The Gorani are Slavic by blood and Muslim by faith. They were Orthodox Serbs who converted to Islam in the late 18th century. They are well-versed in both Serbian and Albanian and have attempted to maintain good relations with both neighbouring populations. However, calls for a Greater Albania by some Albanians have had a negative effect on Gorani-Albanian relations. The 1980's saw the advent of a Gorani national revival, they officially broke away from the name of 'Muslims by nationality' (as dictated by the Yugoslav government to describe primarily the Slavic Muslims in Bosnia). Most began Slavicizing their surnames (i.e. Ahmeti became Ahmetovic) which they claimed had been Albanized during the Kosovo Communist Albanian rule in the 1970s and 1980s. As the Gorani resided in the southernmost tip of Serbia (and Kosovo) they prided themselves as being the sole guarantors of Serbia's southern flank.
The Gora is covered with rough terrain, its name even means 'The mountain' in Slavic and the name of its people 'The mountaineers'. The Gora is an underdeveloped region and for almost two centuries, its male inhabitants would go off to more distant regions in order to find work. Due to this, a true Gorani diaspora has come to life with many living in parts of inner Serbia (particularly the Eastern parts).
The Gorani numbered some 16,000-strong, in the Gora administrative division, according to the 1991 census. This figure grew to over 20,000 by the start of the Kosovo War in 1999. The Gorani became targets of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Kosovo Protection Force after the retreat of the Yugoslav Army and arrival of KFor in June 1999. As a result, Gorani leaders estimate that fewer than 10,000 are left in Gora. The UN administration in Kosovo, UNMIK, has redrawn internal boundaries in Kosovo in such a way that a Gorani-majority county no longer exists. The Gora was combined with with the neighbouring Albanian-populated region of Opolje (some 20,000 strong) into a new subdivision which now has an Albanian majority.