Kosovo: A Short History – A Contribution Which Noel Malcolm Will Never Tell You

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I will not dwell either on the prehistory nor early history of the region of Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet) in this article.

The Montenegrins and medieval Serbia

It used to pass from one state to the other, until Stephan Nemanja (1166−1196), a nobleman from Zeta (present-day Montenegro), founded the state of Serbia, whose center very soon later became exactly in today’s KosMet. First a Byzantine vassal dukedom, Serbia became soon an independent state, to become an empire under the rule of Stephan Dušan (1331−1355), the first Emperor of Serbia.[1]

Serbia’s Nemanjić’s dynasty ended with Dušan’s son, Uroš, disintegrating into many feudal possessions.[2] In the epic battle at Kosovo Polje (Field), just west from the present-day Priština, a Serb Prince (knez) Lazar Hrebeljanović, who led the joined Christian forces, lost the battle (and life) to the Ottoman Sultan Murad I (1361−1389) who lost his life himself, being according to the legend, killed by a Serb nobleman Miloš Kobilić (later Obilić). Murad’s son, Bajazid I (1389−1402), who played a decisive role in the Ottoman victory, took over the Ottoman throne at Edirne (Hadrianopolis).

After the Kosovo Battle in 1389, the center of gravity of the Serbian state moved gradually towards the north, away from the Ottoman-controlled lands, and when the last Serbian Despot, an Ottoman vassal, Đurađ Branković succumbed to the Ottoman Porta his capital became Smederevo, at the confluence of Morava and Danube Rivers in Serbia. The long period of Serbian life in the “Turkish slavery” from 1459 to 1804 ensued. The importance of the 1389 Kosovo Battle both for Serbs and Europe is to be of the European Christian matter.[3] The 1389 Battle of Kosovo could be compared with the 732 Battle of Poitiers in present-day France.[4] The wheel of history stopped for Serbia in 1459, when the Ottomans finally occupied it, to be moved up towards the (West) European civilization since the beginning of the 19th century again. It was this subjugation to the Ottoman Empire which resulted in the retardation of the Ottoman-ruled area of the Balkans for a few centuries compared with West Europe.[5]

There has been much controversy as to the real importance of the 1389 Kosovo Battle for the subsequent history of the Balkans and Central Europe generally. Its importance is less of factual political history and more regarding the cultural and spiritual consequences for the Serbian population in the region. When the 1998 Kosovo Crisis became acute in West mass media, the myth of the 1389 Kosovo Battle was launched by some circles in the West, implying that Serbs have become obsessed by this alleged myth and therefore behave irrationally.[6] To contemporary Serbia, the lost battle was at the same time the loss of the social elite, Serb aristocracy. In fact, any immediate final outcome of the 1389 Kosovo Battle had to be devastating to Serbia. The point is that by entering into the battle Serbia stretched her power beyond her manpower capacities. In a clash of a small country, as Serbia was at the time, and a large empire like the Ottoman one, the larger adversary cannot lose. Even if his army is annihilated in a single battle, with such enormous manpower resources, the larger partner easily recovers, while the smaller suffers from an irreparable loss. The 1389 Kosovo Battle annihilated the upper part of the Serbian social pyramid, never to be recovered again. For four centuries, Serbia will be a country of peasants and serfs, deprived even of the autochthonous bourgeoisie.[7]  

According to the popular opinion among the Serbs, Serbia under the rule of the Nemanjić’s dynasty (1166−1371) reached her heyday. However, such a romantic feeling does not match the historical evidence from the sources. Coming from Montenegro (at that time named Zeta), these despotic rulers turned out rather narrow-minded. They relied heavily on the Serbian Orthodox Church, whom they supported lavishly. Their concept of ruling the country was predominantly theocratic, albeit indirectly. Their principal concern was building monasteries and churches and keeping a strong army (like in the rest of Christian Europe). In revenge, the church used to proclaim the rulers of Serbia (Grand Dukes, Kings, and Emperors) as the saints and the principal duty of clergy was praying for their rulers and their place on Heaven.[8] A similar situation was with Serbia’s Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović (killed in the 1389 Kosovo Battle), who originally came from Montenegro too, but his son Despot Stephan Lazarević (1393−1427) was much more enlightened.[9]

