Interactive Map: Understanding the Dayton Accords

January 24, 2011

The nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina first emerged out of the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The country’s territory was home to three main ethnic groups — Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs, all of whom had existed in relative peace under the Yugoslav umbrella. But after Croatia and Serbia agitated towards independence, war exploded across the territory, fueled by simmering ethnic tensions. Some of the worst atrocities in European history since World War II were committed, such as the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica and the formation of notorious rape camps, the masterminds of which are just now being prosecuted in international courts.

From 1992 to 1995, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs each vied for control of the country and considered a total of four proposed peace plans, each of which was rejected by one faction or another. The Dayton Accords ended the war in 1995, with a boundary line drawn largely based on satellite data. Today Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs have largely migrated to different regions in the country along ethnic lines, weakening prospects of national unity.

Our interactive map attempts to explain this persistent tension by illustrating the shifting ethnic distributions within Bosnia and Herzegovina before, during and after the Dayton Accords.

You can also see a detailed regional map by clicking on the box labeled “Former Yugoslovia.”