History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (958–1463)


History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (958–1463)

The Byzantines restored control over Bosnia at the end of 10th century, but not for long as it was soon taken by Emperor Samuil of Bulgaria. In 1019 the Byzantine Emperor Basil II, after the defeat of Samuil, Bosnia has to acknowledge Byzantine suzerainty. During middle of 11th century Byzantine Empire influence has been changed with the influence of Petar Krešimir IV of Croatia [Curta] but with his death in 1074 Croatian control of Bosnian region had failed.

Grand Prince Mihailo Voislav from Duklja was ordained King by Pope Gregory VII in 1077. Mihailo's son Constantin Bodin conquered Bosnia in 1082 and placed Stephen, one of his courtiers, as Prince. After King Bodin's death in 1101, discords erupted, and by the end of the 12th century, Bosnia would find itself completely detached from Serbia. Some attempts to reunite Bosnia & Serbia were made, especially by king Kočopar (1102–1103) of Duklja who forged an alliance with Bosnia against Rascia and Zahumlje, but utterly failed with his death [ [http://www.rastko.org.yu/rastko-bl/istorija/corovic/istorija/2_7.html Vladimir Corovic: Istorija srpskog naroda ] ] .

After Croatia has entered personal union with Hungarian kingdom in 1102, most of Bosnia became vassal to Hungary as well. Since 1137, King Bela II of Hungary claimed the Duchy of Rama, a region of northern Herzegovina. His title included "rex Ramae" since the Council at Ostrogon 1138, likely referring to all of Bosnia. However, by the 1160s the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus defeated Hungary and restored Bosnia to the Eastern Roman Empire for a time.

Beginning from the 12th century, Bosnia found itself outside the control of various forces and emerged as an independent state under the rule of local bans.Beginning with the reign of ban Borić in 1154, Bosnia was a semi-independent Banate under the sovereignty of the King of Hungary. It waged war against the Byzantine Empire and Borich reached Braničevo with his forces, but it has been defeated and annexed.

Eventually, the Byzantine Empire under Manuel I Comnenus conquered Bosnia from the Hungarians in 1166 and brought the native ruler Ban Kulin (1180–1204) to Bosnia. Kulin was first notable Bosnian ban, and he led Bosnia successfully to a war in 1183 together with its Béla III of Hungary, Prince Miroslav of Zahumlje, and Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja. This war eventually liberated Bosnia from Byzantine rule, but it returned it under the Hungarian crown. The rest of Kulin's rule peaceful for Bosnia, and so the period of Kulin's reign has ever since been remembered as the "Age of Peace and Prosperity". In 1189 Ban Kulin issued the first written Bosnian document written in Bosnian Cyrillic, where he described Bosnia's statehood and referred to its people as Bosnians ("Bošnjani").

Kulin's rule also marked the start of a controversy with the Bosnian Church, an indigenous Christian sect considered heretical by both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox church.

In 1203 the Serbian Prince Vukan of Duklja and Zeta accused Kulin of heresy and lodged an official appeal to the pope. Kulin cunningly saved Bosnia from a Crusade that the pope was preparing to launch, stating that he was always a faithful Catholic. In response to Hungarian attempts to use church politics regarding the issue as a way to reclaim sovereignty over Bosnia, Kulin held a council of local church leaders to renounce the heresy in 1203. Despite this, Hungarian ambitions remained unchanged long after Kulin's death in 1204, waning only after an unsuccessful invasion on Bosnia in 1254.

Kulin's policy was poorly continued since the Ban's death in 1204 by his son and heir, ban Stephen, who was very unpopular among Bosnians and remained strictly aligned with the Catholic Church. Stephen was eventually deposed in 1232 by the Bosnians.

The Bosnian Krstjani placed as a new ban nobleman Matej Ninoslav (1232–1250). Around this time, a relative of Matej, Prijezda I, converted back to Catholicism (he previously switched to the Bosnian Church for a short period of time). Matej Ninoslav quickly changed his fanatical Catholic and anti-Bosnian Church attitude and eventually became a protector of the Krstjani. In 1234 the Hungarian King Andrew II gave the Banate of Bosnia to "herceg" Coloman. To make matters worse, the legitimate successor for the Bosnian throne of the House of Kulin, Count Sibislav of Usora, son of former Ban Stephen started to attack Ninoslav's positions attempting to take Bosnia for himself. Pope Gregory IX replaced the Bosnian Bishop that was a member of the Bosnian Church in 1235 by Johann, a member of the Dominican Order, and confirmed herceg Coloman as the new legitimate Ban of Bosnia. The crusaders led by Dominican Bishop Johann and Hungarian herceg Coloman invaded Bosnia and led a long war that lasted for full five years. The war only funnelled more support to Ban Matej Ninoslav, as only Count Sibislav took the Pope's side in the Crusade. Matej issued an edict to the Republic of Dubrovnik on May 22 1240, stating that he placed it under his proctectorate in the case of a Serbian attack from Rascia by King Stefan Vladislav I. He referred to the people of Bosnia as Serbs ("Srblyns") in the edict. The support from Dubrovnik was essential to support Matej Ninoslav's warfare.

