Kosovo (/ˈkɒsəvoʊ, ˈkoʊ-/; Albanian: Kosova or Kosovë [kɔsɔva]; Serbian Cyrillic: Косово) is a disputed territory and partially recognised state in Southeastern Europe that declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës; Serbian: Република Косово Republika Kosovo). Kosovo is landlocked in the central Balkan Peninsula. With its strategic position in the Balkans, it serves as an important link in the connection between central and south Europe, the Adriatic Sea, and Black Sea. Its capital and largest city is Pristina, and other major urban areas include Prizren, Pejë and Gjakova. It is bordered by Albania to the southwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southeast, Montenegro to the west and the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east. While Serbia recognises administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government, it still continues to claim it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. In antiquity, the Dardanian Kingdom, and later the Roman province of Dardania was located in the region. The area was inhabited by several ancient Illyrian tribes. In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian Empires, and many consider the Battle of Kosovo of 1389 to be one of the defining moments in Serbian medieval history. Kosovo was the core of the medieval Serbian state and it has been the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the 14th century when its status was upgraded into a patriarchate. After being part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the early 20th century, in the late 19th century Kosovo became the centre of the Albanian independence movement with the League of Prizren. As a result of the defeat in the First Balkan War (1912–13), the Ottoman Empire ceded the Vilayet of Kosovo to the Balkan League; the Kingdom of Serbia took its larger part, while the Kingdom of Montenegro annexed the western part before both countries joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after World War I. After a period of Yugoslav unitarianism in the Kingdom, the post-World War II Yugoslav constitution established the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within the Yugoslav constituent republic of Serbia. Long-term ethnic tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb populations left the territory ethnically divided, resulting in inter-ethnic violence, culminating in the Kosovo War of 1998–99, part of the wider regional Yugoslav Wars. The war ended with a military intervention of NATO, which forced the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to withdraw its troops from Kosovo, which became a UN protectorate under UNSCR 1244. On 17 February 2008 Kosovo's Parliament declared independence. It has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by 111 UN member states, Taiwan, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Cook Islands and Niue. Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo as a state, although with the Brussels Agreement of 2013 it has accepted the legitimacy of Kosovar institutions. Kosovo has a lower-middle-income economy and has experienced solid economic growth over the last decade by international financial institutions, and has experienced growth every year since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008.