Meaning of ALBANIA in English



officially Republic of Albania

Country, western Adriatic coast of the Balkan Peninsula .

Area: 11,082 sq mi (28,703 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 3,108,000. Capital: Tiranë . Language: Albanian (official). Ethnic Albanians are the Gegs (Ghegs) and the Tosks. Religions: Islam; Christianity (minority; Greek Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism). Currency: lek. Albania may be divided into two major regions, a mountainous highland and a western coastal lowland that contains the country's agricultural lands and most of its population. It has a developing free-market economy that until 1991 was shaped by a socialist system of state ownership. The Albanians are descended from the Illyrians, an ancient Indo-European people who lived in central Europe and migrated south by the beginning of the Iron Age (see Illyria ). Of the two major Illyrian migrating groups, the Gegs settled in the north and the Tosks in the south, along with Greek colonizers. The area was under Roman rule by the 1st century BC; after AD 395 it was connected administratively to Constantinople . Turkish invasion began in the 14th century and continued into the 15th century; though the national hero, Skanderbeg , was able to resist them for a time, after his death (1468) the Turks consolidated their rule. The country achieved independence in 1912 and was admitted into the League of Nations in 1920. It was briefly a republic (1925–28), then became a monarchy under Zog I , whose initial alliance with Benito Mussolini deteriorated into Italy's invasion of Albania in 1939. After the war a socialist government under Enver Hoxha was installed, and gradually Albania cut itself off from the nonsocialist international community and eventually from all other countries, including China, its last political ally. By 1990 economic hardship had fomented antigovernment demonstrations that led to the election of a noncommunist government in 1992 and the end of Albania's international isolation. In 1997 the country plunged into chaos brought on by the collapse of pyramid investment schemes. In 1999 it was overwhelmed by ethnic Albanians seeking refuge from Yugoslavia (see Kosovo conflict ). In the early 21st century Albania faced the challenges of reforming its economy and maintaining good relations with its European neighbours.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia.      Краткая энциклопедия Британика.