The name Kosovo (as referred to in this spelling) is the most frequently used form in English when discussing the region in question. The Albanian spelling Kosova has lesser currency. The alternative spellings Cossovo and Kossovo were frequently used until the early 20th century.[1] before Ottomans the name was "Kosovo" and was almost ethically clear of Albanians in that time and always was Serbian land .


The toponym Kosovo in contemporary times refers to entire territory of Kosovo. Kosovo originally referred to plain of Kosovo, which forms part of eastern Kosovo. Regions which are today considered parts of Kosovo include Dukagjin/Metohija, Llapusha, Llap and other areas. Kosovo was used as the name of the entire territory for the first time in 1877 when the Kosovo Vilayet was created by the Ottoman administration.[2]

In antiquity


There is a theory within linguistics that the name Dardania used in ancient times for the area of Kosovo is derived from the Albanian word dardhë, meaning "pear".[3][4]

Due to its Slavic (Serbian) character, Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova supported a name change to "Dardania", in reference to the ancient kingdom and later-turned Roman province.[5] It, however, did not enter into general usage.

Medieval and contemporary


Kosovo (Serbian Cyrillic: Косово) is the Serbian neuter possessive adjective of kos (кос), meaning "blackbird"; -ovo being an adjectival suffix – it is short for the region named the "field of the blackbird" (Serbian: Kosovo polje), the Kosovo Field, the site of the 1389 battle between a coalition led by Serbian Prince Lazar and the Ottoman army, which resulted in depletion of Serbian available manpower in future campaigns.[6] The name Kosovo Kos- is found in hundreds of Slavic locations.[7] The cognate of Proto-Slavic kosь is Ancient Greek κόσσυφος.[8][7]

Linguistic and historical research have shown that the medieval Serb state expanded into the region during the twelfth century.[9][10][11] Many toponyms in Kosovo appear to be South Slavic.[11] The name Kosovo appears in Bulgaria as Kosovo, Plovdiv Province.

Arnavudluk (Albania)

See also: Names of the Albanians and Albania § Arnaut/Arnavut

Kosovo was part of the Ottoman state for 457 years.

Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi, who went to the area in 1660 referred to central Kosovo as Arnavud (آرناوود) and noted that in Vučitrn its inhabitants were speakers of Albanian or Turkish and few spoke "Boşnakca".[12] The highlands around the Tetovo, Peja and Prizren areas Çelebi considered as being the "mountains of Arnavudluk".[12] Çelebi referred to the "mountains of Peja" as being in Arnavudluk and considered the Ibar river that converged in Mitrovica as forming Kosovo's border with Bosnia.[12] He viewed the "Kılab" or Llapi river as having its source in Arnavudluk and by extension the Sitnica as being part of that river.[12] Çelebi also included the central mountains of Kosovo within Arnavudluk.[12]

During Ottoman rule the area of Kosovo was referred to as Arnavudluk (آرناوودلق) meaning Albania by the empire in its documents such as those dating from the eighteenth century.[13][14][15]

Gegalik (Gegënia)

In the late Ottoman period Albanians claimed the sancaks of Yeni Pazar (Novi Pazar), Ipek (Peja), Prizren, Priștine (Pristina) and Üsküp (Skopje) which were all within Kosovo Vilayet as forming part of Gegalık or Land of the Gegs, a term named after Gheg Albanians who inhabited the area.[16]

Kosovo and Metohija

See also: Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija

The name "Kosovo and Metohija" was used for the autonomous province in Yugoslav Serbia since its creation in 1945 until 1968, when the term "Metohija" was dropped.[17][18] In 1990, the name was reversed to "Kosovo and Metohija". After the Kosovo War, the United Nations mission used only "Kosovo" as the name of the province.

See also


  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Kossovo" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 916.
  2. ^ Fábián & Trost 2019, p. 349
  3. ^ Albanian Etymological Dictionary, V.Orel, Koninklijke Brill, Leiden Boston Köln 1998, p.56
  4. ^ Wilkes, John (1992). The Illyrians. Wiley. p. 244. ISBN 9780631146711. "Names of individuals peoples may have been formed in a similar fashion, Taulantii from ‘swallow’ (cf. the Albanian tallandushe) or Erchelei the ‘eel-men’ and Chelidoni the ‘snail-men’. The name of the Delmatae appears connected with the Albanian word for ‘sheep’ delmë) and the Dardanians with for ‘pear’ (dardhë)."
  5. ^ Jelle Janssens (5 February 2015). State-building in Kosovo. A plural policing perspective. Maklu. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-90-466-0749-7.
  6. ^ J. Everett-Heath (1 August 2000). Place Names of the World - Europe: Historical Context, Meanings and Changes. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 373–. ISBN 978-0-230-28673-3.
  7. ^ a b Kosta Mihailović, ed. (2006). Kosovo and Metohija: past, present, future : papers presented at the International Scholarly Meeting held at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, March 16-18, 2006. SANU. pp. 231–233. ISBN 9788670254299.
  8. ^ Ivana Vidović, ed. (2001). Drugi hrvatski slavistički kongres: zbornik radova. Hrvatsko filološko društvo. p. 72. ISBN 978-953-175-112-4.
  9. ^ Van Wijk, 'Taalkunde gegevens', p. 71.
  10. ^ "Kosovo: Only Independence Will Work". 1 December 1998.
  11. ^ a b Ducellier, Alain (2006). Di Lellio, Anna (ed.). The Case for Kosova: Passage to Independence. Anthem Press. pp. 30–31. ISBN 9781843312451.
  12. ^ a b c d e Anscombe 2006b, p. 787.
  13. ^ Anscombe, Frederick (2006). "Albanians and "mountain bandits"". In Anscombe, Frederick (ed.). The Ottoman Balkans, 1750–1830. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers. pp. 87–113. ISBN 9781558763838. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. p.88, 107 "In light of the recent violent troubles in Kosovo and Macedonia and the strong emotions tied to them, readers are urged most emphatically not to draw either of two unwarranted conclusions from this article: that Albanians are somehow inherently inclined to banditry, or that the extent of Ottoman "Albania" or Arnavudluk (which included parts of present-day northern Greece, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, Kosovo, and southern Serbia) gives any historical "justification" for the creation of a "Greater Albania" today."
  14. ^ Anscombe, Frederick (2006b). "The Ottoman Empire in Recent International Politics – II: The Case of Kosovo". The International History Review. 28 (4): 758–793. doi:10.1080/07075332.2006.9641103. JSTOR 40109813. S2CID 154724667. p.772.
  15. ^ Kolovos, Elias (2007). The Ottoman Empire, the Balkans, the Greek lands: Toward a social and economic history: Studies in honor of John C. Alexander. Istanbul: Isis Press. ISBN 9789754283464. p. 41. "Anscombe (ibid., 107 n. 3) notes that Ottoman "Albania" or Arnavudluk... included parts of present-day northern Greece, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, Kosovo, and southern Serbia"; see also El2. s.v. "Arnawutluk. 6. History" (H. İnalcık) and Arsh, He Alvania. 31.33, 39–40. For the Byzantine period. see Psimouli, Souli. 28."
  16. ^ Gawrych, George (2006). The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874–1913. London: IB Tauris. pp. 28–29. ISBN 9781845112875.
  17. ^ Bieber, Florian; Daskalovski, Zidas, eds. (2004). Understanding the War in Kosovo. Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 9781135761554.
  18. ^ Clark, Howard (2000). Civil Resistance in Kosovo. Pluto Press. p. 219. ISBN 9780745315690.