|Conventional Long Name:||Kosovo|
|Map Caption2:||Kosovo physical map|
|Ethnic Groups:||92% Albanians|
8% Serbs, Bosniaks, Gorani, Roma, Turks, Ashkali and Balkan Egyptians
|Ethnic Groups Year:||2008|
|Area Magnitude:||1 E10|
|Area Sq Mi:||4,212|
|Population Census Year:||2011|
|Population Density Km2:||159|
|Population Density Sq Mi:||412|
|Gdp Ppp Year:||2011|
|Gdp Ppp:||$12.777 billion|
|Gdp Ppp Per Capita:||$6,600–7,369|
|Gdp Nominal Year:||2010|
|Gdp Nominal:||$5.601 billion|
|Gdp Nominal Per Capita:||$3,103|
|Currency:||Euro (€); Serbian Dinar|
|Currency Code:||EUR; RSD|
|Time Zone Dst:||CEST|
|Utc Offset Dst:||+2|
|Footnote1:||Officially +381; some mobile phone providers use +377 (Monaco) or +386 (Slovenia) instead.|
Kosovo (; Albanian: Kosovë, Kosova; Косово or Косово и Метохија or Космет, ''Kosovo'' or ''Kosovo i Metohija'' or ''Kosmet'') is a region in southeastern Europe. In antiquity, it was known as the independent kingdom, and later Roman province of Dardania. Part of the medieval Serbia, it was then conquered by the Ottoman Empire, later incorporated into Serbia after the First Balkan War and before the constitution of Yugoslavia, later still it became the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (Serbian: Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija) within Serbia (Serbia then being one of the constituent republics of Yugoslavia). Long-term severe ethnic tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb populations have left Kosovo ethnically divided, resulting in inter-ethnic violence, including the Kosovo War of 1999. Following the Kosovo War, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) relinquished governance of this territory, whose governance was taken over by the United Nations, Kosovo remained legally the sovereign territory of the FRY after the transfer of authority. The partially recognised Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës; Serbian: Република Косово, Republika Kosovo), a self-declared independent state, has de facto control over most of the territory,   while North Kosovo, the largest Kosovo Serb enclave, is under the control of institutions of the Republic of Serbia.     Serbia does not recognise the unilateral secession of Kosovo and considers it a UN-governed entity within its sovereign territory.
Kosovo is landlocked and borders the Republic of Macedonia to the south, Albania to the west and Montenegro to the northwest. The remaining frontier belt is with the Central Serbian region which is the source of international dispute. The largest city and the capital of Kosovo is Pristina (alternatively spelled Prishtina or Priština), while other cities include Peć (Albanian: Peja), Prizren, Đakovica (Gjakova), and Kosovska Mitrovica (Mitrovica). Nominally, the name of Kosovo has come to represent a number of different entities over the centuries and its borders have subsequently altered. There have also been periods when no political entity has existed with the name of Kosovo. Today's outline dates back to 1946.
During classical antiquity, the territory roughly corresponding to present-day Kosovo was part of several tribal alliances, including that formed by the Dardani. Upon conquest, the Romans dissolved existing tribal alliances and re-integrated communities centred on Roman civitates as part of the Roman province of Moesia Superior. Subdivisions in Late Roman times created the region of "Dardania". After the collapse of Roman control, the region was contested between Avars, Sklavenes and Byzantines, and later between the Byzantines, Bulgarians and Serbs.
The name and the region Kosovo first appears as part of a newly created region within an expanded Serbian medieval state, and soon became its ecclesiastical and secular centre; the region was subsequently enshrined by Serbs as the cradle of their national identity.    Following the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, it became part of the Ottoman Empire, while some parts of it remained in the Albanian Principality of Dukagjini, until the middle 15th century. During the Ottoman period the region came into close contact with the Ottoman culture. Islam was introduced to the population. During the late 19th century, Kosovo was the centre of the Albanian national awakening and the battlefield of the Albanian revolts of 1843–44, 1910 and 1912. In 1912, the Ottoman province was divided between Montenegro and Serbia, both of which became part of Yugoslavia in 1918. During World War II, the majority of Kosovo was part of Italian-occupied Albania, followed by a Nazi German Occupation before becoming an autonomous province of the SR Serbia under the 1946 Yugoslav Constitution.
After the Kosovo War and the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the territory came under the interim administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), most of whose roles were assumed by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in December 2008. In February 2008 individual members of the Assembly of Kosovo (acting in personal capacity and not binding the Assembly itself) declared Kosovo's independence as the Republic of Kosovo. Its independence is recognised by and the Republic of China (Taiwan). On 8 October 2008, upon request of Serbia, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the issue of Kosovo's declaration of independence. On 22 July 2010, the ICJ ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate international law, which its president said contains no "prohibitions on declarations of independence".
See main article: Names of Kosovo. Kosovo (Serbian: Косово,) is the Serbian neuter possessive adjective of kos (кос) "blackbird", an ellipsis for Kosovo Polje, 'blackbird field', the site of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo Field. The name of the field was applied to an Ottoman province created in 1864.
The region currently known as "Kosovo" became an administrative region in 1946, as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. In 1974, the compositional "Kosovo and Metohija" was reduced to simple "Kosovo" in the name of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, but in 1990 was renamed back to Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.
The entire region is commonly referred to in English simply as Kosovo and in Albanian as Albanian: Kosova (definite form,) or Albanian: Kosovë ("indefinite" form,). In Serbia, a distinction is made between the eastern and western areas; the term Serbian: Kosovo (Serbian: Косово) is used for the eastern part, while the western part is called Metohija (Serbian: Метохија).
See main article: History of Kosovo.