Thermopiles and Kosovo

The Kosovo Field appears ideal ground for large-scale battles, just as gorges are convenient for stopping invading armies. The most celebrated case of the latter was the famous Spartan barrier to the army of the Persian King Xerxes (486−465 BC) at Thermopiles (480 BC),[10] under the legendary leadership of King Leonidas. Less known is a similar episode at the same place when this time the Athenians tried to stop a large Celtic army.[11] The history became repeated and the Celtics found the way to circumvent the Athenians via the path revealed to Persians by Ephialtes. But this time, the Greek failure did not turn out as disastrous as with the Persians, for the Celts were interested in Delphic treasures, rather than in occupying Greece.[12] There are some interesting parallels between the 480 BC Battle of Thermopile and the 1389 Kosovo Battle, with moral of duty, sacrifice and treachery involved. 

As with Thermopiles in 480 BC, the 1389 Kosovo Battle was not the only fought at Kosovo Polje. In 1448, the Hungarian regent Janos (John) Hunyadi was badly defeated by the Ottomans on the same field, which thus turned out fatal for the Christian world.[13] After this battle, many ethnic Albanians moved from Albania to South Italy and Sicily, where they live still.[14] Another important historical date for Kosovo-Metochia was the war between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire in 1683−1699 (the Great Vienna War). During this war, the Habsburg Monarchy sent a force of some 5.000 soldiers to KosMet, under the command of Count Eneo Piccolomini. Both the Serbs and the Albanians took part in this war, which turned out disastrous for the KosMet’s inhabitants.[15] The turmoil raised by the Habsburg invasion of KosMet engaged all its population, the Serbs, Albanians, Turks, Christians, and Muslims alike. E. Piccolomini was initially successful, taking Novo Brdo and Kačanik. He soon died, from bubonic plague, and was succeeded by Duke Christian of Holstein. The latter sent a rather small force under the command of colonel Strasser, to release Kačanik Pass from the Turkish-Tatar siege, despite the advice of the local Albanian leaders. His campaign ended in the total disaster and the entire KosMet’s affair came soon to end.

Historians and demographic consequences of the war

Both the KosMet’s Serb and the Albanian leaderships were confused with the complicated situation, which involved not only Habsburgs but Venetians, Crimean Tatars, Russian court, Orthodox, and Catholic churches, Muslims of all ethnic origin, etc. Expecting a certain Ottoman and Muslim retaliation Christian Orthodox Serbs from KosMet (and Serbia generally), fled from the area, mainly across Sava River and Danube River, for the Habsburg Monarchy. Led by the Serbian patriarch from the Patriarchate of Peć (the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church), Arsenije III Čarnojević (1674−1706), a large part of the KosMet population left their homeland.[16] However, much controversy has arisen concerning the postwar events on the KosMet’s affairs and history. While the 19th-century Serbian historians tended to a certain point to exaggerate the case of the Serb refugees, claiming that it was this abortive military campaign that has depopulated KosMet from Serbs, the Albanian modern historians are trying to maximally minimize the demographic consequences of the war in the region.

The rationale behind the claims is the same: to prove that before the so-called First Great Migration of the Serbs in 1690 from KosMet, the region was predominantly Serbian, or that the migration did not affect the ethnic distribution noticeably, respectively. According to the Serbian historiography, it was estimated that about 37.000−40.000 Serbian families (circa 100.000 people) and 5.000. Albanians moved from the area towards the north (the Sava and Danube Rivers). However, most probably, both figures appear overestimated and in all probability refer to heads instead to families.[17]

Contrary to the popular opinion, this migration did not take place at once and was not so spectacular as the romantic paintings tend to show. Another wave of migration (the Second Great Serbian Migration) from KosMet occurred under the leadership of another Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV Šakabenda (1725−1737),[18] in 1737.[19] The Albanian tribe which moved in part together with the Christian Orthodox Serbs was the Roman Catholic Keljmendi (Klimenti) one. Some of these Albanians remained in the northern parts of Central Serbia and there are extant Albanian graveyards in Shumadija,[20] called „Arnautska groblja“ (the „Arnauts’ graveyards“) by the local Serb population. The Keljmendis were settled down by the Habsburg authorities in two villages in Srem, Hrtkovci, and Nikinci.[21] They gradually were associated with the local Roman Catholic Croat population and became indistinguishable by the mid-20th century. 


