Redirected from Balkans
The countries included in the Balkan region are:
Countries that some people include in the Balkan region:
Other countries not included in the Balkan region that are close to it and play or played an important role in the region's geopolitics and culture:
During the Cold War, Balkans were dominated by Communism, except Greece and Turkey. Yugoslavia and Albania were not cooperating well with the Soviet Union: Yugoslavia had different politics than the Soviets and it was more friendly towards the West, while Albania was a satellite or an ally of communist China. Only Greece and Turkey were (and they still are, as of as 2003) NATO members. Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey may become EU and/or NATO members some time (likely between 2004 and 2007). As of 2003, all Balkan countries are cooperating with the EU and the USA.
Some people believe that the term Balkan is politically incorrect or even abusive, so they prefer the term Southeastern Europe. For example, an on-line newspaper titled Balkan Times[?] recently (2003) renamed to Southeast European Times[?]. See http://www.balkantimes.com
Once the most developed part of Europe, in the past 550 years it has been the least developed, reflecting the shift of Europe's commercial and political centre of gravity towards the Atlantic and comparative Balkan isolation under the Ottoman Empire from the mainstream of economic advance.
The region's principal nationalities include Serbs (11 million), Greeks (10.8 million), Turks (9.2 million in the European part of Turkey), Bulgars (7 million), Albanians (6 million, with about 3 millions of them being in Albania), Croats (4.5 million), Bosnians (2.4 million) and Macedonian Slavs (1.9 million).
Eastern Orthodoxy is the principal religion in the following counries:
Catholicism is the principal religion in the following countries:
Islam is the principal religion in the following countries:
These countries have mixed religious backgrounds:
Kosovo, a region nominally part of Serbia, has a considerably large Albanian population who are largely Muslim.
In Greece there are some people called Arvanites, who settled various Greek lands during the Middle Ages. They are Orthodox Christians. Their language is Arvanitika, which is a form of Southern Albanian. Their culture is greatly influenced by the Greek culture. See http://go.to/arvanites.
In recent years the region has been affected by conflict in the former Yugoslav republics, resulting in intervention by NATO forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
As a matter of trivia, the peninsula takes its name from the Balkan mountains (Bulgarian "Stara Gora") which run down the center of Bulgaria, and the term 'Balkan' itself is derived from the Turkish word for mountain. In earlier times the mountains were known as the Haemus Mons, a name that is believed derived from the Thracian "Saimon", meaning 'chain'.