See also: 20th century history of Kosovo. Kosovo's current status is the result of the turmoil of the breakup of Yugoslavia, particularly the Kosovo War of 1998 to 1999, but it is suffused with issues dating back to the rise of nationalism in the Balkans during the last part of Ottoman rule in the 19th century. The Kosovo Albanians claim that the Illyrians, whom they claim as their direct ancestors, were the majority population in the region, and continued to be so throughout history despite failing to create any 'national institutions' in Kosovo until modern times and despite encroachments on their native territories. The Serbians deny this claim.  Moreoever, they argue that, even if there is some linguistic connection between the pre-Slavic population of "Dardania" and modern Albanians, this cannot be used to justify modern territorial aspirations since it relies on territorial claims from pre-Migration Age Europe, at a time where there were no states or nations as we know them today. Serbian claims to Kosovo extend even farther than the migrations dated to c. 6–7th century, on the account of admixture with preexisting Illyrians and Roman populations and their preservation of certain of their customs. Moreover, in line with the consensus historical viewpoint, they see modern Albanians to have emerged in the Middle Ages after significant admixture with various other ethno-linguistic groups, including Slavs. Finally, Serbs claim that Kosovo very rapidly became the 'heart of Serbia' in the Middle Ages, and revere the Battle of Kosovo, eponymous with the Kosovo region.
During antiquity, the area which now makes up Kosovo was inhabited by various tribal ethnes, who were liable to move, englarge, fuse and fissure with neighbouring groups. As such, it is difficult to locate any such group with precision. The Dardani, whose exact ethno-linguistic affilitation is difficult to determine, were a prominent group in the region during the late Hellenistic and early Roman eras.  
The area was then conquered by Rome in the 160s BC, and incorporated into the Roman province of Illyricum in 59 BC. Subsequently, it became part of Moesia Superior in AD 87. The region was exposed to an increasing number of 'barbarian' raids from the fourth century AD onwards, culminating with the so-called Slavic migrations of the 6th to 7th centuries. Archaeologically, the early Middle Ages represent a hiatus in the material record, and whatever was left of the native provincial population fused with the Sklavene colonists.
The subsequent political and demographic history of Kosovo is not known with absolute certainty until c. 13th century AD. Archaeological findings suggest that there was steady population recovery and progression of the Slavic culture seen elsewhere throughout the Balkans. The region was absorbed into the Bulgarian Empire in the 850s, where Christianity and a Byzantine-Slavic culture was cemented in the region. It was re-taken by the Byzantines after 1018, and became part of the newly established Theme of Bulgaria. As the centre of Slavic resistance to Constantinople in the region, the region often switched between Serbian and Bulgarian rule on one hand and Byzantine on the other until the Serb principality of Rascia conquered it definitively by the end of the 12th century. An insight into the region is provided by the Byzantine historian-princess, Anna Comnena, who wrote of "Serbs" being the main inhabitants of the region (referring to it as "eastern Dalmatia" and the "former Moesia Superior"). The earliest references to an Albanian population is derived from late eleventh century Byzantine chroniclers, who consistently located the Arber around the hinterland districts of Dyrrachium, modern Durrës.
The zenith of Serbian power was reached in 1346, with the formation of the Serbian Empire. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Kosovo became a political and spiritual centre of the Serbian Kingdom. In the late 13th century, the seat of the Serbian Archbishopric was moved to Pec, and rulers centred themselves between Prizren and Skopje, during which time thousands of Christian monasteries and feudal-style forts and castles were erected. When the Serbian Empire fragmented into a conglomeration of principalities in 1371, Kosovo became the hereditary land of the House of Branković. In the late 14th and the 15th century parts of Kosovo, the easternmost area of which was located near Pristina, were part of the Principality of Dukagjini, which was later incorporated an anti-Ottoman federation of all Albanian principalities, the League of Lezhë.
In the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, Ottoman forces defeated a coalition of Serbs, Albanians, and Bosnians led by the Tsar Lazar Hrebeljanović.  Soon after, parts of Serbia accepted Turkish vassalage and Lazar's daughter was married to the Sultan to seal the peace.By 1455, it was finally and fully conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
See main article: History of Ottoman Kosovo.
Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1455 to 1912, at first as part of the eyalet of Rumelia, and from 1864 as a separate province (vilayet). During this time, Islam was introduced to the population. The Vilayet of Kosovo was an area much larger than today's Kosovo; it included all today's Kosovo territory, sections of the Sandžak region cutting into present-day Central Serbia and Montenegro along with the Kukës municipality, the surrounding region in present-day northern Albania and also parts of north-western Macedonia with the city of Skopje (then Üsküp), as its capital. Between 1881 and 1912 (its final phase), it was internally expanded to include other regions of present-day Republic of Macedonia, including larger urban settlements such as Štip (İştip), Kumanovo (Kumanova) and Kratovo (Kratova).
The Serbian position is that archives reveal an overwhelming Serbian demographic majority in Kosovo, which was reversed by the end of Ottoman rule, as Banac summarised: "Ottoman raids, plunder, slaving forays, as well as the general devastation caused by constant wars uprooted large numbers of Serbs even before the Great Serb Migration". This was followed by the transplantation of Albanian pastoralists from the highlands of Albania to the fertile valleys of Kosovo. However, Anscombe highlights that the most common archives – those derived from the Ottomans – do not clarify unequivocally the 'ethnic' character of the region's inhabitants, because the Ottomans classified their subjects along religious lines (millets). Anscombe suggests that records show that the demography of Kosovo was very much mixed and that both Serbian and Albanian ethnic groups dominated. Moreover, they seem to indicate more cases of Albanians rebelling than any other ethnicity in the region. However, mainstream historiography clarifies that "there is no conclusive evidence that a people unambiguously identifiable as "Albanian" constituted the majority of the population in Kosovo prior to the Ottoman occupation". Even the relatively "pro-Albanian" history written by Noel Malcolm concedes that "the region probably had a predominantly Orthodox Christian and Slavic population from the eight to the mid-nineteenth centuries". Allowing for the possibility of some connection between the regions inhabitants prior to successive Slavic/ Serbian inflows, the Albanians who 'returned' to Kosovo in modern times were certainly not the same people, having interbred extensively with Vlachs, Slavs, Greeks and Turks. Whilst there is little evidence of ethnic Albanian institutional presence in medieval Kosovo, this might be because they were often baptised into Orthodox Christianity and subjected to a process of "Serbianisation". Prior to Islamification, the Albanians might have existed as transhumance pastoralists inhabiting Balkan highland areas, like the Vlachs, engaging in a symbiotic existence with the predominantly agricultural Slavs who inhabited the valleys and plains.
