The Republic of Kosovo is a relatively new nation, having come into being only in 2008 following its declaration of independence from Serbia. Before this declaration, Kosovo was being administered by the United Nations and used the United Nations flag for all official business. The Albanian and Serbian populations which had comprised the population of the region before independence had used their own national flags since the end of the old Yugoslavian republic.
The Kosovo flag is actually the result of a design competition of international proportions that was organized by the United Nations and backed by the Kosovo unity team. This huge contest attracted close to a thousand different entries. The final design was a variant of the pattern proposed by Mohamed Ibrahim, the eventual winner.
The design of the flag is simplicity itself. It features a beautiful Blue background field with a symmetrical map of Kosovo in the middle, and six white stars in an arc above it. Officially the stars are meant to represent elements of the 6 largest ethnic groups in the region. These include Albanians, Serbians, turks, or Romani, Gorani, and Bozniaks.
Unofficially, the stars are often said to represent regions which are said to make up greater Albania. These include Albania, Kosovo, western parts of the Macedonian Republic, areas of northern Greece, elements of Montenegro, and parts of southern Serbia. Unusually – in an interesting way – the maps of Kosovo and Cyprus are the only two national flags that actually use a map of the country as a design element of the flag.
Even though until the year of 2008 Kosovo did not officially have its own flag, at different periods of the history of the region various flags were flown in the area.
Prior to 1969, the only flags that were legally allowed to fly over the region where those of Yugoslavia and Serbia.Use of a nationalist flag was discouraged to such an extent that if an individual was caught doing so, they could go to prison for their trouble!
All in all, the flag of the Republic of Kosovo is an understated yet symmetrical masterpiece of simplicity. Hopefully, this young country will be given the chance to reach its potential and allow the scars of the past to fully heal.