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The Vilayet of Kosovo (Ottoman Turkish: ولايت قوصوه, Vilâyet-i Kosova; Turkish: Kosova Vilayeti; Albanian: Vilajeti i Kosovës; Macedonian: Косовски вилает, Kosovski vilaet; Serbian: Косовски вилајет, Kosovski vilajet) was a vilayet of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Peninsula which included the current territory of Kosovo and the western part of the Republic of Macedonia. The areas today comprising Sandžak (Raška) region of Serbia and Montenegro, although de jure under Ottoman control, were in fact under Austro- Hungarian occupation from 1878 until 1909, as provided under Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin. Uskub (Skopje) functioned as the capital of the province and the mid way point between Istanbul and its European provinces. Uskub's population of 32,000 made it the largest city in the province, followed by Prizren, also numbering at 30,000.
The Vilayet stood as a microcosm of Ottoman society; incorporated within its boundaries were diverse groups of peoples and religions: Albanians, Serbs, Bosniaks; Muslims and Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic. The province was renowned for its craftsmen and important cities such as İpek (today's Peć, Albanian: Peja), where distinct Ottoman architecture and public baths were erected, some of which can still be seen today. The birthplace of the Albanian national identity was first articulated in Prizren, by the League of Prizren members in 1878.
As a result firstly of the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, then of the modified Treaty of Berlin the same year which split the Ottoman Empire, Kosovo became the first line of defense for the Ottoman Empire, with large garrisons of Ottoman troops being stationed in the province. Prior to the First Balkan War in 1912, the province's shape and location denied Serbia and Montenegro a common land border. After the war, the major part of the vilayet was divided between Montenegro and Serbia. These borders were all ratified at the Treaty of London in 1913 with the Ottoman Empire itself finally recognising the new borders following a peace deal with the Kingdom of Serbia on March 14, 1914.
The vilayet of Kosovo was created in 1877, and consisted of a much larger area than modern Kosovo, as it also included the sanjak of Novi Pazar, the sanjak of Nis (until 1878), the region around Plav and Gusinje as well as the Dibra region. These regions had belonged to the eyalet of Nis, the eyalet of Skopje and, after 1865, the Danube Vilayet. In 1868 the Vilayet of Prizren was created with the sanjaks of Prizren, Dibra, Skopje and Nis, but it ceased to exist in 1877.
Kosovo encompassed the Sandžak region cutting into present-day Central Serbia and Montenegro along with the Kukës municipality and surrounding region in present-day northern Albania. Between 1881 and 1912 (its final chapter), it was internally expanded to include other regions of present-day Republic of Macedonia, including larger urban settlements such as Štip (İştip), Kumanovo (Kumanova) and Kratovo (Kratova) (see map).
The province's boundaries shifted as the Ottoman Empire lost territory to neighboring states in the Treaty of Berlin following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and parts were also internally transferred to Monastir Vilayet and from Salonica Vilayet. In 1878, the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, a subdivision of the Province of Kosovo, fell under Austro-Hungarian occupation in accord with the Berlin treaty which also allowed the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There it would remain until 1908.
There have been a number of estimates about the ethnicity and the religious affiliation of the local population.
An Austrian statistics published in 1899 estimated:
According to Ottoman yearbooks, in 1901, the Kosovo vilayet which encompassed five sanjaks: Skopje, Priština, Prizren, Novi Pazar, and Pljevlja had 964,657 inhabitants; two thirds were Muslims and one third was Christian. The Muslims were primarily Albanians and the Christians were mostly Serbs. The yearbooks, however, are deemed unreliable sources as they, in some districts, did not register the female population, but balanced the numbers against the male population, though it is a well known fact that the number of male heads exceeded the number of female heads throughout this period not only in those lands but in Serbia Proper as well.