Kosovo, like Serbia, was occupied by Austrian forces during the Great War of 1683–1699, but the Ottomans re-established their rule of the region. Such acts of assistance by the Austrian Empire (then arch-rivals of the Ottoman Empire), or Russia, were always abortive or temporary at best. In 1690, the Serbian Patriarch of Peć Arsenije III apparently led a group of 37, 000 families from Kosovo to the Christian north, although, this might have been around 30 – 40, 0000 individuals. In 1766, the Ottomans abolished the Patriarchate of Peć and the position of Christians in Kosovo further deteriorated, including full imposition of jizya (taxation of non-Muslims).
Although initially stout opponents of the advancing Turks, Albanian chiefs ultimately came to accept the Ottomans as sovereigns. The resulting alliance facilitated the mass conversion of Albanians to Islam. Given that the Ottoman Empire's subjects were divided along religious (rather than ethnic) lines, Islamicisation greatly elevated the status of Albanian chiefs. Prior to this, they were organised along simple tribal lines, living in the mountainous areas of modern Albania (from Kruje to the Sar range). Soon, they expanded into a depopulated Kosovo, as well as northwestern Macedonia, although some might have been autochthonous to the region.  However, Banac favours the idea that the main settlers of the time were Vlachs. As Hupchik states, "Albanians had little cause of unrest" and "if anything, grew important in Ottoman internal affairs", and sometimes persecuted Christians harshly on behalf of their Turkish masters. According to the Serbian viewpoint, the most numerous Albanian migrations occurred during the eighteenth century. These Albanians were almost all of the Muslim faith, and their settlement was defended by the Ottomans, amounting to a mass-colonisation of Kosovo by Albanians and the genocide of Serbian inhabitants. According to the Albanian perspective, this was merely a consolidation of previously held territory.
In the 19th century, there was an awakening of ethnic nationalism throughout the Balkans. This systematised the underlying ethnic tensions into a broader struggle of Christian Serbs against Muslim Albanians. The ethnic Albanian nationalism movement was centred in Kosovo. In 1878 the League of Prizren (Albanian: Lidhja e Prizrenit) was formed. This was a political organisation which aimed to unify all the Albanians of the Ottoman Empire in a common struggle for autonomy and greater cultural rights, although they generally desired the continuation of the Ottoman Empire. The League was dis-established in 1881 but nevertheless enabled the awakening of a national identity amongst Albanians. It would be clear that Albanian ambitions were at odds with Serbian aims. The Kingdom of Serbia wished to incorporate this land formerly within its empire.
See main article: 20th century history of Kosovo.
Kosovo during the 20th century history has largely been characterised by wars and major population exchanges. The region formed a part of numerous entities, some internationally recognised, others not.
See main article: Balkan Wars.
The Young Turk movement took control of the Ottoman Empire after a coup in 1912 which disposed of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The movement supported a centralised form of government and opposed any sort of autonomy desired by the various nationalities of the Ottoman Empire. An allegiance to Ottomanism was promoted instead. An Albanian uprising in 1912 exposed the empire's northern territories in Kosovo and Novi Pazar, which led to an invasion by the Kingdom of Montenegro. The Ottomans suffered a serious defeat at the hands of Albanians in 1912, culminating in the Ottoman loss of most of its Albanian-inhabited lands. The Albanians threatened to march all the way to Salonika and reimpose Abdul Hamid.
A wave of Albanians in the Ottoman army ranks also deserted during this period, refusing to fight their own kin. Two months later in September of the same year, a joint Balkan force made up of Serbian, Montenegrin, Bulgarian and Greek forces drove the Ottomans out of most of their European possessions.
The rise of nationalism unfortunately hampered relations between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo, due to influence from Russians, Austrians and Ottomans. Kosovo's status within Serbia was finalised the following year at the Treaty of London. Soon, there were concerted Serbian colonisation efforts in Kosovo during various periods between Serbia's 1912 takeover of the province and World War II. So the population of Serbs in Kosovo fell after World War II, but it had increased considerably before then.
An exodus of the local Albanian population occurred. Serbian authorities promoted creating new Serb settlements in Kosovo as well as the assimilation of Albanians into Serbian society. Numerous colonist Serb families moved into Kosovo, equalising the demographic balance between Albanians and Serbs.
See also: Colonisation of Kosovo.
In the winter of 1915–16, during World War I, Kosovo saw the retreat of the Serbian army as Kosovo was occupied by Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary.In 1918, the Serbian Army pushed the Central Powers out of Kosovo. After World War I ended, the Monarchy was then transformed into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians on 1 December 1918.
Kosovo was split into four counties, three being a part of Serbia (Zvečan, Kosovo and southern Metohija) and one of Montenegro (northern Metohija). However, the new administration system since 26 April 1922 split Kosovo among three Areas of the Kingdom: Kosovo, Raška and Zeta. In 1929, the Kingdom was transformed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the territories of Kosovo were reorganised among the Banate of Zeta, the Banate of Morava and the Banate of Vardar.
