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ca. 1000 B.C.
Illyrians, descendants of ancient Indo-European peoples,
settled in western part of the Balkan Peninsula.
Illyrians defeated by Philip II of Macedonia.
King Glaucius of Illyria expels Greeks from Durrës.
229 B.C. and 219 B.C.
Roman soldiers overrun Illyrian settlements in Neretva River
Roman forces capture Illyria's King Gentius at Shkodër.
FIRST CENTURY A.D.
Christianity comes to Illyrian populated areas.
Romans, under Emperor Tiberius, subjugate Illyrians and
divide present-day Albania between Dalmatia, Epirus, and
Roman Empire's division into eastern and western parts
leaves the lands that now comprise Albania administratively
under the Eastern Empire but ecclesiastically under Rome.
FOURTH CENTURY-SEVENTH CENTURY
Goths, Huns, Avars, Serbs, Croats, and Bulgars successively
invade Illyrian lands in present-day Albania.
Illyrian people subordinated to the patriarchate of
Constantinople by the Byzantine emperor, Leo the Isaurian.
Christianity divides into Catholic and Orthodox churches,
leaving Christians in southern Albania under ecumenical
patriarch of Constantinople and those in northern Albania
under pope in Rome.
Albania and Albanians mentioned, for the first time in a
historical record, by Byzantine emperor.
Serbs occupy parts of northern and eastern Albania.
Venice wins control over most of Albania, but Byzantines
regain control of southern portion and establish Despotate
Forces of the King of Naples occupy Durrës and establish an
Albanian ruler of Durrës invites Ottoman forces to intervene
against a rival; subsequently, Albanian clans pay tribute
and swear fealty to Ottomans.
At Kosovo Polje, Albanians join Serbian-led Balkan army that
is crushed by Ottoman forces; coordinated resistance to
Ottoman westward progress evaporates.
Gjergj Kastrioti born, later becomes Albanian national hero
known as Skanderbeg.
After losing a battle near Nis, Skanderbeg defects from
Ottoman Empire, reembraces Roman Catholicism, and begins
holy war against the Ottomans.
Skanderbeg proclaimed chief of Albanian resistance.
Albanians, under Skanderbeg, rout Ottoman forces under
Sultan Murad II.
Krujë falls to Ottoman Turks; Shkodër falls a year later.
Subsequently, many Albanians flee to southern Italy, Greece,
Egypt, and elsewhere; many remaining are forced to convert
EARLY SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Some Albanians who convert to Islam find careers in Ottoman
Empire's government and military service.
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY-EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
About two-thirds of Albanians convert to Islam.
Kara Mahmud Bushati, chief of Albanian tribe based in
Shkodër, attacks Montenegrin territory; subsequently named
governor of Shkodër by Ottoman authorities.
NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES
Albanian leader Ali Pasha of Tepelenë assassinated by
Ottoman agents for promoting an autonomous state.
1000 Albanian leaders invited to meet with Ottoman general
who kills about half of them.
Ottoman Sublime Porte divides Albanian-populated lands into
vilayets of Janina and Rumelia with Ottoman
First school known to use Albanian language in modern times
opens in Shkodër.
Russia's defeat of Ottoman Empire seriously weakens Ottoman
power over Albanian-populated areas.
Treaty of San Stefano, signed after the Russo-Turkish War,
assigned Albanian-populated lands to Bulgaria, Montenegro,
and Serbia; but Austria-Hungary and Britain block the
treaty's implementation. Albanian leaders meet in Prizren,
Kosovo, to form the Prizren League, initially advocating a
unified Albania under Ottoman suzerainty. During the
Congress of Berlin, the Great Powers overturn the Treaty of
San Stefano and divide Albanian lands among several states.
The Prizren League begins to organize resistance to the
Treaty of Berlin's provisions that affect Albanians.
Society for Printing of Albanian Writings, composed of Roman
Catholic, Muslim, and Orthodox Albanians, founded in
Ottoman forces crush Albanian resistance fighters at
Prizren. Prizren League's leaders and families arrested and
Ottoman authorities disband a reactivated Prizren League,
execute its leader later, then ban Albanian language books.
Albanians begin joining the Committee of Union and Progress
(Young Turks), which formed in Constantinople, hoping to
gain autonomy for their nation within the Ottoman Empire.
Albanian intellectuals meet in Bitola and choose the Latin
alphabet as standard script rather than Arabic or Cyrillic.
