῦ Αἵμου, Chersónēsos tou Haímou). The Balkans are also referred to as Southeastern Europe.


Definitions and boundaries


The Balkan Peninsula

The Balkan Peninsula, as defined by the Danube-Sava-Kupa line.

The Balkan Peninsula may be defined as an area of southeastern Europe surrounded by water on three sides: the Adriatic Sea to the west, the Mediterranean Sea (including the Ionian and Aegean seas) to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Its northern boundary is often given as the Danube, Sava and Kupa/Kolpa rivers.[2]

Countries which are geographically fully located within the Balkan peninsula:

Countries which are significantly located in the peninsula:

Countries which are located mostly outside the peninsula:

The Balkans

The term "The Balkans" covers not only those countries which lie within the boundaries of the "Balkan Peninsula", but may also include Croatia, Slovenia, and Romania.[2] Slovenia, which was part of Yugoslavia from 1919 to 1991, lies partially north of the Danube-Sava line and therefore outside the Peninsula, but prior to 1991 the whole of Yugoslavia was considered to be part of the Balkans.[3] The father of the term "The Balkans" August Zeune defined it in 1808 to describe areas that remained under Turkish rule after 1699.

In most of the English-speaking world, the countries commonly included in the Balkan region are:[4]

Other countries sometimes included are:

Etymology and evolving meaning

The region takes its name from the Stara Planina mountain range in Bulgaria, commonly known as the Balkan Mountains (from the Turkish balkan meaning "a chain of wooded mountains").[1] The name is still preserved in Central Asia where there exist the Balkan Mountains[5] and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. On a larger scale, the mountains are only one part of a long continuous chain of mountains crossing the region in the form of a reversed letter S, from the Carpathians south to the Balkan range proper, before marching away east into Anatolian Turkey. On the west coast, an offshoot of the Dinaric Alps follows the coast south through Dalmatia and Albania, crosses Greece and continues into the sea in the form of various islands.

The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in Bulgaria was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope Innocent VIII by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist, writer and diplomat.[6] English traveler John Morritt introduced this term into the English literature at the end of the 18th century, and other authors started applying the name to the wider area between the Adriatic and the Black Sea. The concept of the “Balkan peninsula” was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808.[7]

As time passed, the term gradually obtained political connotations far from its initial geographic meaning, arising from political changes from the late 1800s to the creation of post-World War I Yugoslavia (initially the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes). Zeune's goal was to have a geographical parallel term to the Italic and Iberian Peninsula, and seemingly nothing more. The gradually acquired political connotations are newer, and, to a large extent, due to oscillating political circumstances.

The term Balkans is generally used to describe areas that remained under Turkish rule after 1699, namely: Bulgaria, Serbia (except for Vojvodina), Macedonia, Thrace, Albania, Valahia, Moldavia, Epirus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro (except for the Boka Bay and Budva), central Greece and the Peloponnese. Vojvodina and Transylvania, it is argued, do not belong to Balkans. After the split of Yugoslavia beginning in June 1991, the term 'Balkans' again received a negative meaning, even in casual usage (see Balkanization). Over the last decade, in the wake of the former Yugoslav split, many Slovenians and Croatians, as well as Serbs of Vojvodina have attempted to reject their label as 'Balkan nations'.[8]

This is in part due to the pejorative connotation of the term 'Balkans' in the 1990s, and continuation of this meaning until now. Today, the term 'Southeast Europe' is preferred or, in the case of Slovenia and Croatia, 'Central Europe' and Greece has almost exclusively been regarded and referred to as a 'Southern European' country.

Southeastern Europe

Because of the negative connotations of the term "Balkan", writers such as Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy have suggested the use of the term Southeastern Europe instead.[9] The use of this term is slowly growing; a European Union initiative of 1999 is called the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and the online newspaper Balkan Times renamed itself Southeast European Times in 2003.

Western Balkans

The Western Balkan states according to the European Union

European Union institutions and member states define the "Western Balkans" as Albania, the constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia, minus Slovenia, and Kosovo.[10] The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses "Western Balkans" to refer to the above states, minus Croatia.[11]

Regional organizations

Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe      members     observers      supporting partners
Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)      members      former members, joined the EU
Central European Initiative (CEI) member states
Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI)      members      observers
Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)      members      observers

See also the Black Sea Regional organizations

Nature and natural resources

Most of the area is covered by mountain ranges running from north-west to south-east. The main ranges are the Dinaric Alps in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, the Šar massif which spreads from Albania to Republic of Macedonia and the Pindus range, spanning from southern Albania into central Greece. In Bulgaria there are ranges running from east to west: the Balkan mountains and the Rhodope mountains at the border with Greece. The highest mountain of the region is Rila in Bulgaria, with Musala at 2925 m, with Mount Olympus in Greece, the throne of Zeus, being second at 2919 m and Vihren in Bulgaria being the third at 2914 m.

On the coasts the climate is Mediterranean, in the inland it is moderate continental. In the northern part of the peninsula and on the mountains, winters are frosty and snowy, while summers are hot and dry. In the southern part winters are milder.

During the centuries many woods have been cut down and replaced with bush. In the southern part and on the coast there is evergreen vegetation. In the inland there are woods typical of Central Europe (oak and beech, and in the mountains, spruce, fir and pine). The tree line in the mountains lies at the height of 1800–2300 m.

The soils are generally poor, except on the plains where areas with natural grass, fertile soils and warm summers provide an opportunity for tillage. Elsewhere, land cultivation is mostly unsuccessful because of the mountains, hot summers and poor soils, although certain cultures such as olives and grapes flourish.

Resources of energy are scarce, except in Kosovo, where considerable coal, lead, zinc, chromium, silver deposits are located.[12] Other deposits of coal, especially in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia also exist. Lignite deposits are widespread in Greece. Petroleum is most notably present in Romania, although scarce reserves exist in Greece, Serbia, Albania and Croatia. Natural gas deposits are scarce. Hydropower stations are largely used in energetics.

Metal ores are more usual than other raw materials. Iron ore is rare but in some countries there is a considerable amount of copper, zinc, tin, chromite, manganese, magnesite and bauxite. Some metals are exported.

