History of Kosovo/Under Serbia

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Kosovo, which was a territory of the medieval Serbian state, location of the epic 1389 Battle of Kosovo, was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1455. Over the following centuries it developed a very mixed Christian-Muslim population; by the end of the 19th century Albanians had replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group. The loss of Kosovo became a major theme in Serbian national iconography, its myth structuring the basis of the state of Montenegro and later Serbia and its recovery was one of the key goals of the Serbian and Montenegrin states. Serbia & Montenegro regained control of Kosovo in 1912 during the Balkan Wars. The restoration of Serbian rule was opposed by Albania, which instigated a failed invasion attempt of Serbian territory. Serbia lost control of the territory in both of the World Wars, during which many Kosovo Serbs were expelled by armed Albanian groups. During World War II, Kosovo was annexed to Albania, which was at that time a colony of Italy. Serbian control was nonetheless re-established at the end of both wars.