Albanians rise against the Ottoman authorities and seize
First Balkan War begins, and Albanian leaders affirm Albania
as an independent state.
Muslim and Christian delegates at Vlorë declare Albania
independent and establish a provisional government.
Ambassadorial conference opens in London and discusses
Treaty of London ends First Balkan War. Second Balkan War
Treaty of Bucharest ends Second Balkan War. Great Powers
recognize an independent Albanian state ruled by a
Prince Wilhelm, German army captain, installed as head of
the new Albanian state by the International Control
Commission, arrives in Albania.
New Albanian state collapses following outbreak of World War
I; Prince Wilhelm is stripped of authority and departs from
World War I ends, with Italian army occupying most of
Albania and Serbian, Greek and French force occupying
remainder. Italian and Yugoslav powers begin struggle for
dominance over Albanians.
Albanian leaders meet at Durrës to discuss presentation of
Albania's interests at the Paris Peace Conference.
Serbs attack Albania's inhabited cities. Albanians adopt
Albania denied official representation at the Paris Peace
Conference; British, French, and Greek negotiators later
decide to divide Albania among Greece, Italy, and
Albanian leaders meeting at Lushnjë reject the partitioning
of Albania by the Treaty of Paris, warn that Albanians will
take up arms in defense of their territory, and create a
Albanian government moves to Tiranë, which becomes the
Albania forces Italy to withdraw its troops and abandon
territorial claims to almost all Albanian territory.
Albania admitted to League of Nations as sovereign and
Yugoslav troops invade Albanian territories they had not
previously occupied; League of Nations commission forces
Yugoslav withdrawal and reaffirms Albania's 1913 borders.
Popular Party, headed by Xhafer Ypi, forms government with
Ahmed Zogu, the future King Zog, as internal affairs
Ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople recognizes the
Autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church.
Zogu assumes position of prime minister of government;
opposition to him becomes formidable.
Albania's Sunni Muslims break last ties with Constantinople
and pledge primary allegiance to native country.
Zogu's party wins elections for National Assembly, but Zogu
steps down after financial scandal and an assassination
A peasant-backed insurgency wins control of Tiranë; Fan S.
Noli becomes prime minister; Zogu flees to Yugoslavia.
Zogu, backed by Yugoslav army, returns to power and begins
to smother parliamentary democracy; Noli flees to Italy.
Italy, under Mussolini, begins penetration of Albanian
public and economic life.
Italy and Albania sign First Treaty of Tiranë, which
guarantees Zogu's political position and Albania's
Zogu pressures the parliament to dissolve itself; a new
constituent assembly declares Albania a kingdom and Zogu
becomes Zog I, "King of the Albanians."
Zog, standing up to Italians, refuses to renew the First
Treaty of Tiranë; Italians continue political and economic
After Albania signs trade agreements with Greece and
Yugoslavia, Italy suspends economic support, then attempts
to threaten Albania.
Mussolini presents a gift of 3,000,000 gold francs to
Albania; other economic aid follows.
Mussolini delivers ultimatum to Albania.
Mussolini's troops invade and occupy Albania; Albanian
parliament votes to unite country with Italy; Zog flees to
Greece; Italy's King Victor Emmanual III assumes Albanian
Italian army attacks Greece through Albania.
Germany, with support of Italy and other allies defeat
Greece and Yugoslavia.
Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav communist leader, directs
organizing of Albanian communists.
Albanian Communist Party founded; Enver Hoxha becomes first
Communist party organizes the National Liberation Movement,
a popular front resistance organization.
Noncommunist nationalist groups form to resist the Italian
Italy's surrender to Allied forces weakens Italian hold on
Albania; Albanian resistance fighters overwhelm five Italian
German forces invade and occupy Albania.
Communist partisans, supplied with British weapons, gain
control of southern Albania.
Communists meet to organize an Albanian government; Hoxha
becomes chairman of executive committee and supreme
commander of the Army of National Liberation.
Communist forces enter central and northern Albania.
Communists establish provisional government with Hoxha as
Germans withdraw from Tiranë, communists move into the
Communist provisional government adopts laws allowing state
regulation of commercial enterprises, foreign and domestic
Communist provisional government agrees to restore Kosovo to
Yugoslavia as an autonomous region; tribunals begin to
condemn thousands of "war criminals" and "enemies of the
people" to death or to prison. Communist regime begins to
nationalize industry, transportation, forests, pastures.
