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torstai 2. helmikuuta 2017

Albania, Cool Facts #164

<= 163. The Netherlands                                                                                              165. Kosovo => 

1. Name of Albania

Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria drafted a map in the year 150, that showed the city of Albanopolis located northeast of Durrës. The Illyrian tribe of the Albani lived there. 

Albanon and Arbanon 
The medieval settlements in present-day Albania were called Albanon and Arbanon. The historian Michael Attaliates was first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 in his book written in 1079-1080.

Arbëri of Arbëni 
The name used of Albania by its people during the Middle Ages. The people referred to themselves as Arbëresh or Arbënesh. 

The policeman Shqipëria and ethnic demonym Shqiptarë gradually replaced Arbëria and Arbëresh in the 1600s. The names are popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" and "Children of the Eagles". 

Valbonë national park

The origins of the current Albanian flag are in the Medieval times. The double-headed eagle was borrowed from the banner of the Byzantine Empire, more specifically from the emblem of the Palaiologos dynasty, the last ruling dynasty of the Byzantine Empire. 

Russia and Austria-Hungary later used also the double-headed eagle adopted from the Palaiologos emblem. 

Albania became independent from the Ottoman Empire after a successful revolt in 1443. The independence lasted until 1479. The League of Lezhë was established, which was the first unified Albanian state in the Middle Ages and they used a flag with the double-headed eagle on a red background. 

The symbol of the double-headed eagle was re-used by Albanian nationalists in the 19th and 20th century, while they were campaigning for the country's independence from the Ottoman Empire. During the independence the flag has been modified several times although they all have had the red background and the double-headed eagle. 

Emblem of the Palaiologos Dynasty
Albanian flag timeline

3. Ottoman Albania 

Medieval Era
The Ottoman Empire started conquering Albania in 1388 and in 1431 they had occupied most of Albania. A revolt lead by the national hero Skanderbeg gained independence for a short period of time. Between 1444-1479 Albania was independent after which the Ottoman Empire conquered the area back. Muslim Albanians held several high administrative positions in the Ottoman Empire. For example over two dozen Grand Viziers had Albanian origins. The Grand Vizier was the prime minister of the Ottoman sultan, who could only be dismissed by the sultan himself.

In the 1800s the Ottoman power started waning and the Albanian nationalism started rising among the people. The Prizren League was established in 1878, which defended the Albanian language, autonomy and the scattering of the Albanian areas.

During the Balkan War in 1912, Albania declared independence under the leadership of Ismail Qemali. After over 500 years of Ottoman influence, Albania became finally independent as the whole Ottoman Empire started declining.

After the independence, the neighbors Serbia and Greece wanted to annex Albania. When the border was defined in 1913, the Albanian area of Kosovo stayed inside Serbia's borders. In 1920 Albania's independence was fully recognized.

Muhammad Ali, Grand Vizier of Ottoman Empire

4. Communist Albania 

Albania became a communist country in 1946, when it was declared as the People's Republic of Albania. The power was concentrated on the communist party and its leader Enver Hoxha

Relations with Yugoslavia 
Relations with Yugoslavia broke down in 1948 because Yugoslavia had taken Kosovo and the bad relations between the leaders of Yugoslavia and Soviet Union. In 1968 Albania left the Warsaw Pact, because of the occupation of Czechoslovakia. 

Relations with China 
Albania was the only socialist country in Europe to support China. In 1967 copying the Chinese Culture Revolution, religious people were being persecuted, religions were banned, mosques and churches were destroyed and religious leaders were incarcerated and executed.

End of Communism
The death of Enver Hoxha in 1985 liberated the atmosphere in Albania. The opposition was allowed again in 1990 after large protests. Finally between 1991-1992 the People's Republic of Albania was dissolved and the Republic of Albania was founded.

Enver Hoxha, leader of Albania 1945-1985

5. Skanderbeg, Albanian National Hero

The national hero of Albania is Gjergj Kastrioti, who is also known as Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg started the rebellion against the Ottomans in 1443 and was able to gain a short independence as the League of Lezhë was established in 1444. The League of Lezhë, which was a military alliance of feudal lords in Albania existed from 1444 until 1450

The Kastrioti family's red flag with the double-headed eagle was raised as the flag of the League of Lezhë. Skanderbeg's army of 10,000 men marched through Ottoman territory between 1443-1468 defeating the consistently bigger and better supplied Ottoman forces, which is why he was admired. Skanderbeg didn't manage to gain support from the Albanians in the Ottoman-controlled south or the Venetian-controlled north. 

Skanderbeg died in 1468, when he was fighting against the Ottomans together with the Venetians during the Ottoman-Venetian War

Kastrioti family coat of arms



3500 Years ago it's estimated that the Illyrians arrived to the area
1000s BC Illyrian communities flourished in Albania
229 BC Rome declared war on Illyria for plundering Roman ships
227 BC The war ended in Illyrian defeat
168 BC Third Illyrian war against the Romans
167 BC After losing the war Illyria lost independence and Rome split the region into three administrative divisions
395 The Roman Empire was divided into two and the Roman province of Illyricum came under the Byzantine control, although the Goths took control over the territory in the 400s
600s The Slavs took control over the territory
800s The Bulgarian Empire started controlling the area
1190 The Principality of Arbër was the first Albanian state was established by Progon, Lord of Kruja
1200s The Serbian Principality captured some of the area in present-day Albania
1255 The Principality of Arbër was dissolved 
1271 The Kingdom of Albania was established by Charles of Anjou
1331-1355 The Serbian Empire got control over the Albania but after the dissolution of the empire several Albanian principalities were created like Balsha, Thopia, Kastrioti, Muzaka and Arianiti
1388 The Ottoman Empire conquered the territory
1431 The Ottoman Empire had occupied most of Albania
1443 A great and longstanding revolt broke out under the lead of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, which lasted until 1479
1444 George Castrioti Skanderbeg united the Albanian principalities
1453 Constantinople fell but Skanderbeg continued fighting until he got killed
1479 The Ottoman Empire got back the control over Albania 
1600s Islam became widespread in the Albanian population
1878 The League of Prizren was formed to promote Albanian autonomy and integrity 
1912 The independent Albania was declared during the Balkan War by Ismail Qemali
1913 Kosovo remained inside Serbia, which was a territory with a significant Albanian population
1913 Albania's independence was recognized by the Conference of London
1914 The Peasant Revolt in Albania started
1914-1925 Principality of Albania
1925-1928 Albanian Republic 
1928 The republic was replaced by another monarchy
1939 Fascist Italy invaded Albania and ruled the country until 1943 
1943 Nazi Germany occupied Albania 
1944 The communist partisans liberated Albania from German occupation
1946 Albania became a Communist state led by Enver Hoxha
1947 Albania's first railway was completed
1948 The relationship to Yugoslavia broke down because of the Albanian territories that Yugoslavia took back and the 
1967 Enver Hoxha proclaimed Albania the "world's first atheist state"
1968 Albania broke away from the Warsaw Pact after the occupation of Czechoslovakia
1985 Enver Hoxha died and Ramiz Alia became his successor as Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Assembly
1991-1992 The People's Republic of Albania was dissolved 
1997 The crisis caused by the collapse of financial institutions led to armed protests as investors requested their money back. The prime minister resigned and UN peacekeeping force arrived to calm down the situation
1999 Kosovo War, people from Kosovo found refuge in Albania
2009 Albania became a full member of NATO
2013 The Socialist Party won the national elections 

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