Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Albania(ălbā`nyə), Albanian Shqipëria or Shqipnija, officially Republic of Albania, republic (2015 est. pop. 2,923,000), 11,101 sq mi (28,752 sq km), SE Europe. Albania is on the Adriatic Sea coast of the Balkan Peninsula, between Montenegro on the northwest, Kosovo on the northeast, North Macedonia on the east, and Greece on the southeast. TiranëTiranë
, city (1989 pop. 238,057), capital of Albania and of Tiranë dist., central Albania, on the Ishm River. It is the largest city and the chief industrial and cultural center of the country.
..... Click the link for more information. is the capital and largest city.
Land and People
Albania is rugged and mountainous, except for the fertile Adriatic coast. Mt. Korabit (9,066 ft/2,763 m), on the North Macedonian–Albanian border, is the highest point in the country. The coastal climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The mountainous interior, especially in the north, has severe winters and mild summers. The chief rivers of Albania are the Drin, Mat, Shkumbin, Vijose, and Seman, but they are mostly unnavigable. More than one third of Albania's land is covered by forests and swamps, about one third is pasture, and only about one fifth is cultivated. In addition to Tiranë, other important cities are VlorëVlorë
, city (1989 pop. 71,662), capital of Vlorë dist., SW Albania, on Vlorë Bay of the Adriatic Sea. Vlorë is a major seaport and a commercial center. Its industries produce olive oil, cement, and alcohol.
..... Click the link for more information. , DurrësDurrës
, Ital. Durazzo, city (1989 pop. 82,719), capital of Durrës dist., W Albania, on the Adriatic Sea. The chief seaport of Albania and the leading commercial and communications center, it has a dockyard, a shipyard, and industries that manufacture leather,
..... Click the link for more information. , ShkodërShkodër
, Serbo-Croatian Skadar, anc. Scodra, city (1989 est. pop. 80,200), capital of Shkodër dist., NW Albania, at the outlet of Lake Scutari. It is a market center in a fertile agricultural area that produces a variety of crops.
..... Click the link for more information. , and KorçëKorçë,
, or Koritsa
, city (1989 pop. 63,623), capital of Korçë dist., SE Albania, near the Greek border. Located in an agricultural region, it is a commercial and industrial center producing foodstuffs, rugs, and
..... Click the link for more information. .
The country's rugged and inaccessible terrain has traditionally isolated Albania from its neighbors, thus helping to preserve its ethnic homogeneity. About 90% of the population is ethnic Albanian, less than 10% is Greek, and there are scattered Vlach, Romani (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, and Bulgarian minorities. Many ethnic Albanians also live in KosovoKosovo
, Albanian Kosova, Serbian Kosovo i Metohija and Kosmet, officially Republic of Kosovo, republic (2015 est. pop. 1,871,000), 4,126 sq mi (10,686 sq km), SE Europe, a former province of Serbia that unilaterally declared its independence in 2008.
..... Click the link for more information. , a former province of Serbia that declared its independence in 2008. Some 70% of the people are Muslim, about 20% are Albanian Orthodox, and 10% Roman Catholic. From 1967 to 1990 all mosques and churches were closed, and Albania was officially considered to be an atheist country. Albanian is an Indo-EuropeanIndo-European,
family of languages having more speakers than any other language family. It is estimated that approximately half the world's population speaks an Indo-European tongue as a first language.
..... Click the link for more information. language. The Shkumbin River, which virtually bisects the country, separates speakers of the northern dialect (Gheg) from those of the southern dialect (Tosk; the official dialect).
Albania has one of the lowest standards of living in Europe. Approximately 60% of the workforce is engaged in agriculture; the balance is involved in services or industry. The country's economy contracted in the early 1990s as Albania attempted to move quickly from a tightly controlled state-run system to a market economy. During this period, the unemployment rate was about 40%, but by the end of the decade it was closer to 20%.
Agriculture was formerly socialized in the form of collective and state farms, but by 1992 most agricultural land had been privatized. Grains (especially wheat and corn), potatoes, vegetables, fruits, and sugar beets are grown and livestock is raised. Albania is rich in mineral resources, notably petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, and salt. Agricultural processing, oil, mining, and the manufacture of textiles, clothing, lumber, cement, and chemicals are among the leading industries. Iron and steel plants have been developed, and the country has several hydroelectric stations. Because of economic disturbances during the 1990s, Albania remains essentially a developing country.