Both migration waves depopulated Kosovo-Metochia and, therefore, the Ottoman authorities decided to settle there ethnic Albanians of the Islamic faith from neighboring North Albania. It was from this period that Albanian ethnicity started to prevail in the Slavic one in the region, to become dominant in the 20th century. Some Serbian historians blame both patriarchs for those migrations, which turned out fatal for the Serb presence at KosMet. According to the Serbian researcher Radoslav Gaćinović, the first Albanian immigrants from Albania arrived in KosMet in 1754.[22]  

For the Western foreign „experts“ in the Yugoslav history (like Noel Malcolm) The rationale for ascribing particular importance to both Great Serbian Migrations appears both understandable and false as for them the Serbian historians allegedly simply could not explain how from practically purely Serbian region in the 15th century, KosMet became Albanian dominated by the end of the 18th century.[23] Nevertheless, as a matter of fact, the Serbian historians did not dig enough into the anthropological and biological layers. It is this neglect, intentional or not, which turned out fatal for the present-day KosMet’s issue.

It has to be, nevertheless, emphasized here another point concerning the ethnic content of KosMet. Though it was not the ethnic Serbs only who migrated to the north (South Hungary), the population which replaced those various groups was almost entirely Muslim, which could be taken as the first step toward ethnic Albanization of the region. This pattern of ethnic mixing, assimilations, and moves will show up many times again in the Balkan history, in particular in the wars in Yugoslavia in 1991−1995. Another misconception should be rectified here. It has been alleged that the Habsburg Emperor (Leopold I) invited Serbs to come to the Habsburg Monarchy (Vojvodina) and settle there. In fact, Vienna urged the Serbs to stay in the Ottoman Empire and form the barrier (Military Border) between two empires but on Ottoman soil, as could be expected. Subsequently, the Serbs in Vojvodina[24] were, in fact, refugees, not immigrants.[25]

It has been frequently argued that migrations into/from KosMet were frequent and involved many different ethnicities, including the Serbians, Albanians, Bosnian-Herzegovinians, Montenegrins, etc, as well as it was not just the Serbs who migrated from KosMet. But this fact can not be taken as proof that  KosMet was always with the same ethnic content. The argument, though correct in principle, involves, in fact two different phenomena. One is qualitative, another is quantitative. The latter has been operative for centuries and has turned decisively in favour of ethnic Albanians, as the present-day situation testifies. However, another factor, operative on a large time scale, too, was the birth rate of the local population, in particular for the last century and especially after 1945.


An indicative testimony of the state of affairs from the 18th century came from a Roman-Catholic Archibishop Mazarek, who himself was of ethnic Albanian origin, from the well-known family Mazrekus, immigrants to KosMet also.  In his report from 1760 he writes:

All the time, many Catholic families come from the mountains of Albania; being hot-natured, irascible and proud, and very much given to murdering people, they refuse to be trampled underfoot by the Turks, as the holy Gospel teaches. Not submitting to the Ottoman taxes, they go around armed all the time, day and night, and indeed kill one another for the slightest affront in word and deed …

These intruders usually convert into Islam, for utilitarian reasons. As the same Mazarek testifies thirty years later, they had „filled and taken over“ the whole of Serbia, committing numerous outrages against Christians: Orthodox and Catholic alike. Mazarek complained that they were „the race which breeds fastest“, one family procreating  „a hundred households“ in a few years. Though this should be taken with a grain of salt, there is a general consensus that there was a considerable flow of the ethnic Albanians from North Albania into KosMet since the mid-18th century.[26] In his report from 1791, Mazarek ended that he would like to include into the liturgy an extra prayer: „Ab albanensibus libera nos Domine“.

What was the situation in KosMet in the following centuries? I would quote here some historical examples, as the illustration of the general case.