History and geopolitical significance

Political history of the Balkans
The Balkans at the end of the 19th century

The Balkan region was the first area of Europe to experience the arrival of farming cultures in the Neolithic era. The practices of growing grain and raising livestock arrived in the Balkans from the Fertile Crescent by way of Anatolia, and spread west and north into Pannonia and Central Europe.

The identity of the Balkans is dominated by its geographical position; historically the area was known as a crossroads of various cultures. It has been a juncture between the Latin and Greek bodies of the Roman Empire, the destination of a massive influx of pagan Slavs, an area where Orthodox and Catholic Christianity met, as well as the meeting point between Islam and Christianity.

In pre-classical and classical antiquity, this region was home to Greeks, Illyrians, Paeonians, Thracians, Dacians and other ancient groups. Later the Roman Empire conquered most of the region and spread Roman culture and the Latin language but significant parts still remained under classical Greek influence. During the Middle Ages, the Balkans became the stage for a series of wars between the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian Empires.

By the end of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire had become the controlling force in the region after expanding from Anatolia through Thrace to the Balkans. Many people in the Balkans and Carpathians place their greatest folk heroes in the era of either the onslaught or the retreat of the Ottoman Empire. As examples, for Croats, Nikola Šubić Zrinski and Petar Kružić; for Greeks Constantine XI Palaiologos and Kolokotronis for Serbs, Miloš Obilić and Tzar Lazar; for Albanians, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg; for ethnic Macedonians, Nikola Karev; for Bosniaks, Husein Gradaščević; and for Bulgarians, Vasil Levski, Georgi Sava Rakovski and Hristo Botev. In the past several centuries, because of the frequent Ottoman wars in Europe fought in and around the Balkans, and the comparative Ottoman isolation from the mainstream of economic advance (reflecting the shift of Europe's commercial and political centre of gravity towards the Atlantic), the Balkans has been the least developed part of Europe.

The Balkan nations gained independence in the 19th century (Greece in 1829, Serbia in 1833, Bulgaria and Montenegro in 1878). In 1912–1913 the First Balkan War broke out when the Christian nations, having large populations under Ottoman rule, united in an alliance against the Turks and after a five months war essentially terminated the Turks' presence in Europe after five centuries. Two months after the end of the common war, a Second Balkan War broke out when Bulgaria dissatisfied from its share, attacked its allies Serbia and Greece. The Serbs and the Greeks repelled them and after Greek army invaded Bulgaria following by a Romanian intervention, Bulgaria collapsed. The Turks used the favourable opportunity to recapture Eastern Thrace, establishing its new western borders that stand until today.

The First World War was sparked in the Balkans in 1914 when a Serbian backed organisation assassinated in Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital Sarajevo the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. That caused a war between the two countries which -through the existing chains of alliances- led to the First World War. The Ottoman empire soon joined the Central powers becoming one of the three empires participating in that alliance. The next year Bulgaria joined the Central Powers attacking Serbia which was successfully fighting Austro-Hungary to the north for a year. That led to Serbia's defeat and the intervention of the Entente in the Balkans which sent an expeditionary force to establish a new front, the third one of that war, which soon became also static. The participation of Greece in the war three years later, in 1918, on the part of the Entente finally altered the balance between the opponents leading to the collapse of the common German-Bulgarian front there which caused the exit of Bulgaria from the war, and in turn the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ending the First World War[13]

With the start of the Second World War all Balkan countries with the exception of Greece were allies of Germany having bilateral military agreements or being part of the Axis Pact. Fascist Italy expanded the war in Balkans by using its protectorate Albania to invade Greece. After repelling the attack the Greeks counterattacked invading Italy held Albania causing a Nazi Germany's intervention in the Balkans in order to help its ally[14]. Days before the German invasion a successful coup d'état in Belgrade by neutral military personnel sized the power[15]. Although the new government reaffirmed Serbia's intentions to fulfil its obligations as member of the Axis[16], Germany using its other two allied countries on the region, Bulgaria and Romania, invaded both Greece and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia immediately disintegrated when the loyal to the Serbian King and the Croatian units, mutinied[17]. Greece resisted, but after two months fighting collapsed and occupied. The two countries partitioned between the three Axis allies, Bulgaria, Germany, and Italy, and two independent states, Croatia and Montenegro created. During the occupation the population suffered considerable hardship due to ethnic cleansing policies, repression and starvation on which the population reacted by creating a mass resistance movement[18]. Together with the early and extremely heavy winter of that year (which caused hundreds of thousands deaths among the poorly fed population), the German invasion had disastrous effects in the timetable of the planned invasion in Russia causing a significant delay[19] which had key consequences to the route of the war[20]. Finally at the end of 1944, the Soviets invaded Romania and Bulgaria while the Germans evacuated the Balkans. They left behind an economically ransacked through exploitation and largely ruined region, but by making use of the post-war separation of Germany into two independent entities, the German states succeeded to avoid legally, paying any reparations or repaying the forced taken loans to the occupied countries.

During the Cold War, most of the countries on the Balkans were ruled by Soviet Union-controlled communist governments. Greece became the first battleground of the emerging Cold War and finally remained the only non-Soviet country in the region, after having successfully dealt with a wild guerilla war unleashed by the local communist party backed by the neighbouring communist countries (Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia) much in the same fashion as with Vietnam, causing a full scale civil war during 1944-49.

However, despite being under communist governments, Yugoslavia (1948) and Albania (1961) fell out with the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia, led by marshal Josip Broz Tito (1892–1980), first propped up then rejected the idea of merging with Bulgaria, and instead sought closer relations with the West, later even joining many third world countries in the Non-Aligned Movement. Albania on the other hand gravitated toward Communist China, later adopting an isolationist position.

As the only non-communist countries, Greece and Turkey were (and still are) part of NATO consisting the South-eastern wing of the alliance.

In the 1990s, the region was gravely affected by the civil war between the former Yugoslav republics broken out after Serbia's attempt to change the constitutional status of equality between the federated Republics. Its denial to accept the dissolution of the union as subsequently had been asked by the rest οf the Republics, caused a 10 years armed confrontation between Serbia and most of the other Republics. The long lasting civil war and the use of ethnic cleansing practises finally resulted in a UN intervention and NATO ground and air forces took action against Serbia in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. From the dissolution of Yugoslavia six Republics achieved full independence Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. After a revolution in Belgrade, Slobodan Milošević, the Serbian communist prime minister during the last 11 years following Tito's death, lost power and handed to UN to trial for crimes against the International Humanitarian Law by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Ιn 2001 an Albanian uprising in the Republic of Macedonia forced the country to give local autonomy to the ethnic Albanians in the areas where they predominate. Serbia still denying to recognize Kosovo's full independence status. It has recognized the Autonomy of the Vojvodina Province which has a significant Hungarian minority.