Yugoslavia recognizes communist government in Albania.
Sweeping agricultural reforms begin; about half of arable
land eventually redistributed to peasants from large
landowners; most church properties nationalized. United
Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration begins
sending supplies to Albania.
Soviet Union recognizes provisional government; Britain and
United States make full diplomatic recognition conditional.
In elections for the People's Assembly only candidates from
the Democratic Front are on ballot.
People's Assembly proclaims Albania a "people's republic";
purges of noncommunists from positions of power in
People's Assembly adopts new constitution, Hoxha becomes
prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister, and
commander-in-chief; Soviet-style central planning begins.
Treaty of friendship and cooperation signed with Yugoslavia;
Yugoslav advisers and grain begin pouring into Albania.
British destroyers hit mines off Albania's coast; United
Nations (UN) and the International Court of Justice
subsequently condemn Albania.
Albania breaks diplomatic relations with the United States
after latter withdraws its informal mission.
Economic Planning Commission draws up first economic plan
that established production targets for mining,
manufacturing and agricultural enterprises.
UN commission concludes that Albania, together with Bulgaria
and Yugoslavia, supports communist guerrillas in Greece;
Yugoslav leaders launch verbal offensive against anti-
Yugoslav Albanian communists, including Hoxha; pro-Yugoslav
faction begins to wield power.
Albania refuses participation in the Marshall Plan of the
Albanian Communist Party leaders vote to merge Albanian and
Yugoslav economies and militaries.
Cominform expels Yugoslavia; Albanian leaders launch anti-
Yugoslav propaganda campaign, cut economic ties, and force
Yugoslav advisers to leave; Stalin becomes national hero in
Hoxha begins purging high-ranking party members accused of
"Titoism"; treaty of friendship with Yugoslavia abrogated by
Albania; Soviet Union begins giving economic aid to Albania
and Soviet advisers replace ousted Yugoslavs.
First Party Congress changes name of Albanian Communist
Party to Albanian Party of Labor.
Regime issues Decree on Religious Communities.
Albania joins Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(Comecon); all foreign trade conducted with member
Pro-Tito Albanian communists purged.
Britain and United States begin inserting anticommunist
Albanian guerrilla units into Albania; all are unsuccessful.
A new constitution is approved by People's Assembly. Hoxha
becomes minister of defense and foreign minister.
Albania and Soviet Union sign agreement on mutual economic
Hoxha relinquishes post of prime minister to Mehmet Shehu
but retains primary power as party leader.
Albania becomes a founding member of the Warsaw Pact.
After Nikita Khrushchev's "secret speech" exposes Stalin's
crimes, Hoxha defends Stalin; close relations with Soviet
Union become strained.
Large amounts of economic aid from Soviet Union, East
European countries, and China begin pouring into Albania.
Khrushchev visits Albania.
Albania sides with China in Sino-Soviet ideological dispute;
consequently Soviet economic support to Albania is curtailed
and Chinese aid is increased.
Hoxha rails against Khrushchev and supports China during an
international communist conference in Moscow.
Hoxha harangues against the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia at
Albania's Fourth Party Congress.
Soviet Union breaks diplomatic relations; other East
European countries severely reduce contacts but do not break
relations; Albania looks toward China for support.
Albanian regime introduces austerity program in attempt to
compensate for withdrawal of Soviet economic support; China
incapable of delivering sufficient aid; Albania becomes
China's spokesman at UN.
Hoxha hails Khrushchev's removal as leader of the Soviet
Union; diplomatic relations fail to improve.
Hoxha initiates Cultural and Ideological Revolution.
Albanian Party of Labor "open letter" to the people
establishes egalitarian wage and job structure for all
Hoxha regime conducts violent campaign to extinguish
religious life in Albania; by year's end over two thousand
religious buildings were closed or converted to other uses.
Albania condemns Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia,
subsequently Albania withdraws from Warsaw Pact.
Hoxha begins criticizing new Chinese regime after Mao's
A new constitution promulgated superceeding the 1950
version; Albania becomes a people's socialist republic.
Top military officials purged after "Chinese conspiracy" is
China terminates all economic and military aid to Albania.
Hoxha selects Ramiz Alia as the next party head, bypassing
Shehu, after rebuke by Politburo, dies, possibly murdered on
Alia becomes chairman of Presidium of the People's Assembly.
