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State

Capital

Kosovo*

Pristina

Kosova

Currency unit

euro

Connections

Albania

Borders

Islam

Orthodox

Wars

War Pollution

Yugoslavia

YugoslaviaMap

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

History

This has been formally a province of Serbia. Its population, even before the recent war was largely (90%) composed of Albanian speakers. Serbs regard the area as the historic site of the beginning of their nation - it has mythical stature in the Serbian nationalist quasi-religion. There was a Battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389 at which the Turkish leader Murad was killed but the Serbs lost most of their territory. (Among the people fighting in this battle against the Turks were many not yet Muslim Albanians). The Albanians however are the original inhabitants since at least Roman times; the Serbs entered the area with the Slav migrations from the north in post-Roman times. Modern Serbia conquered the area from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. Thus the myth is not justified by the actual history.

However, it was awarded to Yugoslavia at the end of the first world war when it might have been more suitable to join it to Albania (though there were more Serbs living in it then).

In 1948 Josip Tito awarded it the status of an autonomous province with its own government and parliament but did not take a further step and make it a Republic. The Milosevic Serbian government revoked the autonomy and suppressed the local parliament and government in 1990 and therefore the population was in a state of hostility to the Serbian majority of Serbia. They declared themselves independent of Serbia but the Serbs controlled the police. The situation had the makings of a potential civil war, which may already have been beginning during November 1992. The Serb government is believed to have been trying to settle Serb refugees from elsewhere in Yugoslavia in Kosovo in order to increase the number of Serbs. Previously Serbs had moved out because of the poverty and lack of economic opportunity.

Now that Albania has given up Communism the Kosovars may wish the land to join Albania rather than stay to be persecuted but Serbia would resist this. Albania, however, is as poor as Kosovo so that this may not be an inviting prospect for the Kosovars. Some Kosovo Albanians were already (October 1991) talking of eventual union with Albania, which has offered to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

This had the makings of an international war to add to all the other wars in the former Yugoslavia, if international pressure is not exerted. The Albanians living in Macedonia would also be affected by fighting. The failure of the international community to prevent the Bosnian war may have encouraged the Serbs to believe they would not be impeded if they tried to massacre or drive out the Albanians.

By 1996 there were signs of an Albanian Kosovo guerrilla movement.

In March 1999 war broke out with the Serbs practising ethnic cleansing while NATO planes bombed military targets in Serbia and Montenegro.

In 1999 there were increasing reports of Serb police and military harassing ethnic Albanians. The Serbs did not respond to diplomatic measures. NATO threats of bombing were finally fulfilled by strikes on many targets in Serbia and Kosovo itself. Following the NATO military action Serb forces seem to have decided to try to expel and kill as many Albanians as they could, creating large numbers of refugees into Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. The bombing by NATO continued until eventually NATO troops entered Kosovo, as the Serbs withdrew.

There followed a NATO occupation of Kosovo as a kind of Protectorate. Formally it is still not separated from Serbia but it seems unlikely that it will ever again be part of Serbia. The remaining Serb inhabitants of the area have mostly left or live in enclaves protected by foreign troops.

The Kosovo government declared itself independent on 17 February 2008. However, this independence will be qualified by a large EU and NATO presence. The Russian and Serbian governments expressed opposition to this move, so that the state is unlikely to be admitted to the UN soon. In many respects it will be a protectorate of the European Union. The Serb citizens say they will continue to regard themselves as Serbs.

What is the real claim of Serbia? (Weak)

Languages

Albanian 77.4%

Serb 13.2%

 History

 Economics

 Green

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 Climate

Politics

Politics was suspended by the Serb government. The assembly was closed by the Serbs and Albanian language newspapers, schools and parties forbidden. Perhaps the situation should be classified as a variety of apartheid.

Following the NATO occupation there is an interim administration under a NATO Commissioner (now a UN commissioner), creating in effect a Protectorate, though not named as such. There is manoeuvering among various Albanian groups to control the government. Among these are the leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the pre-war Albanian resistance, which had preferred non-violent resistance.

Independence seems likely, and possibly a union with Albania.

Elections resulted in Ibrahim Rugova the moderate leader from Yugoslav days being elected as President.

The UN Security Council has approved a resolution on Independence, despite the opposition of Russia. Serbs in Serbia are said to be bitterly opposed but independence has been the obvious end ever since Milosevic started the disintegration of Yugoslavia by oppressing the Albanians.

International Criminal Court has named the Prime Minister as guilty of war crimes, including using prisoners for organ transplants.

 History

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 Climate

Economics

The poorest area of Yugoslavia, but probably still better off than Albania until the 1999 war.

The euro is the official currency but the Serbs north of Mitrovica still use the Serbian Dinar.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

 Climate

Green/Ecology

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

While still part of Serbia there were deaths of Albanians caused by Serbian police. It was essentially an apartheid regime.

Now it has a very weak administration and it is the remaining Serb minority that is under threat of killing and expulsion. These survive only under guard from the NATO troops.

Climate effects

Last revised 17/12/10


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