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Bosnia and Herzegovina is a region that traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age, during and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations.Culturally, politically, and socially, the country has a rich history, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries.Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were also notable.Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears that the region was populated by a number of different people speaking distinct languages.The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland.According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could derive from Illyrian *"Bass-an-as"), which would derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh"—meaning "the running water".Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in 229 BC, but Rome did not complete its annexation of the region until AD 9.It was precisely in modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina that Rome fought one of the most difficult battles in its history since the Punic Wars, as described by the Roman historian Suetonius.
In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland.
Following the split of the Empire between 337 and 395 AD, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire.
Some claim that the region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455 AD.
In the 12th century the Banate of Bosnia was established, which evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries.
The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country.