The Charter of the Bosnian Ban Kulin was written on August 29, 1189 on Old Bosnian language and in Bosnian letter – the Bosnian Cyrillic. This document is not only the oldest preserved Bosnian state document found so far, but it is also the oldest state document of all nations and states of the South Slavs.
Charter of Kulin Ban is the first known diplomatic document written in a domestic language and as such it deserves the attention of both linguists and historians, as well as all citizens of BiH. Its value for the Bosnian medieval history is immeasurable. That is the first known document issued by one Bosnian ruler to the ruler – prince of another state.
The Charter has multiple significance: for the history of the Bosnian statehood and for the history of Bosnian language. Regarding the first, it can be said that the Charter of Kulin Ban is the “birth certificate” of the Bosnian statehood. From its content it is easy to notice the fact that Bosnia had an arranged state and institution of a sovereign ruler already in the 12th century, although there are evidence of this that date back to the 10th century as well.
Many historians, geographers, political scientists and others from the surrounding countries have tried to dispute that through history. Some even included the Charter of Kulin Ban among the monuments for their own national-linguistic history, although it clearly begins with the words “the Ban of Bosnia”. Moreover, from the Charter it can be concluded that Bosnia had friendly relations with Dubrovnik at the time and those relations were maintained through the coming centuries, as well as that trade had already been developed at the entire territory of the former Bosnian state.
The Charter was preserved in three copies in Dubrovnik. Two copies are still there and the third copy, which was stolen in the 19th century, is now owned by the Russian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Saint Petersburg. Many people think that it is the original of the Charter. BiH sent a request to Russia, demanding their copy of the Charter. Russia rejected the request because they claim that the Charter of Kulin Ban, as the second oldest document of the Slavs, equally belongs to their history.