Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century but did not fully incorporate them into the Serbian realm until the early 13th century. The Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War (1912). After World War II (1945), the government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia led by Josip TITO reorganized Kosovo as an autonomous province within the constituent republic of Serbia. Over the next four decades, Kosovo Albanians lobbied for greater autonomy, and Kosovo was granted the status almost equal to that of a republic in the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution.


Location: Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia
Geographic coordinates: 42 35 N, 21 00 E
Population: 1,836,529 (July 2012 est.)
Nationality: noun: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovac (Serbian)

adjective: Kosovar (Albanian), Kosovski (Serbian)

note: Kosovan, a neutral term, is sometimes also used as a noun or adjective

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Kosovo

conventional short form: Kosovo

local long form: Republika e Kosoves (RepublikaKosova)

local short form: Kosova (Kosovo)

former: Kosovo and Metohija Autonomous Province

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Pristina (Prishtine)

geographic coordinates: 42 40 N, 21 10 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Telephones – main lines in use: 106,300 (2006)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 562,000 (2007)
Airports: 8 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

under 914 m: 2 (2012)

Military branches: Kosovo Security Force (FSK) (2010)

Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 430,926

females age 16-49: 389,614 (2010 est.)


Over the past few years Kosovo’s economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora – located mainly in Germany and Switzerland – account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo’s citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1800 – about one-third the level of neighbouring Albania. Unemployment – at more than 40% of the population – is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. Most of Kosovo’s population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common – the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. Economic growth is largely driven by the private sector – mostly small-scale retail businesses.

Transnational Issues:

Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states’ recognition of Kosovo’s declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo’s northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo authorities object to alignment of the Kosovo boundary with Macedonia in accordance with the 2000 Macedonia-Serbia and Montenegro delimitation agreement