Hoxha begins semiretirement; Alia starts administering
Alia featured as party's and country's undisputed leader at
Ninth Party Congress.
Greece ends state of war that existed since World War II.
Albania and Greece sign a series of long-term agreements.
Alia, addressing the Eighth Plenum of the Central Committee,
signals that radical changes to the economic system are
Ninth Plenum of the Central Committee; demonstrations at
Shkodër force authorities to declare state of emergency.
Alia declares willingness to establish diplomatic relations
with the Soviet Union and the United States.
The Secretary General of the UN visits Albania.
Regime announces desire to join the Conference on Security
and Cooperation in Europe. People's Assembly passes laws
liberalizing criminal code, reforming court system, lifting
some restrictions on freedom of worship, and guaranteeing
the right to travel abroad.
Unemployment throughout the economy increases as a result of
government's reform measures; drought reduces electric-
power production, forcing plant shutdowns.
Young people demonstrate against regime in Tiranë, and 5,000
citizens seek refuge in foreign embassies; Central Committee
plenum makes significant changes in leadership of party and
state. Soviet Union and Albania sign protocol normalizing
Government abandons its monopoly on foreign commerce and
begins to open Albania to foreign trade.
Alia addresses the UN General Assembly in New York.
Tiranë hosts the Balkan Foreign Ministers' Conference, the
first international political meeting in Albania since the
end of World War II. Ismail Kadare, Albania's most prominent
writer, defects to France.
University students demonstrate in streets and call for
dictatorship to end; Alia meets with students; Thirteenth
Plenum of the Central Committee of the APL authorizes a
multiparty system; Albanian Democratic Party, first
opposition party established; regime authorizes political
pluralism; draft constitution is published; by year's end,
5,000 Albanian refugees had crossed the mountains into
First opposition newspaper Rilindja Demokratike begins
publishing. Thousands of Albanians seek refuge in Greece.
Albania and the United States reestablish diplomatic
relations after a thirty-five year break. Thousands more
Albanians attempt to gain asylum in Italy.
First multiparty elections held since the 1920s; 98.9
percent of voters participated; Albanian Party of Labor wins
over 67 percent of vote for People's Assembly seats;
Albanian Democratic Party wins about 30 percent.
Communist-dominated People's Assembly reelects Alia to new
presidential term. Ministry of Internal Affairs replaced by
Ministry of Public Order; Frontier Guards and Directorate of
Prison Administration are placed under the Ministry of
Defense and the Ministry of Justice, respectively. People's
Assembly passes Law on Major Constitutional Provisions
providing for fundamental human rights and separation of
powers and invalidates 1976 constitution. People's Assembly
appoints commission to draft new constitution.
Prime Minister Nano and rest of cabinet resign after trade
unions call for general strike to protest worsening economic
conditions and killing of opposition demonstrators in
Shkodër. Coalition government led by Prime Minister Ylli
Buti takes office; Tenth Party Congress of the Albanian
Party of Labor meets and renames party the Socialist Party
of Albania (SPA); Albania accepted as a full member of CSCE;
United States secretary of state, James A. Baker, visits
Sigurimi, notorious secret police, is abolished and replaced
by National Information Service.
Up to 18,000 Albanians cross the Adriatic Sea to seek asylum
in Italy; most are returned. People's Assembly passes law on
economic activity that authorizes private ownership of
property, privatizing of state property, investment by
foreigners, and private employment of workers.
United States Embassy opens in Tiranë. Albania joins
International Monetary Fund.
Coalition government dissolves when opposition parties
accuse communists of blocking reform and Albanian Democratic
Party withdraws its ministers from the cabinet. Prime
Minister Bufi resigns and Alia names Vilson Ahmeti as prime
minister. Alia sets March 1992 for new elections.
Albanian People's Assembly prevents OMONIA, the party
representing Greek Albanians, from fielding candidates in
the elections planned for March.
Albanian Democratic Party scores decisive election victory
over the Socialist Party of Albania in the midst of economic
freefall and social chaos.
Sali Berisha, a leader of the Albanian Democratic Party,
becomes the first democratically elected president.
Albania signs Black Sea economic cooperation part with ten
other countries, including six former Soviet republics.
Socialist Party of Albania gains significantly in local
Former President Alia and eighteen other former communist
officials, including Nexhmije Hoxha, arrested and charged
with corruption and other offenses.