In order to change the ethnic composition of Kosovo, between 1912 and 1941 a large-scale Serbian re-colonisation of Kosovo was undertaken by the Belgrade government. Meanwhile, Kosovar Albanians' right to receive education in their own language was denied alongside other non-Slavic or unrecognised Slavic nations of Yugoslavia, as the kingdom only recognised the Slavic Croat, Serb, and Slovene nations as constituent nations of Yugoslavia, while other Slavs had to identify as one of the three official Slavic nations while non-Slav nations were only deemed as minorities.
Albanians and other Muslims were forced to emigrate, mainly with the land reform which struck Albanian landowners in 1919, but also with direct violent measures.  In 1935 and 1938 two agreements between the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Turkey were signed on the expatriation of 240,000 Albanians to Turkey, which was not completed because of the outbreak of World War II.
In 1941, Kosovo and Yugoslavia became involved in World War II after the Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia in 1941. Large parts of Kosovo became a part of Italian-controlled Albania, other parts went to Bulgaria and German-occupied Military Administration of Serbia. The Italian Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini with its expansionist and irredentist aims on both Albania and Yugoslavia exploited the nationalist sentiment amongst Albanians to gain favour of the Albanian population for the Italian-run protectorate which ruled Albania, and thus encouraged the establishment of a Greater Albania which included large portions of Kosovo which was achieved in the Second World War.
At the 1944 wartime Bujan conference the Kosovar communist resistance leaders passed a resolution on the postwar assignment of Kosovo to Albania, but their opinion was later disregarded. After numerous uprisings of Partisans led by Fadil Hoxha, Kosovo was liberated after 1944 with the help of the Albanian partisans of the Comintern and became a province of Serbia within the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia.
See main article: Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (1946-1974) and Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo.
The province as in its outline today first took shape in 1945 as the Autonomous Kosovo-Metohian Area. Until World War II, the only entity bearing the name of Kosovo had been a political unit carved from the former vilayet which bore no special significance to its internal population. In the Ottoman Empire (which previously controlled the territory), it had been a vilayet with its borders having been revised on several occasions. When the Ottoman province had last existed, it included areas which were by now either ceded to Albania, or found themselves within the newly created Yugoslav republics of Montenegro, or Macedonia (including its previous capital, Skopje) with another part in the Sandžak region of Central Serbia.
Tensions between ethnic Albanians and the Yugoslav government were significant, not only due to national tensions but also due to political ideological concerns, especially regarding relations with neighbouring Albania. Harsh repressive measures were imposed on Kosovo Albanians due to suspicions that they there were Kosovo Albanian sympathisers of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha of Albania. In 1956, a show trial in Pristina was held in which multiple Albanian Communists of Kosovo were convicted of being infiltrators from Albania and were given long prison sentences. High-ranking Serbian communist official Aleksandar Ranković sought to secure the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and gave them dominance in Kosovo's nomenklatura.
Islam in Kosovo at this time was repressed and both Albanians and Muslim Slavs were encouraged to declare themselves to be Turkish and emigrate to Turkey. At the same time Serbs and Montenegrins dominated the government, security forces, and industrial employment in Kosovo. Albanians resented these conditions and protested against them in the late 1960s, accusing the actions taken by authorities in Kosovo as being colonialist, as well as demanding that Kosovo be made a republic, or declaring support for Albania.
After the ouster of Ranković in 1966, the agenda of pro-decentralisation reformers in Yugoslavia, especially from Slovenia and Croatia succeeded in the late 1960s in attaining substantial decentralisation of powers, creating substantial autonomy in Kosovo and Vojvodina, and recognising a Muslim Yugoslav nationality. As a result of these reforms, there was a massive overhaul of Kosovo's nomenklatura and police, that shifted from being Serb-dominated to ethnic Albanian-dominated through firing Serbs in large scale. Further concessions were made to the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo in response to unrest, including the creation of the University of Pristina as an Albanian language institution. These changes created widespread fear amongst Serbs that they were being made second-class citizens in Yugoslavia by these changes. In the 1974 Constitution of Yugoslavia, Kosovo was granted major autonomy, allowing it to have its own administration, assembly, and judiciary; as well as having a membership in the collective presidency and the Yugoslav parliament, in which it held veto power.
In the aftermath of the 1974 constitution, concerns over the rise of Albanian nationalism in Kosovo rose with the widespread celebrations in 1978 of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the League of Prizren. Albanians felt that their status as a "minority" in Yugoslavia had made them second-class citizens in comparison with the "nations" of Yugoslavia and demanded that Kosovo be a constituent republic, alongside the other republics of Yugoslavia. Protests by Albanians in 1981 over the status of Kosovo resulted in Yugoslav territorial defence units being brought into Kosovo and a state of emergency being declared resulting in violence and the protests being crushed. In the aftermath of the 1981 protests, purges took place in the Communist Party, and rights that had been recently granted to Albanians were rescinded – including ending the provision of Albanian professors and Albanian language textbooks in the education system.
Due to very high birth rates, the number of Albanians increased from 75% to over 90%. In contrast, the number of Serbs barely increased, and in fact dropped from 15% to 8% of the total population, since many Serbs departed from Kosovo as a response to the tight economic climate and increased incidents of alleged harassment from their Albanian neighbours. While there was tension, charges of "genocide" and planned harassments have been debunked as an excuse to revoke Kosovo's autonomy. For example in 1986 the Serbian Orthodox Church published an official claim that Kosovo Serbs were being subjected to an Albanian program of 'Genocide'.
Even though they were disproved by police statistics, they received wide play in the Serbian press and that led to further ethnic problems and eventual removal of Kosovo's status. Beginning in March 1981, Kosovar Albanian students of the University of Pristina organised protests seeking that Kosovo become a republic within Yugoslavia along with human rights. The protests were brutally suppressed by the police and army, with many protesters arrested. During the 1980s, ethnic tensions continued with frequent violent outbreaks against Yugoslav state authorities resulting in a further increase in emigration of Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic groups.  The Yugoslav leadership tried to suppress protests of Kosovo Serbs seeking protection from ethnic discrimination and violence.