In the early 21st  century, a Serbian historian Dušan Bataković emphasized that the worst situation was at Metochia in the districts of Peć and Đakovica – both closer to the border with Albania. While the Serbs around Priština, Skopje, and Prizen could expect support from the Serbian and Russian consulates, the Serbian people living in Metochia were left to the mercy of the local Albanian tribes (“Arbanas fisses“): 

The law at Metochia was designed by heads of the local Arbanas fisses, whose will would determine the fate of the local Turkish officials. With the support of the local tribal ‘chetas’,[27] they created a sort of the local parallel law, a mixture of the rules of Sheriat,[28] Arbanas common law and tradition of the highwaymen from the highland tribes. Such a parallel system of the local order, which in some cases, with ‘giving bessa’, comprised the protection of life and goods of individuals and even entire fisses, did not hold for raya.[29] Therefore the Serb emigration was especially the most pronounced in Metochia. Before the choice to convert into Islam,[30] or to be victimized, they used to run away, individually or with families, to Serbia. In an application to Serb representative at Porta, Serb from Peć begged for protection from ‘the evil, enraged and lawless Arnauts, to whom we have been left at mercy, without anybody to take care of us, so that they have started to exterminate us and we have been their victims since’.[31] 

It has been estimated that between 1876 and 1912  some 150.000 ethnic Serbs were subjected to ethnic cleansing in KosMet by the Muslim Albanians supported by the Ottoman authorities.[32] When the Serbian army liberated KosMet from the Ottoman occupation in 1912 during the First Balkan War,[33] they found there 40% Serbs, 50% ethnic Albanians, and 10% others. However, the Albanians never accepted the new state as their own and a strong tension between Serbian state and KosMet’s Albanians has never ceased since.[34] KosMet’s Albanians experienced the liberation from the Ottoman Empire as a mere change of foreign occupation and never practically recognized the state of Serbia up today. In order to remedy this situation, the Serbian PM Nikola Pašić decided to settle a number of the Montenegrins from Montenegro on the deserted lands, left from the migrated ethnic Turks, mainly landlords – begs.[35] The official rationale for choosing the Montenegrins was, as N. Pašić put it: „They are much like Albanians“. Whether he had in mind the presumed common (the Illyrian) origin of all Dinaroids and thus counter-attacked anticipated Albanian claims for the unique indigenous status in the area or just common mentality of the Highlanders, is, however, difficult to judge now.[36]

These newcomers were regarded by the local Albanians as undesirable intruders. When in 1941 KosMet became a part of a Greater Albania created by B. Mussolini, a puppet fascist state controlled by the Italians and by the Nazi Germans from September 1943, the first thing to do by the central Government in Tirana was to expel those Montenegrins followed by the Serbs from KosMet.[37] They mainly moved to Central Serbia and Belgrade.[38]

During WWII, the non-Albanian population in Kosovo-Metochia was subjected to persecutions, aimed at banishing all non-Albanian elements from the area. The Italian occupation forces tried to protect non-Albanians,[39] but nevertheless, many of them fled the region. It has been estimated that in the period 1941−1944 some 100.000. Serbs and Montenegrins left KosMet, with some 20.000 killed. On the other hand, the state border between Yugoslavia (KosMet) and Albania was wiped out and a regime of free crossing was established. The ethnic Albanian population, mainly from North Albania, fully took advantage of this new opportunity and massive migration from Albania to KosMet was going on during the wartime. Nevertheless, the situation was not too much changed after the war, as some 300.000 Albanians arrived from Albania to Yugoslavia (mainly to KosMet) after 1945.   

The ethnic Albanians at KosMet readily accepted their new (national) state under the Italian patronage during WWII. They did not border much this kind of “presented independence”. After all, their first, original mother homeland, Albania, was a present from Austria-Hungary in 1912−1913.[40] While the guerrilla war was going on in Yugoslavia, especially in the Independent State of Croatia, the ethnic Albanians fully cooperated with the Italian and German occupation forces. True, there were a few of partisan small units, organized by the Albanian communists, under the Communist Party of Yugoslavia’s supervision, which were the principal target of the ethnic-Albanian (in)famous SS Skanderbeg Division, the striking feast of the occupation forces. Generally, before the capitulation of fascist Italy in September 1943, the only ethnicity engaged in Yugoslavia in fighting occupation forces was, practically, Serbs, communist partisans, and royalist chetniks alike. The first was led by the communists, under the leadership of a Croat-Slovene Josip Broz Tito.[41] The other was organized and led by Colonel (later General) Dragoljub Draža Mihailović, who rejected the armistice of the Yugoslav royal army to the German Wehrmacht in April 1941 and organized guerrilla war in Serbia, the Independent State of Croatia (including Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Slovenia.[42] When after B. Mussolini’s Italy capitulated, it became clear who was going to lose the war, and, therefore, the Croats and ethnic Albanians started to join the existing winning communist partisan guerilla forces.

