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The breakdown of coexistence in the balkans

The Balkan Peninsula has been invaded many times in its history. The Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian Empires were followed by the Soviet Union in imposing their rule over the territory. The different influences gradually grouped into three main religions –Orthodox, Catholic and Islam– with several languages and dialects converting the Balkans into a multicultural mosaic of varied ethnicity.

In 1991, coinciding with dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Yugoslav Federation started to fall apart. The first territory to organise itself into an independent State was Slovenia, thus unleashing the Balkan War, the bloodiest fighting in Europe since World War II. In 2001, following 10 years of conflict, hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people displaced, the peninsula was impoverished, destroyed and divided into 6 independent republics. In 2008, Kosovo self-proclaimed its independence.

Today, 20 years after the start of the war, it remains unclear exactly why coexistence broke down in ex-Yugoslavia.