British journalist H. Brailsford estimated in 1906[full citation needed] that two-thirds of the population of Kosovo was Albanian and one-third Serbian. The most populous western districts of Đakovica and Peć were said to have between 20,000 and 25,000 Albanian households, as against some 5,000 Serbian ones. A map of Alfred Stead, published in 1909, shows that similar numbers of Serbs and Albanians were living in the territory.
A publication from December 21, 1912 in the Belgian magazine Ons Volk Ontwaakt (Our Nation Awakes) estimated 827,100 inhabitants:
- Muslim Albanians - 418,000
- Christian Bulgarians - 250,000
- Orthodox Serbs - 113,000
- Mixed - 22,000
- Muslim Bulgarians - 14,000
- Muslim Turks - 9,000
- Orthodox Vlachs - 900
- Orthodox Greeks - 200
Ethnographic map of the Balkans by the pro-Greek
Administrative divisions 
Sanjaks of the Vilayet:
- Sanjak of Üsküb
- Sanjak of Priştine
- Sanjak of Seniçe
- Sanjak of Dukagjin
- Sanjak of Taslica
- Sanjak of Prizren
- 1819-1893 : Ibrahim Edhem Pasha Held office from (5 February 1877 – 11 January 1878)
- 1894-1899 : Hafiz Mehmed Pasha
- 1900-1902 : Reshad Bey Pasha
- 1903-1904 : Shakir Pasha Numan
- 1905-1907 : Mehmed Shefket Pasha
- . . . . 1908 : Hadi Pasha
- 1909-1910 : Mazhar Bey Pasha
- . . . . 1911 : Halil Bey Pasha
- . . . . 1912 : Ghalib Pasha
Notes and references 
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 99 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Uskub". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Teaching Modern Southeast European History. Alternative Educational Materials, p. 26
- Salname-yi Vilâyet-i Kosova ("Yearbook of the Vilayet of Kosovo"), Kosova vilâyet matbaası, Kosova [Serbia], 1318 . in the website of Hathi Trust Digital Libray.
- http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/boshtml/bos128.htm Anderson, Frank Maloy and Amos Shartle Hershey, The Austrian occupation of Novibazar, Handbook for diplomatic history of Europe, Asia and Africa
- Conflicting Loyalties in the Balkans: The Great Powers, the Ottoman Empire ....
- George Gawrych The Crescent And The Eagle: Ottoman Rule, Islam And The Albanians, 1874-1913 (I. B. Tauris & Company, 2006).[page needed]
- Detailbeschreibung des Sandzaks Plevlje und des Vilajets Kosovo (Mit 8 Beilagen und 10 Taffeln), Als Manuskript gedruckt, Vien 1899, 80-81.
- Milovan Radovanović, "Antropogeografske i demografske osnove razvoja naseljenosti u Srbiji," /Anthropogeographical and Demographic Elements of Population Density in Serbia/ in Zbornik radova Geografskog instituta "Jovan Cvijić", 4.3 (Belgrade: SANU, 1991), p. 78
- H. N. Brailsford, Macedonia, Its Races and Their Future, London, 1906
- Servia by the Servians, Compiled and Edited by Alfred Stead, With a Map, London (William Heinemann), 1909. (Etnographical Map of Servia, Scale 1:2.750.000).
- Published on December 21, 1912 in the Belgian magazine Ons Volk Ontwaakt (Our Nation Awakes) - view the table of Vilajet Kossowo: Skynet GodsdBalkan
- Robert Shannan Peckham, Map mania: nationalism and the politics of place in Greece,
- Kosova Vilayeti | Tarih ve Medeniyet
- Sûreti defter-i sancak-i Arvanid, H. Inalcik, Ankara 1954. (Turkish)
- Sûreti defter-i esami vilayeti Dibra, f. 124-176, Başbakanlık Arşivi, maliyeden müdever, nr.508. (Turkish)
- Regjistri turk i vitit 1485* - Prof. As. Dr. David Luka (Albanian)
- A.F. Gilferding, Putovanje po Hercegovini, Bosni i Staroj Srbiji, Sarajevo, 1972, 241-245 (Serbian)