According to abbreviationfinder, Kosovo, which has only existed within its current borders since 1945, is located in the center of the Balkan Peninsula, a region also known as Southeastern Europe or the Western Balkans. The state of Kosovo covers an area of 10,905 km². It borders Serbia in the north and east, North Macedonia (hereinafter Macedonia) in the south, Albania in the south-west and Montenegro in the north-west. The capital of the country is Prishtina / Piština.
With regard to place names and spatial terms, there is a controversial, ethno-political discussion about which terms to use: Albanian, Serbian, or both. This can be illustrated using the example of the concept of space Kosovo. Today’s Kosovo is referred to by the Kosovar Albanians as Kosova by the Kosovar Serbs as Kosovo. The word Kosovo is derived from the Serbian place name for the blackbird field (Kosovo Polje) and can be translated as “belonging to the blackbird” (Serbian kos = blackbird, -ovo = possessive suffix). However, there are also alternative names, some with nationalistic tones, such as Dardania (the Dardanerare an Illyrian tribe that populated parts of Southeast Europe in antiquity) in Albanian or Kosovo i Metohija (short: Cosmet) in Serbian. The last mentioned term refers to the blackbird field (Serbian: kosovo polje) in the east of the country, as well as to the importance of the monasteries in the west of the country. The term Metohija comes from Byzantine and means church land. The Kosovar Albanians also call this part of Kosovo Rrafshi i Dukagjinit. There are two versions of most geographical names, the Albanian and the Serbian, and sometimes also a Turkish one.
In the following, both terms are sometimes given. However, if there is a clear reference to a purely Albanian or Serbian context or also to frequently used place names (e.g. Prishtina / Piština), this duplication is omitted selectively. For the name of the country and the area, the term Kosovo, which is widely used in German, is chosen on this country page of the LIPortal. Concerning. of the article the term “Kosovo” or alternatively only “Kosovo” is used (although “Kosovo” is also used in German).
The temperate continental climate prevails in Kosovo, synonymous with harsh winters, in which strong frost, snowfall and temperatures of -20 °C are not unusual, and hot summers with temperatures of over 30 °C. The average temperature for January and February is around freezing point. As a result, there are enormous temperature differences – the average temperature in Prishtinë / Pristina in summer is +35 °C, in winter it is -11 °C. In the mountain areas in particular, the winters are very snowy and can extend into spring. The summers here, however, are rather short. West Kosovo is more under the climatic influence of the Adriatic, whereas the north is much more influenced by continental air masses. The average rainfall is 720 mm per year.
Since the 8th century BC Settled by Illyrian tribes between the 6th and 9th centuries, Slavic conquest, in the 14th century core area of the Serbian Empire (“Old Serbia”) and the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church (since 1346 patriarch in Peć), after the battle on the Amselfeld (on Vidovdan 1389; the Serbian »Kosovo myth« recently more widely spread in epic and folk song) owed tribute to the Turks 1389–1459, the area of today’s Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1459–1912 (»Vilayet Kosovo«). After 1690 the Serbs emigrated, v. a. to Vojvodina, and – especially in the 18th century – for the advancement of Albanians (shepherds; from my own point of view descendants of the Illyrians), who were increasingly Islamized.
The Albanian struggle for freedom against the Turks began in Kosovo with the League of Prizren in 1878. After the 1st Balkan War (1912-13), despite the Albanian majority, divided between Serbia and Montenegro, Kosovo belonged entirely to Serbia from 1918 after the establishment of (what would later become) Yugoslavia. During the Second World War, the area under Italian occupation (1941–43) was part of Greater Albania from the summer of 1941.
After the establishment of communist rule in Yugoslavia, the autonomous region of Kosovo-Metohija was established within the constituent republic of Serbia in 1945/46, which became an autonomous province with the constitution of April 7, 1963 (de facto from 1966) and the current one in the constitutional revision of 1968 Designation received.
The extension of the autonomy rights within the framework of the Yugoslav constitution of January 21, 1974 ultimately increased the tensions in Kosovo between the Kosovar Albanians (now the education system in their own language, university in Pristina) and the Serbian minority. Serious unrest broke out in Pristina in March / April 1981. A kind of state of emergency has been imposed on Kosovo. From 1986 S. Milošević used the v. a. Serbian nationalism fanned in Kosovo to consolidate its rule in Serbia (highlight: 600th anniversary of the battle on the Blackbird Field on Vidovdan, June 28, 1989).
The drastic restriction of the autonomy, which was gradually lifted between March 1989 (on the 23rd of 3rd abolition of the autonomy status; on the 28th of 3rd constitutional revision) and July 1990 (dissolution of parliament and government by Serbia), was enshrined in the new Serbian constitution of September 28, 1990. After a first proclamation in July 1990, the Albanian members of the now officially dissolved parliament decided on September 7, 1990 a new – later forbidden – constitution for Kosovo, in which it again became an independent republic within Yugoslavia and proclaimed the writer I. Rugova president.
Despite massive obstacles, a referendum on independence and sovereignty, declared illegal by Serbia, was successfully carried out in 1991 (90% approval); the proclamation of a “Republic of Kosovo” was only recognized internationally by Albania (on February 3, 2000, the dissolution of all its institutions was announced). The “Democratic League of Kosovo” (abbreviation LDK), founded in 1989, took over the government; in the pluralistic elections of May 24, 1992 – unofficial for Serbia – she won an absolute majority (66%, 78 out of 130 seats). At the same time, its chairman became Rugova elected President; however, his policy of nonviolent resistance did not produce tangible results. The Serbian-dominated authorities prevented the assembly of the parliament on June 23, 1992. The mostly non-violent resistance of the Kosovar Albanians (e. B. Boycott of the Yugoslav elections in 1992 and 1996).
The core of the Kosovo conflict, excluded from the negotiations on the Dayton Agreement (1995), remained the status question (Serbian claim to the blackbird field as the “cradle of Serbia”, the Kosovar Albanians’ striving for statehood and / or affiliation with Albania).