What is Balkanization ? - Encywiki

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What is Balkanization ?


    Balkanization is the division of a region or country into smaller administrative units, usually along ethnic lines. The term derives from a region in southern Europe originally composed of five countries-Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia-created by the Allied powers following World War I from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The five countries became known collectively as the Balkans (or Balkan States), the name of a regional mountain range and peninsula. The region comprising the old empires had a long-standing history of strife among adherents of different religions, who came into close contact with one another. Christians and Muslims competed, as did Catholics and Orthodox groups and Serbs and Kosovars.
The Balkans held together through most of the remaining decades of the twentieth century. However, in the early 1990s, following the demise of the Soviet Union, several regional groups within Yugoslavia broke away, and four new countries were formed: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia. Once the breakup took place, ethnic strife quickly followed, as conflict raged over boundary disputes among the new countries. Conflict occurred again in the late 1990s in Kosovo between Serbs and Kosovars, who are ethnic Albanian Muslims. Strife and tension continued into the twentyfirst century. The region experienced balkanization twice in the twentieth century.

   Balkanization has also occurred in Africa. In some ways, the apartheid policy of creating 10 new homelands to isolate the leading black cultural groups in South Africa was a form of balkanization. However, the Nigerian experience in this regard is especially pertinent. Nigeria was a British colony until it achieved independence in 1960. At that time, the country had three major regions and an extremely diverse population comprising 300 ethnic groups. Nigeria is also a major producer of petroleum, and competition among many of the ethnic groups for a share in oil revenues created tensions throughout the country. Nigeria experienced considerable ethnic strife and a major civil war that killed millions in the 1960s. Balkanization occurred over the years from 1967 through 1991 in four restructuring phases, which resulted in the eventual creation of 30 district states. Along with this tenfold increase in administrative units has come regional demands for autonomy and the polarization of ethnic tensions. Once deemed to be the country in Africa with the greatest promise for future success, Nigeria today faces an uncertain future.

Suggested Readings: David Hooson, Geography and National Identity, London: Oxford University Press, 1994; Alan Best and Harm de Blij, African Survey, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1977.

Gerald Rudolph Pitzl, Jerry Pitzl: Encyclopedia of Human Geography
Image: pixabay.com

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What is Balkanization ? Reviewed by encywiki on February 26, 2019 Rating: 5 Balkanization     Balkanization is the division of a region or country into smaller administrative units, usually along ethnic lin...

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