Early to modern times
Around 1000 BC Illyrians settled in what is now Albania. They founded the empire of Shkodra (now Skutari). After the domination of Macedonia, which the Illyrians (and the rest of the Balkan Peninsula) subjugated, the area became from 167 BC. Part of the Roman province “Illyricum” (divided into Dalmatia and Pannonia in the 1st century AD). After the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD the country belonged to the Eastern Roman Empire, whose capital was Byzantium, which would later become Constantinople (or today’s Istanbul). In addition to Roman law and Roman administration, Greek culture and language dominated.
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In the following centuries the area of today’s Albania came under various influences: from 600 Slavic tribes invaded, in the 9th century the Bulgarians. In the 11th century, the Normans conquered coastal areas, in the 12th century parts of the west belonged to the Kingdom of Sicily. In the 13th century the north of the country fell to Venice, the south continued to belong to the Byzantine Empire. Around 1400, several small principalities were founded, which from 1443 under the leadership of Prince Gjergji Castriota, known as Skanderberg (1403-1468), united against the threat posed by the Ottoman Empire. The area was occupied by the Turks (Ottomans) in 1468, and many of the Albanians subsequently adopted the Islamic belief of the occupiers.
19th and early 20th centuries
In the course of the 19th century, the first national movements emerged that rediscovered the Albanian language and led several uprisings against Ottoman domination. In 1910 the uprising seriously troubled Turkish troops for the first time. During the First Balkan War, Albania’s independence was proclaimed by an Albanian national congress led by Ismail Kemal Bey in 1912, which was recognized by the major European powers a year later. Already in 1914, when the First World War broke out, the country was occupied again, this time by Austro-Hungarian troops, in 1916 by Italy.
In January 1920, the sovereignty of Albania was recognized again by the League of Nations, the Italians had to withdraw their troops. After years of power struggles in the country, the large landowner Ahmed Zogu seized political power in Albania in 1925 and proclaimed the republic. At that time, around 800,000 Albanians lived in the country, the capital was Tirana. Ahmed Zogu became prime minister, and declared himself king of Albania in 1928. According to AbbreviationFinder, through its agreements with Italy, Albania became heavily dependent on the country, both economically and politically. In 1939, Albania was occupied by the troops of the Italian leader Mussolini and united with Italy in a personal union. The Albanian king Zogu I fled abroad.
The second world war
The national resistance movements against the Italian and German occupiers that formed during the Second World War were dominated by communists, led by the partisan organization under the communist Enver Hoxha, who was also the founder of the communist party. After the occupation troops withdrew in November 1944, his organization succeeded in forming a government that was recognized by the USSR and by Great Britain and the United States. Hoxha started with the expansion of a socialist People’s Republic based on the Soviet model. A year later, as dictatorial head of government and party chairman, Hoxha entered into a customs and monetary union with Yugoslavia, which ended in 1949 after Yugoslavia’s break with the Soviet Union.
In 1955, Albania joined the Warsaw Pact as a counterweight to the Western Defense Alliance (NATO) (along with Poland, Czechoslovakia, GDR, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the USSR). De-Stalinization worsened relations between Albania and the Soviet Union in the late 1950s, and in 1961 Hoxha broke with the USSR and intensified contacts with the People’s Republic of China. Chinese industry has expanded heavy industry and agriculture in Albania. From 1967 all religious activities in Albania were prohibited, churches and mosques destroyed, clergymen detained. Albania hermetically sealed itself off from the rest of Europe, and in 1968 it left the Warsaw Pact after troops from the Warsaw Pact entered Czechoslovakia.
In the second half of the 1970s, the Albanian leadership also cut contact with the People’s Republic of China, which is completely isolated the country. It was only when the dictatorial leader Enver Hoxha died in April 1985 that his country’s successor Ramiz Alia (until 1992) saw the country’s first cautious opening to the western states.
