The Balkan Subregion
Around the decades of mid- nineteenth century, when Prussia, Bohemia, and Austria started on the road away from structural EastCentral Europe, history offered a compensation. The region began to expand southward and pulled the Balkans, southeastern "Europe," into its orbit.
The Balkan Peninsula's place was, until the nineteenth century, only geographically identified in southeastern Europe. Since the formation of Europe after the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the southern border of the West, Center, and East ended here for a thousand years. It was blocked first by the Byzantine Empire with its center in Constantinople, then by the Ottoman Sultanate when, at the end of the Middle Ages, Islamic Turks drove a wedge from the Middle East into the Balkan Peninsula, overthrew Byzantium, and established their empire.
The doors to Europe opened only after a long series of wars, which ranged from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries when Austrian and Russian armies drove the Turks back to Asia Minor. The independence of the Balkan kingdoms belongs to mod-