Balkan countries control the direct land routes between Western Europe and South West Asia (Asia Minor and the Middle East). Since 2000, all Balkan countries are friendly towards the EU and the USA.

Greece has been a member of the European Union since 1981; Slovenia and Cyprus since 2004. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. In 2005, the European Union decided to start accession negotiations with candidate countries; Croatia, Turkey, and Macedonia were accepted as candidates for European Union membership. As of April 2009,[21] Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia are also members of NATO. Bosnia and Herzegovina and what was then Serbia and Montenegro started negotiations with the EU over the Stabilisation and Accession Agreements, although shortly after they started, negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro were suspended for lack of co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

All other countries have expressed a desire to join the EU but at some date in the future.

The Balkans today is a very diverse ethno-linguistic region, being home to multiple Slavic, Romance, and Turkic languages, as well as Greek, Albanian and others. Through its history many other ethnic groups with their own languages lived in the area, among them Thracians, Illyrians, Romans, Pechenegs, Cumans, Avars, Celts and various Germanic tribes-folk.


Ethnic composition of the central Balkans in 1870 by the English-German cartograge E.G. Ravenstein.
Ethnic composition map of the Balkans by the pro-Greek[22] E. Stanford of 1877 during the Russo-Turkish war, when the state of Bulgaria was created.
Ethnic composition map of the Balkans by A. Synvet of 1877, a French professor of the Ottoman Lyceum of Constantinople.
Ethnographic map of the Balkans by Serbian Professor J. Cvijic, 1918.
Distribution of races in the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor in 1918 (National Geographic).

The population of countries of the region is:

State Population
 Albania 3,639,453[23]
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,613,414[24]
 Bulgaria 7,928,901[25]
 Croatia 4,489,409[26]
 Greece 11,257,285[27]
 Kosovo 2,180,686[28]
 Macedonia 2,048,619[29]
 Montenegro 620,145[30]
 Romania 971,643[31] in Dobruja
 Serbia 7,334,935[32] excluding Kosovo
 Slovenia 2,038,733[33]
 Turkey 9,799,745[34] in the European part

Note that most of Slovenia and parts of Serbia and Croatia are not included in the Balkans, yet these parts are included in the population counts in the table.

The region's principal religions are Christianity (Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic) and Islam. A variety of different traditions of each faith are practiced, with each of the Eastern Orthodox countries having its own national church.

Eastern Orthodoxy is the principal religion in the following countries:

Roman Catholicism is the principal religion in the following countries:

  • Croatia (87.83% Catholics (3 897 332); according to 2001 census official data)
  • Slovenia (57.80% Catholics (1 135 626); according to 2002 census official data)

Islam is the principal religion in the following countries:

  • Kosovo (absolute majority)
  • Albania (principal religious group)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (relative/partial majority)
  • Turkey (absolute majority)

The following countries have significant minority religious groups of the following denominations:

  • Albania: Orthodoxy, Catholicism
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Eastern Orthodoxy (see Orthodoxy in Bosnia and Herzegovina), Catholicism
  • Bulgaria: Islam
  • Croatia: Orthodoxy
  • Greece: Islam
  • Macedonia: Islam
  • Montenegro: Islam
  • Serbia: Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism
  • Romania: Catholicism, Protestantism

Jewish communities of the Balkans

The Jewish communities of the Balkans were some of the oldest in Europe and date back to ancient times as well as having received a large influx of Sephardic Jews and later Ashkenazi Jews. In Slovenia, there were Jewish immigrants dating back to Roman times pre-dating the 6th Century settlement of the region by the Slavic peoples.[35] In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the tiny Jewish community is 90% Sephardic and Ladino is still spoken among the elderly. The Sephardi Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo has tombstones of a unique shape, inscribed in ancient Ladino.[36] However the Jewish communities in the Balkans suffered immensely during World War II and the vast majority were killed in the Holocaust. Most of the remainder emigrated to Israel and elsewhere.

See also


  1. ^ a b ""Balkan."". Encarta World English Dictionary. Microsoft Corporation. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  2. ^ a b Jelavich, Barbara (1983). History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-521-27458-6. 
  3. ^ Tintero, Felipa L.; Felicitas R. Manacsa. World Geography Affected by World Upheavals. Goodwill Trading Co., Inc.. p. 51. ISBN 9715740413. 
  4. ^; (Archived 2009-10-31); The Columbia Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ ""Balkhan Mountains."". World Land Features Database. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  6. ^ Todorova, Maria (2009). Imagining the Balkans. Oxford University Press US. p. 22. ISBN 0-19-538786-4. 
  7. ^ Pavic, Silvia (2000-11-22). ""Some Thoughts About The Balkans."". About, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  8. ^ Lindstrom, Nicole (2003). "Between Europe and the Balkans: Mapping Slovenia and Croatia's 'Return to Europe' in the 1990s". Dialectical Anthropology 27 (3–4): 313–329. doi:10.1023/B:DIAL.0000006189.45297.9e. 
  9. ^ Bideleux, Robert; Ian Jeffries (2007). A history of Eastern Europe. Taylor & Francis. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-415-36627-4. 
  10. ^ "Western Balkans: Enhancing the European Perspective". Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  11. ^ Marjola Xhunga (2006-05-21). "Western Balkans Initiative launched". European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Encyclopedia of World War I, Spencer Tucker,Priscilla Mary Roberts, p.242
  14. ^ Europe in Flames, J. Klam, 2002, p.41
  15. ^ Russia's life-saver, Albert Loren Weeks, 2004, p.98
  16. ^ Germany and the 2nd World War Volume III:The Mediterranean, south-east Europe, and north Africa, 1939-1941, Gerhard Schreiber,Bernd Stegemann,Detlef Vogel, 1995, p.484
  17. ^ Germany and the 2nd World War Volume III:The Mediterranean, south-east Europe, and north Africa, 1939-1941, Gerhard Schreiber,Bernd Stegemann,Detlef Vogel, 1995, p.521
  18. ^ Inside Hitler's Greece:The Experience of Occupation, Mark Mazower, 1993
  19. ^ Hermann Goring: Hitler's Second-In-Command, Fred Ramen, 2002, p.61
  20. ^ The encyclopedia of codenames of World War II#Marita, Christopher Chant, 1986, p.125-6
  21. ^ Ceremony marks the accession of Albania and Croatia to NATO, NATO - News, 7 April 2009, retrieved 2009-04-18
  22. ^ Castellan, Georges, 1999, Histoire des Balkans, XIVe–XXe siècle. transl. Lilyana Tsaneva (Bulgarian translation ed.). Paris: Fayard. p. 358. ISBN 2213605262
  23. ^ "Anketa e Matjes së Nivelit të Jetesës 2008". 
  24. ^ CIA World Factbook
  25. ^ "POPULATION BY DISTRICTS AND ETHNIC GROUP AS OF 1.03.2001". Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  26. ^ "CIA World Factbook: Croatia". Central Intelligence Agency, United States. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  27. ^ "Total population". Eurostat. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  28. ^ Statistical office of Kosovo
  29. ^ State Statistical Office, Republic of Macedonia
  30. ^ Official results of the 2003 Montenegrin census
  31. ^ The 2002 census counted 715,151 persons in the Constanţa County and 256,492 persons in the Tulcea County [1]
  32. ^ Census 2002
  33. ^ Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
  34. ^ Turkish Statistical Institute (2008). "2008 Census, population by provinces and districts". Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  35. ^ Jews of Yugoslavia 1941–1945 Victims of Genocide and Freedom Fighters, Jasa Romano
  36. ^ European Jewish Congress - Bosnia-Herzegovina [Accessed July 15, 2008].


