Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. In antiquity, the Dardanian kingdom, and later Roman province of Dardania was located in the country. It was part of Serbia in the Middle Ages, during which time many important monasteries, some of which are now UNESCO World Heritage sites, were built. The Battle of Kosovo, in 1389, is regarded by Serbs as a defining moment in their history and identity. It was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century and would remain under Ottoman rule for the next five centuries. Kosovo was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbia after the First Balkan War, and with the constitution of Yugoslavia, the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija was created (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Косово и Метохија, Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija) within the Yugoslav republic of Serbia. Long-term severe ethnic tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb populations have left Kosovo ethnically divided, resulting in inter-ethnic violence, including the Kosovo War of 1999. The Kosovo War ended with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia accepting that it would give up the exercise of its sovereignty pending a final status settlement. Under UNSCR 1244, governance passed to the United Nations in 1999. The partially recognisedRepublic of Kosovo, declared itself an independent state in 2008, and has control over most of the territory, although North Kosovo, the largest Serb enclave, is largely under the control of institutions of the Republic of Serbia or parallel structures subsidised by Serbia. Serbia and a number of other countries do not recognise the secession of Kosovo and consider it a UN-governed entity within its sovereign territory.
It is estimated that the current population of the city stands between 550,000 and 600,000. The city has an overwhelming majority Albanian population alongside other smaller minority communities including Serbs and Romani. It is the political, cultural, and educational center of Kosovo. The city is home to the ancient Ulpiana settlement, the University of Pristina, and the Museum of Kosovo.
Ibrahim Rugova (2 December 1944 – 21 January 2006) was the first President of Kosovo, serving from 1992 to 2000 and again from 2002 to 2006, and a prominent Kosovo Albanian political leader, scholar, and writer. He oversaw a popular struggle for independence, advocating a peaceful resistance to Yugoslav rule and lobbying for U.S. and European support, especially during the Kosovo War. He strongly emphasized the heritage of ancient Dardania, the independent kingdom and later province of the Roman Empire that included modern-day Kosovo, to strengthen the country's identity and to promote his policy of closer relations with the West. Owing to his role in Kosovo's history, Rugova has been dubbed "Father of the Nation" and "Gandhi of the Balkans," awarded, among others, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and posthumously declared a Hero of Kosovo.
The Republic of Kosovo is recognised by 63 countries - As of November 9, 63 sovereign UN nations recognize the Republic as independent from Serbia. The most recent country to recognize Kosovo is New Zealand.
Breach of international law - On 15 August 2008, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić officially filed a request at the United Nations seeking the opinion of the International Court of Justice on whether the declaration of independence was in breach of international law. The United Nations General Assembly adopted this proposal on October 8, 2008 with 77 votes in favor, 6 votes against and 74 abstentions.