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The Balkan peninsula derives its name from the Turkish word for the Slavic toponym Stara Planina – the mountain range in Northern Bulgaria, to the south of the Danube.1 The first person to use the term Balkan Peninsula was the German geographer Zeune (1808), who replaced the former reference to the peninsula as “European Turkey” with Balkanhalbinsel. Over a hundred years later, the Serbian geographer Cvijiű supported this term, stating that there was une répugnance évidente ‘evident repulsion’ at the description of the Balkans as “Turkey in Europe” (cf. Cvijiű 1918:2). The name Balkan Peninsula was readily accepted since it was parallel to the names of the other two peninsulas in Southern Europe, the Pyrenean and the Apennine one, which were also named after mountain ranges.
KeywordsBalkan Peninsula Seventh Century Slavic Population Roman Province Greek Mainland
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