  • Banac, Ivo (October 1992). "Historiography of the Countries of Eastern Europe: Yugoslavia" (fee required). American Historical Review (University of Chicago Press) 97 (4): 1084–1104. doi:10.2307/2165494. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  • Banac, Ivo (1984). The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-9493-2. 
  • Carter, Francis W., ed. An Historical Geography of the Balkans Academic Press, 1977.
  • Dvornik, Francis. The Slavs in European History and Civilization Rutgers University Press, 1962.
  • Fine, John V. A., Jr. The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century [1983]; The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, [1987].
  • Jelavich, Barbara (1983-07-29). History of the Balkans. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Jelavich, Charles and Jelavich, Barbara, eds. (1963). The Balkans In Transition: Essays on the Development of Balkan Life and Politics Since the Eighteenth Century. University of California Press. 
  • Kitsikis, Dimitri (2008). La montée du national-bolchevisme dans les Balkans. Le retour à la Serbie de 1830. Paris: Avatar. 
  • Lampe, John R., and Marvin R. Jackson; Balkan Economic History, 1550–1950: From Imperial Borderlands to Developing Nations Indiana University Press, 1982
  • Király, Béla K., ed. East Central European Society in the Era of Revolutions, 1775–1856. 1984
  • Komlos, John (1990-10-15). Economic Development in the Habsburg Monarchy and in the Successor States. East European Monographs #28. East European Monographs. ISBN 978-0-88033-177-7. 
  • Mazower, Mark (2000). The Balkans: A Short History. Modern Library Chronicles. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-64087-8. 
  • Stavrianos, L. S. (2000-05-01) [1958]. The Balkans since 1453. with Traian Stoianovich. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-9766-2. 
  • Stoianovich, Traian (September 1994). Balkan Worlds: The First and Last Europe. Sources and Studies in World History. New York: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-1-56324-032-4. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BALKAN PENINSULA, the most easterly of the three large peninsulas which form the southern extremities of the European continent. Its area, 184,779 sq. m., is about 35,000 sq. m. less than that of the Iberian Peninsula, but more than twice that of the Italian. Its northern boundary stretches from the Kilia mouth of the Danube to the Adriatic Sea near Fiume, and is generally regarded as marked by the courses of the rivers Danube, Save and Kulpa. On the E. it is bounded by the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmora, and the Aegean; on the S. by the Mediterranean; on the W. by the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic. With the exception of the Black Sea coast and the Albanian littoral, its shores are considerably indented and flanked by groups of islands. The Peninsula in its general contour resembles an inverted pyramid or triangle, terminating at its apex in a subsidiary peninsula, the Peloponnesus or Morea. Its surface is almost entirely mountainous, the only extensive plains being those formed by the valleys of the Danube and Maritza, and the basin of Thessaly drained by the Salambria (ancient Peneus). The Danubian plain, lying, for the most part, outside the Peninsula, is enclosed, on the north, by the Carpathians; and on the south by the Balkans, from which the Peninsula derives its name. These ranges form together the great semicircular mountain-chain, known as the anti-Dacian system, through which the Danube finds a passage at the Iron Gates. The other mountain-systems display great complexity of formation; beginning with the Dinaric Alps and the parallel ranges of Bosnia, they run, as a rule, from north-west to south-east; the great chain of Rhodope traverses the centre of the Peninsula, throwing out spurs towards the Black Sea and the Aegean; farther west are the lofty Shar Dagh and the mountains of Montenegro and Albania, continued by the Pindus range and the heights of Acarnania and Aetolia. The principal summits are Olympus overlooking the Gulf of Salonica; Musalla (9631) and Popova Shapka (8855), both in the Rhodope system; Liubotrn in the Shar Dagh (8989); Elin, in the Perin Planina (8794); Belmeken in southern Bulgaria (chain of Dospat, 8562); Smolika in the Pindus range (8445); Dormitor in northern Montenegro (8294); Kaimakchalan in central Macedonia (8255); and Kiona in Aetolia (8235). Owing to the distribution of the mountain-chains, the principal rivers flow in an easterly or southeasterly direction; the Danube falls into the Black Sea; the Maritza, Mesta, Struma (Strymon), Vardar and Salambria into the Aegean. The only considerable rivers flowing into the Adriatic are the Narenta, Drin and Viossa. The principal lakes are those of Ochrida, Prespa, Scutari and Iannina. The climate is more severe than that of the sister peninsulas, and the temperature is liable to sudden changes. The winter, though short, is often intensely cold, especially in the Danubian plain and in Thrace, the rigorous climate of which is frequently alluded to by the Latin poets. Bitter north-easterly winds prevail in the spring, and snow is not uncommon even in the low-lying districts of Greece. The autumn weather is generally fine and clear.

