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One of the youngest nations of Europe Yugoslavia was created after World War I as a homeland for several different rival ethnic groups The country was put together mostly from remnants of the collapsed Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary Demands for self-determination by Slovenes Croats Serbs and others were ignored Yugoslavia thus became an uneasy association of peoples conditioned by centuries of ethnic and religious hatreds World War II aggravated these rivalries but Communist dictatorship after the war controlled them for 45 years When the Communist system failed the old rivalries reasserted themselves and in the early 1990s the nation was rent by secessionist movements and civil war Within several years these conflicts had drastically altered the size of the country As it existed in 1990 Yugoslavia was bounded on the north by Austria and Hungary on the northeast by Romania on the east by Bulgaria on the south by Greece and on the west by Albania the Adriatic Sea and Italy It was 600 miles from north to south and 250 miles from west to east at its widest part Its total area was 98766 square miles Three years later the countrys area had been reduced by 60 percent and its population of 23 million cut by more than half The provinces of Slovenia Croatia Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had seceded leaving Serbia and Montenegro as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia The description below covers Yugoslavia as it existed prior to disintegration Yugoslavia has a mountainous terrain The northwestern area consists of the Karawanken and Julian alps in Slovenia The latter range contains Mount Triglav at 9396 feet The Dinaric Alps occupy much of the west with peaks reaching more than 8000 feet To the south the Sar Mountains and adjacent ranges belong to the Rhodope massif which extends southward into Greece The major area of flatland lies in the northeast and is part if the large Mid-Danube or Pannonian Plain Along
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