The Balkan Landscape The word "Balkan" comes from Turkish: it means mountain and has been applied to the area since the early 19th century. The Ottoman Turks invaded the region at the end of the 14th century and the Turkish rule lasted for some 500 years. The Austro-Hungarian empire grew stronger in the north and loosened the grip of the Turks at the end of the 17th century. A major redefinition of the Balkan political boundaries was enacted by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. Serbia, Montenegro and Romania became independent, and the principality of Bulgaria was created. Slovenia, Croatia stayed under the rule of Austria-Hungary which also took control of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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