The Balkan Peninsula is the area of southern Europe bounded by the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea to the west, and the Black Sea and Aegean Sea to the east. It comprises Greece, the European portion of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia. It is named after the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. In the early 19th century the Balkan peninsula – or "the Balkans" for short – was largely part of the Ottoman Empire. The subsequent decline of that empire led to the breaking away of smaller independent states, giving rise to the term 'Balkanization'.
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