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Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Bosnian Collections in the Library of Congress

Geography and Maps

Central Intelligence Agency. Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina June 1997. Library of Congress Geography and Map Reading Room.

The country of Bosnia and Herzegovina is well represented in the Geography & Map Reading Room, which has hundreds of single and set maps, as well as atlases, showing Bosnia or former Yugoslavia. Most are filed under Yugoslavia, with fewer than 100 items specifically about Bosnia. Many maps of Bosnia are cataloged individually and can be identified using the Library of Congress online catalog. In addition, about 40 maps from 1920 through 1970 are discoverable with collection level records such as the one below. Bosnia and Herzegovina is depicted in single maps showing the Balkan Peninsula, of which there are over four hundred in the Geography & Map collection, half of which are cataloged individually and the other half cataloged at the collection level. Maps depicting Austro-Hungary or maps filed under Turkey in Europe may also be relevant to the study of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Austrian or Ottoman periods. All of the maps are available in the Geography and Map Reading Room and you will need to ask for assistance to view them.

Interesting examples include road maps, school atlases, a 1997 map of radio and television stations in the country, a World War II era military geological map of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian-Montenegrin border produced by the Department of Technical Military Geology of the German Waffen-SS - Wehrgeologische Karte des bosnisch-herzegowinisch-montenegrischen Grenzgebietes, a 2004 map from the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre showing locations of land mines, and a number of maps from the Central Intelligence Agency from the 1990s dealing with different aspects of the Yugoslav War and the subsequent partition of the country.

Possibly the oldest relevant item is Martin Waldseemüller's 1516 Carta marina. Plate Two of this map shows the Balkans and identifies several towns now located in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Suonic (Zvornik) and Jesero (Jajce). Bossina, the Roman name for Bosnia, is named in a Ptolemaic map of the Balkan Peninsula, from the 1541 Vienna edition of Tabula noua Graeciae, Sclauoniae, et Bulgariae. Geographia [New Map of the Greeks, Slavs, and Bulgarians. Geography]. A lovely map from the early 19th-century is Repertorium locorum objectorumque in XII. tabulis Mappae regnorum Hungariae, Slavoniae, Croatiae, et Confiniorum Militarium by János Lipszky, (1766-1826). This first complete map of the Hungarian Empire, which is still valued by researchers today for its accuracy and gazetteer, covers territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For Bosnia as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Library has digitized Spezialkarte der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, a series of maps prepared by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy's Militärgeographisches Institut beginning around 1875, and issued in later editions up through the 1940s. In total the set contains over 1,000 maps in multiple editions. Use the graphic index following the detailed example in the Austro Hungarian section of Cartographic Resources for Genealogical Research: Eastern Europe and Russia to identify the geographic location of interest. The digitized maps are available in the manifest. Let this map of Vlasenica and Srebrenica serve as an example of Bosnian content from this series. The set is complicated, so feel free to ask questions of the specialists in the Geography and Map Reading Room.

About the Geography and Map Division

The Geography and Map Division (G&M) has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5.5 million maps, 100,000 atlases, 8,000 reference works, over 5000 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, over 130,000 microfiche/film, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats.

Schulz map from 1788
Carl Schütz, cartographer. Karte der Königreiche Bosnien, Serbien, Kroatien und Slavonien. 1788. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.