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The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the
Balkan Mountains The Balkan mountain range (Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgar ...
that stretch throughout the whole of
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
in the northwest, the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ("our sea")) is an elongated bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, suc ...

Ionian Sea
in the southwest, the
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
in the south, the
Turkish Straits 300px, View of the Dardanelles, taken from the Landsat 7 satellite in September 2006. The body of water at the upper left is the Aegean Sea, while the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The long, narrow upper peninsula is Gallipoli ...
in the east, and the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
in the northeast. The northern border of the
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is
Mount Musala Musala ( bg, Мусала ); from Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffre ...
, , in the
Rila Rila ( bg, Рила, ) is the highest mountain range of Bulgaria, the Balkan Peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one ...

Rila
mountain range, Bulgaria. The concept of the Balkan Peninsula was created by the German geographer
August ZeuneJohann August Zeune (12 May 1778 –14 November 1853) was a German teacher A teacher (also called a schoolteacher or formally, an educator) is a person who helps Student, students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. ''Informally'' ...
in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. The term ''Balkan Peninsula'' was a synonym for
Rumelia Rumelia ( ota, روم ايلى, Rum İli; tr, Rumeli; el, Ρωμυλία), etymologically "Land of the Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
in the 19th century, the provinces of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
in
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
. It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, which was further promoted during the creation of the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia The Kingdom of Yugoslavia ( sh, Kraljevina Jugoslavija / Краљевина Југославија; sl, Kraljevina Jugoslavija) was a state in Southeast Europe, Southeast and Central Europe that existed from 1918 until 1941. From 1918 to 1929 ...
in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan Peninsula's natural borders do not coincide with the technical definition of a peninsula; hence modern geographers reject the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while scholars usually discuss the Balkans as a region. The term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of
Balkanization Balkanization refers to the fragmentation, or sub-fragmentation, of a larger region or state into smaller regions or states, which may be hostile or uncooperative with one another. When sponsored or encouraged by a sovereign third party, the term ...
, and hence the preferred alternative term used for the region is
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
.


Name


Etymology

The origin of the word ''Balkan'' is obscure; it may be related to
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
''bālk'' 'mud', and the Turkish suffix ''an'' 'swampy forest' or Persian ''balā-khāna'' 'big high house'. Related words are also found in
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic langu ...

Turkic languages
.''Oxford English Dictionary'', 2013
''s.v.''
/ref> The term is stated for the first time in
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...

Hungarian
sources from the 12th century. It was used mainly during the time of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. In
modern Turkish Turkish ( , ), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish (''İstanbul Türkçesi'') or Turkey Turkish (''Türkiye Türkçesi''), is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documente ...

modern Turkish
' means 'chain of wooded mountains'.


Historical names and meaning


Classical antiquity and the early Middle Ages

From
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
through the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, the Balkan Mountains were called by the local
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. "The Thracians were an Indo-European people who occupied ...
name ''
Haemus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. Modern ...

Haemus
''. According to Greek mythology, the
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. "The Thracians were an Indo-European people who occupied ...
king
Haemus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. Modern ...

Haemus
was turned into a mountain by
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
as a punishment and the mountain has remained with his name. A reverse name scheme has also been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus (Αἷμος) is derived from a
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. "The Thracians were an Indo-European people who occupied ...
word ''*saimon'', 'mountain ridge'. A third possibility is that "Haemus" () derives from the Greek word "haima" () meaning 'blood'. The myth relates to a fight between
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
and the monster/titan
Typhon Typhon (; el, Τυφῶν, ), also Typhoeus (; ), Typhaon () or Typhos (), was a monstrous serpentine giant and one of the deadliest creatures in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, a ...
. Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhon's blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name.


Late Middle Ages and Ottoman period

The earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, in which the Haemus mountains are referred to as ''Balkan''. The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope
Innocent VIII Pope Innocent VIII ( la, Innocentius VIII; 1432 – 25 July 1492), born Giovanni Battista Cybo (or Cibo), was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 August 1484 to his death. Son of the viceroy of Naples, Battista spent ...
by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist, writer and diplomat. The
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe and ...
first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, although other Turkic tribes had already settled in or were passing through the region. There is also a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion. The word was used by the Ottomans in
Rumelia Rumelia ( ota, روم ايلى, Rum İli; tr, Rumeli; el, Ρωμυλία), etymologically "Land of the Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
in its general meaning of mountain, as in ''Kod̲j̲a-Balkan'', ''Čatal-Balkan'', and ''Ungurus-Balkani̊'', but especially it was applied to the Haemus mountain. The name is still preserved in
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
with the
Balkan Daglary The Uly Balkan, also known as the ''Great Balkan Range'' is a mountain range in Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan, ;), also known as Turkmenia, is a sovereign country in Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia w ...
(Balkan Mountains) and the
Balkan Province Balkan Region ( tk, Balkan welaýaty, russian: Балкан велаяты) is the westernmost of five regions of Turkmenistan Turkmenistan is divided into five regions or ''welaýatlar'' (singular ''Wilaya, welaýat'') and one capital city (' ...
of
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan, ), also known as Turkmenia, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. There ar ...

Turkmenistan
. English traveler
John Morritt John Bacon Sawrey Morritt (1772? – 1843) was an English traveller, politician and classical scholar. Early life Born about 1772, he was son and heir of John Sawrey Morritt, who died at Rokeby Park in Yorkshire on 3 August 1791, by his wife Anne ...
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 "Balkans" was created by the German geographer
August ZeuneJohann August Zeune (12 May 1778 –14 November 1853) was a German teacher A teacher (also called a schoolteacher or formally, an educator) is a person who helps Student, students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. ''Informally'' ...
in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers... Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term".


Evolution of meaning in 19th and 20th century

The term was not commonly used in geographical literature until the mid-19th century because already then scientists like
Carl Ritter Carl Ritter (August 7, 1779September 28, 1859) was a German geographer. Along with Alexander von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (14 September 17696 May 1859) was a Germans, German polymath, geography, geographer, natu ...