See main article: Disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Inter-ethnic tensions continued to worsen in Kosovo throughout the 1980s.
The 1986 Memorandum of the Serbian Academy warned that Yugoslavia was suffering from ethnic strife and the disintegration of the Yugoslav economy into separate economic sectors and territories, which was transforming the federal state into a loose confederation. In February 1989 in protest the Trepca miners began a hunger strike before the official abolition of the autonomy.
On 28 June 1989, Slobodan Milošević delivered the Gazimestan speech in front of a large number of Serb citizens at the main celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. Many think that this speech helped Milošević consolidate his authority in Serbia. In 1989, Milošević, employing a mix of intimidation and political manoeuvring, drastically reduced Kosovo's special autonomous status within Serbia and started cultural oppression of the ethnic Albanian population. Kosovo Albanians responded with a non-violent separatist movement, employing widespread civil disobedience and creation of parallel structures in education, medical care, and taxation, with the ultimate goal of achieving the independence of Kosovo.
On July 2, 1990, the self declared Kosovo parliament declared Kosovo a republic in Yugoslavia and on 22 September 1991 declared Kosovo an independent country, the Republic of Kosova. In May 1992, Ibrahim Rugova was elected president. During its lifetime, the Republic of Kosova was only recognised by Albania; it was formally disbanded in 2000, after the Kosovo War, when its institutions were replaced by the Joint Interim Administrative Structure established by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
See main article: Kosovo War.
In 1995 the Dayton Agreement ended the Bosnian War, drawing considerable international attention. However, despite the hopes of Kosovar Albanians, the situation in Kosovo remained largely unaddressed by the international community, and by 1996 the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian guerilla group, had prevailed over the non-violent resistance movement and had started offering armed resistance to Serbian and Yugoslav security forces, resulting in early stages of the Kosovo War. 
By 1998, as the violence had worsened and displaced scores of Albanians, Western interest had increased. The Serbian authorities were compelled to sign a ceasefire and partial retreat, monitored by OSCE observers according to an agreement negotiated by Richard Holbrooke. However, the ceasefire did not hold and fighting resumed in December 1998. The Račak massacre in January 1999 in particular brought new international attention to the conflict. Within weeks, a multilateral international conference was convened and by March had prepared a draft agreement known as the Rambouillet Accords, calling for restoration of Kosovo's autonomy and deployment of NATO peacekeeping forces. The Serbian party found the terms unacceptable and refused to sign the draft.
NATO intervened by bombing Yugoslavia between 24 March and 10 June 1999, aiming to force Milošević to withdraw his forces from Kosovo. This military action was not authorised by the Security Council of the United Nations and was therefore contrary to the provisions of the United Nations Charter. Combined with continued skirmishes between Albanian guerrillas and Yugoslav forces the conflict resulted in a further massive displacement of population in Kosovo.
During the conflict, roughly a million ethnic Albanians fled or were forcefully driven from Kosovo. Altogether, more than 11,000 deaths have been reported to Carla Del Ponte by her prosecutors. Some 3,000 people are still missing, of which 2,500 are Albanian, 400 Serbs and 100 Roma. Ultimately by June, Milošević had agreed to a foreign military presence within Kosovo and withdrawal of his troops.
Since May 1999, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has prosecuted crimes committed during the Kosovo War. Nine Serbian and Yugoslavian commanders have been indicted so far for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war in Kosovo in 1999: Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević, Serbian President Milan Milutinović, Yugoslavian Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Šainović, Yugoslavian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanić, Serbian Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljković, Gen. Nebojša Pavković, Gen. Vladimir Lazarević, Deputy Interior Minister of Serbia Vlastimir Đorđević and Chief of the Interior for Kosovo Sreten Lukić. Stojiljković killed himself while at large in 2002 and Milošević died in custody during the trial in 2006. No final judgement concerning the other defendants has been produced so far. The indictment against the nine has alleged that they directed, encouraged or supported a campaign of terror and violence directed at Kosovo Albanian civilians and aimed at the expulsion of a substantial portion of them from Kosovo. It has been alleged that about 800,000 Albanians were expelled as a result. In particular, in the last indictment as of June 2006, the accused were charged with murder of 919 identified Kosovo Albanian civilians aged from one to 93, both male and female.   
Six KLA commanders were indicted in two cases: Fatmir Limaj, Isak Musliu and Haradin Bala, as well as Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj. They were charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war in Kosovo in 1998, consisting in persecutions, cruel treatment, torture, murders and rape of several dozens of the local Serbs, Albanians and other civilians perceived unloyal to the KLA. In particular, Limaj, Musliu and Bala were accused of murder of 22 identified detainees at or near the Lapušnik Prison Camp. In 2005 Limaj and Musliu were found not guilty on all charges, Bala was found guilty of persecutions, cruel treatment, murders and rape and sentenced to 13 years. The appeal chamber affirmed the judgements in 2007. In 2008 Ramush Haradinaj and Idriz Balaj were acquitted, whereas Lahi Brahimaj was found guilty of cruel treatment and torture and sentenced to six years. Notices of appeal are currently being considered.  
See main article: Kosovo (UNMIK).
See also: Kosovo status process.
On 10 June 1999, the UN Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which placed Kosovo under transitional UN administration (UNMIK) and authorised KFOR, a NATO-led peacekeeping force. Resolution 1244 provided that Kosovo would have autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and affirmed the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, which has been legally succeeded by the Republic of Serbia.