According to a former partisan testimony, the Albanians in Priština greeted enthusiastically the Italians in 1941, with “Viva Mussolini”, then Germans in 1943, after the Italian capitulation, by “Viva Hitler!”, and finally in 1944 communist partisans by “Viva Tito!”[43]

There has been, however, a controversy as to the real motivation of the ethnic Albanians in KosMet for changing sides and joining the Yugoslav communist forces at the end of the war. According to some prominent authors, J. B. Tito promised to Albanians that after the war KosMet would be allowed to join Albania. According to some other historians, what J. B. Tito had in mind was a kind of the Balkan (con)federation, which would consist of Yugoslavia (without KosMet), Bulgaria, and Albania (with KosMet).[44] Most probably both options were on the market. What is of importance here was that until June 1948 there was still no border between Yugoslavia and Albania and the free traffic between two states continued, as was the case during the war.[45] The Yugoslav newspapers were full of photos showing Albanian peasants, with cattle and oxen-drawn vehicles, crossing the border, heading towards the “promised land” of Kosovo-Metochia. According to the estimates by Serbian researchers, some 300.000 Albania’s Albanians moved from 1941 to 1948 to Serbia. On the other hand, KosMet’s Albanians offer the figure of only 326 immigrants. While the first figure appears probably exaggerated, the latter is surely ridiculously underrated.[46]

As a matter of fact, a fascist rule and the unification of KosMet with Albania were short-lived (from 1941 to 1944). By the beginning of December 1944, all territory of KosMet had fallen into the hands of the new Yugoslav communist authorities.[47]

Altogether, organized immigrant waves from Albania from the mid-18th century onward radically changed the demographic picture of KosMet in the favour of the ethnic Albanians followed by the ban for the WWII expelled Serbs and Montenegrins to return back to KosMet issued in March 1945 by the communist Yugoslav authorities.[48]

Kosovo, April 1944: Germans are making lists of (Muslim) Albanian volunteers for newly created SS Skenderbeg Division

KosMet after WWII

Nevertheless, KosMet’s Albanian nationalists were extremely disappointed with the final outcome of WWII in the region. They felt deceived by the Yugoslav (communist) authorities and adopted the same attitude towards the new Yugoslavia, as J. B. Tito designed it. Even before the war was over, in 1944 fierce fighting in North Serbia’s province of Vojvodina were still going on (the “Sremski front”) followed by a rebellion of KosMet’s Albanians at the district of Drenica (which was notorious for the Albanian nationalism, if not chauvinism). J. B. Tito engaged a large force, some 30.000 soldiers. Fierce fighting ensued and it was only in 1945 that the rebellion was crushed. The striking core of Drenica rebellion were so-called balists, the Albanian nationalistic guerilla movement during the war, who in its turn was a continuation of the kachacks (in Turkish, highwaymen) from the Ottoman time.[49] 

After WWII, Albania’s leaders Enver Hoxha and Koche Dodze came to Belgrade and offered Albania (with KosMet) to join Yugoslavia, as the seventh Yugoslav socialist republic. The Yugoslav political leadership turned them down and offered economic help instead. They dismantled a railway and a sugar plant and presented them to Albania. Moreover, J. B. Tito on his own waived Albania’s foreign debt of $9 million.

When a network of the secessionist organization was discovered on KosMet in 1956, a Serb writer and politician Dobrica Ćosić suggested requisition of illegal arms in the province. He consulted J. B. Tito, who agreed, and the plan was approved in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia’s (the CPY) Politbirau and the Federal Government of Yugoslavia too. The ethnic Albanian leaders Fadil Hoxha, Džavid Nimani, and others from KosMet agreed as well. In the action, some 26.000 rifles, hundreds of machine guns, bazookas, two artillery guns, thousands of pistols, and a lot of ammunition were collected from the Albanian civilians. Of course, the Albanian leaders did not like it, but they had no choice at the time. When at the famous CPY Brioni plenum (in Croatia) in 1966, J. B. Tito decided to get rid of Aleksander Ranković, the most prominent Serbian communist political leader and until then the most loyal and devoted J. B. Tito’s aide and the chief of the Yugoslav State Security Service (OZNA/UDBA/SDB), this arms collecting was taken as the crown proof that the Serbs were ferocious with KosMet’s ethnic Albanians. However, in general, the policy of arms collecting is, of course, a ferocious business, in particular when the population considers weapons as personal property, like pocket watch or pipe.[50]

