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Kosovo, officially the Republic of Kosovo, is a partially recognised state in Southeast Europe. It lies at the centre of the Balkans, with a population of about 1.8 million. Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008, and has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by 97 member states of the United Nations. It is bordered by Serbia to the north and east, North Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest, and Montenegro to the west. Most of central Kosovo is dominated by the vast plains and fields of Metohija and Kosovo. The Accursed Mountains and Šar Mountains rise in the southwest and southeast, respectively. Its capital and largest city is Pristina.
In classical antiquity, the central tribe which emerged in the territory of Kosovo were Dardani, who formed an independent polity known as the Kingdom of Dardania in the 4th century BCE. It was annexed by the Roman Empire by the 1st century BCE, and for the next millennium the territory remained part of the Byzantine Empire, whose rule was eroded by Slavic invasions beginning in the 6th–7th century CE. In the centuries thereafter, control of the area alternated between the Byzantines and the First Bulgarian Empire. By the 13th century, Kosovo became the core of the Serbian medieval state, and has also been the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the 14th century, when its status was upgraded to a patriarchate. Ottoman expansion in the Balkans in the late 14th and 15th century led to the decline and fall of the Serbian Empire; the Battle of Kosovo of 1389 is considered to be one of the defining moments in Serbian medieval history. The Ottomans fully conquered the region after the Second Battle of Kosovo. The Ottoman Empire ruled the area until the early 20th century.
In the late 19th century, Kosovo was the center of the Albanian National Movement and where the Albanian revolt of 1910 and Albanian revolt of 1912 took place. Following their defeat in the Balkan Wars, the Ottomans ceded Kosovo to Serbia and Montenegro. Both countries joined Yugoslavia after World War I, and following a period of Yugoslav unitarianism in the Kingdom, the post-World War II Yugoslav constitution established the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within the Yugoslav constituent republic of Serbia. Tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb communities simmered through the 20th century and occasionally erupted into major violence, culminating in the Kosovo War of 1998 and 1999, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army, and the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. Ultimately, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Serbia does not officially recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state and continues to claim it as its constituent Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, although it accepts the governing authority of the Kosovo institutions as a part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement.
Kosovo is a developing country, with an upper-middle-income economy. It has experienced solid economic growth over the last decade as measured by international financial institutions, and growth every year since the onset of the financial crisis of 2007-2008. Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and has applied for membership of Interpol and for observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
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