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The Balkans is the historic and geographic area, a peninsula in southeastern Europe. The region has a combined area of 550,000 km² and an approximate population of 55 million people. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains which run through the centre of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia.
Definitions and boundaries
The identity of the Balkans is dominated by its geography; historically the area was known as a crossroads of several cultures. It has been a meeting point between the Latin and Greek parts of the Roman Empire. It became an area where Orthodox and Catholic Christianity met, as well as the meeting point between Islam and Christianity. Many Jewish people fled here from Inquisition.Austria (see also Austria-Hungary, Assassination in Sarajevo)
- Cyprus (see also Cyprus dispute)
- Hungary (see also Austria-Hungary)
- Italy (see Triest and History of the Venetian Republic)
- Russia (see History of Serbia)
See also the Black Sea Regional organizations
Population composition by nationality and religion
The region's principal nationalities include:
- Romanians (22 million)
- Greeks (10.5 million)
- Turks (10 million)
- Serbs (8.5 million)
- Bulgarians (6.6 million)
- Albanians (6 million)
- Croats (4.5 million)
- Bosniaks (4.5 million)
- Slovenes (2 million)
- Macedonians (1.3 million)
- Montenegrins (0.3 million)
- others (Roma, ...)
The region's principal religions are (Eastern Orthodox and Catholic) Christianity and Islam. A variety of different traditions of each faith are practiced, with each of the Eastern Orthodox countries having its own national church with its own patriarch.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosniaks are mostly Muslim, Serbs are mostly Serbian (Eastern) Orthodox and Croats are mostly Catholic.
- Bulgaria: Islam.
- Croatia: Serbs are Orthodox.
- Republic of Macedonia: Albanian population is mostly Muslim.
- Serbia: Albanians and Bosniacs are mostly Muslim, Hungarians, Slovaks and Croats are mostly Catholic.
For more detailed information and a precise ethnic breakdown see articles about particular states:
- Albania, Demographics of Albania
- Croatia, (4 million Croats, 0.2 million Serbs)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (2.4 million Bosniacs, 1.7 million Serbs, 0.7 million Croats)
- Bulgaria, Demographics of Bulgaria
- Greece, Demographics of Greece
- Republic of Macedonia, Demographics of the Republic of Macedonia
- Serbia, (6.5 million Serbs, 2 million Albanians, 0.3 million Hungarians)
- Turkey, Demographics of Turkey
- Banac, Ivo. Historiography of the Countries of Eastern Europe: Yugoslavia, American Historical Review, v 97 #4 (October 1992), 1084-1104.
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- The Centre for South East European Studies
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