BOSNIAN CRISIS OF 1908
The Bosnian Crisis of 1908 was a significant event that is considered important to the history of the Balkans. In fact, the Bosnian Crisis took place in the Balkan Peninsula, which is a region in southeastern Europe. In general, the Bosnian Crisis involved the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary. Due to the timeframe in which it occurred, the Bosnian Crisis of 1908 is considered to be important to the two Balkan Wars (First Balkan War and Second Balkan War) as well as World War I. World War I began in 1914 following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
The 19th century was a period of continuous change and competition in Europe. Not only was it the height of European imperialism, but it also saw the rise of nationalism, which swept across the continent. For instance, both Germany and Italy formally unified as countries in 1871. In both cases, smaller kingdoms unified into one larger country and saw the people of each country identify with each other nationalistically. This wave of nationalism also swept across the Balkans.
In the early 20th century, the Balkans was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire dated back as far as the early 14th century and at its height stretched from the Middle East, Northern Africa, and large sections of Europe. It was a Sunni Islamic state that was based mainly out of modern-day Turkey. For example, the capital of the Ottoman Empire was the city of Constantinople, which today is called Istanbul. While the Ottoman Empire ruled over the Balkans for centuries, by the early 20th century, it was beginning to lose power over the region. This became most evident in 1908 when Austria exerted its influence in the Balkans with the Bosnian Crisis of 1908.
The Bosnian Crisis began in October of 1908 with the Austria annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This means that Austria took control over the two territories. Previously they had been controlled by the Ottoman Empire but by this time the Ottoman Empire was in decline and losing its authority in the region. In fact, at the same time, the Balkan state of Bulgaria declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Austria’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina created a crisis not only with the leadership of the Ottoman Empire, but also with other surrounding European nations including Italy, Russia and Serbia. This eventually set the stage for the events of the First Balkan War in 1912 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914. In fact, when World War I began in July of 1914, Austria-Hungary found itself at war with Italy, Russia and Serbia.
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