Carl Ritter
warned that only the part South of the Balkan Mountains can be considered as a peninsula and considered it to be renamed as "Greek peninsula". Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, ,
Marion Newbigin Marion Isabel Newbigin (1869 – 20 July 1934) was a Scottish geographer, biologist and academic author. She was noted for her book ''Animal Geography'', a key work in the field of animal geography/zoogeography, and as editor of the ''Scottish Geog ...
,
Albrecht Penck Albrecht Penck (25 September 1858 – 7 March 1945) was a German geographer and geologist and the father of Walther Penck. Biography Born in Reudnitz near Leipzig Leipzig (, also , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germa ...

Albrecht Penck
, while Austrian diplomat
Johann Georg von Hahn Johann Georg von Hahn (11 July 1811 – 23 September 1869) was an Austrian diplomat, philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, ...
in 1869 for the same territory used the term ''Südostereuropäische Halbinsel'' ("Southeasterneuropean peninsula"). Another reason it was not commonly accepted as the definition of then
European Turkey East Thrace landscape in Edirne Province, Turkey East Thrace or Eastern Thrace ( tr, Doğu Trakya or simply ''Trakya''; el, Ανατολική Θράκη, ''Anatoliki Thraki''; bg, Източна Тракия, ''Iztochna Trakiya''), also kn ...
had a similar land extent. However, after the
Congress of Berlin The Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) was a to reorganise the states in the after the , which had been won by Russia against the . Represented at the meeting were Europe's then six : Russia, Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, ...
(1878) there was a political need for a new term and gradually "the Balkans" was revitalized, but in the maps, the northern border was in Serbia and Montenegro without Greece (it only depicted the Ottoman occupied parts of Europe), while Yugoslavian maps also included Croatia and Bosnia. The term Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey, the political borders of former Ottoman Empire provinces. The usage of the term changed in the very end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when was embraced by Serbian geographers, most prominently by
Jovan Cvijić Jovan Cvijić ( sr-cyr, Јован Цвијић, ; 12 October 1865 – 16 January 1927) was a Serbian geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social scientist and humanist whose area of study is geography, the study of Earth' ...

Jovan Cvijić
. It was done with political reasoning as affirmation for
Serbian nationalism Serbian nationalism asserts that Serbs are a nation and promotes the cultural and political unity of Serbs. It is an ethnic nationalism, originally arising in the context of the general rise of nationalism in the Ottoman Empire, rise of nationalis ...
on the whole territory of the
South Slavs The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are n ...
, and also included anthropological and ethnological studies of the South Slavs through which were claimed various nationalistic and racialist theories. Through such policies and Yugoslavian maps the term was elevated to the modern status of a geographical region. The term acquired political nationalistic connotations far from its initial geographic meaning, arising from political changes from the late 19th century to the creation of post–
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
(initially the
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Li ...
in 1918). After the
dissolution of Yugoslavia Dissolution may refer to: Arts and entertainment Books * ''Dissolution'' (''Forgotten Realms'' novel), a 2002 fantasy novel by Richard Lee Byers * ''Dissolution'' (Sansom novel), a 2003 historical novel by C. J. Sansom Music * Dissolution, in mus ...
beginning in June 1991, the term "Balkans" acquired a negative political meaning, especially in Croatia and Slovenia, as well in worldwide casual usage for war conflicts and fragmentation of territory (see
Balkanization Balkanization refers to the fragmentation, or sub-fragmentation, of a larger region or state into smaller regions or states, which may be hostile or uncooperative with one another. When sponsored or encouraged by a sovereign third party, the term ...
).


Southeast Europe

In part due to the historical and political connotations of the term "Balkans", especially since the military conflicts of the 1990s in
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
in the western half of the region, the term "
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
" is becoming increasingly popular. A
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
initiative of 1999 is called the ''
Stability Pact for South Eastern EuropeThe Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe was an institution aimed at strengthening peace, democracy, human rights and economy in the countries of South Eastern Europe from 1999 to 2008. It was replaced by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in ...
'', and the online newspaper ''Balkan Times'' renamed itself ''
Southeast European TimesSoutheast European Times was a United States European Command-sponsored news website dedicated to coverage of Southeast Europe that ended publication in March 2015. The countries covered included Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece ...
'' in 2003.


Current

In other languages of the region, the region is known as: * Slavic languages: **
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
and mk, Балкански Полуостров, transliterated: ' ** Montenegrin and sr, Балканско полуострво; Balkansko poluostrvo ** bs, Balkansko poluostrvo; Балканско полуострво; Balkanski poluotok ** hr, Balkanski poluotok ** sl, Balkanski polotok * Romance languages: **
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Euro ...
: ''Peninsula Balcanică'' * Turkic Languages: ** tr, Balkan Yarımadası or ''Balkanlar'' * Other languages: ** sq, Gadishulli Ballkanik and ' ** el, Βαλκανική χερσόνησος, transliterated: '


Definitions and boundaries


Balkan Peninsula

The Balkan Peninsula is bounded by the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
to the west, the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
(including the and
Aegean Aegean may refer to: *Aegean Sea *Aegean Islands *Aegean Region (geographical), Turkey *Aegean Region (statistical), Turkey *Aegean civilizations *Aegean languages, a group of ancient languages and proposed language family *Aegean Sea (theme), a n ...

Aegean
seas) and the Marmara Sea to the south and the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
to the east. Its northern boundary is often given as the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
,
Sava The Sava (; , ; sr-cyr, Сава, Hungarian: Száva) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and become ...

Sava
and
Kupa The Kupa (Croatian pronunciation: ) or Kolpa ( or ; from la, Colapis in Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', sho ...

Kupa
Rivers. The Balkan Peninsula has a combined area of about (slightly smaller than
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
). It is more or less identical to the region known as
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
. From 1920 until
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Italy included
Istria Istria ( ; Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also * Croatia (disambiguation) ...

Istria
and some
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
n areas (like ''Zara'', today's
Zadar Zadar ( , ; see also Zadar#Etymology and historical names, other names) is the List of oldest continuously inhabited cities, oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. It is situated on the Adriatic Sea, at the northwestern part of Ravni Kotar ...