Foreign trade is carried by sea, Durrës and Vlorë (also the terminus of the oil pipeline) being the major ports. Albania exports textiles and footwear, mined natural resources, foodstuffs, and tobacco and imports mostly machinery, other industrial products, and consumer goods. Its chief trading partners are Italy and Greece. In the early 1990s Albania joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Albania is governed under the constitution of 1998 as amended. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by the legislature for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The government is headed by the prime minister. The legislature, the unicameral Parliament, or Assembly (Kuvendi), has 140 members, elected (since 2009) proportionally on a regional basis; they all serve four-year terms. Administratively, Albania is divided into 12 regions or counties.
The Albanians are reputedly descendants of Illyrian and Thracian tribes that settled the region in ancient times. The area then comprised parts of IllyriaIllyria and Illyricum
, ancient region of the Balkan Peninsula. In prehistoric times a group of tribes speaking dialects of an Indo-European language swept down to the northern and eastern shores of the Adriatic and
..... Click the link for more information. and EpirusEpirus
, ancient country of Greece, on the Ionian Sea and W of Macedon and Thessaly, a region now occupied by NW Greece and S Albania. At the time of Homer, Epirus was known as the home of the oracle of Dodona.
..... Click the link for more information. and was known to the ancient Greeks for its mines. The coastal towns, Epidamnus (Durrës) and ApolloniaApollonia
[Gr.,=of Apollo], name of several ancient Greek towns. The most important was a port in Illyria on the Adriatic. It was founded by Corinthians and was later a Greek and a Roman intellectual center. Julius Caesar used it as a base.
..... Click the link for more information. , were colonies of Corcyra (Kérkira) and Corinth, but the interior formed an independent kingdom that reached its height in the 3d cent. A.D.
After the division (395) of the Roman Empire, Albania passed to Byzantium. While nominally (until 1347) under Byzantine rule, N Albania was invaded (7th cent.) by the Serbs, and S Albania was annexed (9th cent.) by Bulgaria. In 1014, Emperor Basil II retook S Albania, which remained in the Byzantine Empire until it passed to Epirus in 1204. Venice founded coastal colonies at present-day Shkodër and Lezhë in the 11th cent., and in 1081 the Normans began to contest Byzantine control of Albania. Norman efforts were continued by the Neapolitan Angevins; in 1272, Charles I of Naples was proclaimed king of Albania. In the 14th cent., however, the Serbs under Stephen DušanStephen Dušan or Dushan
, c.1308–1355, king (1331–46) and czar (1346–55) of Serbia, son of Stephen Uros III. He is also known as Stephen Uros IV.
..... Click the link for more information. conquered most of the country.
After Dušan's death (1355), Albania was ruled by native chieftains until the Turks began their conquests in the 15th cent. In return for serving the Turks, a son of one of these chieftains received the title Iskender Bey (Lord Alexander), which in Albanian became ScanderbegScanderbeg
, c.1404–1468, Albanian national hero. His original name was George Castriota or Kastriotes, but the Ottomans called him Iskender Bey, and this was corrupted into Scanderbeg.
..... Click the link for more information. . Later, however, he led the Albanian resistance to Turkish domination and, after his death in 1468, was immortalized as Albania's national hero. Supported by Venice and Naples, Albania continued to struggle against the Turks until 1478, when the country passed under Ottoman rule.
Many Albanians distinguished themselves in the Turkish army and bureaucracy; others were made pashas and beys and had considerable local autonomy. In the early 19th cent., Ali PashaAli Pasha
, 1744?–1822, Turkish pasha [military governor] of Yannina (now Ioánnina, Greece), a province of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He was called the Arslan [lion] of Yannina.
..... Click the link for more information. ruled Albania like a sovereign until he overreached and was assassinated. Under Turkish rule Islam became the predominant religion of Albania. However, the Albanian highlanders, never fully subjected, were able to retain their tribal organizations. Economically, the country stagnated under Ottoman rule, and numerous local revolts flared. A cultural awakening began in the 19th cent., and Albanian nationalism grew in the aftermath of the Treaty of San Stefano (1877), which Russia imposed on the Turks and which gave large parts of Albania to the Balkan Slavic nations. The European Great Powers intensified their struggle for influence in the Balkans during the years that followed.
