The text presents the social and political history of Kosovo from the moment of pivotal system changes in the Yugoslavia of Tito (the 1970s) onwards. Among others, the following problems are tackled: centuries-old conflicts between the most populous nations inhabiting the land, i.e. Albanians and Serbs (special attention being paid to tensions in the 19th and 20th centuries) and the evolution of the status of Kosovo in the 20th century in the states of Serbia (1912-1918) and Yugoslavia. The following major issues are highlighted: a) transformations of the demographic and ethnic structure of Kosovo; b) legitimization by Albanians and Serbs of their right to a political domination in Kosovo based on myths of their ancient origin and earlier presence on the disputed territories (Albanians), and the medieval 'golden age' of their statehood, of which the disputed territory was the political and spiritual centre (Serbs); c) the socio-political circumstances of the functioning of communities of Kosovo Albanians and Serbs in the Osman and Yugoslavian states. One of the main factors responsible for generating a spectrum of conflicts in Kosovo over the centuries, most importantly a permanent, multi-level Albanian-Serbian confrontation are, according to the author, differences in the social and political status of the inhabitants of this province, depending on their religious and/or ethnic affinity. The different status of Muslims (a majority of Albanians and all the Turks inhabiting Kosovo) and Christians (mostly Serbs) had already been decreed by Osman laws, and some Serbian and Yugoslavian regulations and political praxis in force until mid-1970s endorsed the unequal treatment of Kosovo Serbs and other inhabitants of Kosovo (especially Albanians, who were often subjected to repressive policies).