Zadar
) that are within the general definition of the Balkan Peninsula. The current territory of Italy includes only the small area around
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (wher ...

Trieste
inside the Balkan Peninsula. However, the regions of Trieste and Istria are not usually considered part of the Balkans by Italian geographers, due to their definition of the Balkans that limits its western border to the Kupa River.Istituto Geografico De Agostini, ''L'Enciclopedia Geografica – Vol. I – Italia'', 2004, Ed. De Agostini p. 78 Share of total area in brackets within the Balkan Peninsula by country, by the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
Sava The Sava (; , ; sr-cyr, Сава, Hungarian: Száva) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and become ...

Sava
definition, with
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
occupying almost the half of the territory of the Balkan Peninsula, with around 23% of the total area each: Entirely within the Balkan Peninsula: * : 28,749 km2 (100% of total land) * : 51,180 km2 (100%) * : 110,993.6/ according to other sources 111,002 km2 (100%) * : 10,908 km2 (100%) * : 13,810 km2 (100%) * : 25,713 km2 (100%) Mostly or partially within the Balkan Peninsula: * ( southern mainland): 24,013 km2 (46%)Geographical horizon (Scientific and Professional magazine of the Croatian Geographical Society), article; ''On the north border and confine of the Balkan Peninsula'', No1/2008, year LIV, , pp. 30–33 * (
mainland Mainland is defined as "relating to or forming the main part of a country or continent, not including the islands around it egardless of status under territorial jurisdiction by an entity" The term is often human geography, politically, econo ...
): 110,496 km2 (83.7%)/ according to other sources 106,247 km2 (80.5%)/ 126,023 km2 including islands
adjacent Adjacent or adjacency may refer to: *Adjacent (graph theory), two vertices that are the endpoints of an edge in a graph *Adjacent (music), a conjunct step to a note which is next in the scale See also

*Adjacent angles, two angles that share ...
to the
Balkan Peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch ...

Balkan Peninsula
(95.5%) * (
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (wher ...

Trieste
and
Monfalcone Monfalcone (; Venetian language#Regional variants, Bisiacco: ; fur, Monfalcon; sl, Tržič; archaic german: Falkenberg) is a town and ''comune'' of the province of Gorizia in Friuli Venezia Giulia, northern Italy, located on the Gulf of Trieste ...

Monfalcone
): 200 km2 (0.1%) * ( mainland Dobruja): 11,000 km2 (5%) * (
Central Serbia Central Serbia ( sr, централна Србија, centralna Srbija), also referred to as Serbia proper ( sr, link=no, ужа Србија, uža Srbija), is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "e ...
) 51,000 km2 (65%) * ( southwestern part): 5,000 km2 (25%) * ( European part): 23,764 km2 (3%)


Balkans

The term "the Balkans" is used more generally for the region; it includes states in the region, which may extend beyond the peninsula, and is not defined by the geography of the peninsula itself. Historians state the Balkans comprise
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
,
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
,
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
,
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
. Its total area is usually given as and the population as 59,297,000 (est. 2002). Italy, although having a small part of its territory in the Balkan Peninsula, is not included in the term "the Balkans". The term
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
is also used for the region, with various definitions. Individual Balkan states can also be considered part of other regions, including
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
,
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
and
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
. Turkey, often including its European territory, is also included in
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...

Western
or
Southwestern Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human ...
.


Western Balkans

''Western Balkans'' is a political neologism coined to refer to Albania and the territory of the former
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, except
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
, since the early 1990s. The region of the ''Western Balkans'', a coinage exclusively used in Pan-European parlance, roughly corresponds to the
Dinaric Alps The Dinaric Alps (), also commonly Dinarides, are a mountain range in Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Dinaric Alps
territory. The institutions of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
have generally used the term "Western Balkans" to mean the Balkan area that includes countries that are not members of the European Union, while others refer to the geographical aspects. Each of these countries aims to be part of the
future enlargement of the European Union There are five recognised candidates for membership Member may refer to: * Military juryA United States military "jury" (or "Members", in military parlance) serves a function similar to an American civilian jury, but with several notable dif ...
and reach democracy and transmission scores but, until then, they will be strongly connected with the pre-EU waiting program
CEFTA The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is an international trade agreement A trade agreement (also known as trade pact) is a wide-ranging taxes, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. It exists when two ...
. Croatia, considered part of the Western Balkans, joined the EU in July 2013.


Criticism of the geographical definition

The term is criticized for having a geopolitical, rather than a geographical meaning and definition, as a multiethnic and political area in the southeastern part of Europe. The geographical term of a
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
defines that the water border must be longer than land, with the land side being the shortest in the triangle, but that is not the case with the Balkan Peninsula. Both Eastern and Western water cathetus from
Odessa Odessa (russian: Оде́сса ) or Odesa ( uk, Оде́са ) is the third most populous List of cities in Ukraine, city and List of hromadas of Ukraine, municipality in Ukraine and a major tourism center, seaport and transport hub located in th ...

Odessa
to
Cape Matapan Cape Matapan ( el, Κάβο Ματαπάς, Maniot The Maniots or Maniates ( el, Μανιάτες) are a Greeks, Greek ethnic group native to the Mani Peninsula, located in western Laconia and eastern Messenia, in the southern Peloponnese, Gr ...

Cape Matapan
(ca. 1230–1350 km) and from
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (wher ...

Trieste
to Cape Matapan (ca. 1270–1285 km) are shorter than land cathetus from Trieste to Odessa (ca. 1330–1365 km). The land has a too wide line connected to the continent to be technically proclaimed as a peninsula -
Szczecin Szczecin * sv, Stettin * Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...

Szczecin
(920 km) and
Rostock Rostock (), officially the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock (german: link=no, Hanse- und Universitätsstadt Rostock), is the largest city in the German States of Germany, state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and lies in the Mecklenbur ...

Rostock
(950 km) at the
Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that a ...

