History

The history of Albania emerged from the prehistoric age of the 4th century BC, with early records of Illyria in Greco-Roman historiography. The modern territory of Albania has no counterpart in antiquity, comprising parts of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The territory remained under Roman (Byzantine) control until the Slavic migrations of the 7th centur, and was integrated into the Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century.

The territorial nucleus of the Albanian state formed in the Middle Ages, as the Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of Albania. The first records of the Albanian people as a distinct ethnicity also date to this period. In the 15th century there was a series of confrontations between Albanians led by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg and the advancing Ottoman Empire. Soon after the death of Skanderbeg (1405-1468) the organized resistance ceased and the country became part of Ottoman Empire. It remained under Ottoman control as part of the Rumelia province until 1912, when the first independent Albanian state was declared. The formation of an Albanian national consciousness dates to the latter 19th century and is part of the larger phenomenon of rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire. A short-lived monarchy (1914–1925) was succeeded by an even shorter-lived first Albanian Republic (1925–1928), to be replaced by another monarchy (1928–1939), which was annexed by Fascist Italy during World War II. After the collapse of the Axis powers, Albania became a communist state, the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania, which was dominated by Enver Hoxha (1908-1985). Hoxha’s political heir Ramiz Alia oversaw the disintegration of the “Hoxhaist” state during the wider collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the later 1980’s.

The communist regime collapsed in 1990, and the Republic of Albania was founded in 1991. The old communist party was ousted in the elections of March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest. An economical crises spread in late 1996, following the failure of some Ponzi schemes operating in the country, peaking in 1997 with an armed rebellion that led to another mass emigration of Albanians; mostly to Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and North America.

In 1999 the country was affected by Kosovo War, when a great number of Albanians from Kosovo found refuge in Albania.

Albania became a full member of NATO in 2009. The country is currently awaiting to begin negotiations to join the European Union.

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