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Bosnian and Hercegovinian Collections

This page provides an overview of the Bosnian and Hercegovinian Collections, illustrated by specific examples. We acquire material across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences


In the following text, codes which appear in square brackets after references ([C.38.e.40]) indicate British Library shelfmarks.

The British Library holdings covering Bosnia and Hercegovina include material written in Serbo-Croatian, Turkish and Hebrew languages. Books written in Turkish and Hebrew are in the Asian and African Collections. The Department of Western Manuscripts holds the original of the Firman of Selim Khan written in Church Slavonic and a copy of Pontifical (1706) written in Serbian Church Slavonic.

The beginning of literary activity in Bosnia and Hercegovina is linked with the name of Matija Divković, author of Nauk karstianski and Sto čudesa (1611) [C.38.e.40], who started a significant new era of the Bosnian Franciscan printed book in the vernacular (Bosančica).

The literary and cultural activities of the Bosnian Fransiscans and the Serbian authors reached their climax in the 19th century at the same time as the Illyrian movement. Their works were published outside Bosnia and Hercegovina in Zagreb, Belgrade, Osijek, etc. The following items held by the Library are representative of this period: Frano Jukić and Grga Martić's Narodne piesme bosanske and hercegovačke (Osijek, 1858) [], Grga Martić's Pjesnička djela (1888-93) [11586.c.18], Aleksa Šantić's Pjesme (1911) [], Jovan Dučić's Pesme (1908) [], and Vasa Pelagić's Slavenska unija i Trojna unija Evrope (1891) [X.989/3323(3)] and Istorija bosansko-hercegovačke bune (1953) [09136.m.2]. The collections contain many other works by Bosnian and Hercegovinian authors.

From 1945, the Library obtained a large proportion of materials from Bosnia and Hercegovina and special efforts were made to acquire academic publications, historical material, newspapers and material covering the arts. Particular attention has been paid to the acquisition of material covering the Balkan Crisis since 1990.

Recently, the Kur'an, translated into the Bosnian language by Enes Karić and published in Sarajevo in 1995, was donated to the Library.

Since 1990, the British Library has acquired material relating to the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Currently, the Library aims to acquire material from the geographical area of Bosnia and Hercegovina, regardless of its ethnic, religious or linguistic provenance. Similarly, material about Bosnia and Hercegovina will be treated evenhandedly, regardless of the author's origin or its place of publication.

Catalogues and printed guides

  • Explore the British Library
  • The Balkan crisis, 1990-: catalogue [Part 1], compiled by Sava Peić and Magda Szkuta [2719.k.2515]
  • The Balkan crisis, 1990-: catalogue [Part 2], compiled by Sadie Morgan-Cheshire and Magda Szkuta [2719.k.2515]
  • Cyrillic books printed before 1701 in British and Irish collections: a union catalogue, compiled by R. Cleminson, C. Thomas, D. Radoslavova, A. Voznesenskij (London: The British Library, 2000) [HLR011.440947]
  • Church Slavonic entries from the British Library General Catalogue [prepared by Brad Sabin Hill] (London: The British Library, 1992) [2725.g.1675]
  • Church Slavonic entries from the British Library General Catalogue [prepared by Brad Sabin Hill] (London: The British Library, 1992) [2725.g.1675]

Other resources

Bosnian and Hercegovinian material elsewhere in the British Library


Milan Grba, Lead Curator, South-East European Studies
European Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7590