1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kossovo

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KOSSOVO, or Kosovo, a vilayet of European Turkey, comprising the sanjak of Uskub in Macedonia, and the sanjaks of Prizren and Novibazar (q.v.) in northern Albania. Pop. (1905), about 1,100,000; area, 12,700 sq. m. For an account of the physical features of Kossovo, see Albania and Macedonia. The inhabitants are chiefly Albanians and Slavs, with smaller communities of Greeks, Turks, Vlachs and gipsies. A few good roads traverse the vilayet (see Usküb), and the railway from Salonica northward bifurcates at Usküb, the capital, one branch going to Mitrovitza in Albania, the other to Nish in Servia. Despite the undoubted mineral wealth of the vilayet, the only mines working in 1907 were two chrome mines, at Orasha and Verbeshtitza. In the volume of its agricultural trade, however, Kossovo is unsurpassed by any Turkish province. The exports, worth about £950,000, include livestock, large quantities of grain and fruit, tobacco, vegetables, opium, hemp and skins. Rice is cultivated for local consumption, and sericulture is a growing industry, encouraged by the Administration of the Ottoman Debt. The yearly value of the imports is approximately £1,200,000; these include machinery and other manufactured goods, metals, groceries, chemical products and petroleum, which is used in the flour-mills and factories on account of the prohibitive price of coal. There is practically no trade with Adriatic ports; two-thirds of both exports and imports pass through Salonica, the remainder going by rail into Servia. The chief towns, Usküb (32,000), Prizren (30,000), Koprülü (22,000), Ishtib [Slav. Stip] (21,000), Novibazar (12,000) and Prishtina (11,000) are described in separate articles.

In the middle ages the vilayet formed part of the Servian Empire, its northern districts are still known to the Serbs as Old Servia (Stara Srbiya). The plain of Kossovo (Kossovopolje, “Field of Blackbirds”), a long valley lying west of Prishtina and watered by the Sibnitza, a tributary of the Servian Ibar, is famous in Balkan history and legend as the scene of the battle of Kossovo (1389), in which the power of Servia was destroyed by the Turks. (See Servia: History.)