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Bosnien, Land und Leule

Nature volume 31, page 192 | Download Citation



AFTER the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria in 1878, the want of an authoritative and comprehensive treatise on those hitherto neglected provinces of European Turkey soon became manifest. This want is fully supplied by the present work, on which the author has been engaged for the last four years, and for the composition of which he has qualified himself by repeated visits to the region he has undertaken to describe. The first volume, issued two years ago, is mainly historical and ethnographic, and embodies a complete history of the country, from the arrival of the Slavs in the fifth century, down to the Austrian occupation in 1878. Special sections are devoted to the various ethnical elements, Mohammedan and Christian Bosnians, Jews, Albanians, Zinzars, and Gypsies. These are all adequately treated, except the Zinzars (Macedo-Roumanians or Kutzo-Vlacks), the account of whom is confusing and even contradictory. The author seems unaware that their true relations to the surrounding populations, and especially to the Roumanians, now settled in Moldavia and Wallachia, north of the Danube, have been placed in a clear light by the recent investigations, especially of Roesler and P. Hunfalvy. The volume concludes with a series of social sketches, in which the habits and customs, legends, traditions, religions, national aspirations of the people are ably dealt with. The second volume, whose publication was delayed by various causes till the present year, is perhaps the more important of the two. It contains a complete description of the provinces, their geographical features, climate, fauna, flora, natural and industrial resources, administration, present condition and future prospects. On all these points the author speaks with great authority, and brings together a vast amount of information at first hand. Although bitterly opposed to the Austrian occupation, he believes that the inhabitants will eventually acquiesce in a step which political considerations had in any case rendered inevitable. The area of the country is given at about 52,000 square kilometres, an estimate based on recent but still incomplete surveys. The population, given by the Salname of 1877 at 2,047,000, was reduced by the census of 1879 to 1,158,000, of whom 448,000 were Mohammedans, 496,000 Orthodox Greeks, 209,000 Roman Catholics of the Latin rite, and 3400 Jews. The work unfortunately appears without either map or index, for which two meagre tables of contents are poor compensation.

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