Beginning of a reform policy
At the end of the 1980s, serious unrest occurred in Albania due to the country’s catastrophic economic situation and the political changes in the socialist states of Eastern Europe. Prime Minister Ramiz Alia then initiated the first democratic reforms and privatized parts of agriculture. The ban on religion was lifted and the formation of political parties permitted. The Democratic Party of Albania (PDS), the first opposition party, won the first free elections in Albania in March 1991 and 1992, and Sali Berisha became the new head of state, Alexander Meksi, the new head of government. The radical reforms they initiated towards a free economy initially led to a breakdown of the country’s economic system.Due to the poor economic situation, thousands of Albanians fled the country, especially to Italy and Greece.
Albania has entered into various alliance agreements with various countries (Turkey 1992 and 1993, Bulgaria 1993, Greece 1996), while relations with the neighboring country of Yugoslavia have been affected by the ongoing conflicts over the province of Kosovo, in which the majority of the population were Albanians, since the early 1970s. designed extremely difficult. In 1993 the conflict worsened again due to the oppression of the Kosovo Albanians. To the west, Albania sought links to the European Union and the North Atlantic Defense Alliance.
The most recent time
In 1997, the collapse of several investment companies, in which many Albanians lost all of their savings, led to serious unrest in various cities in Albania. The government was heavily accused, but refused to resign. Over 1,600 people were killed in the street battles and riots that followed in the next few months. Thousands of Albanians left the country, and numerous international aid organizations and UN troops were deployed.
In new elections in July 1997, the Socialist Party under Fatos Nano emerged victorious. The new state president was the physicist and mathematics professor Rexhep Mejdani (Socialist Party). In 1998 Albania was by far the poorest and least developed country in Europe. In addition to internal economic problems, there was a danger of an impending military conflict with Serbia, which prompted the Albanian government to call on NATO troops. The Albanian military had very few weapons and was unable to defend its borders. In contrast, there were large arms stocks among the civilian population that resulted from the looting of police and military deposits. In 1998 Pandeli Majko (Socialist Party) succeeded Fatos Nano as head of government.He again confirmed the Albanian government’s willingness to tolerate NATO troops for intervention in the Yugoslav crisis province of Kosovo on Albanian state territory. In 1999 Ilir Meta (Socialist Party) replaced Pandeli Majko.
In the parliamentary elections in June 2001, the socialist file under Ilir Meta won again and won an absolute majority. Meta resigned in January 2002 after an argument lasting several months with the chairman of his own socialist governing party, Fatos Nano. His successor was ex-Prime Minister Pandeli Majko. Alfred Moisiu, former Defense Minister, was sworn in as the new President in July 2002. The ongoing conflict within the Socialist Party also resulted in Majko’s resignation in July 2002; he was replaced by Fatos Nano. The Democratic Party won in the 2005 parliamentary elections; Sali Berisha became head of government. Bamir Topi became the new head of state in 2007.
At the end of 2000, Albania experienced significant economic growth for the first time thanks to the direct promotion of western industrialized countries. Nevertheless, the agricultural country is still one of the poorest countries in Europe. In 2001 Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania agreed on a free trade area with effect from 2003.
The Council of Europe noted in 2006 that Albania has now improved its relationship with neighboring countries and that it also has a constructive policy towards Kosovo. Nonetheless, the parliament again demanded independence for the province of Kosovo, which had in fact already been replaced by Serbia, and which then separated from Serbia on February 17, 2008. Albania was one of the first countries to officially recognize the Republic of Kosovo just one day later.
Albania, which had already concluded a stabilization and association agreement with the European Union (EU) in 2006, joined NATO in 2009 with Croatia. In the same year it submits an application to join the EU.
Parliamentary elections in June 2009 brought the Democratic Party a slim majority over the Socialist Party. Sali Berisha thus remained head of government. In the 2012 presidential election, Democratic candidate Bujar Nishani was elected new head of state. Ahead of the 2013 parliamentary elections, the socialist LSI left the government coalition with the Democrats to move to the socialists. The coalition under the leadership of the socialists was won by the top candidate Edi Rama, who has been the prime minister ever since.