Some 200,000–280,000, representing the majority of the Serb population, left when the Serbian forces left. There was also some looting of Serb properties and even violence against some of those Serbs and Roma who remained. The current number of internally displaced persons is disputed,    with estimates ranging from 65,000 to 250,000.   Many displaced Serbs are afraid to return to their homes, even with UNMIK protection. Around 120,000–150,000 Serbs remain in Kosovo, but are subject to ongoing harassment and discrimination due to physical threats for their safety.
International negotiations began in 2006 to determine the final status of Kosovo, as envisaged under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. The UN-backed talks, led by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari, began in February 2006. Whilst progress was made on technical matters, both parties remained diametrically opposed on the question of status itself.
In February 2007, Ahtisaari delivered a draft status settlement proposal to leaders in Belgrade and Pristina, the basis for a draft UN Security Council Resolution which proposes 'supervised independence' for the province. A draft resolution, backed by the United States, the United Kingdom and other European members of the Security Council, was presented and rewritten four times to try to accommodate Russian concerns that such a resolution would undermine the principle of state sovereignty.
Russia, which holds a veto in the Security Council as one of five permanent members, had stated that it would not support any resolution which was not acceptable to both Belgrade and Kosovo Albanians. Whilst most observers had, at the beginning of the talks, anticipated independence as the most likely outcome, others have suggested that a rapid resolution might not be preferable.
After many weeks of discussions at the UN, the United States, United Kingdom and other European members of the Security Council formally 'discarded' a draft resolution backing Ahtisaari's proposal on 20 July 2007, having failed to secure Russian backing. Beginning in August, a "Troika" consisting of negotiators from the European Union (Wolfgang Ischinger), the United States (Frank G. Wisner) and Russia (Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko) launched a new effort to reach a status outcome acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina. Despite Russian disapproval, the US, the United Kingdom, and France appeared likely to recognise Kosovar independence.
On 10 June 1999, the UN Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which placed Kosovo under transitional UN administration (UNMIK) and authorised KFOR, a NATO-led peacekeeping force. Resolution 1244 provided that Kosovo would have autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and affirmed the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, which has been legally succeeded by the Republic of Serbia.
According to the Constitutional Framework, Kosovo shall have a 120-member Kosovo Assembly. The Assembly includes twenty reserved seats: ten for Kosovo Serbs and ten for non-Serb minorities (Bosniaks, Roma, etc.). The Kosovo Assembly is responsible for electing a President and Prime Minister of Kosovo.
In November 2001, the OSCE supervised the first elections for the Kosovo Assembly. After that election, Kosovo's political parties formed an all-party unity coalition and elected Ibrahim Rugova as President and Bajram Rexhepi (PDK) as Prime Minister. After Kosovo-wide elections in October 2004, the LDK and AAK formed a new governing coalition that did not include PDK and Ora. This coalition agreement resulted in Ramush Haradinaj (AAK) becoming Prime Minister, while Ibrahim Rugova retained the position of President. PDK and Ora were critical of the coalition agreement and have since frequently accused the current government of corruption.
Parliamentary elections were held on 17 November 2007. After early results, Hashim Thaçi who was on course to gain 35 per cent of the vote, claimed victory for PDK, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, and stated his intention to declare independence. Thaçi formed a coalition with current President Fatmir Sejdiu's Democratic League which was in second place with 22 percent of the vote. The turnout at the election was particularly low. Most members of the Serb minority refused to vote.
However, since 1999, the Serb-inhabited areas of Kosovo, such as North Kosovo have remained de facto independent from the Albanian-dominated government in Pristina. Local politics in the Serb areas are dominated by the Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbian List is led by Oliver Ivanović, an engineer from Mitrovica. Within Serbia, Kosovo is the concern of the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija, currently led by minister Goran Bogdanović.
See main article: 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence.
Republic of Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008 and over the following days, a number of states (the United States, Turkey, Albania, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Australia, Poland and others) announced their recognition, despite protests by Russia and others in the UN. recognise the independence of Kosovo and it has become a member country of the IMF and World Bank as the Republic of Kosovo. 
The UN Security Council remains divided on the question . Of the five members with veto power, US, UK, and France recognised the declaration of independence, and the People's Republic of China has expressed concern, while Russia considers it illegal., no member-country of CIS, CSTO or SCO has recognised Kosovo as independent. Kosovo has not made a formal application for UN membership yet.
The European Union has no official position towards Kosovo's status, but has decided to deploy the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo to ensure a continuation of international civil presence in Kosovo., most of the member-countries of NATO, EU, WEU and OECD have recognised Kosovo as independent.
, all of Kosovo's immediate neighbours except Serbia have recognised the declaration of independence. Montenegro and Macedonia announced their recognition of Kosovo on 9 October 2008. Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary have also recognised the independence of Kosovo.
The Serb minority of Kosovo, which largely opposes the declaration of independence, has formed the Community Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija in response. The creation of the assembly was condemned by Kosovo's president Fatmir Sejdiu, while UNMIK has said the assembly is not a serious issue because it will not have an operative role. On 8 October 2008, the UN General Assembly resolved to request the International Court of Justice to render an advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia. The advisory opinion, which is legally non-binding but had been expected to carry "moral" weight, was rendered on 22 July 2010, holding that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not in violation of international law. 
See main article: 2011 Kosovo–Serbia border clashes.
The border clashes between the ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo and the partially recognised Republic of Kosovo began on 25 July 2011 when the Kosovo Police crossed into the Serb-controlled municipalities of North Kosovo, in an attempt to control several border crossings without the consultation of either Serbia or KFOR/EULEX.   Though tensions between the two sides eased somewhat after the intervention of NATO's KFOR forces, they continued to remain high amid concern from the EU, who also blamed Kosovo for the unilateral provocation.
See main article: 2012 North Kosovo referendum.
