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Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1878-1918)

Last modified: 2014-03-01 by ivan sache
Keywords: crescent (yellow) | crescent (red) | star (yellow) | star: 6 points (red) |
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Austro-Hungarian occupation (1878-1908)

[Flag]         [Arms]

Flag and arms of the Bosnian corpus separatum - Images by Velid-aga Jerlagić, 13 April 1998

The Berlin Congress gained Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austria-Hungary, after a series of uprisings of Christians against the rulings Turks in the 19th century, the last being in 1875. That one soon involved Serbia and Montenegro (in 1876) in helping the insurgents, but they were soon in very difficult position as the Turkish army was successful in fighting the uprising. In 1877 Russia stepped in to help the almost defeated Serbia, and crushed the Turkish forces, ending with the San Stefano Treaty. This was followed in 1878 by the Berlin Congress.

A flag horizontally divided red-yellow with the coat of arms in the middle was proposed and adopted by the Austrian-Hungarian authorities who occupied Bosnia and proclaimed it a corpus separatum, belonging neither to Austria nor to Hungary.

The coat of arms was modelled on the arms of Stjepan Vukčić Hrvatinić, a Bosnian noble and duke from the 14th century. The original, medieval coat of arms had a white background and two red stripes in the top of the shield.

Željko Heimer & Velid-aga Jerlagić, 19 November 2003

1878-1879 uprising

Austria-Hungary was hoping to have gained Bosnia peacefully, and sent troops mainly consisting of soldiers of neighbouring Slavic peoples, in order to show the liberators as of the same kin. However, the Muslim inhabitants who had lost their privileges started a vigorous uprising. They won several battles against the Austro-Hungarian army and resisted for the whole three months.

Željko Heimer, 19 November 2003

[Revolt flag]

Flag of the 1878 uprising - Image by Velid-aga Jerlagić, 13 April 1998

The flag used during the uprising was green with a yellow crescent and a star facing the fly.

Velid-aga Jerlagić, 13 April 1998

[Revolt flag]

Flag of the 1878 uprising - Image by Jaume Ollé, 18 November 2003

In contrast with all "classical" sources, the Fachinger collection shows a flag labelled Insurgentenfhane 1878-79 unter .... ("Insurgents' flag 1878-79 under..., the next word is unreadable). The flag is horizontally divided white-red with a red crescent and six-pointed star in the white stripe.

Željko Haimer & Jaume Ollé, 19 November 2003

Austro-Hungarian annexation (1908-1918)

[Revolt flag]

Flag of the Bosnian Province - Image by Velid-aga Jerlagić, 13 April 1998

A flag horizontally divided red-yellow was adopted when Bosnia awas annexed to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Bosnia and Herzegovina were administrated as a single land. Meyers Lexicon (1897) says that Herzegovina had no landesfarben.

Velid-aga Jerlagić & Željko Heimer, 13 April 1998

[Arms of Bosnia]         [Arms of Herzegovina]

Arms of the Provinces of Bosna (left) and Herzegovina (right) - Images by Velid-aga Jerlagić, 13 April 1998