Baltic Sea
are closer to Trieste than Odessa yet it is not considered as another European peninsula. Since the late 19th and early 20th-century literature is not known where is exactly the northern border between the peninsula and the continent, with an issue, whether the rivers are suitable for its definition. In the studies the Balkans natural borders, especially the northern border, are often avoided to be addressed, considered as a "fastidious problem" by André Blanc in ''Geography of the Balkans'' (1965), while John Lampe and Marvin Jackman in ''Balkan Economic History'' (1971) noted that "modern geographers seem agreed in rejecting the old idea of a Balkan Peninsula". Another issue is the name because the
Balkan Mountains The Balkan mountain range (Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgar ...
which are mostly located in Northern Bulgaria are not dominating the region by length and area like the
Dinaric Alps The Dinaric Alps (), also commonly Dinarides, are a mountain range in Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Dinaric Alps
. An eventual Balkan peninsula can be considered a territory South of the Balkan Mountains, with a possible name "Greek-Albanian Peninsula." The term influenced the meaning of
Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to th ...

Southeast Europe
which again is not properly defined by geographical factors yet historical borders of the Balkans. Croatian geographers and academics are highly critical of inclusion of Croatia within the broad geographical, social-political and historical context of the Balkans, while the neologism Western Balkans is perceived as a humiliation of Croatia by the European political powers. According to M. S. Altić, the term has two different meanings, "geographical, ultimately undefined, and cultural, extremely negative, and recently strongly motivated by the contemporary political context". In 2018,
President of Croatia The president of Croatia, officially denoted as the President of the Republic of Croatia ( hr, Predsjednik / Predsjednica Republike Hrvatske), is the head of state, commander-in-chief of the Military of Croatia, military and chief representative ...
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović stated that the use of the term "Western Balkans" should be avoided because it does not imply only a geographic area, but also negative connotations, and instead must be perceived as and called Southeast Europe because it is part of Europe. As the Slovenian philosopher
Slavoj Žižek Slavoj Žižek ( ; ; born 21 March 1949) is a Slovenian philosopher, a researcher at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Arts and international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities of the Univer ...
put it,


Nature and natural resources

Most of the area is covered by mountain ranges running from the northwest to southeast. The main ranges are the
Balkan mountains The Balkan mountain range (Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgar ...
(Stara Planina in
Bulgarian language #REDIRECT Bulgarian language #REDIRECT Bulgarian language Bulgarian (, ; bg, label=none, български, bălgarski, ) is a South Slavic languages, South Slavic language spoken in Southeastern Europe, primarily in Bulgaria. It is the lang ...

Bulgarian language
), running from the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
coast in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
to the border with
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, the
Rila Rila ( bg, Рила, ) is the highest mountain range of Bulgaria, the Balkan Peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one ...

Rila
- Rhodope
massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults or Lithospheric flexure, flexures. In the Plate tectonics, movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal s ...
in southern Bulgaria, the
Dinaric Alps The Dinaric Alps (), also commonly Dinarides, are a mountain range in Southern The name Southern may refer to: * South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east a ...

Dinaric Alps
in
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
and
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
, the
Korab Korab (, ) is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that ha ...

Korab
- mountains which spreads from
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
to
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
and
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
, and the
Pindus The Pindus (also Pindos or Pindhos; el, Πίνδος, Píndos; sq, Pindet; rup, Pindu) is a mountain range located in Northern Greece and Southern Albania. It is roughly 160 km (100 miles) long, with a maximum elevation of 2,637 metres (86 ...
range, spanning from southern Albania into central Greece and the
Albanian Alps The Accursed Mountains ( sq, Bjeshkët e Nemuna; sh, Prokletije, cyrl, Проклетије, ; both translated as "Cursed Mountains") also known as the Albanian Alps ( sq, Alpet Shqiptare; sh, Albanski Alpi) are a mountain group on the weste ...

Albanian Alps
, and the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...
at the northwestern border. The highest mountain of the region is
Rila Rila ( bg, Рила, ) is the highest mountain range of Bulgaria, the Balkan Peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one ...

Rila
in Bulgaria, with
Musala Musala ( bg, Мусала ); from Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transco ...

Musala
at 2,925 m, second being
Mount Olympus Mount Olympus (; el, Όλυμπος, Ólympos, also , ) is the highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in ...
in Greece, with at 2,917 m, and
Pirin , photo=Pirin-mountains-Bansko.jpg , photo_caption=Pirin scenery in winter , country= Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria,, ) is a country in Southeast Europe. It occupies the whol ...

Pirin
mountain with
Vihren Vihren ( ) is the highest peak of Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. I ...

Vihren
, also in Bulgaria, being the third at 2915 m. The
karst Karst is a topography Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a description (especially their depiction in maps). Topography ...

karst
field or
polje Image:Livanjsko polje, nejvetsi utvar tohoto druhu na svete (70x40.jpg, Livanjsko Polje in Bosnia (region), Bosnia is the largest polje in the world (Mount Dinara visible in the background). A polje, also karst polje or karst field, is a large fl ...

polje
is a common feature of the landscape. On the
Adriatic The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest a ...

Adriatic
and
Aegean Aegean may refer to: *Aegean Sea *Aegean Islands *Aegean Region (geographical), Turkey *Aegean Region (statistical), Turkey *Aegean civilizations *Aegean languages, a group of ancient languages and proposed language family *Aegean Sea (theme), a n ...

