Kosovo profile - Timeline

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Pristina, KosovoImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
An aerial view of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo

A chronology of key events

1st Century AD - The Romans gain control of the area, populated by a people known as Dardani, who are thought to be either Illyrian or Thracian in origin.

6th Century - Slavs begin to settle in the area, which slips from Roman/Byzantine control and becomes a disputed border area.

12th Century - Serbia gains control of Kosovo, which goes on to become the heart of the Serbian empire. The period sees the building of many Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries.

1389 28 June - Epic Battle of Kosovo heralds 500 years of Turkish Ottoman rule. Over the ensuing decades many Christian Serbs leave the region. Over the centuries the religious and ethnic balance tips in favour of Muslims and Albanians.

1689-90 - Austrian invasion is repelled.

1912 - Balkan Wars: Serbia regains control of Kosovo from the Turks, recognised by 1913 Treaty of London.

1918 - Kosovo becomes part of the kingdom of Serbia.

1941 - World War Two: Much of Kosovo becomes part of an Italian-controlled greater Albania.

1946 - Kosovo is absorbed into the Yugoslav federation.

1960s - Belgrade shows increasing tolerance for Kosovan autonomy.

1974 - Yugoslav constitution recognises the autonomous status of Kosovo, giving the province de facto self-government.

1981 - Troops suppress separatist rioting in the province.

1987 - In a key moment in his rise to power, future president Slobodan Milosevic rallies a crowd of Kosovo Serbs, who are protesting against alleged harassment by the majority Albanian community.

1989 - Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic proceeds to strip rights of autonomy laid down in the 1974 constitution.

1990 July - Ethnic Albanian leaders declare independence from Serbia. Belgrade dissolves the Kosovo government.

1990 September - Sacking of more than 100,000 ethnic Albanian workers, including government employees and media workers, prompts general strike.

1991 - Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia break away from Yugoslavia and declare their independence.

1992 July - An academic, Ibrahim Rugova, is elected president of the self-proclaimed republic.

1993-97 - Ethnic tension and armed unrest escalate.

1998 March-September - Open conflict between Serb police and separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Serb forces launch a brutal crackdown. Civilians are driven from their homes.

1998 September - Nato gives an ultimatum to President Milosevic to halt the violence.

Nato intervention

1999 March - Internationally-brokered peace talks fail, and Nato launches air strikes against Yugoslavia lasting 78 days before Belgrade yields.

Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanian refugees pour into neighbouring countries, telling of massacres and forced expulsions.

1999 June - President Milosevic agrees to withdraw troops from Kosovo. UN sets up a Kosovo Peace Implementation Force (Kfor) and Nato forces arrive in the province. The KLA agrees to disarm. Serb civilians flee revenge attacks.

2002 February - Ibrahim Rugova is elected as president by the Kosovo parliament after ethnic Albanian parties reach a power-sharing deal. Bajram Rexhepi becomes prime minister.

Mitrovica clashes

2004 March - Nineteen people are killed in the worst clashes between Serbs and ethnic Albanians since 1999. The violence starts in the divided town of Mitrovica.

2004 October - President Rugova's pro-independence Democratic League tops poll in general election, winning 47 seats in 120-seat parliament. Poll is boycotted by Serbs.

2004 December - Parliament re-elects President Rugova and elects former rebel commander Ramush Haradinaj as prime minister. Mr Haradinaj's party had entered into a coalition with the president's Democratic League.

2005 March - Mr Haradinaj indicted to face UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, resigns as prime minister. He is succeeded by Bajram Kosumi.

2006 January - President Rugova dies in Pristina after losing his battle with lung cancer. He is succeeded in February by Fatmir Sejdiu.

2006 July - First direct talks since 1999 between ethnic Serbian and Kosovan leaders on future status of Kosovo take place in Vienna.


2008 February - Kosovo declares independence. Serbia says declaration illegal. Europe's major powers and the United States recognise independence.

2008 June - A new constitution transfers power to majority ethnic Albanian government after nine years of UN rule. Kosovo Serbs set up their own rival assembly in Mitrovica.

2008 December - European Union mission (Eulex) takes over police, justice and customs services from the UN. Serbia accepts the EU mission.

2009 January - New multi-ethnic Kosovo Security Force launched under Nato supervision, replacing a unit dominated by veterans of independence campaign against Serbia.

2011 February - Kosovo-Swiss tycoon Behgjet Pacolli becomes president after winning narrow majority in third round of voting in parliament. Hashim Thaci is re-appointed prime minister.

Talks with Serbia

2011 March - President Pacolli steps down after the high court rules parliament had not been in quorum during his election. Parliament elects senior police officer Atifete Jahjaga to be Kosovo's first female president in April.

2012 September - The group of 23 EU countries, the US and Turkey overseeing Kosovo since 2008 end its supervisory role over the government, although Nato-led peacekeepers and EU rule-of-law monitors remain.

2013 April - Kosovo and Serbia reach a landmark agreement on normalising relations that grants a high degree of autonomy to Serb-majority areas in northern, while both sides agree not to block each other's efforts to seek EU membership.

2017 September - Ramush Haradinaj is given task of forming new government, ending months of political deadlock after elections in June.

2019 July - Prime Minister Haradinaj resigns after a war crimes court in The Hague summons him for questioning as a suspect.

2019 October - Opposition parties Vetevendosje (Self-determination) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) win the parliamentary election.

2020 June - Avdullah Hoti of the LDK becomes prime minister of a coalition excluding Vetevendosje, whose leader Albin Kurti briefly preceded him as head of government from February.

2020 November - President Thaci resigns on learning that the Kosovo war crimes tribunal in The Hague confirmed his indictment for war crimes. He is succeeded by parliament speaker Vjosa Osmani in April 2021.

2022 - Ethnic tensions rise amid the Kosovo government's aim of making those in majority ethnic Serb areas swap their Serbian-issued car number plates for Kosovan-issued ones.