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Monday, March 9, 1998 Published at 17:14 GMT

Kosovo: History of a troubled region

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Prince Lazar, legendary Serb hero, is defeated by the Turks in Kosovo.

This marks the beginning of the end of the the medieval Serb nation. Serbia is ruled by Turkey for the next 500 years, and Kosovo takes its place at the heart of Serbian nationalist history.


The Serbian principality is given full autonomy from the Ottoman Empire.


Serbia joins other Balkan states in a war to drive the Ottoman Empire out of Europe. They win the war and Serbia re-acquires Kosovo.

Austria insists that Serbia and Monenegro give up part of their newly-conquered territory to form an independent Albania.

Between the first and second world wars the Serbians attempt to consolidate their hold on Kosovo by expelling Muslims, Albanians and Turks.

A land reform program gives the property of those expelled and other large land-owners to Serb colonists.


Yugoslavia is invaded by Germany and its allies and divided into puppet states.


Once German forces are driven out of Yugoslavia, around 10,000 Albanians fight 40,000 Yugoslav troops for control of Kosovo. The rebellion is suppressed with heavy casualties.

Thousands of Albanian Muslims are subsequently deported to Turkey and dozens were killed in various incidents in the 1950s.


Ethnic Albanian students, encouraged at being given a first tentative measure of self-rule, stage mass protests.


A new Yugoslav constitution grants Kosovo autonomy, but not independence.


Albanians separatists in Kosovo riot - many students are arrested.

At least nine people die and hundreds are injured. Troops are sent in and martial law is briefly imposed.


More than 6,000 Serbs and Montenegrin residents of Kosovo stage a mass protest over alleged harassment by ethnic Albanians.

Click here for continuation of Kosovo chronology

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