Kosovo History

Kosovo. Disputed territory located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe. Its status is controversial. Serbia considers Kosovo to be an autonomous province within its own territory, in accordance with its own constitution and with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. The sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo is recognized by the majority of its residents, of ethnic Albanian origin. However, part of northern Kosovo, with a Serbian ethnic majority, is administered autonomously with the coordination of the Community Assembly of Kosovo and Metohija, a body created in June 2008 with the support of the Republic of Serbia and which is not recognized by the Kosovar government.


Towards the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century, a wave of migrations of Slavic peoples arrived in the region under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, mixing with Latins and Thracian-Illyrians who inhabited the place.

After the Ottoman conquest, the current Kosovar territory became part of Rumelia, which roughly corresponded to the territory covered by the Empire in Europe. Various administrative entities, called sanjak, were formed in Kosovo by a sanjakbeyi.

The main change after the invasion was the process of Islamization in the area, which began shortly after the arrival of the Ottomans. Despite the fact that they had absolute control of the territory, it was a slow process that took a considerable amount of time, at least a century, and concentrated at first on the cities. Many Christian residents adopted the new faith, mainly for economic and social reasons due to the considerable benefits and rights granted to Muslims. That conversion was followed by the arrival of Arnaut settlers (Islamized Albanians) from the seventeenth century, which began to increase in number compared to the residents of Slavic origin. Christian religious life continued despite difficulties, but both Orthodox and Catholic churches and their faithful faced high levels of taxation.

In 1689, Kosovo was greatly destabilized by the war between the Ottomans and the Holy Roman Empire under the rule of the House of Habsburg. In October of that year, a small Austrian force under the command of the Margrave Ludwig Von Baden managed to advance to Kosovo, capturing Belgrade along the way. Many Serbs swore allegiance to the Austrians, some even joining von Baden’s army. For their part, the Arnauts gave their support to the Ottomans. The following summer, however, an Ottoman counterattack forced the Austrians to retreat to the fortress at Niš, near Belgrade., and finally to retreat beyond the Danube, returning to Hungary.

After the First Balkan War of 1912, Kosovo was internationally recognized as part of the Kingdom of Serbia, and Metohija became part of the Kingdom of Montenegro under the Treaty of London, signed the following year. The integration of Kosovo into Serbia caused a strong demographic change: thousands of Albanian families moved to the new nation-state of Albania, while the new authorities promoted a Serbian colonization plan and ethnic cleansing procedures, which included massacres of Albanians. The outbreak of the First World War It would create an opportunity for the Albanians to regain part of their autonomy, some of their leaders allying themselves with the troops of Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Bulgaria that forced the withdrawal of the Serbian troops between 1914 and 1915 ; however, the participation of the armies of the Triple Entente would allow the defeat of the Central Empires and the Serbian victory.

In 1918, with the end of the Great War, Montenegro was absorbed by Serbia and later this country would be unified with the territories formed after the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thus giving rise to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which would acquire in 1929 the name of Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Kosovo was divided into several smaller administrations and the persecution of Albanians continued, denying them minority status as “secessionists”. Around 1921, Kosovar Albanian groups denounced the mass killings to the League of Nations, requesting the unification of the territory with Albania, which was denied. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Albanians fled the country and even the Yugoslav government established talks with Turkey for the deportation of 240,000 Kosovar Albanians.

Following the defeat of Serbia in the Kosovo War, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 in order to provide a temporary solution to the Kosovar problem. The territory of Kosovo, although it remained de jure as part of the FR of Yugoslavia, began to be administered autonomously and provisionally by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (MINUK) while the security and stability of the area and the maintenance of the ceasefire was entrusted to the multinational force KFOR. Despite this, several acts of revenge were carried out by Albanians against the Serbian community, which led to their exodus to Serbia; Although the figures vary according to the source, they are between 65,000 and 250,000 displaced. Other groups of Serbs formed enclaves in some areas of the country, especially in the sector north of the Ibar River.

The 26 of January of 2007, the Finnish Martti Ahtisaari, special envoy of the UN for Kosovo, announced the preliminary details of its proposal for a final status of the province. Although the text did not directly mention independence, various points pointed to it, such as membership in international organizations, the adoption of national symbols and a security body of its own. The proposal was rejected by Serbia and by Russia, its main ally and with veto power in the Security Council ; meanwhile, it was welcomed by the Kosovar authorities, the United States and the United Kingdom. On April 3, Ahtisaari (who would later receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Kosovo, among other places) proposed the “supervised independence” of Kosovo by the international community to protect minority communities, which was again dismissed by Serbs and Russians. In December 2007, the European Union decided to send a “stabilization mission” (EULEX) to the Kosovo region aimed at handing over the UN mission in Kosovo to European hands.

According to ZIPCODESEXPLORER, Serbia announced that it would not recognize the new state and decided to submit a request for an advisory opinion to the International Court of Justice regarding the legality of the declaration, a request that was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on October 8, 2008, with 77 votes in favor, 6 against and 74 abstentions.

The 22 of July of 2010, the Court issued its opinion on the matter under discussion, in which he stated that the declaration made by Kosovo did not violate international law because it does not have an active provision limiting declarations of independence. Although the advisory opinion is strictly limited to the formal aspects of the declaration as an act of enactment of independence, it represented a major blow to the intentions of Serbia, whose authorities reiterated that they would never recognize Kosovar independence. The Serbian government decided to present to the United Nations General Assembly a draft resolution that would reaffirm its sovereignty over Kosovo, but pressure from the main countries of the European Union (to which Serbia wishes to accede) finally managed to change the wording of the approved proposal, in which the United Nations is asked to support the dialogue between the governments of Belgrade and Pristina to reach technical agreements, which was approved by acclamation.

Kosovo History

You may also like...