The first of the Balkan WarsBalkan Wars,
1912–13, two short wars, fought for the possession of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. The outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War for the possession of Tripoli (1911) encouraged the Balkan states to increase their territory at Turkish expense.
..... Click the link for more information. , in 1912, gave the Albanians an opportunity to proclaim their independence. During the Second Balkan War (1913), Albania was occupied by the Serbs. A conference of Great Power ambassadors defined the country's borders in 1913 and destroyed the dream of a Greater Albania by ceding large tracts to Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece. The ambassadors at the conference placed Albania under their guarantee and named William, prince of WiedWilliam, prince of Wied,
1876–1945, mpret [ruler] of Albania (1914), third son of William, prince of Wied, nephew of Elizabeth of Romania. A German army officer, he was selected by the great powers of Europe, with consent of the Albanians, to be ruler of the independent
..... Click the link for more information. , as its ruler. Within a year he had fled, as World War I erupted and Albania became a battleground for contending Serb, Montenegrin, Greek, Italian, Bulgarian, and Austrian forces.
Secret treaties drafted during the war called for Albania's dismemberment, but Albanian resistance and the principle of self-determination as promoted by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson helped to restore an independent Albania. In 1920 the Congress of Lushnje reasserted Albanian independence. The early postwar years witnessed a struggle between conservative landlords led by Ahmed Zogu and Western-influenced liberals under Bishop Fan S. Noli. After Noli's forces seized power in 1924, Zogu fled to Yugoslavia, where he secured foreign support for an army to invade Albania. In 1925, Albania was proclaimed a republic under his presidency; in 1928 he became King ZogZog
, 1895–1961, king of Albania. Originally Ahmet Muhtar Bej Zogolliu (later Albanianized to Zogu), he came from a Muslim family and served in the Austrian army in World War I.
..... Click the link for more information. .
Italy, whose political and economic influence in Albania had steadily increased, invaded the country in 1939, forcing Zog into exile and bringing Albania under Italian hegemony. The Albanian puppet government declared war on the Allies in 1940; but resistance groups, notably the extreme leftist partisans under Enver HoxhaHoxha, Enver
, 1908–85, Albanian Communist leader and general. A founder (1941) of the Albanian Communist party (Albanian Labor party from 1948), Hoxha headed the radical resistance group in Italian-occupied Albania during World War II.
..... Click the link for more information. , waged guerrilla warfare against the occupying Axis armies. In 1943–44, a civil war also raged between the partisans and non-Communist forces within Albania. Albania was liberated from the Axis invaders without the aid of the Red Army or of direct Soviet military assistance, and received most of its war matériel from the Anglo-American command in Italy.
In late 1944, Hoxha's partisans seized most of Albania and formed a provisional government. The Communists held elections (Dec., 1945) with an unopposed slate of candidates and, in 1946, proclaimed Albania a republic with Hoxha as premier. From 1944 to 1948, Albania maintained close relations with Yugoslavia, which had helped to establish the Albanian Communist party. After Marshal TitoTito, Josip Broz
, 1892–1980, Yugoslav Communist leader, marshal of Yugoslavia. He was originally Josip Broz. Rise to Power
The son of a blacksmith in a Croatian village, Tito fought in Russia with the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I and was captured by
..... Click the link for more information. of Yugoslavia broke with StalinStalin, Joseph Vissarionovich
, 1879–1953, Soviet Communist leader and head of the USSR from the death of V. I. Lenin (1924) until his own death, b. Gori, Georgia.
..... Click the link for more information. , Albania became a satellite of the USSR. Albania's disapproval of de-Stalinization and of Soviet-Yugoslav rapprochement led in 1961 to a break between Moscow and Tiranë.
Chinese influence and economic aid replaced Soviet, and Albania became China's only ally in Communist Eastern Europe. Albania ceased active participation in the Council for Mutual Economic AssistanceCouncil for Mutual Economic Assistance
(COMECON or MEA), international organization active between 1956 and 1991 for the coordination of economic policy among certain nations then under Communist domination, including Albania (which did not participate after 1961), Bulgaria,
..... Click the link for more information. (COMECON) and, after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, withdrew from the Warsaw Treaty OrganizationWarsaw Treaty Organization
or Warsaw Pact,
alliance set up under a mutual defense treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland, in 1955 by Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.