Albania joins the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Albania recognizes the former Yugoslav Republic of
President Berisha and President Momir Bulatovic of
Montenegro meet in Tiranë to discuss ways of improving
Greece recalls its ambassador for consultations after series
of border incidents and alleged human rights abuses in
Data as of April 1992
- Albania-Council of Ministers and People's Councils
- Albania -COUNTRY PROFILE
- Albania-Women in the Work Force
- Albania-Imposition of the Stalinist System
- Albania-Education under Communist Rule
- Albania-Currency and Monetary Policy
- Albania-THE ANCIENT ILLYRIANS
- Albania-Domestic Repression under Hoxha and Alia
- Albania-Structure and Marketing of Agricultural Output
- Albania-Chapter 1 - Historical Setting
- Albania-Union of Albanian Women
- Albania-The Rise of Albanian Nationalism
- Albania-The Precommunist Albanian Economy
- Albania-Foreign Trade Balance and Balance of Payments
- Albania-Political Control
- Albania-TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
- Albania-Food Processing
- Albania-Albania after World War II
- Albania-Albanians in Kosovo
- Albania-The Communist Takeover of Albania
- Albania-World War II
- Albania-Albanians under Ottoman Rule
- Albania-The Cultural and Ideological Revolution
- Albania-RETAIL TRADE, SERVICES, AND TOURISM
- Albania-Human Rights
- Albania-Foreign Assistance
- Albania-Before 1944 RELIGION
- Albania-Air Transportation
- Albania-THE GOVERNMENT APPARATUS
- Albania-Government Revenues and Expenditures
- Albania-Albania and the Soviet Union
- Albania-REFORM POLITICS
- Albania-Consolidation of Power and Initial Reforms
- Albania-Trade Partners
- Albania-Medical Care and Nutrition HEALTH AND WELFARE
- Albania-Italian Penetration
- Albania-The Ottoman Conquest of Albania
- Albania-FOREIGN POLICY
- Albania-Water Transportation
- Albania-Postwar Development
- Albania-WORK FORCE AND STANDARD OF LIVING
- Albania-THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS AND THE MIDDLE AGES
- Albania-The Break with China and Self-Reliance
- Albania-Ownership and Private Property
- Albania-World War I and Its Effects on Albania
- Albania-Conscript Training
- Albania-Trade Unions
- Albania-Albania's Reemergence after World War I
- Albania-Further Moves Toward Democracy
- Albania-WORLD WAR II AND THE RISE OF COMMUNISM, 1941-44
- Albania-Retail Trade and Services
- Albania-Albania and China
- Albania-Finance and Banking
- Albania-POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
- Albania-The Land
- Albania-Languages and Dialects
- Albania-INTERWAR ALBANIA, 1918-41
- Albania-MASS ORGANIZATIONS
- Albania-Dependence on the Soviet Union, 1948-60
- Albania-Land Distribution and Agricultural Organization
- Albania-Population THE ALBANIAN PEOPLE
- Albania-TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
- Albania-Enterprises and Firms
- Albania-Government and Politics
- Albania-People's Army
- Albania-Local Albanian Leaders in the Early Nineteenth Century
- Albania-Settlement Patterns
- Albania-DEFENSE ORGANIZATION
- Albania-Paramilitary Training
- Albania-Military Schools
- Albania-People's Assembly
- Albania-Energy and Natural Resources
- Albania-The Coalition Government of 1991
- Albania-Union of Albanian Working Youth
- Albania-ECONOMIC SYSTEM
- Albania-DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES
- Albania-Chapter 4 - Government and Politics
- Albania-Black Market
- Albania-Social and Economic Conditions after World War I
- Albania-Italian Occupation
- Albania-Democratic Front
- Albania-Road Transportation
- Albania-Albanian-Yugoslav Tensions
- Albania-Light Industry
- Albania-Frontier Guards
- Albania-Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Seeds
- Albania-THE ALBANIAN LANDS UNDER OTTOMAN DOMINATION, 1385-1876
- Albania-Governmental Bodies and Control
- Albania-Traditional Social Patterns and Values SOCIAL SYSTEM
- Albania-NATIONAL SECURITY
- Albania-Population and Work Force
- Albania-Military Manpower
- Albania-Greeks and Other Minorities
- Albania-Directorate of State Security
- Albania-United Trade Unions of Albania
- Albania-INTERNAL SECURITY
- Albania-Naval Forces
- Albania-Environmental Problems
- Albania-Alia Takes Over
- Albania-Shifting Alliances
- Albania-Dependence on Yugoslavia, 1945-48
- Albania-Social Insurance
- Albania-ECONOMIC POLICY AND PERFORMANCE
- Albania-Social Structure under Communist Rule
- Albania-PreCommunist Era EDUCATION
- Albania-Foreign Trade Organization
- Albania-Military Budget and the Economy
- Albania-Alia's Pragmatism
- Albania-Auxiliary Police
- Albania-Multiparty System
- Albania-EVOLUTION OF NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
- Albania-Ground Forces
- Albania-Livestock and Pasturelands
- Albania-ORIGINS OF THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
- Albania-MASS MEDIA
- Albania-Standard of Living
- Albania-COMMUNIST ALBANIA
- Albania-The Communist and Nationalist Resistance
- Albania-Dependence on China, 1961-78
- Albania-Chapter 2 - The Society and its Environment
- Albania-Hoxha's Antireligious Campaign
- Albania-Prices and Wages
- Albania-NATIONAL AWAKENING AND THE BIRTH OF ALBANIA, 1876-1918
- Albania-Penal Code
- Albania-Domestic Consumption
- Albania-Chapter 5 - National Security
- Albania-People's Police
- Albania-Chapter 3 - The Economy
- Albania-Zog's Kingdom
- Albania-FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
- Albania-Security Forces
- Albania-Activities of Foreign Companies in Albania
- Albania-The Revival of Religion
- Albania-PROSPECTS FOR REFORM
- Albania-ALBANIA'S COMMUNIST PARTY
- Albania-The Hoxha Regime