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Broadly speaking, the Balkan Peninsula may be divided into four areas which geologically are distinct. There is a central region, roughly triangular in shape, with its base resting upon the Quaternary K Triassic Tertiary Carboniferous q & Metamorphic 7 Jurassic Aegean Sea and its apex in Servia. On two sides this area is bordered by belts of folded beds which form on the west the mountain ranges of the Adriatic and Ionian coasts, and on the north the chain of the Balkans. Finally, beyond the Balkans lies the great Rumanian depression, occupied chiefly by undisturbed Cretaceous and Tertiary strata. The central region, although wedged in between two belts of folding, is not affected by the folds of either, excepting near its margins. It consists largely of crystalline and schistose rocks. The core is formed by the mountain masses of Rhodope, Belasitza, Perin and Rila; and here Palaeozoic and Mesozoic beds are absent, and the earliest sedimentary deposits belong to the Tertiary period and lie flat upon the crystalline rocks. Upon the margins, however, Cretaceous beds are found. The eastern parts of Greece are composed almost entirely of Cretaceous beds, but nevertheless they must be considered to belong to the central area, for the folds which affect them are nearly at right angles to those of the western chains. In general, however, the central area is one of faulting rather than of folding, and the sedimentary beds sometimes lie in troughs formed by faults. Extensive volcanic outbursts occurred in this region during the Tertiary period. In the western folded belt the strike of the folds is N.W.-S.E., or N.N.W.-S.S.E. There are many local irregularities, but the general direction is maintained as far as the southern extremity of Greece, where the folds show a tendency to curve towards Crete. In the north, Carboniferous beds are present, and the Trias and the Jura take a considerable part in the formation of the chain. The Sarmatian beds are also involved in the folds, indicating that the folding was not completed till Pliocene times. In the south, the older beds disappear and the whole chain is formed chiefly of Cretaceous beds, though Eocene and probably Jurassic rocks are Medit Er R Anean Plutonic Rocks Volcanic Rocks o Active Volcanoes present. The Eocene beds are folded, but the marginal Pliocene beds are not, and the final folding seems to have taken place (luring the Miocene period. (For the Balkans, see Bulgaria.) Area and Population. - The following figures show the area and population of the various political divisions of the Balkan Peninsula in 1909; see also the articles on the separate countries.

For full details as to the physical features, natural products, population, customs, trade, finance, government, religion, education, language, literature, antiquities, history, politics, &c., of the Balkan lands, see Albania, Bosnia And Herzegovina,Bulgaria,Croataslavonia, Dalmatia, Dobrudja, Greece, Illyria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Novibazar, Servia and Turkey.

Political Divisions. Area in sq. m. Pop. in 1909. Pop. perm.
Croatia-Slavonia (south of the Saveand Kulpa).. . (about) 8,200 (about) 1,200,000 146.3
Servia 18,782 2,493,770 132.2
Bulgaria (with Eastern Rumelia) . 37,240 4,028,239 88
The Dobrudja (Rumania). . 5,896 258,242 43'9
Dalmatia (Austria). . 4,923 591,597 120'1
Montenegro 3,255 311,564 94
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Austria-
Hungary) 19,696 1,568,092 70.9
Sanjak of Novibazar (Turkish) . 2,840 153,000 53'5
Albania, Macedonia and other
Turkish possessions. . 62,744 5,812,300 92.6
Greece. .. . 24,400 2,631,952 107.8
187,976 19,048,756 an



The Peninsula is inhabited by a great variety of races, whose ethnological limits are far from corresponding with the existing political boundaries. The Turkish population, descended in part from the Ottoman invaders of the 14th and 15th centuries, in part from colonists introduced at various epochs from Asia by the Turkish government, declined considerably during the 19th century, especially in the countries withdrawn from the sultan's authority. It is diminishing in Thessaly; it has entirely dis appeared in the rest of Greece, almost entirely in Servia; and it continues to decrease in Bulgaria notwithstanding the efforts of the authorities to check emigration. It is nowhere found in compact masses except in north-eastern Bulgaria and the region between Adrianople, .the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmora. Elsewhere it appears in separate villages and isolated districts, or in the larger towns and their immediate neighbourhood. The total Turkish population of the Peninsula scarcely exceeds 1,800,000. The Slavonic population, including the Serbo-Croats and Bulgars, is by far the most numerous; its total aggregate exceeds io,000,000. The majority of the Serbo-Croats left their homes among the Carpathians and settled in the Balkan Peninsula in the 7th century. The distinction between the Serbs of the more central region and the Croats of the north-west, was first drawn by the early Byzantine chroniclers, and was well established by the 12th century. It does not correspond with any valid linguistic or racial difference; but in the course of time a strong religious difference arose. Along the Croatian and Dalmatian coast there existed a well-developed Latin civilization, which was sustained by constant intercourse with Italy; and, under its influence, the Serbo-Croatian immigrants were converted to the Roman Catholic Church. In the wild and mountainous interior, however, the Byzantine Church had few or no rivals and the Orthodox creed prevailed. The Orthodox Serbs inhabit the kingdom of Servia, Old Servia (or Novibazar and north-western Macedonia), Montenegro, Herzegovina and parts of Bosnia. The Roman Catholic Croats predominate in Dalmatia, north-western Bosnia and Croatia-Slavonia. Montenegro, like the other mountainous regions, adhered to the Greek Church; it received a number of Orthodox Servian refugees at the beginning of the i 5th century, when the Turks occupied Servia. The numbers of the Serbo-Croats may be estimated at about 5,600,000. The Bulgars, who descend from a fusion of the Slavonic element with a later Ugro-Finnish immigration, inhabit the kingdom of Bulgaria (including Eastern Rumelia), parts of the Dobrudja and the greater part of Macedonia, except Old Servia and the Aegean littoral. Apart from their colonies in Bessarabia and elsewhere, they may be reckoned at 4,400,000. Only a portion of the widely-spread Ruman or Vlach race, which extends over a great part of Transylvania, south Hungary and Bessarabia, as well as the Rumanian kingdom, falls within the limits of the Peninsula. It is found in numerous detached settlements in Macedonia, Albania and northern Greece, and in colonies of recent date in Servia and Bulgaria. The nomad Vlachs or Tzintzars of these countries call themselves Arumani or "Romans"; they are a remnant of the native Latinized population which received an increase from the immigration of Daco-Roman refugees, who fled southwards during the 3rd century, after the abandonment of Dacia by Aurelian. (See Vlachs.) The entire Ruman population of the Balkan countries may be set down approximately at 600,000. The Albanians, who call themselves Shkitpetar or Arber, are the representatives of the primitive Illyrian population; they inhabit the Adriatic littoral from the southern frontier of Montenegro to the northern boundary of Greece, in which country they are found in considerable numbers. They have shown a tendency to advance in a north-easterly direction towards the Servian frontier, and the movement has been encouraged for political reasons by the Turkish government. The whole Albanian nation possibly numbers from 1,50o,000 to 1,600,000. The Greeks, whose immigration from Asia Minor took place in pre-historic times, are, next to the Albanians, the oldest race in the Peninsula. Their maritime and commercial instincts have led them from the earliest times to found settlements on the sea-coast and the islands. They inhabit the Black Sea littoral from Varna to the Bosporus, the shores of the Sea of Marmora and the Aegean, the Aegean archipelago, the mainland of Greece, Epirus and the western islands as far north as Corfu. In Constantinople they They Balkan y°' ' 'Peninsula a:4j Distribution of ' 'Races. (SerboCroats probably exceed 300,000. They are seldom found in large numbers at any great distance from the sea, and usually congregate in the principal towns and commercial centres, such as Adrianople, Constantza, Varna and Philippopolis; there are also detached colonies at Melnik, Stanimaka, Kavakly, Niegush and elsewhere. The Greek inhabitants of the Peninsula and adjacent islands probably number 4,500,000. The remainder of the population is for the most part composed of Armenians, Jews and gipsies. The Armenians, like the Greeks, congregate in the principal centres of trade, especially at Constantinople; their numbers were greatly reduced by the massacres of 1896. The Jews are most numerous at Salonica where they form half the population. The gipsies are scattered widely throughout the Peninsula; they are found not only in wandering troops, as elsewhere in Europe, but in settlements or cantonments in the neighbourhood of towns and villages.


