Kosovo (; Albanian: Kosova or Kosovë, pronounced [kɔˈsɔva] or [kɔˈsɔvə]; Serbian Cyrillic: Косово, pronounced [kôsoʋo]), officially the Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës; Serbian: Република Косово / Republika Kosovo), is a partially-recognised state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe. On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia. It has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by 98 UN member states.
Geographically defined in an area of 10,887 km2 (4,203 sq mi), Kosovo is landlocked in the center of the Balkans and bordered by the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east, North Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest and Montenegro to the west. It possesses remarkable varied and diverse landscapes for its size by climate along with geology and hydrology. Most of central Kosovo is dominated by the vast plains and fields of Metohija and Kosovo. The rugged Prokletije and Šar Mountains rise in the southwest and southeast, respectively.
Archaeological research has shown that the earliest known settlements in the territory of present-day Kosovo were linked to the Neolithic Starčevo culture and the material culture groupins which succeeded it. The Bronze Age was marked by the arrival of Indo-European tribes and the appearance of tumuli, a typical feature of Indo-European material culture, in existing and new sites. In classical antiquity, the central tribe which emerged in the territory of Kosovo was that of the Dardani who formed an independent polity known as the Kingdom of Dardania in the 4th century BCE. Dardania was annexed by the Roman Empire by the 1st century BCE and was later part of the provinces of Praevalitana and Dardania. Kosovo remained part of the eastern Roman Empire for over a thousand years. Byzantine administration was eroded by Slavic invasions beginning in the 6th-7th century AD. In the centuries thereafter control of the area alternated between the Byzantines and the First Bulgarian Empire. By the 13th century, Kosovo became part of medieval Serbia. 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. The fall of the Serbian Empire in the late 14th century saw a quick succession of regional rulers until the 15th century when it became part of the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century.
After the Battle of Kosovo 1389, the Serb medieval state survived for another 60 years, the Serbian Despotate became its successor. As a result, and leading up to the second Battle of Kosovo (1448), the Serbian Despotate deserted the anti-Ottoman Christian cause and became an Ottoman vassal.
Some historians have argued the 1448 Battle of Kosovo, led by Hungarian leader John Hunyadi, was the most important battle and defining moment in the region before final Ottoman occupation since it saw the last chance to expel the Ottomans. Anti-Ottoman Albanian forces led by Skanderbeg had planned to meet up with Hunyadi's forces in the Kosovo field but were delayed after an ambush by the Serbian Despot led by Durad Brankovic
In the late 19th century, it was 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, the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo and the declaration of independence in 2008. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state, although with the 2013 Brussels Agreement, it has accepted its state institutions. While Serbia recognises administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government, it continues to claim it as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.
Kosovo has an upper-middle-income economy. It has experienced solid economic growth over the last decade by international financial institutions, and growth every year since the onset of the financial crisis of 2007–2008. Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and has applied for membership of Interpol and for observer status in the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation.