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Austro-Hungarian condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Flag Coat of arms
Capital Sarajevo
Language(s) Bosnian,[1]
Government Monarchy
Legislature Diet of Bosnia and Herzegovina
 - Occupied July 13, 1878
 - Annexed October 7, 1908
 - Abolished December 1, 1918
 - 1879 51,082 km2 (19,723 sq mi)
 - 1879 est. 1,584,164 
     Density 31 /km2  (80.3 /sq mi)
 - 1885 est. 1,336,091 
 - 1895 est. 1,568,092 
 - 1910 est. 1,898,044 
Currency Krone
History of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coat of Arms of the King Tvrtko I of Bosnia
This article is part of a series
Early History
Roman era
Slavic peoples
Bosnian Kingdom
Ottoman era
(Bosnia Province)
(Herzegovina Province)
Austro-Hungarian condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
World War II
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Socialist Republic of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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The Austro-Hungarian condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina was a condominium established after the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary in 1908, following its occupation in 1878 under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin.



Though an Austro-Hungarian occupying force quickly subjugated initial armed resistance upon take-over in Bosnia and Herzegovina, tensions remained in certain parts of the country (particularly Herzegovina) and a mass emigration of predominantly Muslim dissidents occurred. However, a state of relative stability was reached soon enough and Austro-Hungarian authorities were able to embark on a number of social and administrative reforms which intended to make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model colony". With the aim of establishing the province as a stable political model that would help dissipate rising South Slav nationalism, Habsburg rule did much to codify laws, to introduce new political practices, and generally to provide for modernization.


Ethnic relations

The Austro-Hungarian policy advocated the ideal of a pluralist and multi-confessional Bosnian nation. Joint Imperial Minister of Finance and Vienna-based administrator of Bosnia Benjamin Kallay promoted Bošnjaštvo, a policy that aimed to inspire in Bosnia's people 'a feeling that they belong to a great and powerful nation'[3] and viewed Bosnians as "speaking the Bosnian language and divided into three religions with equal rights."[4][5] The policy attempted to isolate Bosnia and Herzegovina from its irredentist neighbors (the Orthodox in Serbia, Catholics in Croatia, and the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire) and to negate the concept of Croat and Serb nationhood that had already spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina's Catholic and Orthodox communities from neighboring Croatia and Serbia in the mid 19th century.[5] Croats and Serbs who opposed the policy, ignored Bosnian nationhood and instead sought to claim Bosnian Muslims as their own, a move that was rejected by most Bosnian Muslims.[6][7] Following the death of Kallay, the policy was abandoned and by the latter half of the 1910's nationalism was an integral factor of Bosnian politics, with national political parties corresponding to the three groups dominating elections.[5]

The idea of a unified South Slavic state (typically expected to be spear-headed by independent Kingdom of Serbia) became a popular political ideology in the region at this time, including Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Austro-Hungarian government's decision to formally annex Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908 added to a sense of urgency among these nationalists. The political tensions caused by all this culminated on June 28, 1914, when Serb nationalist youth Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo; an event that proved to be the spark that set off World War I. Although some Bosnians died serving in the armies of the various warring states, Bosnia and Herzegovina itself managed to escape the conflict relatively unscathed.


Parliamentary parties

  • Croatian Peoples Community
  • Croatian Catholic Association
  • Muslim Peoples Party
  • Serbian Peoples Organization

Non-parliamentary parties

  • Muslim Progressive Party
  • Muslim Democracy
  • Serbian Peoples Independent Party
  • Socialdemocratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina


Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina 1879-1910[5]
Year Muslim  % Orthodox  % Catholic  % Jewish  % Total
1879 448,613 38.7% 496,485 42.9% 209,391 18.1% 3,675 0.3% 1,584,164
1885 492,710 36.9% 571,250 42.8% 265,788 19.9% 5,805 0.4% 1,336,091
1895 548,632 35% 673,246 42.9% 334,142 21.3% 8,213 0.5% 1,568,092
1910 612,137 32.2% 825,418 43.5% 434,061 22.9% 11,868 0.6% 1,898,044


Districts of Bosnia and Herzegovina:      Banja Luka District      Bihać District      Mostar District      Sarajevo District      Travnik District      Tuzla District

During the Austro-Hungarian administration, the internal divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina were kept, but their institutions modernized. Six districts formed the regional government and were maintained until 1922. The number of counties was 54.[8][9]


Term Incumbent
July 13, 1878
Bosnia and Herzegovina occupied by Austria-Hungary
(nominally remained under sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire)
July 13, 1878 - November 18, 1878 Josef, Freiherr Philippovich von Philippsberg, Commander
November 18, 1878 - April 6, 1881 Wilhelm Nikolaus, Prince of Württemberg, Head of Provincial Government
April 6, 1881 - August 9, 1882 Hermann, Freiherr Dahlen von Orlaburg, Governor
August 9, 1882 - December 8, 1903 Johann, Freiherr von Appel, Governor
December 8, 1903 - June 25, 1907 Eugen, Freiherr von Albori, Governor
June 30, 1907 - October 7, 1908 Anton von Winzor, Governor
October 7, 1908
Bosnia and Herzegovina annexed by Austria-Hungary
October 7, 1908 - March 7, 1909 Anton von Winzor,[10] Governor
March 7, 1909 - May 10, 1911 Marijan von Varešanin-Vareš, Governor
May 10, 1911 - December 22, 1914 Oskar Potiorek,[11] Governor
December 22, 1914 - November 3, 1918 Stjepan, Freiherr von Sarkotić-Lovćen, Governor
December 1, 1918
Bosnia and Herzegovina became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes


The occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina led to great reforms of the Catholic Church in that country, after centuries in the Ottoman Empire. In 1881, Vrhbosna was elevated to an archdiocese, and the dioceses of Banja Luka and Mostar-Duvno were formed. Work began on the Cathedral of Jesus' Heart in Sarajevo in 1884 and was completed by 1889.

See also


  1. ^ Bosnian was introduced during the Austro-Hungarian occupation of the Ottoman province.
  2. ^ Serbo-Croatian was adopted as the official language of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1907, replacing Bosnian. Serbo-Croatian was the official language of Bosnia and Herzegovina throughout the parliamentary period, from the annexation until the dissolution of Austria-Hungary after World War I.
  3. ^ Peter Sugar, Industrialisation, p 201
  4. ^ Sabrina P. Ramet, "Nationalism and the 'Idiocy' of the Countryside: The Case of Serbia," Ethnic and Racial Studies p 74-76
  5. ^ a b c d Mitja Velikonja, Religious separation and political intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  6. ^ Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004, Volume 4‎, p 110
  7. ^ Ivo Banač, The national question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ From 1909, Anton Freiherr von Winzor
  11. ^ Removed from post after defeats at the Battle of Cer and the Battle of Kolubara in the Serbian campaign


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