An advisory referendum on accepting the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo was held in the Serb-dominated regions of north Kosovo on 14 and 15 February, 2012. The referendum was held in Zubin Potok, Zvečan and Kosovska Mitrovica on both days, while Leposavić voted on 15 February. The voting ran from 7:00 to 19:00 on both days. 15 February is also symbolically Serbia's National Day. The result saw 99.74% of voters reject the writ of the Republic of Kosovo's institutions and only 69 supporters.
See main article: Geography of Kosovo.
Kosovo represents an important link between central and southern Europe and the Adriatic and Black Seas. Kosovo has an area of 10,908 square km. It lies between latitudes 41° and 44° N, and longitudes 20° and 22° E. The border of Kosovo is approximately 602.09 kilometers long.
Its climate is continental, with warm summers and cold and snowy winters. Most of Kosovo's terrain is mountainous, the highest peak is Đeravica (2656m (8,714feet)). There are two main plain regions, the Metohija basin is located in the western part of the Kosovo, and the Plain of Kosovo occupies the eastern part. The main rivers of the region are the White Drin, running towards the Adriatic Sea, with the Erenik among its tributaries), the Sitnica, the South Morava in the Goljak area, and Ibar in the north. The biggest lakes are Gazivoda, Radonjić, Batlava and Badovac.39.1% of Kosovo is forested, about 52% is classified as agricultural land, 31% of which is covered by pastures and 69% is arable. Phytogeographically, Kosovo belongs to the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency, the territory of Kosovo belongs to the ecoregion of Balkan mixed forests.Currently, the 39,000 ha Šar Mountains National Park, established in 1986 in the Šar Mountains along the border with the Republic of Macedonia, is the only national park in Kosovo, although the Balkan Peace Park in the Prokletije along the border with Montenegro has been proposed as another one.
The largest cities are Pristina, the capital, with an estimated 198,000 inhabitants. The old city of Prizren is towards the south west, with a population of 178,000. Peć in the west has 95,000 inhabitants with Uroševac in the south at around 108,000.
North or Northern Kosovo is a region in the northern part of Kosovo with an ethnic Serb majority that functions largely autonomously from the remainder of Kosovo.  Ibarian Kolashin, a toponym that predates the political partition, is also used to refer to the area.North Kosovo is by far the largest of the Serb-dominated areas within Kosovo, and unlike the others, directly borders Central Serbia. This has facilitated its ability to govern itself almost completely independently of the Kosovo institutions in a de facto state of partition. Although the Kosovo status process had repeatedly ruled out formalising this partition as a permanent solution, it has been increasingly mooted amidst continued deadlock. 
Kosovo is rich in natural resources. In Kosovo there are lots of reserves of lead, zinc, silver, nickel, cobalt, copper, iron and bauxite. There is also believed to be around 14,000 billion tonnes of lignite. Canadian company Avrupa Minerals Ltd has achieved the rights to a three year mining programme, which is expected to start in summer 2011. In 2005 the Directorate for Mines and Minerals and the World Bank estimated that Kosovo had €13.5 billion worth of minerals.
See main article: Demographics of Kosovo.
According to the Kosovo in Figures 2005 Survey of the Statistical Office of Kosovo, Kosovo's total population is estimated between 1.9 and 2.2 million with the following ethnic composition: Albanians 92%, Serbs 4%, Bosniaks and Gorans 2%, Turks 1%, Roma 1%. CIA World Factbook estimates the following ratio: 88% Albanians, 8% Kosovo Serbs and 4% other ethnic groups. According to latest CIA The World Factbook estimated data, as of July 2009, Kosovo's population stands at 1,804,838 persons. It stated that ethnic composition is "Albanians 88%, Serbs 7%, other 5% (Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Turk, Ashkali, Egyptian, Janjevci – Croats)"
Albanians, steadily increasing in number, have constituted a majority in Kosovo since the 19th century, the earlier ethnic composition being disputed. Kosovo's political boundaries do not quite coincide with the ethnic boundary by which Albanians compose an absolute majority in every municipality; for example, Serbs form a local majority in North Kosovo and two other municipalities, while there are large areas with an Albanian majority outside of Kosovo, namely in the neighbouring regions of former Yugoslavia: the north-west of Macedonia, and in the Preševo Valley in Central Serbia.
At 1.3% per year, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo have the fastest rate of growth in population in Europe. Over an 82-year period (1921–2003) the population of Kosovo grew to 460% of its original size. If growth continues at such a pace, the population will reach 4.5 million by 2050. However, this is unlikely to happen; until about 1990, Kosovo Albanians had very high birth rates of about 4 children per woman, similar to many poor developing countries, but this has fallen down to about two since then and will likely sink below replacement eventually, as it has in Albania itself. In addition, Kosovo has a high emigration rate now which it did not have before 1990.
By contrast, from 1948 to 1991, the Serb population of Kosovo increased by a mere 12% (one third the growth of the population in Central Serbia). In addition, in the same period, hundreds of thousands have left to settle in more prosperous Central Serbia or Western Europe. 60% of Kosovo's pre-1999 Serbian population resides in Serbia proper following the ethnic cleansing campaign in 1999. The population of Albanians in Kosovo increased by 300% in the same perioda rate of growth twenty-five times that of the Serbs in Kosovo. Serbs, similar to most other Eastern European Christian ethnic groups, since about 1990 have had very low birth rates (about 1.5 children per woman) and more deaths than births. This ensures a continued dwindling of the Serb minority as a percentage of the population, even with the dropping births among the Albanians.
The most common language of Kosovo is Albanian, the first language of 88–92% of the population. The native dialect of the Kosovar Albanian population is Gheg Albanian, although Standard Albanian is now widely used as an official language.  Serbian is the next most common, spoken as a first language by 5–7% of the population. According to the draft Constitution of Kosovo, Serbian is also an official language. Other minority languages in Kosovo include Turkish, Gorani and the other Serbo-Croatian languages.