The political situation in KosMet was somehow settled down, at least temporarily. Serbia was partitioned into two autonomous provinces, the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metochia (KosMet, which later became the province) and the rest, so-called Central Serbia. In 1963, KosMet became also proclaimed to be an Autonomous Province, to be further promoted in 1974 to a semi-independent political-territorial entity, with its own Parliament, police, educational system, President, etc. In fact, in 1974, KosMet became a separate autonomous republic with all political-national rights except for the right to secede. At least when J. B. Tito was still alive.[51]


The autonomous province of Kosovo-Metochia 

The Albanian nationalistic unrest which started in 1981 marked the way for the secession of KosMet, but it was clear even before what was the ultimate goal of the Albanian politicians from KosMet. When KosMet became a federal unit, albeit within only the formal status of Serbia’s province, by the (last Yugoslav) Constitution of 1974, the Albanians concealed no longer their intentions. But, the strategy for achieving secession from the SFRY (the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) was conceived a long time ago.

The status of the autonomous province, allotted to KosMet was meant to be the ultimate concession Serbia made to satisfy the demands of the local Albanian nationalists. However, it turned out that for the latter it was but another step towards secession, which was conditio sine qua non for the Albanian politicians in KosMet.

As a matter of historical comparison, Europe experienced this syndrome with Adolph Hitler and his demands for “rectifying the history”. While West-European politicians, making concessions, expected (or at least hoped) that Hitler will be satisfied with the latest one, A. Hitler took every new concession as a sign of West European weakness and encouragement for further pressing for new territories. When N. Chamberlain realized he was dealing with an insane person, it was too late and Europe was pushed into another bloody war in September 1939.[52]  What made A. Hitler superior to his adversaries was his irrational obsession with his political goals, which he presented to the world (both in and outside Germany) as the political and historical rights of the German people (whether he was sincere in this respect or not we may never know). But, one lesson the Europeans learned from A. Hitler affair – the driving force for his insane behaviour was his personal humiliation, which he skillfully projected onto the whole German nation. The Allies eventually won the war, but the final outcome, with tens of million victims and devastated continent, proves that irrational may win in real terms. Kosovo-Metochia’s ethnic Albanians played after J. B. Tito’s death in 1980 on the same card as A. Hitler and finally won in June 1999 after NATO’s aggression on Serbia and Montenegro by the creation of the mafia state of the Republic of Kosovo led by the Albanian gangsters from the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.[53]


[1] His son was the Emperor Uroš (1355−1371), whose reign was both short and insignificant. About Dušan’s Empire, see in [Миладин Стевановић, Душаново царство, Београд: Књига-комерц, 2001]. About a general history of the Serbs and Serbia, see in [Владимир Ћоровић, Историја Срба, Београд: БИГЗ, 1993].

[2] Regarding all ruling Serbia’s and Serb dynasties see: Родословне таблице и грбови српских династија и властеле (према таблицама Алексе Ивића), Београд: Нова књига, 1987.

[3] About the 1389 Kosovo Battle see in [Ратко Пековић, Косовска битка: Мит, легенда и стварност, Београд: Литера, 1987].

[4] After the occupation of North Africa, the Arab Muslim armies crossed the Straits of Gibraltar in 711 and conquered the main portion of the Iberian Peninsula. However, for the sake of the spreading of the Islamic faith, the Arab Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula advanced into present-day France. However, the Arab-Islamic armies have been crucially defeated at the 732 Battle of Poitiers. As a consequence, they withdrew south of the Pyrenees [Geoffrey Barraclough (ed.), The Times Atlas of World History, Revised Edition, Maplewood, New Jersey: Hammond, 1986, 104].     

[5] See more in [Georges Castellan, History of the Balkans from Mohammed the Conqueror to Stalin, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 227−247].

[6] For instance [Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: HarperPerennial, 1999].

[7] The later will consist mainly of the Greeks, Tsintsars (Vlachs), and Jews in Serbia’s towns.