Aegean
coasts the climate is
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, on the Black Sea coast the climate is
humid subtropical A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cold to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° (sometimes 45°) a ...
and
oceanic Oceanic may refer to: *Of or relating to the ocean *Of or relating to Oceania **Oceanic climate **Oceanic languages **Oceanic person or people, also called "Pacific Islander(s)" Places *Oceanic, British Columbia, a settlement on Smith Island, Br ...
, and inland it is
humid continental A humid continental climate is a climate, climatic region defined by Russo-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1900, typified by four distinct seasons and large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and ...
. 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. The humid continental climate is predominant in Bosnia and Herzegovina, northern Croatia, Bulgaria,
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
, northern Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, the interior of Albania and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, while the other, less common climates, the humid subtropical and oceanic climates, are seen on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and Balkan Turkey (European Turkey); and the Mediterranean climate is seen on the coast of Albania, the coast of Croatia, Greece, southern Montenegro and the Aegean coast of Balkan Turkey (European Turkey). Over the centuries forests have been cut down and replaced with bush. In the southern part and on the coast there is
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anc ...

evergreen
vegetation. Inland there are woods typical of Central Europe (
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
and
beech Beech (''Fagus'') is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), ...

beech
, and in the mountains,
spruce A spruce is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including ...

spruce
,
fir Firs (''Abies'') are a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including ...

fir
and
pine A pine is any conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The div ...

pine
). The
tree line The tree line is the edge of the habitat at which tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of ...

tree line
in the mountains lies at the height of 1800–2300 m. The land provides
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers at the ...

habitat
s for numerous
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest gro ...
species, including extraordinarily abundant insects and reptiles that serve as food for a variety of
birds of prey Birds of prey, also known as raptors, include species of bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Bi ...
and rare
vulture A vulture is a bird of prey that Scavenger, scavenges on carrion. There are 23 Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species of vulture (including Condors). Old World vultures include 16 living species native to Europe, Africa, and As ...

vulture
s. The soils are generally poor, except on the
plain In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation, and is primarily treeless. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or at the base of mountains, as coastal plains, and as plateaus or Highland, up ...

plain
s, 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
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

olive
and grape flourish. Resources of energy are scarce, except in
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
, where considerable
coal Coal is a combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , ...

coal
,
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
,
zinc Zinc is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical element ...

zinc
,
chromium Chromium is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science tha ...

chromium
and
silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical ele ...

silver
deposits are located. Other deposits of
coal Coal is a combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , ...

coal
, especially in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia, also exist.
Lignite Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft, brown, combustible , Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langu ...

Lignite
deposits are widespread in Greece.
Petroleum Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isoc ...

Petroleum
scarce reserves exist in Greece, Serbia and Albania. Natural gas deposits are scarce.
Hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and th ...
is in wide use, from over 1,000 dams. The often relentless bora wind is also being harnessed for power generation. 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 Tin is a with the Sn (from la, ) and  50. Tin is a silvery-colored metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent ...

tin
,
chromite Chromite is a crystalline mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of ...

chromite
,
manganese Manganese is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical e ...

manganese
,
magnesite Magnesite is a mineral with the chemical formula (magnesium carbonate). Iron, manganese, cobalt and nickel may occur as admixtures, but only in small amounts. Occurrence Magnesite occurs as veins in and an alteration product of ultramafic rocks ...

magnesite
and
bauxite Bauxite is a sedimentary rock Sedimentary rocks are types of rock (geology), rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic matter, organic particles at Earth#Surface, Earth's surface, followed by cementation ( ...

bauxite
. Some metals are exported.


History and geopolitical significance


Antiquity

The Balkan region was the first area in Europe to experience the arrival of farming cultures in the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
era. The Balkans have been inhabited since the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
and are the route by which farming from the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
spread to
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
during the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
(7th millennium BC). The practices of growing grain and raising livestock arrived in the Balkans from the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an establishe ...

Fertile Crescent
by way of
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
and spread west and north into Central Europe, particularly through
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as ...

Pannonia
. Two early culture-complexes have developed in the region,
Starčevo culture The Starčevo culture is an archaeological culture of Southeastern Europe, dating to the Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently i ...
and
Vinča culture The Vinča culture (), also known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș–Vinča culture, was a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently ...
. The Balkans are also the location of the first advanced civilizations. Vinča culture developed a form of
proto-writing Proto-writing consists of visible marks Communication, communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC in Ancient China, China. They used ...
before the
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ians and Minoans, known as the Old European script, while the bulk of the symbols had been created in the period between 4500 and 4000 BC, with the ones on the Tărtăria clay tablets even dating back to around 5300 BC. The identity of the Balkans is dominated by its geographical position; historically the area was known as a crossroads of cultures. It has been a juncture between the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
bodies of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, the destination of a massive influx of pagan
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
and
Slavs Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central Europe, ...

Slavs
, an area where
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
and
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
Christianity met, as well as the meeting point between
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
and Christianity. In pre-classical and
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
, this region was home to
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
,
Illyrians The Illyrians ( grc, Ἰλλυριοί, ''Illyrioi''; la, Illyrii) were a group of Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking peoples, who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo ...

Illyrians
,
Paeonians Paeonians were an ancient Indo-European people that dwelt in Paeonia. Paeonia was an old country whose location was to the north of ancient Macedonia, to the south of Dardania, to the west of Thrace and to the east of Illyria, most of their lan ...

Paeonians
,
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
,
Dacians The Dacians (; la, Daci ; grc-gre, Δάκοι, Δάοι, Δάκαι) were a Thracians, Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the area near the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea ...
, and other ancient groups. The incorporated parts of the Balkans comprising
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
,
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, and the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
coastal region of
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
between the late 6th and the first half of the 5th-century BC into its territories. Later the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
conquered most of the region and spread Roman culture and the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
language, but significant parts still remained under
classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of languages, nati ...
influence. The
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
considered the
Rhodope Mountains - el, Ροδόπη , photo=Родопско зелено.jpg , photo_caption= Vacha Reservoir , country_type= Countries , country= , geology= , orogeny= , area_km2=14735 , range_coordinates= , length_km=240 , length_orientation= west- ...
to be the northern limit of the Peninsula of Haemus and the same limit applied approximately to the border between Greek and Latin use in the region (later called the Jireček Line). However large spaces south of Jireček Line were and are inhabited by
Vlachs "Vlach" ( or ), also "Wallachian" (and many other variants), is a historical term and exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the H ...
(
Aromanians The Aromanians ( rup, Armãnji, Rrãmãnji) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for ...
), the Romance-speaking heirs of Roman Empire. The
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
and
Slavs Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central Europe, ...
arrived in the 6th-century and began assimilating and displacing already-assimilated (through Romanization and Hellenization) older inhabitants of the northern and central Balkans, forming the
Bulgarian Empire In the medieval history of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarde ...
. During the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, the Balkans became the stage for a series of wars between the and the
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...
Empires.


