When is a country not a country? Like states of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia, Kosovo region tried to broke away from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and declared its independence. Unlike the others, it didn't stick and was only recognized by Albania. Part of the problem was that Kosovo is ethnically mostly Albanian, but historically it is very much part of the Serbian national identity - the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, despite being a defeat for the Serbs against the invading Ottoman Turks, is still a matter of great national pride and Serbs got their land back by fighting (with Albanians, Greeks, Bulgarians etc.) to liberate Balkans from Ottoman rule. Also, it's worth mentioning that although the Albanians have lived in Kosovo since antiquity note and have been inhabiting it in significantly large numbers in the Middle Ages, they became the overwhelming majority only after the other groups of the region, Serbiansnote , in that region migrated en masse to Belgrade note because of the Ottoman Empire, later, during the World War 2 when Albania became an Italian protectorate, expanding to Kosovo. At any rate, a campaign during the 1990s of Albanian protests turned nasty after the Dayton Agreement (sorting out the war in the rest of Yugoslavia) didn't address Kosovo. Realizing that the West just wasn't interested, the organization of "KLA" started a rather more ... active campaign. Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian army (well, technically Serbian/Montenegrin) responded note , and the result was the NATO bombing of Serbia and Montenegro in 1999. Kosovo went into UN administration for the best part of a decade, with any attempt by the West to conclude independence being stymied by Russia in her traditional role as "Big Bro" to the Serbs. Eventually, in February 2008, Kosovo declared independence - however to date only a limited number of countries have recognized it. All of NATO has (except Spain, Romania, Greece and Slovakia, because all of them apart from Greecenote have independence movements back home: Basques and Catalans in Spain, Hungarians in Slovakia, Székely/Hungarians in Romania), Russia has declared the independence to be "illegal" and China is passively supporting the Serbian side. Kosovo has wisely not applied for UN membership. On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion after Serbia requested it that the declaration of independence was legal, which the International Court confirmed it was because there is no law that prohibits the declaration of independence. Kosovo got back in international focus once again when the Republic of Crimea declared independence from pro-NATO Ukraine and became a part of the Russian Federation, which is now described as unlawful by the same countries that supported the independence of Kosovo note . By the way, the overwhelming majority of the population (around 95%) are followers of Sunni Islam, which may count as a Reality Is Unrealistic and an Aluminum Christmas Trees to people who couldn't believe there is a large number, let alone indigenous, Muslims in Europe. They're not Turks (though such term is a well-established offensive slur to refer to Muslims in the Balkans, hence "kebabs"); 400+ years of Ottoman rule must had left some kind of impact in the local culturenote and faith, which includes the mass conversion of local Albanians, being one of the few European ethnic groups under Ottoman rule who did so. Contrary to popular beliefs, the conflicts in the Balkans seldom have religious connotations (unlike the horror that is the Middle East), and differing faiths are mainly used as national identities, albeit a more pronounced one. According to a recent research, Kosovo is the only Balkan country to have a "Free and equal" status against atheists and religious minorities.
Media set in or pertaining to Kosovo:
Famous Kosovar people:
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. A Kosovar Albanian by ethnicity, though she was born in Skopje in what is now Macedonia.
- Rita Ora, born Rita Sahatçiu, singer-songwriter. Born in the capital Pristina, moved to the UK. Became honorary ambassador of the country in 2015.
The Kosovar Flag
The blue field alludes to the United Nations, which administered the region after The Yugoslav Wars. At the center is a golden silhouette of the map of Kosovo — the only flag besides that of Cyprus to use its own map. The map in turn is crowned with six white stars, traditionally symbolizing the nation's six major ethnic groups: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Roma and Bosniaks; an Albanian ultra-nationalist ideology, meanwhile, attributes it to the regions of Greater Albania: mainland Albania, Kosovo, western parts of the Republic of Macedonia, parts of northern Greece, parts of southern Montenegro and the Presevo Valley in southern Serbia.