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Bosanska Krajina (lit "Bosnian Frontier") is a geographical region of Bosnia and Herzegovina enclosed by three rivers - Sava, Una and Vrbas. It is also a historic, economic and cultural entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosanska Krajina has no political borders or a political representation in the current structure of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian state however it has a significant cultural and historical identity that was formed through several historic and economic events. Territory of Bosanska Krajina is currently divided between two entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina: Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The far northwest corner of Bosanska Krajina is also known as Cazinska Krajina , named after the town of Cazin.
The population of the region numbered little over a one million before the war in Bosnia.
The approximate ethnic composition of Bosanska Krajina per 1991 census data included
The current population composition of Bosanska Krajina, especially in the city of Banja Luka, has dramatically changed due to the most recent Bosnian war in 1992-95.
When the Ottoman Empire lost the war of 1683-1697 to Austria, and ceded Slavonia and Hungary to Austria at the Treaty of Karlowitz, Bosnia's northern and western borders became the frontier between the Austrian and Ottoman empires known today as Bosanska Krajina. The territories enclosed by three rivers - Sava, Una and Vrbas - bore the name of the "Turkish Croatia" in the European literature of 18th and 19th century. The name was given by the Turks, and it was accepted by Austrian, Italian, German and Dutch cartographers. It was only in 1860 that upon insistences of the Valachian part of the population the name of Turkish Croatia were abolished in favor of the new name - Bosanska Krajina (Bosnian Frontier). This name appears on maps for the first time in 1869. These borders were also settled by Serb Orthodox herders who also defended the region from border incursions. The Serbs settled on the other side of the border as well, in the Military Frontier.
In more recent history Bosanska Krajina is known by a very strong resistance to the Fascist regime during WWII. Anti-fascist Partisan movement in Bosanska Krajina region had one of the most ethnically mixed compositions than in any other part of former Yugoslavia during WWII. Bosanska Krajina was also place of historical agreements that have taken place in Jajce and Mrkonjić Grad in 1943, ones that established the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its current borders, as well as the Federation of Yugoslavia.
During WWII the Ustasha Jasenovac concentration camp was established just across the river Sava from Bosanska Krajina, and many of the region's inhabitants (mainly Serbs, Gypsies and Jews but also some communist Bosnians and Croats) were killed there.
The region was also a place of concentration camps during 1992-95 Bosnian war. Some of the worst concentration camps included Manjača and Omarska where predominantly Bosnians of Muslim faith were held and executed by the authorities of Republika Srpska (Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina). The numbers are still not determined but it is estimated that anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 Bosnians were executed as part of the ethnic cleansing campaign of the authorities of Republika Srpska.
In the immediate aftermath of WWII Bosanska Krajina was considered one of the poorest regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This poverty was a contributing factor to 1950's Cazinska Buna uprising against the communist government, the only such uprising in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina and Yugoslavia.
The later economic boom and prosperity of Bosanska Krajina was mostly due to planned urban development programs that were created specifically for this region in early and mid-1970s by Urban Institute in Banja Luka. The development was further stimulated by the simplification of the banking system that encouraged investments in resource processing industry. As a result the region has seen a boom in agricultural and industrial production.
Agrokomerc , a food manufacturing industry located in northwest region was the largest food manufacturer in Bosnia and Herzegovina and former Yugoslavia. Other industries included chemical industry Saniteks in Velika Kladuša, electronics industry Rudi Cajevec in Banja Luka, Textile industry Sana in Bosanski Novi as well as a range of wood and food processing companies that stimulated an economic boom in this region. There was also a significant ore industry developed around the Kozara Mountain.
More recent economic stagnation, especially in regions controlled by Republika Srpska are largely due to inefficient planning that is based on political and ethnic interests rather than on the socio-economic potentials of the region.
The brutal history of Bosanska Krajina may be a reason for a specific nature of its people that pride themselves on toughness and rebelliousness towards other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and especially Sarajevo. However, their position towards Sarajevo is more like a sibling rivalry rather than one of disdain and revolt.
The cultural center of Bosanska Krajina was located in Banja Luka. Institutions such as Museum of Bosanska Krajina and National Theatre of Bosanska Krajina located in Banja Luka, recently renamed by authorities of Republika Srpska for political purposes, held evidence of long history and culture of this region.
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