Early modern period

By the end of the 16th-century, the Ottoman Empire had become the controlling force in the region after expanding from Anatolia through
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
to the Balkans. Many people in the Balkans place their greatest folk heroes in the era of either the onslaught or the retreat of the Ottoman Empire. As examples, for Greeks,
Constantine XI Palaiologos Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos or Dragaš Palaeologus ( el, Κωνσταντῖνος Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, ''Kōnstantînos Dragásēs Palaiológos''; 8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453) was the last List of Byzantine emp ...
and ; and for
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
,
Miloš Obilić Miloš Obilić ( sr-cyr, Милош Обилић, ) was a legendary Serbian knight who is reputed to have been in the service of Prince Lazar during the Ottoman History of Ottoman Serbia, invasion of Serbia in the late 14th century. He is not me ...
and Tzar Lazar; for
Montenegrins Montenegrins (Montenegrin language, Montenegrin and Serbian language, Serbian: Crnogorci / Црногорци, or ; literal translation, lit. "Black Mountain People") are a South Slavs, South Slavic ethnic group native to Montenegro. Genetic orig ...
,
Đurađ I Balšić Đurađ Balšić ( sr-cyr, Ђурађ Балшић), also known as Đurađ I (Ђурађ I) was the Lord of Zeta between 1362 and 13 January 1378. He was the eldest of the three sons of Balša I, and belonged to the Balšić noble family, Balšić ...
and Ivan Crnojević; for Albanians, George Kastrioti Skanderbeg; for ethnic Macedonians, Nikola KarevConsidered a Bulgarian in Bulgaria and Goce Delčev; for Bulgarians, Vasil Levski, Georgi Sava Rakovski and Hristo Botev and for Croats, Nikola Šubić Zrinjski. 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 Ocean, Atlantic), the Balkans have been the least developed part of Europe. According to Halil İnalcık, "The population of the Balkans, according to one estimate, Population decline, fell from a high of 8 million in the late 16th-century to only 3 million by the mid-eighteenth. This estimate is based on Ottoman documentary evidence." Most of the Balkan nation-states emerged during the 19th and early 20th centuries as they gained independence from the Ottoman Empire or the Austro-Hungarian empire: Greece in 1821, Serbia, and Montenegro in 1878, Romania in 1881, Bulgaria in 1908 and Albania in 1912.


Recent history


World Wars

In 1912–1913 the First Balkan War broke out when the nation-states of Kingdom of Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Kingdom of Serbia, Serbia, Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg), Greece and Kingdom of Montenegro, Montenegro united in an Balkan League, alliance against the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. As a result of the war, almost all remaining European territories of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
were captured and partitioned among the allies. Ensuing events also led to the creation of an independent
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
n state. Bulgaria insisted on its status quo territorial integrity, divided and shared by the Great Powers next to the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) in other boundaries and on the pre-war Bulgarian-Serbian agreement. Bulgaria was provoked by the backstage deals between its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on the allocation of the spoils at the end of the First Balkan War. At the time, Bulgaria was fighting at the main Thracian Front. Bulgaria marks the beginning of Second Balkan War when it attacked them. The Serbs and the Greeks repulsed single attacks, but when the Greek army invaded Bulgaria together with an unprovoked Romanian intervention in the back, Bulgaria collapsed. The Ottoman Empire used the opportunity to recapture Eastern Thrace, establishing its new western borders that still stand today as part of modern Turkey. The First World War was sparked in the Balkans in 1914 when members of Young Bosnia, a revolutionary organization with predominantly Serb and pro-Yugoslav members, assassination in Sarajevo, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital, Sarajevo. That caused a war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, which—through the existing Allies of World War I, 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 Allies of World War I, Entente in the Balkans which sent an expeditionary force to establish a new Macedonian front, front, the third one of that war, which soon also became 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. With the start of the Second World War, all Balkan countries, with the exception of Greece, were allies of Nazi Germany, having bilateral military agreements or being part of the Axis Pact. Kingdom of Italy, Fascist Italy expanded the war in the Balkans by using its protectorate Albania to Greco-Italian War, invade Greece. After repelling the attack, the Greeks counterattacked, invading Italy-held Albania and causing Nazi Germany's intervention in the Balkans to help its ally. Days before the German invasion, a successful coup d'état in Belgrade by neutral military personnel seized power. Although the new government reaffirmed Serbia's intentions to fulfil its obligations as a member of the Axis, Germany, with Bulgaria, invaded both Greece and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia immediately disintegrated when those loyal to the Serbian King and the Croatian units mutinied. Greece resisted, but, after two months of fighting, collapsed and was occupied. The two countries were partitioned between the three Axis allies, Bulgaria, Germany and Italy, and the Independent State of Croatia, a puppet state of Italy and Germany. During the occupation, the population suffered considerable hardship due to repression and starvation, to which the population reacted by creating a mass resistance movement. Together with the early and extremely heavy winter of that year (which caused hundreds of thousands of deaths among the poorly fed population), the German invasion had disastrous effects in the timetable of the Operation Barbarossa, planned invasion in Russia causing a significant delay, which had major consequences during the course of the war. Finally, at the end of 1944, the Soviets entered Romania and Bulgaria forcing the Germans out of the Balkans. They left behind a region largely ruined as a result of wartime exploitation.


Cold War

During the Cold War, most of the countries on the Balkans were governed by communist governments. Greece became the first battleground of the emerging Cold War. The Truman Doctrine was the US response to the Greek Civil War, civil war, which raged from 1944 to 1949. This civil war, unleashed by the Communist Party of Greece, backed by communist volunteers from neighboring countries (Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia), led to massive American assistance for the non-communist Greek government. With this backing, Greece managed to defeat the partisans and, ultimately, remained the only non-communist country in the region. However, despite being under communist governments, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia (1948) and People's Socialist Republic of Albania, 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 Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and instead sought closer relations with the West, later even spearheaded, together with India and Egypt the Non-Aligned Movement. Albania on the other hand gravitated toward People's Republic of China, Communist China, later adopting an isolationism, isolationist position. As the only non-communist countries,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and Turkey were (and still are) part of NATO composing the southeastern wing of the alliance.


