Kosovo became a nation when its parliament declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. The United States and many European countries have recognized Kosovo's independence, while Serbia and some of its allies have not.
Located in southeastern Europe, Kosovo is landlocked and roughly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut. Its name refers to a place outside the capital, Prishtina, and loosely translated it means "field of blackbirds." Much of Kosovo's terrain is mountainous, with the highest peak, Gjeravica, rising 8,714 feet (2,656 meters) above sea level. Kosovo has two main plains and several notable rivers and lakes. The climate is continental with warm summers and cold and snowy winters.
About 90 percent of Kosovo's two million people are ethnic Albanians, and the remaining 10 percent are mainly Orthodox Christian Serbs living in northern Kosovo, near the border with Serbia.
Kosovo was the site of a famous battle between Serbs and Turks in 1389 and is often described as the birthplace of Serb identity. Ethnic Albanians say they are the descendants of the ancient Illyrians, Kosovo's first inhabitants.1