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Recently there has been much fighting in the former country of Yugoslavia involving all ethnicities and religious groups and without making a difference between military or civilians Diplomats have been hard at work to attempt to resolve the differences that led to conflict and bloodshed but it has proven to be a very difficult thing to do with extremely limited success To understand the situation it has to be realized that a big part of the problem lies in the geography of the region and its demography These factors have contributed to conflicts in the past and do so now Yugoslavia covers mountainous territory The backbone of the region is made up of the Balkans a mountain range that runs north-south Continental plate movement from the south has created an intricate landscape of plains valleys and mountains This led to intensive compartmentalization of the region As a result there were few low-level routes and those that existed became very important strategically Most notable are the Varda-Morava corridor which connected the Aegean Sea and the Danube and the Iron Gates of the Danube linking Central Europe and the Black Sea that controlled much of the trade between the Mediterranean and Central Europe since ancient times Most of the populations have lived separated from each other geographically and culturally developing very strong national and tribal allegiances This region is a frontier between Eastern and Western European civilizations and has also been influnced by Islam during the Turkish invasion The roots of the conflict in the Balkans go back hundreds of years Farther than recent events in the region indicate Dating back to Roman times this area was part of the Roman Empire It was here that the divide between Eastern and Western Roman Empires was made when it split under the Roman emperor Diocletian in AD 293 Along with the split the religions divided also into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox This line still divides Catholic Croatians
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