Post–Cold War

In the 1990s, the transition of the regions' ex-Eastern bloc countries towards democratic free-market societies went peacefully. While in the non-aligned
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, Yugoslav Wars, Wars between the former Yugoslav republics broke out after Slovenia and Croatia held free elections and their people voted for independence on their respective countries' referenda. Serbia, in turn, declared the dissolution of the union as unconstitutional and the Yugoslav People's Army, Yugoslavian army unsuccessfully tried to maintain the status quo. Slovenia and Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991, followed by the Ten-Day War in Slovenia. Till October 1991, the Army withdrew from Slovenia, and in Croatia, the Croatian War of Independence would continue Operation Storm, until 1995. In the ensuing 10 years armed confrontation, gradually all the other Republics declared independence, with Bosnian War, Bosnia being the most affected by the fighting. The long-lasting wars resulted in a United Nations intervention and NATO intervention in Bosnia, NATO ground and air forces 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina, took action against Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Serbia. From the dissolution of Yugoslavia six republics achieved international recognition as sovereign republics, but these are traditionally included in Balkans:
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
,
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
. In 2008, while under UN administration, Kosovo 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, declared independence (according to the official Serbian policy, Kosovo is still an internal autonomous region). In July 2010, the International Court of Justice, ruled that the declaration of independence was legal. Most UN member states recognise Kosovo. After the end of the wars a Overthrow of Slobodan Milošević, revolution broke in Serbia and Slobodan Milošević, the Serbian communist leader (elected president between 1989 and 2000), was overthrown and handed for a trial to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for crimes against the International Humanitarian Law during the Yugoslav wars. Milošević died of a heart attack in 2006 before a verdict could have been released. Ιn 2001 an Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia, Albanian uprising in
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
forced the country to give local autonomy to the Albanians in Macedonia, ethnic Albanians in the areas where they predominate. With the dissolution of
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, an issue emerged over the name under which the former (federated) republic of Macedonia would internationally be recognized, between the new country and Greece. Being the Macedonia (region), Macedonian part of Yugoslavia (see Vardar Macedonia), the federated Republic under the Yugoslav identity had the name Socialist Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Macedonia on which it declared its sovereignty in 1991. Greece, having a large region (see Macedonia (Greece), Macedonia) also under the same name opposed to the usage of this name as an indication of a nationality. The Macedonia naming dispute, issue was resolved under UN mediation and the Prespa agreement was reached, which saw the country's renaming into North Macedonia. Balkan countries control the direct European route, 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 US.
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
has been a member of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
since 1981, while
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
is a member since 2004,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
are members since 2007, and
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
is a member since 2013. In 2005, the European Union decided to start accession negotiations with candidate countries; Turkey, and
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A sub ...
were accepted as candidates for EU membership. In 2012, Montenegro started Accession of Montenegro to the European Union, accession negotiations with the EU. In 2014,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
is an Accession of Albania to the European Union, official candidate for accession to the EU. In 2015,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
was expected to start Accession of Serbia to the European Union, accession negotiations with the EU, however this process has been stalled over the recognition of
Kosovo Kosovo, or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово officially the Republic of Kosovo,; sr, / is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a ...

Kosovo
as an independent state by existing EU member states.
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and Turkey have been NATO members since 1952. In March 2004,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
have become members of NATO. As of April 2009,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
and
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
are members of NATO.
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
joined in June 2017. All other countries have expressed a desire to join the EU or NATO at some point in the future.


Politics and economy

Currently, all of the states are republics, but until World War II all countries were monarchies. Most of the republics are Parliamentary republic, parliamentary, excluding Romania and Bosnia which are semi-presidential system, semi-presidential. All the states have open economy, open market economy, market economies, most of which are in the upper-middle-income range ($4,000–12,000 p.c.), except
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
that have High income economy, high income economies (over $12,000 p.c.), and are classified with very high Human Development Index, HDI, along with Bulgaria, in contrast to the remaining states, which are classified with high HDI. The states from the former Eastern Bloc that formerly had planned economy system and Turkey mark gradual economic growth each year, only the economy of Greece drops for 2012 and meanwhile, it was expected to grow in 2013. The Gross domestic product (Purchasing power parity) per capita is highest in Slovenia (over $36,000), followed by Greece (over $30,000), Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania (over $23,000), Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia ($10,000–15,000) and Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo (below $10,000). The Gini coefficient, which indicates the level of difference by monetary welfare of the layers, is on the second level at the highest monetary equality in Albania,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and Serbia, on the third level in Greece, Montenegro and Romania, on the fourth level in North Macedonia, on the fifth level in Turkey, and the most unequal by Gini coefficient is Bosnia at the eighth level which is the penultimate level and one of the highest in the world. The unemployment is lowest in Romania (below 5%), followed by Bulgaria, Serbia (5–10%), Albania, Turkey (10–15%), Greece, Bosnia, Montenegro (15–20%), North Macedonia (over 20%) and Kosovo (over 25%). * On political, social and economic criteria the divisions are as follows: ** Territories Member state of the European Union, members of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
: Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Slovenia ** Territories currently in Future enlargement of the European Union#Current agenda, negotiation process for EU membership: Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey ** Territories with "Future enlargement of the European Union#Current agenda, potential candidates" status for EU membership: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo * On border control and trade criteria the divisions are as follows: ** Territories in the Schengen Area: Greece and Slovenia ** Territories that are legally bound to join the Schengen Area: Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania ** Territories in a European Union Customs Union, customs union with the EU: Turkey ** Territories members of the Central European Free Trade Agreement: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. * On currency criteria, the divisions are as follows: ** Territories members of the Eurozone: Greece and Slovenia ** Territories using the Euro without authorization by the EU: Kosovo and Montenegro ** Territories using national currencies and are Enlargement of the eurozone, candidates for the Eurozone: Bulgaria (Bulgarian lev, lev), Croatia (Croatian kuna, kuna), Romania (Romanian leu, leu) ** Territories using national currencies: Albania (Albanian lek, lek), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark, convertible mark), North Macedonia (Macedonian denar, denar), Serbia (Serbian dinar, dinar) and Turkey (Turkish lira, lira). * On military criteria the divisions are as follows: ** Member states of NATO, Member territories of NATO: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey ** Member territories of the Partnership for Peace with Individual Partnership Action Plan and Membership Action Plan for joining NATO: Bosnia and Herzegovina ** Member territories of the Partnership for Peace: Serbia * On the recent political, social and economic criteria there are two groups of countries: ** Former communist territories: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia ** Capitalist and aligned to the West during the Cold War: Greece and Turkey ** During the Cold War the Balkans were disputed between the two blocks. Greece and Turkey were members of NATO, Bulgaria and Romania of the Warsaw Pact, while Yugoslavia was a proponent of a third way and was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina kept an observer status within the organisation.


