3 minutes 31 seconds
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Bosnia and Herzegovina is 1 of
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the world's most almost landlocked countries, with this tiny bit of coastline here on the Adriatic Sea. Interestingly, this territorial corridor runs right through Croatia, leaving the country split into 2 parts. Given how odd this is, it raises a pretty obvious question. Why is Croatia split into 2 by Bosnia? So as of the early modern period Croatia was ruled by the kings
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of Hungary, who as you'll know often came into conflict with their neighbours, notably the
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Ottoman Empire to the south. The Ottomans had been warring with the Hungarians and notably the Venetians for the past several centuries. And 1 of the outcomes of these wars was that this area called the Republic of Ragusa sought Ottoman protection from potential invasion from Venice. And for this the Republic had a clever solution. To the north they ceded to the Ottomans the coastal town of Neum and the corridor of territory behind it, and to the south they ceded Souterina.
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This way, any invasion or raid would trigger an Ottoman response. This status remained for about a century and a half until Ragusa's existence as an independent nation came to an end as a result of, shockingly, Napoleon Bonaparte. After his victories over Austria and a brief occupation, he incorporated it into France's Illyrian territories. As you'll know, he lost soon afterwards and the hope was that Ragusa would be restored to independence, but fun fact, no. This was because the Austrians decided that actually, they were going to keep it.
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And Ragusa's territories were thus incorporated into the Austrian and later Austro-Hungarian empires. Bosnia-Next-Door was occupied by Austria-Hungary in 1878, and so the gaps between its Dalmatian territories were plugged. So was there any formal attempt to change it? Well, no. This was because it was mostly a formality and also because Bosnia was still technically Ottoman land under Austrian occupation.
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When it was annexed 3 decades later the Austro-Hungarians had no reason to change something so small which had been working for them, because administering Bosnia didn't need much change.
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As you'll be aware, it wasn't long until World War I, in which Austria-Hungary did not fare well. It lost and was subsequently carved up with these lands going to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and a decade after Yugoslavia's creation the land corridors which had belonged to Bosnia were rectified. The northern 1 was now a part of the literal Banavina, and the southern a part of the Zeta Banavina. This was mostly done along ethnic lines, something which will become important to Yugoslavia shortly. So, given that these territorial oddities were fixed, why does modern Bosnia still own the corridor?
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Well, the reason was Tito. After World War II saw the Kingdom of Yugoslavia occupied and its leaders exiled, the government which took over after its liberation was a communist 1,
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and this new government wanted to distance itself from the kingdom, and so it opted to change the internal divisions of Yugoslavia. The government agreed on the 1878 borders for Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Croatia, because as far as their ideology was concerned the ethnic divisions within the country were artificial. That said, the southern corridor wasn't returned to Bosnia and was instead given to Montenegro as part of some smaller land swaps. And this is what remained until Yugoslavia's collapse, at which point the international community made it abundantly clear that any redrawing of the borders would mean no recognition. Which is why, after Croatia gained its independence, its coastline has a small Bosnian interruption.
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