14 Facts About Balkans


Balkans, known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various geographical and historical definitions.

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The concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea.

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However, after the Congress of Berlin 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, while Yugoslavian maps included Croatia and Bosnia.

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Western Balkans is a political neologism coined to refer to Albania and the territory of the former Yugoslavia, except Slovenia, since the early 1990s.

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Institutions of the 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.

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In 2018, President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic stated that the use of the term "Western Balkans" should be avoided because it does not imply only a geographic area, but negative connotations, and instead must be perceived as and called Southeast Europe because it is part of Europe.

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The Balkans have been inhabited since the Paleolithic and are the route by which farming from the Middle East spread to Europe during the Neolithic .

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The Balkans are the location of the first advanced civilizations.

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Identity of the Balkans is dominated by its geographical position; historically the area was known as a crossroads of cultures.

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The Achaemenid Persian Empire incorporated parts of the Balkans comprising Macedonia, Thrace, parts of present-day Bulgaria, and the Black Sea coastal region of Romania between the late sixth and the first half of the fifth-century BC into its territories.

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That led to Serbia's defeat and the intervention of the Entente in the Balkans which sent an expeditionary force to establish a new front, the third one of that war, which soon became static.

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Fascist Italy expanded the war in the Balkans by using its protectorate Albania to invade Greece.

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Jewish communities of the Balkans were some of the oldest in Europe and date back to ancient times.

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The Jewish communities in the Balkans suffered immensely during World War II, and the vast majority were killed during the Holocaust.

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