Owing to the numerous conversions to Islam which followed the Turkish conquest, the Mahommedan population of the Peninsula is largely in excess of the purely Turkish element. More than half the Albanian nation and 35% of the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the creed of the conquering race. Among the Bulgars and Greeks the conversions were less numerous. The Bulgarian Mahommedans, or Pomaks, who inhabit the valleys of Rhodope and certain districts in northern Bulgaria, are numerically insignificant; the Greek followers of Islam are almost confined to Crete. The whole Moslem population of the Peninsula is about 3,300,000. The great bulk of the Christian population belongs to the Orthodox Church, of which the oecumenical patriarch at Constantinople is the nominal head, having precedence over all other ecclesiastical dignitaries. The Bulgarian, Servian, Montenegrin and Greek churches are, however, in reality autocephalous. The Bulgarian church enjoys an exceptional position, inasmuch as its spiritual chief, the exarch, who resides at Constantinople, controls the Bulgarian prelates in European Turkey as well as those in the kingdom of Bulgaria. On the other hand, the Greek prelates in Bulgaria are subject to the patriarch. Religious and political questions are intimately connected in eastern Europe. The heads of the various religious communities are the only representatives of the Christian population recognized by the Turkish government; they possess a seat in the local administrative councils and supervise the Christian schools. The efforts of the several branches of the Orthodox Church to obtain a separate organization in the Turkish dominions are to be attributed exclusively to political motives, as no difference of dogma divides them. The Serbo-Croats of Dalmatia, and Croatia-Slavonia, some of the Gheg tribes in Albania, about 21% of the Bosnians, a still smaller number of Bulgarians in the kingdom and in Macedonia and a few Greeks in the islands belong to the Roman Catholic Church. A certain number of Bulgars at Kukush in Macedonia and elsewhere form a "uniate" church, which accepts the authority and dogma of Rome, but preserves the Orthodox rite and discipline. The Armenians are divided between the Gregorian and Uniate-Armenian churches, each under a patriarch. The other Christian confessions are numerically inconsiderable. The Gagaiizi in Eastern Bulgaria, a Turanian and Turkish-speaking race, profess Christianity.


Until comparatively recent times Turkish and Greek were the only languages systematically taught or officially recognized in the Balkan lands subject to Turkish rule. The first, the speech of the conquering race, was the official language; the second, owing to the intellectual and literary superiority of the Greeks, their educational zeal and the privileges acquired by their church, became the language of the upper classes among the Christians. The Slavonic masses, however, both Servian and Bulgarian, preserved their language, which saved these nationalities from extinction. The Servian dialect extending into regions which escaped the Turkish yoke, enjoyed certain advantages denied to the Bulgarian: in free Montenegro the first Slavonic printing-press was founded in 1493; at Ragusa, a century later, Servian literature attained a high degree of excellence. Bulgarian, for nearly four centuries, ceased to be a written language except in a few monasteries; a literary revival, which began about the middle of the 18th century, was the first symptom of returning national consciousness. The Servian, Bulgarian and Rumanian languages have borrowed largely from the Turkish in their vocabularies, but not in their structural forms, and have adopted many words from the Greek. Modern Greek has also a large number of Turkish words which are rejected in the artificial literary language. The revival of the various Balkan nationalities was in every case accompanied or preceded by a literary movement; in Servian literature, under the influence of Obradovich and Vuk Karajich, the popular idiom, notwithstanding the opposition of the priesthood, superseded the ecclesiastical RussianSlavonic; in Bulgaria the eastern dialect, that of the Sredna Gora, prevailed. Among the Greeks, whose literature never suffered a complete eclipse, a similar effort to restore the classical tongue resulted in a kind of compromise; the conventional literary language, which is neither ancient nor modern, differs widely from the ver nacular. Albanian, the only surviving remnant of the ancient Thraco-Illyrian speech, affords an interesting study to philologists. It undoubtedly belongs to the Indo-European family, but its earlier forms cannot, unfortunately, be ascertained owing to the absence of literary monuments. Certain remarkable analogies between Albanian and the other languages of the Peninsula, especially Bulgarian and Rumanian, have been supposed to point to the influence exercised by the primitive speech upon the idioms of the immigrant races.