Regional organizations

See also the Black Sea#Trans-sea cooperation, Black Sea regional organizations


Statistics


Demographics

The region is inhabited by Albanians,
Aromanians The Aromanians ( rup, Armãnji, Rrãmãnji) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for ...
, Bulgarians, Bosniaks, Croats, Gorani people, Gorani,
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
, Macedonians (ethnic group), Macedonians, Montenegrins,
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
, Slovenes, Romanians, Turkish people, Turks, and other ethnic groups which present minorities in certain countries like the Romani People, Romani and Ashkali.


Religion

The region is a meeting point of Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox Christianity,
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
and Roman Catholic Christianity. Eastern Orthodoxy is the majority religion in both the Balkan Peninsula and the Balkan region, The Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe. A variety of different traditions of each faith are practiced, with each of the Eastern Orthodox countries having its own national church. A part of the population in the Balkans defines itself as irreligious. The Jewish communities of the Balkans were some of the oldest in Europe and date back to ancient times. These communities were Sephardi Jews, except in Transylvania,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
and
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
, where the Jewish communities were mainly Ashkenazi Jews. In
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
, the small and close-knit Jewish community is 90% Sephardic, and Judeo-Spanish, Ladino is still spoken among the elderly. The Sephardi Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo has tombstones of a unique shape and inscribed in ancient Ladino. Sephardi Jews used to have a large presence in the city of Thessaloniki, and by 1900, some 80,000, or more than half of the population, were Jews. The Jewish communities in the Balkans suffered immensely during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, and the vast majority were killed during the The Holocaust, Holocaust. An exception was the Bulgarian Jews, most of whom were saved by Boris III of Bulgaria, who resisted Adolf Hitler, opposing their deportation to Nazi concentration camps. Almost all of the few survivors have emigrated to the (then) newly founded state of Israel and elsewhere. Almost no Balkan country today has a significant Jewish minority.


Languages

The Balkan region today is a very diverse ethnolinguistic region, being home to multiple Slavic languages, Slavic and Romance languages, as well as Albanian language, Albanian,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, Turkic languages, Turkish, and others. Romani language, Romani is spoken by a large portion of the Romani people, Romanis living throughout the Balkan countries. Throughout history, many other ethnic groups with their own languages lived in the area, among them
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
,
Illyrians The Illyrians ( grc, Ἰλλυριοί, ''Illyrioi''; la, Illyrii) were a group of Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking peoples, who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo ...

Illyrians
, Ancient Rome, Romans, Celts and various Germanic peoples, Germanic tribes. All of the aforementioned languages from the present and from the past belong to the wider Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family, with the exception of the Turkic languages (e.g., Turkish language, Turkish and Gagauz language, Gagauz).


Urbanization

Most of the states in the Balkans are predominantly urbanized, with the lowest number of urban population as % of the total population found in Kosovo at under 40%, Bosnia and Herzegovina at 40% and Slovenia at 50%. A list of largest cities: Only the European part of Istanbul is a part of the Balkans. It is home to two-thirds of the city's 15,519,267 inhabitants.


Time zones

The time zones in the Balkans are defined as the following: * Territories in the time zone of UTC+01:00: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia * Territories in the time zone of UTC+02:00: Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey


Culture

* Balkan cuisine, Cuisine of the Balkans * Balkan music


See also

* Balkan Insight * Balkan Universities Network *
Balkanization Balkanization refers to the fragmentation, or sub-fragmentation, of a larger region or state into smaller regions or states, which may be hostile or uncooperative with one another. When sponsored or encouraged by a sovereign third party, the term ...
* History of the Balkans ** Balkan Wars * Languages of the Balkans ** Balkan sprachbund * List of Roman Catholic dioceses in the Balkans * Balkan music * Orient Express


Notes


References


Further reading

* * * * * Carter, Francis W., ed. (1977). ''An Historical Geography of the Balkans'' Academic Press. * Francis Dvornik, Dvornik, Francis (1962). ''The Slavs in European History and Civilization'' Rutgers University Press. * John V. A. Fine, Jr., 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]. * Forbes, Nevill (1915). ''The Balkans: A History of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Rumania, Turkey '' Clarendon Press
online
* * * * * Lampe, John R., and Marvin R. Jackson (1982). ''Balkan Economic History, 1550–1950: From Imperial Borderlands to Developing Nations'' Indiana University Press. * Király, Béla K., ed. (1984). ''East Central European Society in the Era of Revolutions, 1775–1856.'' * * * *
online free to borrow
* * Zametica, John (2017). ''Folly and malice: the Habsburg empire, the Balkans and the start of World War One'' London: Shepheard–Walwyn. 416 pp.


External links


Balkan Insight – Analysis from Balkans

Balkanalysis, in-depth research on Balkan geopolitics

Western Balkans Photo impression

''Shared Pasts in Central and Southeast Europe, 17th–21st Centuries''
Eds. G. Demeter, P. Peykovska. 2015. {{Authority control Balkans, Geography of Southeastern Europe Peninsulas of Europe Regions of Europe Southeastern Europe Turkish words and phrases