..... Click the link for more information. . In the early 1970s continuing Soviet hostility and Albanian isolation led the Hoxha regime to make overtures to neighboring Yugoslavia, Greece, and Italy. The alliance with China lasted until 1977 when Hoxha broke ties in protest of China's liberalization and the U.S.-China rapprochement.
Ramiz AliaAlia, Ramiz,
1925–2011, Albanian politician. He fought with Communist guerrillas in World War II and joined (1943) the Communist party, becoming an officer and political commisar.
..... Click the link for more information. became president in 1982 and, following Hoxha's death in 1985, first secretary of the Albanian Communist party. Alia began to strengthen ties with other European nations, notably Italy and Greece, and restored diplomatic relations with the USSR (1990) and the United States (1991). His government also began to allow tourism and promote foreign trade, and permitted the formation of the opposition Democratic party.
A Developing Democracy
In the elections of Mar., 1991, the Communists defeated the Democrats, but popular discontent over poor living conditions and an exodus of Albanian refugees to Greece and Italy forced the cabinet to resign shortly thereafter. In new elections (1992) the Socialists (Communists) lost to the Democrats, Alia resigned, and Democratic leader Sali BerishaBerisha, Sali
, 1944–, Albanian political leader, b. Tropoja. A cardiologist and former Communist, he became involved in politics in the early 1990s, speaking publicly against the old system and for the democratization of Albania.
..... Click the link for more information. became Albania's first democratically elected president. With unemployment and inflation accelerating, the new government took steps toward a free-market economy. Although the economic picture showed some signs of improvement during the 1990s, poverty and unemployment remained widespread. The Berisha government prosecuted former Communist leaders, including Ramiz Alia, who was convicted of abuses of power and jailed. In 1994, Albania joined the NATO Partnership for Peace plan, and in 1995, it was admitted to the Council of Europe.
Berisha's party claimed a landslide victory in the 1996 general elections, which were marked by irregularities. In Mar., 1997, following weeks of rioting over collapsed pyramid investment schemes, Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi, a Democrat, resigned. Berisha, however, was elected to a new five-year term and named Bashkim Fino, a Socialist, to head a new coalition government. Parliament declared a state of emergency as rebels gained control of large sections of southern Albania and threatened the capital. Thousands of Albanians fled to Italy, and an international force from eight European nations arrived in Apr., 1997, to help restore order.
The Socialists won parliamentary elections held in July, and Berisha resigned, succeeded by Socialist Rexhep Kemal Meidani. Fatos Nano became prime minister in 1997 but resigned in 1998 and was succeeded by fellow Socialist Pandeli Majko. Majko resigned in Oct., 1999, after he lost a Socialist party leadership election and was succeeded by Socialist Ilir Meta. Albanians approved their first post-Communist constitution in 1998. The country was flooded with refugees from neighboring Kosovo in 1998 and 1999. In the June, 2001, parliamentary elections the Socialists were returned to power. After Meta resigned in Jan., 2002, Majko again became prime minister; following Majko's resignation in July, Nano succeeded him. In June, 2002, a compromise candidate, Alfred Moisiu, a former general and defense minister, was elected to succeed President Meidani.
Parliamentary elections in July, 2005, resulted in a victory for Berisha's Democrats, but Socialist challenges to some of the results delayed certification of the vote. In September, however, Nano resigned, and Berisha became prime minister. In July, 2007, after a protracted series of votes in parliament, Bamir Topi, a Democrat, was elected president. In Apr., 2009, Albania became a member of NATO.
The June, 2009, parliamentary elections resulted in a narrow victory for the Democrats, who formed a coalition with the small Socialist Integration Movement (LSI). The Socialist party denounced the results as manipulated, boycotted parliament, and called for an investigation. The Socialist ended their boycott in May, 2010, in conjunction with EU-sponsored talks on the deadlock. The situation remained unsettled, however, with tensions at times spilling into the streets, and the May, 2011, election for Tirana's mayor, narrowly declared for the Democrats, revived partisan animosities.
