main ethnic groups

Bosnia & Herzegovina is home to three main ethnic groupsBosniaks are the largest group of the three (50.1%), with Serbs second (30.8%), and Croats third (15.4%). A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is identified in English as a Bosnian (so there are Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Bosniaks, etc.). Typically, Bosniaks are Muslim, Serbs are Orthodox, and Croats are Catholic, and religion is the primary marker of difference between the three groups. The terms Herzegovinian and Bosnian are maintained as a regional rather than ethnic distinction, and the region of Herzegovina is located in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ethnic tensions remain high in Bosnia after the war in the mid-90’s, in part due to how the Dayton Peace Accords were only able to “freeze the military confrontation” without addressing root issues of the conflict. As a result, the territorial and political situation in Bosnia is “continually unstable and fractious since its implementation in 1995.” Ongoing religious intolerance in Bosnia has also contributed to ethnic tensions, both through political discrimination against religious minorities and some local religious leaders’ contributions to intolerance and increased nationalism through public statements and sermons.

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