Two associated provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Europe until the end of the Russo-Turkish War in 1878. A postal service had operated since the 1850s and Turkish stamps were used, so collectors seek out postal markings from this period. During the Austrian occupation after 1878 military posts were in operation and in January 1879 a limited civilian service was introduced. At this time the stamps of Austria and Hungary were on sale but these were withdrawn when the stamps for the provinces were issued in July 1879 and are considered to be the first postage stamps. Bosnia-Herzegovina was annexed by Austria-Hungary on 6 October 1908. First stamps under the new regime were issued on 18 October 1910. At the end of WWI and with the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bosnia-Herzegovina became part of the kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
At the end of WW2, Bosnia-Herzegovina came under Communist rule as part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This Federation collapsed in 1991 when Croatia and Slovenia became independent and Bosnia-Herzegovina issued a declaration of sovereignty in October 1991. Stamps were issued in 1992 by the Republika SRPSKA (Serb administration) and in 1993 by the Sarajevo Government and also the Croatian Posts (Croat admin.) and also the Bosnia Herzegovina administration in 1997.
This complex web of stamp issues with interesting areas of specialization in the earlier periods and of the many beautiful stamps issued against the backdrop of one of modern Europe’s most lethal conflicts makes this a fascinating area to collect. We heartily recommend the extensive stamp listing in Stanley Gibbons Part 3 Balkans catalogue, also those in the Michel Vol. 3 Sud-Europa catalogue.