Background||Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997; however, there have been claims of electoral fraud in every one of Albania's post-communist elections. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges to reduce crime and corruption, promote economic growth, and decrease the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and is a potential candidate for EU accession. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure.
Location||Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
Area(sq km)||total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
Geographic coordinates||41 00 N, 20 00 E
Land boundaries(km)||total: 717 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Kosovo 112 km
Climate||mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Elevation extremes(m)||lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resources||petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use(%)||arable land: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)
Irrigated land(sq km)||3,530 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)||41.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)||total: 1.71 cu km/yr (27%/11%/62%)
per capita: 546 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards||destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues||deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements||party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note||strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
Population||3,639,453 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)||0-14 years: 23.1% (male 440,528/female 400,816)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 1,251,001/female 1,190,841)
65 years and over: 9.8% (male 165,557/female 190,710) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)||total: 29.9 years
male: 29.3 years
female: 30.6 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)||0.546% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)||15.29 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)||5.55 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)||-4.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)||urban population: 47% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)||at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)||total: 18.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.05 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth(years)||total population: 77.96 years
male: 75.28 years
female: 80.89 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate(children born/woman)||2.01 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Ethnic groups(%)||Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)
Religions(%)||Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: percentages are estimates; there are no available current statistics on religious affiliation; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice
Languages(%)||Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Country name||conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Government type||emerging democracy
Capital||name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions||12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
Constitution||approved by parliament on 21 October 1998; adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Legal system||has a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens
Suffrage||18 years of age; universal
Executive branch||chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
elections: president elected by the Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 8 and 20 July 2007 (next election to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Bamir TOPI elected president; Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority (84 votes) required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes
Legislative branch||unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; 100 members elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 June 2009 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PD 68, PS 64, LSI 4, other 4
note: Parliament in November 2008 approved an electoral reform package that transformed the electoral system from a majority system to a regional proportional system; the code also established an electoral threshold limiting smaller party representation
Judicial branch||Constitutional Court, Supreme Court (chairman is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term) and multiple appeals and district courts
Political pressure groups and leaders||Citizens Advocacy Office [Kreshnik SPAHIU]; Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kastriot MUCO]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Mjaft Movement; Omonia [Jani JANI]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participation||BSEC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, NATO, OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, SECI, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag description||red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Castriota SKANDERBERG, who led a successful uprising against the Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-1478)
Economy - overview||Lagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. Macroeconomic growth has averaged around 5% over the last five years and inflation is low and stable. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad representing about 15% of GDP, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. The agricultural sector, which accounts for over half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages because of a reliance on hydropower, and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to upgrade transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity)||$21.86 billion (2008 est.)
