The history of Kosovo is long and convoluted. During the Balkan War, back at the beginning of the 20th century, Kosovo was split between Serbia and Montenegro. Following WWII, Kosovo became part of Tito’s communist regime and an autonomous region of Serbia. Problems escalated within Kosovo, over the following decades, with conflict between the Serbs and Albanians. When communism ended in 1989, conflicts increased as the Muslim Albanians sought to reclaim what they considered to be their country. In the meantime, the Orthodox Serbs remained determined to keep the land of Kosovo, which is home to an important battleground during the advance of the Ottoman Empire in 1389.
The conflict reached a crisis point in 1999, when Serbia tried to make roads towards gaining complete control. Unfortunately, this led to an estimated one million refugees fleeing their homeland – some of whom have still not returned today. It was only with NATO’s intervention that Milosevic agreed to a foreign military presence in Kosovo and the withdrawal of his troops.
In February 2008 Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. To date, only 72 of the 192 United Nations countries have officially recognised Kosovo, but more are added to this number on a monthly basis.
Kosovo is one of the poorest economies in Europe, with deprived economic policies, international sanctions; weak access to external trade and finance, and ethnic conflict severely damaged the economy. Demographics show that around 32% of the population is below 15 years of age, and only around 6.5% of the population live to over 65 years of age. There are still thousands living in ‘temporary’ accommodation, after fleeing the country in 1999 and returning to find their homes gone. Kosovo is a nation shaped by Orthodox Serb and Muslim Albanian conflict; however, it is a country slowly on the mend.