Kosovo is an independent nation in Eastern Europe. With the capital city of Pristina, Kosovo 2020 population is estimated at 1,810,377 according to countryaah. Today’s Kosovo was ruled by Greeks and Romans before the Serbian Empire was established in the Middle Ages. The Muslim Turks then took over in the Balkans, and the battle of the Trast field in Kosovo in 1389 became the beginning of a 500-year Turkish dominance. After World War I, Serbia with Kosovo became part of Yugoslavia.
The area where Kosovo is located is believed to have been inhabited already in prehistoric times. During antiquity, it was part of the Dardania region, which was then partly conquered by Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II of Macedonia. Just before the beginning of our era, the Romans occupied the area.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Kosovo, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In the 6th century AD, Serbs began to migrate from today’s Ukraine and in the 11th century Stefan I from the Nemanja dynasty gathered the various Serbian clans in one state. For Kosovo political system, please check computerminus.
In medieval Serbia, which was to cover large parts of the Balkans, Kosovo was the administrative and cultural center. Around this historic golden age, when hundreds of churches and monasteries were built, among other things, a number of myths emerged and Kosovo came to be seen as the cultural and national cradle of the Serbs. In the town of Peć (Peja in Albanian) in Kosovo, the Serbian Orthodox Church was also founded in 1219 (see Religion). For the Serbian national feeling, Kosovo has always played a big role.
At the end of the 1300s, the Muslim Ottomans (Turks) began to subjugate large parts of the Balkans. After the battle of the Trast field in Kosovo (Kosovo polje) in 1389, the area came under Turkish domination.
In the late 1600s, Serbs, encouraged by the Austrian Habsburgs, made an attempt at rebellion. The attempt failed and a large number of Serbs left Kosovo, while Albanians moved in.
After the Balkan Wars 1912–1913, when the Ottoman Empire fought back, the Albanians gained their own state, Albania. At that time, the population of Kosovo consisted of a quarter of Serbs and three quarters of Albanians. The Kosovo Albanians had hoped that Kosovo would belong to the new Albanian state, but Serbia regained control of Kosovo, which thus became part of the South Slavic kingdom established after the end of the First World War.
Between 1918 and 1929 Kosovo through Serbia was part of the kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes under Serbia’s regent Aleksandar Karađorđević (Karadjordjevic). During this period, the authorities attracted Serbs to move to Kosovo by offering them special benefits. At the same time, Albanian nationalists and activists were oppressed, which made the Albanians see the Serbs as oppressors. The tense conditions in the kingdom, especially between Serbs and Croats, eventually brought the country to the brink of civil war. In 1929, King Aleksandar dissolved the parliament, disrupted the constitution and made himself a dictator. At the same time, the country was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Yugo = South). A period of economic decline, political contradictions and increased violence followed.
Part of Yugoslavia
During World War II, most of Kosovo was annexed by Albania, which entered into a personnel union with fascist Italy. After the war, Kosovo became a self-governing province within Serbia in socialist Yugoslavia, established by Josip Broz (Tito).
Tito got off to a start in Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s tracks. The country was given a constitution based on the Soviet Constitution of 1936 and the Communist Party was the only permissible political force. All opposition was suppressed and major parts of business were nationalized. Eventually, however, Tito came on a collision course with Stalin and in 1948 Yugoslavia was excluded from the communist community. Tito was then forced to turn to the west. He changed domestic policy and allowed decentralization of economic decision-making (including through self-management systems at the factories). Yugoslavia also received extensive financial and military assistance from the United States and other Western countries.
In Kosovo, the contradictions were sharpened during the Serbian administration. The Belgrade government feared that the Albanians in Kosovo sympathized with the regime in Albania. To control the Albanian population, all key items were given to Serbs or Montenegrins, which made Albanians feel like second-class citizens.
In the 1970s, Yugoslavia began to have financial problems and worsened during the 1980s. At the same time, the internal contradictions increased. Tito now wanted to curb Serbia’s growing influence by strengthening other units within the federation. Tito gave Albanians the right to open Albanian-language schools and universities, and both Albanian and Serbo-Croatian became official languages in Kosovo. By a constitutional reform in 1974, Kosovo was in practice given the same status as the six sub-republics, with a president, a prime minister and a representative in the Federal Presidency. On the paper, however, Kosovo remained an autonomous province within Serbia, which was a setback for the Albanian nationalists who wanted the province to become its own sub-republic or even an independent country.
When the new constitution came into force, Kosovo authorities, now controlled by Albanians, began to discriminate against Serbs and other minorities. Many Serbs, Turks, Romans and others got rid of their jobs in the administration. By emigration, together with high birth rates among Albanians, the Serbs’ share of the population had now fallen to 8 percent. Just over 90 percent were Albanians.
The Albanian people continued to demand Kosovo’s status as a sub-republic. The demands increased after Tito’s death in 1980, while the Serbs in the province felt increasingly vulnerable.