[8] In that matter, the Serbian rulers followed the historical tradition that was practiced by the Byzantine Emperors. See, for instance in [Guglielmo Cavallo, L‘Uomo Bizantino, Roma-Bari: Gius Laterza & Figli S.P.a., 1992; Димитри Оболенски, Византијски комонвелт, Београд: Просвета, 1996].

[9] We note in passing that being from Montenegro, both dynasties of Serbia in the Middle Ages turned out to be Dinariod highlanders, and therefore Illyrian. The despotic tradition was retained in Montenegro until the 20th century and was for many generations of rulers theocratic. About the Yugoslav Dinariods, see in [Владимир Дворниковић, Карактерологија Југословена, Београд: Просвета, 2000].

[10] Михаил Ростовцев, Историја Старога света: Грчка и Рим, Нови Сад: Матица српска, 1990, 98.

[11] Pausanias Guide to Greece, London: Penguin Books, 1979.

[12] About the history of Ancient Greece, see in [Џон Бордман, Џаспер Грифин, Озвин Мари (уредници), Оксфордска историја Грчке и хеленистичког света, Београд: CLIO, 1999].

[13] About Janos Hunyadi, see in [László Kontler, Millennium in Central Europe: A History of Hungary, Budapest: Atlantisz Publishing House, 1999, 113−117]. It has to be noted that some Albanian historians claim that George Kastriot Skanderbeg (officially, an Albanian national hero who was, in fact, of the Serb-Slavic ethnic origin) was engaged in some way in this battle, however, contrary to the historical evidence. About the history of Albanians and Albania, see in [Петер Бартл, Албанци: Од Средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001].

[14] These Albanians in Calabria and on Sicily are called Arbanesi. Their contribution to the Albanian national Rilindja movement in 1878−1912 was instrumental in forging the Albanian ethnicity and national awareness but Albanian nationalism too. Nevertheless, it has to be noted that both mentioned areas in Italy are traditional strongholds of Mafia.

[15] For a detailed account of the events from the war, see [Жарко Димић, Велики Бечки рат и Карловачки мир 1683−1699. (Хронологија), Београд: Verzalpress, 1999].

[16] Jovan Tomić, Srbi u velikoj seobi, Beograd: Prosveta-Baština, 1990; Др Стефан Чакић, Велика сеоба Срба 1689/90 и патријарх Арсеније III Црнојевић, Нови Сад: Добра вест, 1990.

[17] Radoslav Gaćinović, „Prva Prizrenska liga kao putokaz političkog nasilja nad Srbima u Staroj Srbiji“, Vojno delo, 3, Beograd, 2019, 331.

[18] Both Serbian Patriarchs, Arsenije III Čarnojević and Arsenije IV Šakabenda were the Montenegrins, hence Dinariod Highlanders. See more in [Момир Јовић, Коста Радић, Српске земље и владари, Крушевац: Друштво за неговање историјских и уметничких вредности, 1990].

[19] There were around 20.000 expelled Serbs from KosMet in 1737 [Radoslav Gaćinović, „Prva Prizrenska liga kao putokaz političkog nasilja nad Srbima u Staroj Srbiji“, Vojno delo, 3, Beograd, 2019, 331].

[20] Shumadija (Woodland) region is the core of Central Serbia located between the Danube and Sava Rivers on the north, the Great Morava River on the east, and the West Morava River on the south.

[21] Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: HarperPerennial, 1999.

[22] Radoslav Gaćinović, „Prva Prizrenska liga kao putokaz političkog nasilja nad Srbima u Staroj Srbiji“, Vojno delo, 3, Beograd, 2019, 328.

[23] However, it is not true that KosMet was dominated by Albanians at the end of the 18th century. It became clearly dominated by Albanians only after WWII.

[24] Vojvodina (Vajdaság in Hungarian) was at that time South Hungary but after WWI it became the northern part of royal Yugoslavia and after WWII autonomous province in North Serbia.

[25] However, the Serbs in South Hungary and the Austrian Military Border were getting regular certificates of their national and social privileges by the Habsburg Emperors after the Migrations.

[26] About Serbian-Albanian relations in KosMet, see more in [Душан Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2006].

[27] Military unit, particularly used in the guerilla warfare, comprising 50−100 armed fighters.

[28] Muslim juridical order.

[29] A pejorative term in the Ottoman Empire, denoting a non-Muslim subject.