$20.61 billion (2007 est.)
$19.44 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
Albania has an informal, and unreported, sector that may be as large as 50% of official GDP
GDP (official exchange rate)||$12.96 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)||6.1% (2008 est.)
6% (2007 est.)
5.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)||$6,000 (2008 est.)
$5,700 (2007 est.)
$5,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)||agriculture: 20.5%
services: 59.7% (2008 est.)
Labor force||1.103 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation(%)||agriculture: 58%
services: 27% (September 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)||12.5% (2008 est.)
13.2% (2007 est.)
note: these are official rates, but actual rates may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming
Population below poverty line(%)||25% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)||lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 25.9% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index||26.7 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)||23.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget||revenues: $3.458 billion
expenditures: $4.175 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)||3.4% (2008 est.)
2.9% (2007 est.)
Stock of money||$3.028 billion (31 December 2008)
$2.707 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money||$6.251 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.433 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit||$8.176 billion (31 December 2008)
$7.247 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares||$NA
Economic aid - recipient||ODA: $318.7 million
note: top donors were Italy, EU, Germany (2005 est.)
Public debt(% of GDP)||51.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
51.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products||wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
Industries||food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate(%)||3% (2008 est.)
Current account balance||-$1.906 billion (2008 est.)
-$1.202 billion (2007 est.)
Exports||$1.345 billion (2008 est.)
$1.076 billion (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities(%)||textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners(%)||Italy 55.9%, Greece 11.6%, China 7.2% (2008)
Imports||$4.898 billion (2008 est.)
$3.999 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities(%)||machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners(%)||Italy 32.2%, Greece 13.1%, Turkey 7.2%, Germany 6.6%, China 4.5%, Russia 4.4% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold||$2.364 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$2.162 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external||$1.55 billion (2004)
Exchange rates||leke (ALL) per US dollar - 79.546 (2008 est.), 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004)
Currency (code)||lek (ALL)
note: the plural of lek is leke
Telephones - main lines in use||316,400 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular||3.141 million (2008)
Telephone system||general assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, the density of main lines remains low with roughly 10 lines per 100 people; cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective; combined fixed line and mobile telephone density is approaching 100 telephones per 100 persons
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed line capacity, mobile phone service has been available since 1996; by 2003, two companies were providing mobile services at a greater density than some of Albania's neighbors; Internet broadband services initiated in 2005; Internet cafes are popular in Tirana and have started to spread outside the capital
international: country code - 355; submarine cable provides connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; the Trans-Balkan Line, a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international traffic carried by fiber-optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2008)
Internet country code||.al
Internet users||471,000 (2008)
Pipelines(km)||gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2008)
Roadways(km)||total: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Ports and terminals||Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
Military branches||Joint Force Command (includes Land, Naval, and Aviation Brigade Commands), Joint Support Command (includes Logistic Command), Training and Doctrine Command (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)||19 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service||males age 16-49: 944,592
females age 16-49: 908,527 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service||males age 16-49: 800,665
females age 16-49: 768,536 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually||male: 34,778
female: 31,673 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)||1.49% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - international||the Albanian Government calls for the protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians in neighboring countries, and the peaceful resolution of interethnic disputes; some ethnic Albanian groups in neighboring countries advocate for a "greater Albania," but the idea has little appeal among Albanian nationals; the mass emigration of unemployed Albanians remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy
Trafficking in persons||current situation: Albania is a source country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; it is no longer considered a major country of transit; Albanian victims are trafficked to Greece, Italy, Macedonia, and Kosovo, with many trafficked onward to Western European countries; children were also trafficked to Greece for begging and other forms of child labor; approximately half of all Albanian trafficking victims are under age 18; internal sex trafficking of women and children is on the rise
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Albania is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007, particularly in the area of victim protection; the government did not appropriately identify trafficking victims during 2007, and has not demonstrated that it is vigorously investigating or prosecuting complicit officials (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)||2.888 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)||fossil fuel: 2.9%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)||3.603 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)||0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)||2.475 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)||5,985 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)||34,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)||748.9 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)||24,080 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)||199.1 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)||30 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)||30 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)||0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)||849.5 million cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)||NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS||NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths||NA
Literacy(%)||definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)||total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2004)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)||2.9% of GDP (2002)