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Balkans, history on geographic

The Balkan Peninsula has many physical features, but there are three main ones, they are the fact that it is a peninsula, its mountains, and its rivers. Within the Balkan Peninsula there are a good majority of ethnicities. There will be a majority of instances that the geography has helped or hindered certain peoples in the Balkans history.

The mountains had a few of different effects on the early people living in the Balkan Peninsula. The mountains of this area, helped certain ethnic groups, and hurt others. The mountain made certain divisions among the land and caused the region to be split up into small units where distinct ethnic groups have been able to sustain themselves. These small units are not much bigger than the British Isles or the state of Texas, and homes a little over a dozen of prominent ethnic groups. The mountains are also considered a physical obstacle, because they obstruct regional combination, whether it be political, economic, or cultural. And the last effect it had on these people is that of the land. The land near the bottom of these mountains is a lot better then that of the top of it, so the groups that have been beaten in battle usually would take refuge up at the top, or it would be a punishment.

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The rivers in the Balkan Peninsula are basically short so there only use is from local inhabitants. If anything these rivers are a menace, because they cannot carry water traffic and they cut ravines which then in turn block travel along the coast. The one exception of this is the Danube river, which enters from the west, passes through the Hungarian plain, then flows to the south of the Slavic states, and finally exits out of Romania and into the Black sea on the east. Though this is a great help it also can also go the other way, due to the fact that in the summer the water becomes low and there are marshes that obstruct access to the rivers banks. This can slow trade and communication.

According to certain theories there were multiple Indo-European groups that invaded the Balkans by using and introducing horses. They had to use horses due to the terrain. During the Rome’s rule many different ethnic groups periodically invaded the Balkans. The ethnic groups such as the Slavs who arrived in the third century and conquered the Bulgar had time to develop their culture, customs, and religions due to the mountains, which isolated them from many other peoples of the area.
There are two main former empires that controlled the peninsula, the Byzantine, which was previously named Contantinople, and the Ottoman Empire. In the Byzantium empire large estates dominated agriculture. And due to heavy taxation many of these large estates were abandoned, the church then incorporated them. Later on during the Byzantine reign there were a series of wars with the Persians, which resulted in the Byzantines recovering Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. The eventual fall of this great empire was dues to many things, such as the gaining of the empires wealth and commerce by Italian traders, also their army, and political system wasn’t doing so good, and with this Venice took advantage and seized and plundered it.

The other main empire that controlled the Balkan Peninsula was the Ottoman Empire. The founder of this empire was Osman who was born in 1258, and died in 1324. The Ottoman Empire started with Osman conquering a small state in northwestern Anatolia, capturing the towns of Eskiehir, Bilecik, Yarhisar, and Yeniehir from the Byzantines. Though he was the founder of the Ottoman Empire, he wasn’t the conqueror of the Byzantines, which was left to Muhammad II. Born in 1432 and died in 1481, Muhammad captured the Byzantine City and made it his capital. He did not just do this blindly though; he made sure he had the word of Venice, and Hungary that they were neutral in this matter. At the empires height it reached from the Danube River and the Adriatic Sea to the Nile River and the Indian Sea in Asia, and Africa.

The geography was very important to many of the battles and wars fought in the Balkan Peninsula. The mountains and rivers had a great deal to do with the outcome of these. If there were mountains involved then the two battling groups had better have had a good army, and if the rivers, or seas were involved they should each have a good navy. Now if one of these didn’t have a good navy and or army they could pretty much say goodbye to their empire.


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