[30] The actual term was ”to become a Turk”, poturčiti se in the Serbian language, which was considered the most shameful act for a Christian at the time.

[31] Dušan Bataković, Politika, Beograd, 2007-04-29, 31.

[32] See more in [Радован Самарџић и други, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: СКЗ, 1989, 209−280].

[33] See [Борислав Ратковић, Митар Ђуришић, Саво Скоко, Србија и Црна Гора у Балканским ратовима 1912−1913, Друго издање, Београд: БИГЗ, 1972; Владимир Ћоровић, Наше победе, Београд: Култура, 1990].

[34] See more in [Чедомир Антић, Српска историја, Београд: Vukotić Media, 2019, 237−242].

[35] This land was distributed among the local Muslim Albanians who had been working on the land held by the Turkish begs, and newcomers.

[36] About the psychological characteristics of the peoples from ex-Yugoslavia, see in [Владимир Дворниковић, Карактерологија Југословена, Београд: Просвета, 2000]. 

[37] See more in [Branko Petranović, Srbija u Drugom svetskom ratu 1939−1945, Beograd: Vojnoizdavački i novinski centar, 1992].

[38] The Serbian historiography claims that c. 100.000 Serbs and Montenegrins have been expelled from KosMet by the ethnic Albanians during WWII alongside with c. 20.000 killed, according to the relevant historical sources [Душан Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, 222−224].

[39] As they used to protect the ethnic Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia from the Nazi Croat Ustashi regime’s persecutions, pogroms, and genocide. About the Serbian holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia during WWII, see in [Milan Bulajić, The Role of the Vatican in the Break-Up of the Yugoslav State, Belgrade: The Ministry of Information of the Republic of Serbia, 1993].

[40] See more in [Петер Бартл, Албанци од Средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, 138−148].

[41] About his biography, see in [Перо Симић, Тито: Феномен 20. века, Београд: Службени гласник−Сведоци епохе, 2011].

[42] About the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland led by General D. Mihailović, see in [Коста Николић, Историја Равногорског покрета, Београд: Српска реч, 1999, I−III, 1999].

[43] It has to be noted similar behaviour in Albania, regarding their commitments after WWII, first to Yugoslavia, then to the USSR, then to China, and finally to the USA. 

[44] This plan, nevertheless, was shattered by J. V. Stalin in June 1948, who did not like J. B. Tito to become so influential and prominent figure within his potential Balkan empire and who finally understood that J. B. Tito was a British marionette in the Balkans.

[45] It simply means that it was no border between Albania and Yugoslavia from 1941 to 1948.

[46] About the Titoist policy on KosMet in 1944−1945, see in [Перо Симић, Тито и Срби, Књига 2 (1945−1972), Београд: Laguna, 2018, 37−48].

[47] Robert Elsie, Historical Dictionary of Kosova, Lanham, Maryland‒Toronto‒Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2004, 3.

[48] Službeni list DFJ, No 11, Beograd, 1945.

[49] See more in [Branko Petranović, Istorija Jugoslavije 1918−1988, Narodnooslobodilački rat i revolucija 1941−1945, Beograd: Nolit, 1988].

[50] See, for instance, the case of the Timok Rebellion in East Serbia in 1883 [Владимир Ћоровић, Историја Срба, Београд: БИГЗ, 1993, 661−670].

[51] See [Миодраг Зечевић, Југославија 1918−1992, Београд: Просвета, 1994, 145−292].

[52] However, the historians know very well that all territorial and other concessions given by the “Western democracies” to A. Hitler from February 1933 to August 1939 have been done for the very reason: to prepare as better as the Third Reich for the final Western crusade against the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia). Nevertheless, the British and French diplomacy simply made a crucial mistake by the proclamation of the war to A. Hitler’s Germany on September 3rd, 1939 as they wrongly believed that Hitler-Stalin Pact from August 23rd, 1939 was a sincere one against the West. About this historical time, see in [Aliaksandr Piahanau (ed.), Great Power Politics Towards Central Europe 1914−1945, Bristol, England: E-International Relations, 2019].

[53] Hannes Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009; Пјер Пеан, Косово: „Праведни“ рат за стварање мафијашке државе, Београд: Службени гласник, 2013.

Exclusively written for and originally published at OrientalReview.org


Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović



© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2020

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