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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler

ALBANIA: A Modern History of Nationhood

A European country which other Europeans still know little of. Over the centuries many different peoples and Polities controlled Albania, but the most significant was The Ottoman Empire; the reason that most Albanians remain today Muslims in the heart of Christian Europe.

The story of Modern Albania begins with the Balkan Wars in the immediate prelude to The First World War. At the end of these wars Albania declared its independence from Constantinople, and declared the German Prince William of Wied King/Prince. However, such national enthusiasm was soon curbed by the events of The First World War. William fled Albania in the opening months of the war, destined never to return.

An Albanian Republic was finally proclaimed in 1925, after Germany, Italy and the newly created Yugoslavia had all been seen off.

A new political leader emerged, Zog, who in 1928 was declared Albania's King.

In 1939, as war loomed again across Europe, Zog fled into exile, and like William before him never returned to his native country.

In 1941 The Albanian Communist Party was formed and quickly achieved a following. When Italy surrendered to The Allies, German troops occupied the country.

As the war grinded to a close, the Communists seized power, and Enver Hoxha emerged as the country's postwar leader.

The Communist Government handed Kosovo over to Yugoslavia as it bought Yugoslav support. Yugoslavia's positioning in The Cold War led Albania to next ally with The USSR, and when Stalin fell Albania turned to China.

As Eastern Europe and Marxism collapsed, a year after Hoxha's death, the Communist regime was overthrown and Albania began the painful process of adapting to democracy. It has, however, joined NATO and applied to join The EU.

Further Reading

The Albanians: A Modern History by Miranda Vickers. Published by Bloomsbury Academic.

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