It was also a response due to the very bad relations between Bosnia and Serbia, as Serbia sent no aid to Matej contrary to the traditional alliance. Coloman passed the title of ruler of Bosnia to Matej's distant cousin, Prijezda, but Prijezda managed to govern Bosnia only for two or three years. In 1241 the Tartars have invaded Hungary, so Coloman had to fall back from Bosnia. Matej Ninoslav immediately retook control over Bosnia, while Prijezda fled to Hungary in exile. The edict to Dubrovnik was re-issued in March 1244. Matej involved in the civil war that erupted in Croatia between Trogir and Split, talking Split's side. King Bela IV of Hungary was greatly frustrated and considered this a conspiracy, so he sent an Army to Bosnia, but Matej subsequently made peace. In 1248 Ban Ninoslav cunningly saved Bosnia from yet another Pope's Crusade requested by the Hungarian Archbishop.

The question of inheriting the Bosnian throne was brought. Ninoslav's sons fought valiantly for the title, but the Hungarian King managed to reinstall Prijezda I (1250 - 1287) as Ban of Bosnia. Ban Prijezda ruthlessly persecuted the Bosnian Church. In 1254 the Croatian Ban shortly conquered Zahumlje from the Serbian King of Rascia Stefan Uroš I during Hungary's war against Serbia which was joined to Bosnia, but the peace restored Zahumlje to Serbia.

Ban Stjepan II Kotromanić used the word "Bosnian" to describe his language in a letter of his dated 1333.


thumb|250px|right|">Bosnia in 10th century
Bosnian state during Ban Kulin 1180-1204
Bosnian state during king Tvrtko 1353-1391
Borders of Bosnian state in second part of 15th century
Bosnia and Herzegovina in second part of 19th century

In Stephen II of Kotromanćs reign, all three Churches were present in Bosnia. Roman Catholic Christians lived in the urban parts of his realm, while the adherents of the Bosnian Church inhabited the rural areas. Orthodox Serbs held predominance in the Hum and in the eastern border regions of Podrinje.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Herzegovina was made up of separate small duchies: Zahumlje (Hum), centered around the town of Blagaj and Travunia-Konavli, centered on the town of Trebinje. These states were sometimes ruled by semi-independent Princes, mostly under actual control of Serbian Princes or in some cases Bulgarian. Over the course of several centuries, they were under Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian rule. Their territories included modern Herzegovina and parts of Montenegro and southern Dalmatia. The name Herzegovina was adopted when Duke ("Herceg") of St. Sava Stjepan Vukčić Kosača asserted its independence in 1435/1448.

The religion of the original Slavic population of Bosnia and Herzegovina was mixed: there were Catholic and Orthodox Christians, but also many who simply called themselves "Christians" or Krstjani, belonging to the indigenous Bosnian Church. This church was very similar to Catholicism and Orthodoxy but under a separate bishop, and it was accused by the Catholic and Orthodox authorities of being a dualist heresy and linked to the Bogomils (Patarens).

The Bosnian bans and kings were Catholics, except for the single exception of king Ostoja Kotromanić who showed some interest in the Bosnian Church. There were, however, several important noblemen who were Krstjani, such as Hrvoje Vukčić, the Radenović-Pavlovići, Sandalj Hranić, Stjepan Vukčić, and Paul Klešić.It was fairly common for the Holy See to have the Bosnian rulers renounce any relation to the Bosnian Church or even perform conversions, in return for military or other support.

By the mid-14th century, Bosnia reached a peak under ban Tvrtko Kotromanić who came into power in 1353. Tvrtko made Bosnia an independent state and is thought by many historians to have been initially crowned in Mile near today city of Visoko where was a state residency by that time.

He went on to claim not only Bosnia and Hum, but the surrounding lands as well:

* in 1377 he was crowned "Bošnjanski kralj Srbljem i Bosni i Pomorju i Zapadnim stranama"1 in a Franciscan monastery in Mile, in the city of Visoko. This coronation is believed to have happened as a token of reaffirmation of his suzerainty over Serbia, and some believe he adopted the name Stephanus ("Стефан"/"Stefan") to emulate the Nemanjić dynasty. The exact location of the coronation is disputed, as some historians claim that this actually occurred in the Serb Orthodox Mileševo monastery by the grave of Serb patron saint St. Sava.
* by 1390, Tvrtko I expanded his empire to include a part of Croatia and Dalmatia, and assumed the title of "Bosnian King of Rascia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia and the Littoral." Stjepan Tvrtko I's full title listed subject peoples and geographical dependencies, following the Byzantine norm. At the peak of his power, he was King of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hum, Usora, Soli, Dalmatia, Donji Kraji etc.

After the death of Tvrtko I, the power of the Bosnian state slowly faded away. The Ottoman Empire had already started its conquest of Europe and posed a major threat to the Balkans throughout the first half of the 15th century. Finally, under the king Stjepan Tomašević Bosnia officially "fell with a whisper" ("šaptom pala") in 1463 and became the westernmost province of the Ottoman Empire. Herzegovina fell to the Turks in 1482. It took another century for the western parts of today's Bosnia to succumb to Ottoman attacks.

References


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