The great Slavonic immigration, which changed the ethnographic face of the Peninsula, began in the 3rd century A.D. and continued at intervals throughout the following four centuries. At the beginning of this movement the Byzantine empire was in actual or nominal possession of all the regions south of the Danube; the greater part of the native ThracoIllyrian population of the interior had been romanized and spoke Latin. The Thracians, the progenitors of the Vlachs, took refuge in the mountainous districts and for some centuries disappeared from history: originally an agricultural people, they became nomad shepherds. In Albania the aboriginal Illyrian element, which preserved its ancient language, maintained itself in the mountains and eventually forced back the immigrant race. The Greeks, who occupied the maritime and southern regions, were driven to the sea-coast, the islands and the fortified towns. Slavonic place-names, still existing in every portion of the Peninsula, bear witness to the multitude of the invaders and the permanency of their settlements. In the 6th century the Sla y s penetrated to the Morea, where a Slavonic dialect was spoken down to the middle of the 15th century. In the 7th the Serbo-Croats invaded the north-western regions (Croatia, Servia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro and northern Albania); they expelled or assimilated the Illyrian population, now represented in Dalmatia by the slavonized Morlachs or Mavro-Vlachs, and appropriated the old Roman colonies on the Adriatic coast. At the end of the 7th century the Bulgars, a Turanian race, crossed the Danube and subjected the Slavonic inhabitants of Moesia and Thrace, but were soon assimilated by the conquered population, which had already become partly civilized. Under their tsar Krum (802-815) the Bulgars invaded the districts of Adrianople and central Macedonia; under Simeon (893-927), who fixed his capital at Preslav, their empire extended from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. In 971 "the first Bulgarian empire" was overthrown by the emperor John Zimisces, but Bulgarian power was soon revived under the Shishman dynasty at Ochrida. In 1014 Tsar Samuel of Ochrida, who had conquered the greater part of the Peninsula, was defeated at Belasitza by the Greek emperor Basil II., and the "western Bulgarian empire" came to an end. In the 10th century the Vlachs reappear as an independent power in Southern Macedonia and the Pindus district, which wer.e known as Great Walachia (MeyaXri BXaxia). The Serbs, who owing to the dissensions of their zhupans or chiefs, had hitherto failed to take a prominent part in the history of the Peninsula, attained unity under Stephen Nemanya (1169-1195), the founder of the Nemanyich dynasty. A new Bulgarian power, known as the "second" or "Bulgaro-Vlach empire," was founded at Trnovo in 1186 under the brothers Ivan and Peter Asen, who led a revolt of Vlachs and Bulgars against the Greeks. In 1204 Constantinople was captured by the Latins of the Fourth Crusade, and Baldwin of Flanders was crowned emperor; the Venetians acquired several maritime towns and islands, and Frankish feudal dynasties were established in Salonica, Athens, Achaea and elsewhere. Greek rule, however, survived in the despotate of Epirus under princes of the imperial house of the Angeli. The Latin tenure of Constantinople lasted only 57 years; the imperial city was recaptured in 1261 by Michael VIII. Palaeologus, but most of the feudal Latin states continued to exist till the Turkish conquest; the Venetians retained their possessions for several centuries later and waged continual wars with the Turks. In 1230 Theodore of Epirus, who had conquered Albania, Great Walachia and Macedonia, was overthrown at Klokotnitza by Ivan Asen II., the greatest of Bulgarian monarchs (1218-1241), who defeated Baldwin at Adrianople and extended his sway over most of the Peninsula. The Bulgarian power declined after his death and was extinguished at the battle of Velbilzhd (1330) by the Servians under Stephen Urosh III. A short period of Servian predominance followed under Stephen Dushan (1331-1355) whose realm included Albania, Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly and northern Greece. The Servian incursion was followed by a great Albanian emigration to the southern regions of the Peninsula. After Dushan's death his empire disappeared, and Servia fell a prey to anarchy. For a short time the Bosnians, under their king Stephen Tvrtko (1353-1391), became the principal power in the west of the Peninsula. The disorganization and internecine feuds of the various states prepared the way for the Ottoman invasion. In 1356 the Turks seized Gallipoli; in 1361 the sultan Murad I. established his capital at Adrianople; in 1389 the fate of the Slavonic states was decided by the rout of the Servians and their allies at Kossovo. The last remnant of Bulgarian national existence disappeared with the fall of Trnovo in 1393, and Great Walachia was conquered in the same year. Under Mahommed II. (1451-1481) the Turks completed the conquest of the Peninsula. The despotate of Epirus succumbed in 1449, the duchy of Athens in 1456; in 1453 Constantinople was taken and the decrepit Byzantine empire perished; the greater part of Bosnia submitted in 1463; the heroic resistance of the Albanians under Scanderbeg collapsed with the fall of Croia (1466), and Venetian supremacy in Upper Albania ended with the capture of Scutari (1478). Only the mountain stronghold of Montenegro and the Italian city-states on the Adriatic coast escaped subjection. In the 16th century under Solyman the Magnificent (1520-1566) the Ottoman power attained its greatest height; after the unsuccessful siege of Vienna (1683) it began to decline. The period of decadence was marked in the latter half of the 18th century by the formation of practically independent pashaliks or fiefs, such as those of Scutari under Mahommed of Bushat, Iannina under Ali of Tepelen, and Viden under Pasvan-oglu. The detachment of the outlying portions of the empire followed. Owing to the uncompromising character of the Mahommedan religion and the contemptuous attitude of the dominant race, the subject nationalities underwent no process of assimilation during the four centuries of Turkish rule; they retained not only their language but their religion, manners and peculiar characteristics, and when the power of the central authority waned they still possessed the germs of a national existence. The independence of Greece was acknowledged in 1829, that of Servia (as a tributary principality) in 1830. No territorial changes within the Peninsula followed the Crimean War; but the continuance of the weakened authority of the Porte tended indirectly to the independent development of the various nationalities. The Ionian Islands were ceded by Great Britain to Greece in 1864. The great break-up came in 1878. The abortive treaty of San Stefano, concluded in that year, reduced the Turkish possessions in the Peninsula to Albania, Epirus, Thessaly and a portion of southern Thrace. A large Bulgarian principality was created extending from the Danube to the Aegean and from the Black Sea to the river Drin in Albania; it received a considerable coast-line on the Aegean and abutted on the Gulf of Salonica under the walls of that town. At the same time the frontiers of Servia and Montenegro were enlarged so as to become almost contiguous, and Montenegro received the ports of Antivari and Dulcigno on the Adriatic. From a strategical point of view the Bulgaria of the San Stefano treaty threatened Salonica, Adrianople and Constantinople itself; and the great powers, anticipating that the new state would become a Russian dependency, refused their sanction to its provisions. The treaty of Berlin followed, which limited the principality to the country between the Danube and the Balkans, created the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia south of the Balkans, and left the remainder of the proposed Bulgarian state under Turkish rule. The Montenegrin frontier laid down at San Stefano was considerably curtailed, Dulcigno, the district north-east of the Tara, and other territories being restored to Turkey; in addition to Nish, Servia received the districts of Pirot and Vranya on the east instead of the Ibar valley on the west; the Dobrudja, somewhat enlarged, was ceded to Rumania' which surrendered southern Bessarabia to Russia. Bosnia and Herzegovina were handed over to Austrian administration; under a subsequent convention with Turkey, Austria sent troops into the sanjak of Novibazar. The complete independence of the principalities of Servia,Rumania and Montenegro was recognized. The claims of Greece, ignored at San Stefano, were admitted at Berlin; an extension of frontier, including Epirus as well as Thessaly, was finally sanctioned by the powers in 1880, but owing to the tenacious resistance of Turkey only Thessaly and the district of Arta were acquired by Greece in 1881. Rumania was proclaimed a kingdom in that year, Servia in 1882. In 1880, after a naval demonstration by the powers, Dulcigno was surrendered to Montenegro in compensation for the districts of Pla y a and Gusinye restored to Turkey. In 1886 the informal union of Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria was sanctioned by Europe, the districts of Tumrush (Rhodope) and Krjali being given back to the sultan. In 1897 Crete was withdrawn from Turkish administration, and the Greco-Turkish War of that year was followed by the cession to Turkey of a few strategical points on the Thessalian frontier. In 1908 Bosnia and Herzegovina were annexed to the Dual Monarchy, and Bulgaria (including Eastern Rumelia) was proclaimed an independent kingdom.

