CBC In Depth

Timeline: 1389-1999
CBC News Online | March 19, 2004

1389: Serbs lose a key battle against the forces of the invading Ottoman Empire on the fields of Kosovo. The defeat marks the beginning of the end of Serbia's Medieval Empire. Kosovo becomes part of the Ottoman Empire. In the centuries that follow, the battle becomes the key event in Serbian national history.

1815: Serbian uprisings secure limited autonomy from the Ottoman Empire.

1830-1833: Serbia gains formal autonomy.

1912: Serbs gain control of Kosovo in a war against the Ottoman Empire. Fearing they, too, would be partitioned, Albanian leaders in Albania declare an independent state in November 1912. Borders for the new Albanian state are drawn in 1913. The disputed region of Kosovo becomes part of Serbia.

1914-1918: The First World War.

November 1918: In the war's aftermath, both Albanians and Serbs lay claim to Kosovo. The newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes regains control of Kosovo. As a minority, Albanians are promised extensive rights by minority rights treaties. The Albanians, however, claim the guarantees are never implemented and that the Serbs engage in widespread massacres and repression in the 1920s. The Serbs also accuse Albania of fomenting discontent in Kosovo.

1939-1945: The Second World War.

April 1941: German attack on Yugoslavia. Throughout the war there is strong cooperation between Albanian and Yugoslav communist parties. Josip Broz Tito leads communist partisans to victory in a war with German and Italian occupying forces but also a civil war with non-communist opponents. With the victory of communist parties in Yugoslavia and Albania, there are hopes that the Kosovo question can finally be resolved. Albanian communists first call for the inclusion of Kosovo into a new Albania. However, under pressure from the stronger Yugoslav movement, the Albanian communists settle for Kosovo's re-inclusion into Yugoslavia.

1946: New constitution for the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. Six republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia) gain relative equality in the country. The Albanians in Kosovo hoped they too would be granted republic status. Instead, Kosovo becomes an autonomous region within Serbia.

1946 - 1966: Albanians claim widespread repression by the Yugoslav authorities. At the same time, Albanian numerical superiority increases, becoming roughly 70 per cent of Kosovo's population because of a higher birth rate and the migration of many Serbs from Kosovo.

1969: After riots in Kosovo and widespread discontent surfaces, Albanians gain greater control in Kosovo.

1974: New Yugoslav constitution creates the autonomous province of Kosovo. Albanians gain almost complete control over their affairs. The new constitution, however, falls short of making Kosovo a republic which would include the right of secession.

4 May 1980: Death of Tito.

1981: Wide scale demonstrations in Kosovo.

1986: Slobodan Milosevic becomes leader of the Serbian Communist Party.

March 1989: Milosevic pushes through laws that eliminates Kosovo's autonomy. The Albanian population takes to the streets.

May 1989: Slobodan Milosevic becomes president of the Republic of Serbia.

June 1989: 600 year anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo. Milosevic delivers a threatening speech that warns that Serbs have fought for their rights in the past and a fight for them in the future should not be excluded.

December 1989: The ethnic Albanian Democratic League of Kosovo is formed led by the literary scholar Ibrahim Rugova.

March - April 1991: Thousands of ethnic Albanians demonstrators demand that Kosovo become a republic.

September 1991: Kosovo's clandestine parliament declares Kosovo a sovereign and independent state. A month later, a national referendum sees overwhelming approval from the Albanians for the decision.

1992: Albanians organize multiparty elections which are declared illegal by the Serbs. The Democratic League wins 96 out of 140 seats and Rugova is elected president. He opts for passive resistance to Serb rule warning his fellow citizens not to provide the Serbs with a pretext for a violent crackdown in Kosovo. Civil war comes to Bosnia.

1995: Dayton Peace Accord ends the war in Bosnia. Albanians had hoped the West would use the opportunity to impose a settlement for Kosovo.

1997: Growing frustrated with the pace of change under Rugova's rule, some Albanians choose violence to force concessions from Belgrade. A shadowy group calling itself the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) emerges.

February 1998: Full scale war comes to Kosovo as Serbian forces launch a bloody crackdown against the KLA.

October 1998: After eight months of intense fighting, with more than 2000 dead and thousands made homeless, under the threat of NATO bombing, Serbia pulls back its troops and a cease-fire is proclaimed.

January 1999: Peace talks are held near Paris.

March 1999: NATO begins bombing of Yugoslavia, hundreds of thousands more ethnic Albanians flee Kosovo for neighbouring countries.


MAIN PAGE Timeline: 1999-present Timeline: 1389-1999 Timeline: Slobodan Milosevic Map
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Milosevic's history-making trial opens in The Hague

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Milosevic arrested, jailed, sedated

Oct. 29, 2000
Moderate leader claims victory in Kosovo

Oct. 6, 2000
Chretien pledges aid to Yugoslavia

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Anti-Milosevic rallies spread in Yugoslavia

Sept. 24, 2000
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April 30, 1999
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March 26, 1999
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Serbia and Montenegro

Statistical Office of Kosovo


UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo

Centre for Peace in the Balkans

UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Srebrenica report: Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35 (1998)

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