The two main religions of Kosovo are Islam and Christianity. Muslims make up 90% of Kosovo's population, and followers are mostly Sunni, with a Bektashi Islam minority. If considered an independent state, Kosovo would be one of three countries lying exclusively within Europe with a large Muslim population – next to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania – and easily the most Muslim of them all by proportion of population. Islam was brought into the region with the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century and now nominally professed by most of the ethnic Albanians, by the Bosniak, Gorani, and Turkish communities, and by some of the Roma/Ashkali-"Egyptian" community. Islam, however, does not dominate the Kosovar society, which remains largely secular. About three percent of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo remain Roman Catholic despite centuries of the Ottoman rule. There are an estimated 65,000 Catholics in Kosovo and another 60,000 Kosovar born Catholics outside of Kosovo. The Serb population, estimated at 100,000 to 120,000 persons, is largely Serbian Orthodox. Kosovo is densely covered by numerous Serb Orthodox churches and monasteries.   Some 140 churches are reported to have been destroyed and partly looted for the black market in the 1999 to 2004 period, of these 30 in a single outburst of violence in March 2004.
There is also a small number of evangelical Protestants, whose tradition dates back to the Methodist missionaries' work centred in Bitola in the late 1800s. They are represented by the Kosovo Protestant Evangelical Church (KPEC).
The relations between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian and Serb populations have been hostile since the rise of nationalism in the Balkans during the 19th century, rivalry which became strong after Serbia gained Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire in 1913 and after Albania became independent in the same year. During the Ottoman period however, Serbs and Albanians within Kosovo enjoyed good-neighbourly relations, working together to oppose foreign meddling in the territory on many occasions During the Tito-era of communist rule in Yugoslavia, the ethnic Albanian and Serb populations of Kosovo were strongly irreconcilable with sociological studies during the Tito-era indicating that ethnic Albanian and Serb peoples in Kosovo rarely accepted each other as neighbours or friends and few held interethnic marriages. Ethnic prejudices, stereotypes and mutual distrust between ethnic Albanians and Serbs have remained common for decades. The level of intolerance and separation between the ethnic Albanian and Serb communities during the Tito-period was reported by sociologists to be worse than that of Croat and Serb communities in Yugoslavia which also had tensions but held some closer relations between each other.
Despite their planned integration into the Kosovar society and their recognition in the Kosovar constitution, Romani and other minorities (i.e. Ashkali and Egyptian communities) continue to face many difficulties, such as segregation and discrimination, in housing, education, health, employment and social welfare. Many camps around Kosovo continue to house thousands of Internally Displaced People, all of which are from minority groups and communities. Because many of the Roma are believed to have sided with the Serbs during the conflict, taking part in the widespread looting and destruction of Albanian property, Minority Rights Group International report that Romani people encounter hostility by Albanians outside their local areas. The report adds:
Although in Kosovo the music is diverse, authentic Albanian music (see World Music) and Serbian music do still exist. Albanian music is characterised by the use of the çiftelia (an authentic Albanian instrument), mandolin, mandola and percussion. Classical music is also well known in Kosovo and has been taught at several music schools and universities (at the University of Prishtina Faculty of Arts in Pristina and the University of Priština Faculty of Arts at Kosovska Mitrovica).
See main article: Sport in Kosovo.
Several sports federations have been formed in Kosovo within the framework of Law No. 2003/24 "Law on Sport" passed by the Assembly of Kosovo in 2003. The law formally established a national Olympic Committee, regulated the establishment of sports federations and established guidelines for sports clubs. At present only some of the sports federations established have gained international recognition.
Following the Kosovo War, due to the many weapons in the hands of civilians, law enforcement inefficiencies, and widespread devastation, both revenge killings and ethnic violence surged tremendously. The number of reported murders rose 80% from 136 in 2000 to 245 in 2001. The number of reported arsons rose 140% from 218 to 523 over the same period. UNMIK pointed out that the rise in reported incidents might simply correspond to an increased confidence in the police force (i.e., more reports) rather than more actual crime. According to the UNODC, by 2008, murder rates in Kosovo had dropped by 75% in five years. 
Although the number of noted serious crimes increased between 1999 and 2000, since then it has been "starting to resemble the same patterns of other European cities".  According to Amnesty International, the aftermath of the war resulted in an increase in the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.   According to the IOM data, in 2000–2004, Kosovo was consistently ranked fourth or fifth among the countries of Southeastern Europe by number of human trafficking victims, after Albania, Moldova, Romania and sometimes Bulgaria. 
Kosovo is extremely vulnerable to organised crime and thus to money laundering. In 2000, international agencies estimated that Kosovo was supplying up to 40% of the heroin sold in Europe and North America. Due to the 1997 unrest in Albania and the Kosovo War in 1998–1999 ethnic Albanian traffickers enjoyed a competitive advantage, which has been eroding as the region stabilises. However, according to a 2008 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, overall, ethnic Albanians, not only from Kosovo, supply 10 to 20% of the heroin in Western Europe, and the traffic has been declining.
In 2010, a report by Swiss MP Dick Marty claimed to have evidence that a criminal network tied to the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, executed prisoners and harvested their kidneys for organ transplantation. The Kosovo government rejected the allegation. On 25 January 2011, the Council of Europe endorsed the report and called for a full and serious investigation into its contents. 
Wine has always historically produced in Kosovo, both red and white. Currently the wine industry is successful and growing after the war in the 1990s. The main heartland of Kosovo's wine industry is in Orahovac (Rahoveci) where millions of litres of wine is produced. The main wines produced in Kosovo include Pinot Noir, Merlot and Chardonnay. Kosovo has recently been exporting wines to Germany and the United States.