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Ibar, Prizren, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, ethnic Albanians, Balkan Peninsula

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Kosovo, United Nations-administered region in the Balkan Peninsula. Kosovo is bounded on the south by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on the west by Albania, and on the northwest by Montenegro. Serbia, which claims Kosovo as a province, is to the north and northeast. Kosovo was the location of the fourth conflict in the wars of Yugoslav succession, which took place in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) during the 1990s. In 1999 the United Nations set up an interim administration in Kosovo, pending a settlement on the region’s status. Subsequent negotiations were inconclusive, however, and its status remained a matter of dispute. In 2008 Kosovo declared its independence, but Serbia refused to recognize the declaration.

Land and Resources

Kosovo covers an area of 10,887 sq km (4,203 sq mi). Several peaks in the Sar Planina mountain range rise to more than 2,500 m (8,200 ft) in Kosovo. The mountain slopes are covered with deciduous forests, meadows, and pastureland. A branch of the Drin River rises in Kosovo, and the Ibar and Sitnica rivers also flow through the region.

Agriculture is of chief importance in Kosovo; major crops include grains (including corn, wheat, and barley), potatoes, plums, grapes, and tobacco. There are also industries relating to agriculture, including winemaking. Cattle and sheep are raised in the highlands. Timber is an important product. Kosovo has significant deposits of lead, zinc, lignite, chromite, and magnesite. Industries in Kosovo include mining and the production of cement and sulfuric acid. A small skiing industry has developed.


In 1991 Kosovo had a population of 1,956,196. The administrative center of Kosovo is Pristina; other major cities include Prizren and Pec. More than 90 percent of Kosovo’s inhabitants are ethnic Albanians, with the remainder being mostly Serbs and Montenegrins, and smaller numbers of Roma.



Campbell, Greg. The Road to Kosovo: A Balkan Diary. Westview, 1999. A journalist's report on his journeys.

Chomsky, Noam. The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo. Common Courage, 1999. Raises questions about the motives of NATO in Kosovo.

Glenny, Misha. The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War. Rev. ed. Penguin, 1996. Explores the human realities behind the headlines and places the tragedy of Kosovo in historical context.

Judah, Tim. Kosovo: War and Revenge. Yale University Press, 2000. A journalist's narrative of war in the Balkans.

Malcolm, Noel. Kosovo: A Short History. New York University Press, 1998. An overview of Kosovo's cultural heritage that provides perspective on the struggles there.

Mertus, Julie. Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War. University of California Press, 1999. An account of Kosovo's problems, with particular focus on the victims.

Joksimovich, Vojin. Kosovo Crisis: A Study in Foreign Policy Mismanagement. Seven Locks, 1999. An analysis of the Kosovo conflict that gives particular attention to the role of the media.

Subotic, Gojko. Art of Kosovo: The Sacred Land. Monacelli, 1999. Illustrations of frescoes reveal Kosovo's rich Orthodox Christian religious heritage.


Ramet, Sabrina P., A.B., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of International Studies, University of Washington. Author of Balkan Babel: Politics, Culture, and Religion in Yugoslavia and other books.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

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