The growth and development of the Balkan nations have, to a great extent, been retarded by the international jealousies arising from the Eastern Question. The possibility of theoun states entering into a combination which Y g g would enable them to offer a united resistance to foreign interference while simultaneously effecting a compromise in regard to their national aims, has at various times occupied the attention of Balkan politicians. Among the earliest advocates of this idea was Ristich, the Servian statesman. During the reaction against Russia which followed the war of 1877 informal discussions were conducted with this object, and it was even suggested that a reformed or constitutional Turkey might find a place in the confederation. The movement was favourably regarded by King Charles of Rumania and Prince Alexander of Bulgaria. But the revolt of Eastern Rumelia, followed by the Servo-Bulgarian War and the coercion of Greece by the powers, embittered the rivalry of the various races, and the project was laid aside. It was revived in a somewhat modified form in 1891 by Tricoupis, who suggested an offensive alliance of the Balkan states, directed against Turkey and aiming at a partition of the Sultan's possessions in Europe. The scheme, which found favour in Servia, was frustrated by the opposition of Stamboloff, who denounced it to the Porte. In 1897 a Bulgarian proposal for joint pacific action with a view to obtaining reforms in Macedonia was rejected by Greece.


Special bibliographies are appended to the separate articles which deal with the various political divisions of the Peninsula. For a general description of the whole region, its inhabitants, political problems, &c., see "Odysseus," Turkey in Europe (London, 1900), a work of exceptional interest and value. See also The Balkan Question, ed. L. Villari (London, 1905); W. Miller, Travels and Politics in the Near East (London, 1898); L. Lamouche, La Peninsule balkanique (Paris, 1899) ,; H. C. Thomson, The Outgoing Turk (London, 1897); T. Joanne, Etats du Danube et des Balkans (Paris, 1895); R. Millet, Souvenirs des Balkans (Paris, 1891); V. Cambon, Autour des Balkans (Paris, 1890); P. J. Hamard, Par dela l'Adriatique et les Balkans (Paris, 1890); E. de Laveleye, La Peninsule des Balkans (Brussels, 1886). For geology see F. Toula, "Materialien zu einer Geologie der Balkan-halbinsel," Jahr. k.-k. geol. Reichsanst. (Vienna, vol. xxxiii. 1883), pp. 61-114; A. Bittnel. M. Neumayr, &c., Denks. k. Akad. Wiss. Wien, math.-nat. Cl., vol. xl. (1880); A. Philippson, Der Peloponnes (Berlin, 1892); J. Cvijic, "Die Tektonik der Balkanhalbinsel," C. R. IX. Cong. geol. inter. Vienne, pp. 347-370 (1904). For the condition of the Peninsula before the Treaty of Berlin, see E. Riiffer, Die Balkanhalbinsel and ihre Volker (Bautzen, 1869); Mackenzie and Irby, Travels in the Slavonic Provinces of Turkey (London, 1866); and A. Boue, La Turquie d'Europe (Paris, 1840). W. Miller, The Balkans (London, 1896), sketches the history of Bulgaria, Montenegro, Rumania and Servia. See also Sir E. Hertslet, The Map of Europe by Treaty, esp. vol. iv. (London, 1875-1891); J. D. Bourchier, "A Balkan Confederation," in the Fortnightly Review (London, September 1891); the Austrian and Russian staff maps, and the ethnographical maps of Kiepert and Peucker. (J. D. B.)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Balkan peninsula (as defined by the Danube-Sava-Kupa line).



Proper noun

Balkan Peninsula


Balkan Peninsula

  1. A large peninsula in southeastern Europe surrounded by water on three sides: the Adriatic Sea to the west, the Mediterranean Sea (including the Ionian and Aegean Seas) to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Its northern boundary is often given as the Danube, Sava and Kupa rivers.




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