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(in Albanian, the singular is shqipetar).

(1)The nation which forms the basic population of Albania, numbering about 1,855,000 (1966). About 1 million Albanians live in Yugoslavia, mainly in Kosovo, Metohija, and Macedonia; there are several thousand in Greece and 100,000–150,000 in the southern regions of Italy and the island of Sicily. A small number of Albanians live in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Rumania; there are 5,000 Albanians in the USSR, in Odessa and Zaporozh’e oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR. The Albanian language constitutes an independent branch of the Indo-European family. Seventy-one percent of the Albanians who are religious are Muslims, 19 percent are Orthodox, and 10 percent are Catholics.

Opinions differ on the ethnogeny of the Albanians. Some scholars (including Albanian) see the Illyrians as the basic element in their ancestry, while others consider the Thracians the basic element. Roman rule in Illyria (second century B.C. to fourth century A.D.) left its traces in the language and culture of Albanians. During the Middle Ages, the Albanian lands were the scene of uninterrupted struggle among Byzantines, Bulgarians, Normans, Serbs, and others, and this too has left its mark on the ethnic makeup of Albanians. The term “Albanians,” which first appeared in the second century as a tribal name, began to be applied to all the inhabitants of present-day Albania in the 11th century.

Turkish hegemony, which lasted from the late 15th century until 1912, served as a brake on the historical development of Albanians. Feudal fragmentation meant the disruption of economic ties between regions and the deepening of differences of dialect; regional designations of Albanians emerged. The old term “Albanians” was gradually replaced by the newer Shqipetar, by which those speaking fluent Albanian—that is, shqip —were distinguished from foreigners. In the second half of the 18th and early 19th centuries, designations for the two basic regions of Albania and their inhabitants took shape: Toskeria and the Tosks in the south and Ghegeria and the Ghegs in the north.

The ethnic consolidation of Albanians, which took place in the context of uninterrupted resistance to Turkish rule, increased particularly in the mid-19th century, when capitalist relations began to arise and the sharp struggle for national self-determination unfolded. The victory of the people’s revolution in Albania (1944) and the transition to the construction of socialism brought about the national unification of Albanians.


Arsh,G. L., I. G. Senkevich, and N. D.Smirnova. Kratkaia istoriia Albanii. Moscow, 1965.

Historia e Shqipërisë, vols. 1–2. Tirana, 1959–65.


(2) Caucasian Albanians were one of the ancient tribes of the Eastern Transcaucasus.

References in periodicals archive ?
Ethnic Albanians who support Zaev's policies are also said to be disappointed with the Social Democrats' candidate lists.
The next day, Saturday, ethnic Albanians staged their own protest in the capital.
Experts say that as far as the participation of ethnic Albanians in the State Statistical Office totals 10 percent, the manipulations about the real number of ethnic Albanians and other nationalities will be present, and this will stroke up tensions.
The truly poor ethnic Albanians do not even have money for a ticket to Brussels but here it is a matter of people that locked their three-storey houses, parked their luxurious cars in garages and, by following someone's instructions, headed towards Brussels with one aim--to show Macedonia as a country in which ethnic Albanians are the only ones that are suffering and to give good reason for their demand to get separated from Macedonia.
Hospital staff in the divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica said four ethnic Albanians had died,apparently of gunshot wounds.
In an apparent concession to majority Macedonians, a compromise was on the table to make Albanian official only in areas where ethnic Albanians account for more than 20% of the population.
But after asserting that they faced ``no more days hiding in cellars, no more nights freezing in mountains and forests,'' Clinton urged the ethnic Albanians to set aside their mutual animosity with the Serbs, who conducted a brutal purge of Kosovar's Albanians during the Kosovo campaign.
About 100 ethnic Albanians tried to storm a bridge in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica.
As for the ethnic Albanians still playing hide and seek with the Serb ethnic cleansers within Kosovo, NATO has nothing to offer them but shrapnel.
They aim to raise more than pounds 10,000 for ethnic Albanians who are fleeing war-torn Kosovo.
Ethnic Albanians rebelled, triggering the Serbian attacks that brought the bombings by NATO.
Asked whether the messages of the ethnic Albanian political parties reach the citizens of the Albanian ethnic community, she provided a reply that coincides with the opinion of the experts analyzing the situation in the Albanian political bloc that a rising number of ethnic Albanians are showing a declining interest in the chief political rivals in the Albanian bloc BDI and PDSH.