Albania (in Albanian Shqipëria ). It is a republic located in the southeast of Europe . It is bordered by Montenegro to the north, Serbia (including Kosovo ) to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. It is washed by the Adriatic Sea to the west, and the Ionian Sea to the southwest. Its capital and largest city is Tirana .
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- 1 History
- 2 Politics
- 3 Geography
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Fountains
The Illyrians made frequent raids on the Hellenistic states of Molossia , Peonia , and even Macedonia . In 35 BC, the Romans conquered the most accessible and civilized sites, naming them the provinces of Illyricum and Epirus, although the most mountainous and remote territories never came under the control of the Roman Empire .
Under the Romans, Illyria knew a period of peace and prosperity. The main trade route between Rome and Constantinople , the Via Egnatia, would discurs between Epidamnos /Durrës and Thessaloniki. The Illyrians, like the Greeks, preserved their language and traditions during Roman domination.
When the Roman Empire was divided in 395 BC, the Illyrians were assimilated into the Byzantine Empire . During the 5th and 6th centuries they converged with itinerant peoples such as the Visigoths , Huns , Ostrogoths; and they ended up being neighbors (to the north and east) of the Slavs, who assimilated the Illyrians or Macedonians in those areas.
In the late Middle Ages the Ottoman Turks invaded the Balkan Peninsula . Between 1443 and 1468 , Gjergj Kastriot, called Skanderbeg (Chief Alexander) in Turkish, led the joint struggles of Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanians and other local peoples against the Ottoman Turks on behalf of the Albanians, becoming the national hero and an icon of the fight against the Islamic invader. Antonio Vivaldi dedicated an opera to Skanderbeg with the same name. The first documents written in the Albanian language, in the Cyrillic alphabet, date from this time.
In this long period of occupation, several decisive events occurred for the current Albanian culture: a large part of the Orthodox urban population went into exile, mainly in southern Italy and Greece , and partly they were employed as mercenaries, while the majority of the population that remained in the country was converted to Islam, throughout the seven centuries of occupation.
After the progressive conversion to Islam (out of interest and survival) and the Turkish assimilation of a large part of the Albanians, Albania became a privileged and loyal country to the Empire, reaching high positions in the Empire’s administration (such as the Köprülü, Ali Pasha of Tepelen or Mehemet Ali) and also as shock forces to maintain control over Greece, Serbia , the territory of the present Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria. The emigration of part of the Serb population from present-day Kosovo led the Albanians to become the majority in that region.
View of a bazaar in the city of Tirana in 1900.
In 1912 , before the successive defeats suffered by the Turks in the Balkan wars, the Albanians claimed their independence and achieved it despite the threat of Austrian and Italian expansionism, the Greeks with the Megalidea plan, Montenegro (which was left with Ulcinj and some other area) and from Serbia (which stayed with Kosovo ). During World War I the impoverished territory was a battleground between the forces of the Entente Cordiale and those of the self-styled Central Powers, and at the end of the war Serb-Montenegrin control over the Albanian-majority areas of the north and east was ratified. ; GreeceHe obtained control of Northern Epirus until 1914 .
In 1918 in Argirópolis (despite the fact that this city was in the zone of Greek occupation) the formal independence of Albania was proclaimed, although “independent Albania” soon became in practice an Italian protectorate initially commanded by Ahmet Zogu, who established a monarchy in 1928 . It had only one king of its own: Ahmet Zogu or Zog I of Albania (1928-1939). On April 7, 1939, the army of Fascist Italy invaded Albania and King Zogu fled; then the Italian government proclaimed the King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia Victor Emmanuel III of Savoy (1939-1943) King of Albania
Enver Hoxha (1908-1985), communist politician and Prime Minister of the country from 1946 to 1984.
During World War II guerrillas were organized against the Italians, and at the end of the war the communist party, created in 1941 under the influence of the Soviet Bolsheviks, took control of the Albanian state, under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, who had fought in resistance. In 1955 Albania became a member of the Warsaw Pact .
During a few decades under his rule, Hoxha made and broke relations with various socialist countries. The country was isolated, first by the West, then Hoxha made a harsh criticism of Nikita Khrushchev , breaking relations with the Soviet Union and moving closer to China .
In 1985 Enver Hoxha died and Ramiz Alia took his place. Initially, Alia tried to follow in Hoxha’s footsteps, but the changes in Eastern Europe had already started: Mikhail Gorbachev had appeared in the USSR with new policies ( Glásnost and Perestroika ). After Nicolae Ceauşescu (communist leader of Romania ) was executed in a revolution, Alia signed the Helsinki Agreement (which was signed by other countries in 1975), by which he undertook to modify the legislation in civil matters. Multiparty elections were called, which the Democratic Party won in 1992 with 62% of the vote.
Since 1990 Albania has been oriented towards Western European states, was accepted into the Council of Europe and NATO , and has also applied to join the EU. Albania’s labor force continued to migrate to the European Union (EU) and North America.
The executive power is exerced by the government. Legislative power is vested in the government, parliament and Assembly of Albania (Kuvendi i Republikës së Shqipërisë).
According to a report by the European Commission published in 2006, 44% of the citizens of the Member States of the European Union oppose Albania’s entry into that organization, against 41% who were in favour.
The lowlands only occupy 1/7 of the country and are reduced to the coastal plain and very narrow valleys. The coast facing the Adriatic Sea is jagged, dotted with gulfs and capes. The coastal lands enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with average annual temperatures of around 16°C. On the other hand, in the interior it becomes a continental climate, with annual averages of 10 °C and sharp contrasts of temperatures throughout the year.
In some mountainous areas rainfall exceeds 2000 mm. The Mediterranean vegetation with maquis and conifers stands out on the coastline while in the mountainous interior coniferous and deciduous forests predominate. Its main rivers are the Drin, the Devoll and the Shkumbin.
In the southeast are the lakes of tectonic origin called Ohrid and Prespa, while to the north, near the Mediterranean coast, is the lake of Shkodër.
On a base centered on agriculture and mining, with large steel mills, little foreign trade and absolutely insufficient infrastructure, the timid reforms begun in 1985 led to a harsh economic adjustment in the 1990s.
With outdated technology, economic indicators fell significantly, with declines in industrial production of between 55% and 60%, abandonment of companies and emigration to other countries such as Italy. The reduction in production also reached agriculture, where the collectives were taken over by the peasants, creating a family subsistence economy that did not produce surpluses.
At present, the adjustments of 1991 after the first multi-party elections have started up a part of the heavy industry again, they have extended the cultivation areas with foreign investment in irrigation, in the contribution of machinery and the banking sector has remarkably improved.
Life expectancy is 77 years. The average number of children per woman is 2.03. 86.5% of the population is literate. The Albanian population does not have a markedly urban character, as happens in other European countries since half of its active population is dedicated to agriculture.
They generally reside in areas of medium altitude and only 37% live in urban areas. Its active population represents 63% of the total. The capital of Albania, Tirana, is the only city that exceeds 100,000 inhabitants, with 700,000. Other major cities with more than 70,000 inhabitants are Elbasan (70,000), Durrës (82,000) and Shkodër (71,000). Other important populations are Kavajë (23,000) and Vlorë (63,000).
The majority of the population is Albanian, with Greek (estimated at 3% in 1989 by the Albanian government and 12% by Greek sources) and Slavic (FYROM/FYROM) minorities residing respectively in the south and east of the country. The official language is Albanian, an Indo-European language that has two dialects, Gueg, spoken north of the DRIN River, and the official Tosk, spoken in the south.