Kosovo (Kosova or Kosovë ; ), officially the Republic of Kosovo (Republika e Kosovës; Република Косово/Republika Kosovo), is a partially recognised state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe.
Defined in an area of 10,908 km2, Kosovo is landlocked in the center of the Balkans and bordered by the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east, the Republic of Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest and Montenegro to the west.
Geographically, Kosovo possesses varied and opposing landscapes for its size determined by the ideal climate along with the geology and hydrology. Most of central Kosovo is dominated by the vast plains of Dukagjin and Kosovo. The Albanian Alps and Šar Mountains rise in the southwest and southeast respectively.
The history of Kosovo dates back to the Paleolithic era, represented by the Vinča and Starčevo cultures. During the Classical period, it was inhabited by the Illyrian-Dardanian and Celtic people. In 168 BC, the area was annexed by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, it was conquered by the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian Empires. The Battle of Kosovo of 1389 is considered to be one of the defining moments in Serbian medieval history. The region was the core of the Serbian medieval state, which has also been the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the 14th century, when its status was upgraded to a patriarchate.
Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the early 20th century. In the late 19th century, it became the centre of the Albanian National Awakening. Following their defeat in the Balkan Wars, the Ottomans ceded Kosovo to Serbia and Montenegro. Both countries joined Yugoslavia after World War I, and following a period of Yugoslav unitarianism in the Kingdom, the post-World War II Yugoslav constitution established the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within the Yugoslav constituent Republic of Serbia. Tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb communities simmered through the 20th century and occasionally erupted into major violence, culminating in the Kosovo War of 1998 and 1999, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Yugoslav Army and the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.
On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia. It has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by, but has also been derecognized by several countries as well. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a state, although with the Brussels Agreement of 2013, it has accepted its institutions. While Serbia recognises administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government, it continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.
Kosovo has a lower-middle-income economy and has experienced solid economic growth over the last decade by international financial institutions, and has experienced growth every year since the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis. Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Regional Cooperation Council and has applied for membership of Interpol and for observer status in the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation.