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Kosovo (Albanian: Kosovë, Kosova; Serbian: Косово or Косово и Метохија, Kosovo or

Kosovo i Metohija[4]) is a disputed territory in the Balkans. The partially recognised


Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës; Serbian: Република Косово,
Republika Kosovo), a self-declared independent state, has de facto control over most of
the territory, with North Kosovo being the largest Kosovo Serb enclave.[5] Serbia does not
recognise the unilateral secession of Kosovo[6] and considers it a United Nations-
governed entity within its sovereign territory, the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and
Metohija (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Косово и Метохија, Autonomna Pokrajina
Kosovo i Metohija), according to the 2006 Constitution of Serbia.[7]

Kosovo is landlocked and borders Central Serbia north and eastward, the Republic of
Macedonia to the south, Albania to the west and Montenegro to the northwest (the latter
three recognise it as independent). The largest city and the capital of Kosovo is Pristina
(alternatively spelled Prishtina or Priština), while other cities include Peć (Albanian:
Peja), Prizren, Đakovica (Gjakova), and Kosovska Mitrovica (Mitrovica).

During classical antiquity, the territory roughly corresponding to present-day Kosovo was
inhabited by the Dardani.[8] Subsequently, Dardani were conquered by the Roman,
Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian empires. As a region within the Serbian medieval state,
Serbs came to consider Kosovo as the cradle of Serbian culture, religion and national
identity;[9][10][11][12] despite the fact that medieval Serbia did not evolve from Kosovo itself.
[13]
Following the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, it became part of the Ottoman Empire; this
brought the region into close contact with the Middle East and subsequently introduced
Islam to the population. During the late 19th century, Kosovo was the centre of the
Albanian national awakening. In 1912, the Ottoman province was divided between
Montenegro and Serbia, both of which became part of Yugoslavia in 1918. During World
War II, the majority of Kosovo was part of Italian-occupied Albania, followed by a Nazi
German Occupation before becoming an autonomous province of the SR Serbia under the
Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[14]

After the Kosovo War and the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the territory came
under the interim administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK),
most of whose roles were assumed by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in
Kosovo (EULEX) in December 2008.[15] In February 2008, the Assembly of Kosovo
declared Kosovo's independence as the Republic of Kosovo. Its independence is
recognised by 72 UN member states and the Republic of China (Taiwan). On 8 October
2008, upon request of Serbia, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the
International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the issue of Kosovo's declaration
of independence.[16] On 22 July 2010, the ICJ ruled that Kosovo's declaration of
independence did not violate international law, which its president said contains no
"prohibitions on declarations of independence".[17]