Bosnia (properly Bosna; Turkish, Bosh-maili), the extreme N. W. province or vilayet of European Turkey, lying between lat. 42° 30' and 45° 15' N. and Ion. 15° 40' and 21° 10' E., comprising Bosnia proper, Herzegovina, and Turkish Croatia; area estimated from 22,500 to 24,450 sq. m.; pop. about 1,100,000.' It is bounded N. W. and N. by Austrian Croatia and the Military Frontier, E. by Servia, S. by Pris-rend, Albania, and Montenegro, and W. by Dalmatia and the Adriatic. The surface is mountainous, the elevations ranging from 3,000 to 8,000 ft. A branch of the Dinaric Alps forms the watershed between the tributaries of the Danube and the rivers flowing S. The mountains consist chiefly of limestone of secondary formation, together with sandstone and shales of the carboniferous system; and it is also said that beds of coal are general throughout the country. The valleys are well watered. The chief rivers are the Save on the N. frontier, and its affluents the Unna, Verbas, Bosna, and Drina, and the Narenta, which flows into the Adriatic. The mountains are densely covered with forests. Sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry are raised in great numbers, but cattle and horses are neglected. The chief food is wheat and maize; barley, hay, hemp, etc, are cultivated to some extent.
In Herzegovina tobacco, rice, oil, wine, figs, and pomegranates are produced. The culture of fruit is important, 300,000 quintals of prunes alone being produced annually. Fisheries are active, chiefly in the Bosna and Narenta rivers. The great mineral wealth of the country is undeveloped, but a few mines of lead, iron, and mercury are worked. The chief manufactures are cutlery and firearms. Among the exports are staves, timber, agricultural products, wool, honey, and wax. The total value of imports is about $5,000,000, a great part of which consists of salt. Most of the merchandise comes from Constantinople and Sophia, to Bosna-Serai or Sera-yevo; but commerce is much impeded by bad roads, imposts, monopolies, and the sand banks and trunks of trees in the rivers, which render navigation .almost impossible. The most important towns are the capital, Bosna-Serai, Banialuka, Travnik, Mostar, Fotcha, and Novi-Bazar. Of importance in a military point of view are the fortresses Sienitza, Vishegrad, near the frontier of Servia, Nikshity, near the frontier of Montenegro, Bielina, and Trebinye, the last on the main road leading to Ragusa. The towns are generally divided into three parts: the fortress, the citv proper, surrounded by walls and having the gates closed at night, and the quarter occupied by the lower classes.
Nearly the whole population belongs to the southern Slavs, who entered the country in the 7th century and dislodged the Illy-rian race, which was probably identical with the Albanian. A remnant of the Albanian element, numbering about 30,000 souls, is found in the S. E. corner of the country. The prevailing language is a dialect of the Servian. The majority of the population are Christians, 431,-000 belonging to the Orthodox Greek and 192,-000 to the Roman Catholic church. There are about 5,000 Jews and 8,000 gypsies. The Mohammedans, 418,000 in number, are nearly all descendants of Slavs who embraced Islamism in order to preserve their estates, and include the wealthier part of the population, chiefly in the towns. A large portion of the commerce of the country is in their hands. They comprise the beys, nobility, agas (land owners), and spahis, the descendants of the nobility whose ancestors were invested with fiefs at the time of the conquest. Their vassals pay them a tribute, and in war they form a cavalry of reserve. The Bosnians, especially the Christians, are hospitable, pious, and brave, but irascible and vindictive. The head of the family has a patriarchal jurisdiction over it, and his wife or son's wife has sole management of the house.
The people are generally but little instructed; they have some knowledge of mechanics and of the elements of medicine, but scarcely any literature. There were formerly printing presses at Milesevo and Goradye, where church books in Slavic were printed as early as 1531. - Bosnia anciently belonged partly to Lower Pannonia and partly to Illyricum. In the 7th century the country was invaded by the Slavs. In the 12th and 13th centuries it belonged to Hungary. In 1339 it passed into the hands of the Servian king Stephen, after whose death it formed an independent government till 1370, when one of the chieftains, Ban Tvartko, seized the reins of power as king of Bosnia. At the beginning of the 15th century Turkey asserted its claims upon the province, finally annexing it in 1528; since then, however, the native nobility have frequently caused disturbances, especially in 1850 and 1851. The legal contingent of Bosnia in the Turkish army is 80,000, but it actually consists of only about 30,000. In 1857-'8 an insurrection of the peasantry took place at Tuzla against the exactions of the tax gatherers and beys. After an encounter with the troops they took refuge in Austrian territory, but returned upon a proclamation of amnesty.
In 1861 another insurrection took place, and before it could be put down the war in Montenegro broke out, peace not being restored in Bosnia till after the suppression of the rebellion in the former country. A conference was held by the consuls of the European powers, but without any salutary effects. In May, 1863, an Austrian and Ottoman mixed commission met at Livno to define the boundaries between Bosnia and Dalmatia. During the administration of Osman Pasha, 1860-'G8, Bosnia enjoyed peace and made considerable progress. A railway has been in course of construction since 1870 from Banialuka to the frontier near Novi, as the first section of the great line from the Austrian frontier to Constantinople.