In June, 2012, Bujar Nishani, a Democrat and minister of the interior, was elected as President Topi's successor. The LSI withdrew from the government in Apr., 2013, having formed a pre-election coalition with the Socialists. The Socialist-led coalition won a sizable majority in the June elections, and in September formed a government with Socialist Edi RamaRama, Edi
1964–, Albanian political leader and artist, prime minister of Albania (2013–). He studied and taught art in Tirana, then moved to France (1994) and embarked on a career as a painter.
..... Click the link for more information. as prime minister. In 2014 Albania was granted membership candidate status by the European Union; in 2016, in order to further negotiations, the country adopted constitutional and legal changes designed to reduce corruption and government interference in the justice system.
Ilir Meta, the speaker of parliament and LSI's party leader, was elected president in Apr., 2017, with the support of the Socialists. Political tensions between the Socialists and Democrats prior to the June parliamentary elections led in May to the inclusion of Democrat-nominated technocrats in the government. In the subsequent elections the Socialists won a majority; Rama remained prime minister. In Feb., 2019, opposition members of parliament resigned in protest against Rama and the Socialists, accusing them of corruption and manipulating the 2017 elections. The opposition began mounting recurring protests, and later boycotted the 2019 municipal elections, which the president unsuccessfully sought to cancel. In Nov., 2019, a severe earthquake centered along the N central coast caused damage in Durrës and localities NW of Tiranë.
See E. P. Stickney, Southern Albania or Northern Epirus in European International Affairs, 1912–1923 (1926); H. Hamm, Albania—China's Beachhead in Europe (tr. 1963); S. Skendi, ed., The Albanian National Awakening, 1878–1912 (1967); E. K. Keefe et al., Area Handbook for Albania (1971); S. Pollo and P. Arben, The History of Albania (1981); N. C. Pano, Albania (1989); R. Elsie, A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History (2012).
(Shqipëria), People’s Republic of Albania (Re-publika Popullore e Shqipërisë), PRA.
Albania is a state in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula on the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The Strait of Otranto, 75 km wide, separates Albania from Italy. In the north and east Albania borders on Yugoslavia, in the southeast, on Greece. It has an area of 28,700 sq km and a population of 2 million (1968). The capital is Tirana. Administratively, Albania is divided into 26 districts; the city of Tirana constitutes a separate administrative unit (see Table 1).
Albania is a socialist state, a people’s republic. The existing constitution was adopted on Mar. 14, 1946, and revised on July 4, 1950.
The supreme organ of state power and the only legislative organ is the People’s Assembly, which is elected by the population for four years, with one deputy for 8,000 people, on the basis of universal, direct, equal, and secret suffrage. All citizens who have reached 18 years of age have the right to vote and to be elected. The People’s Assembly adopts laws, confirms the state budgets and national economic plans, elects the Presidium of the People’s Assembly, forms the government of Albania (the Council of Ministers), elects the Supreme Court, and appoints the general prosecutor. Regular sessions of the People’s Assembly are convened twice a year by its Presidium. Between sessions, supreme state power is vested in the Presidium, which consists of a president, three vice-presidents, a secretary, and ten members. The decrees of the Presidium on certain questions within the competence of the People’s Assembly are subject to confirmation at the nearest session. The executive and administrative organ of state power is the Council of Ministers, which is responsible to the People’s Assembly.
|Table 1. Administrative division (1969)|
|Districts (rrethi)||Area (sq km)||Population (1967)||Administrative center|
|Tirana, city (dyteti) ..........||30||169,300||———|
The local organs of state power are the people’s councils of villages, localitets (subdistricts), cities, and districts; they are elected by the population for terms of three years. Executive committees are their executive and administrative organs.
The judicial system of Albania includes the Supreme Court of Albania; district courts; people’s courts in cities, villages, and city regions; and military tribunals. The constitution provides for the creation of special courts to review special categories of cases.
REFERENCEXhai, V., and K. Çevi. Regjimi juridik i tokës në Shqipëri. Tirana, 1956.
I. P. IL’INSKII
The shores of the Adriatic Sea are primarily low and weakly cut by gulfs which jut slightly into the land (the Drini and Durrësi gulfs, the Bay of Vlora, and others). The coasts of the straits of Otranto and Kerkira are mountainous, with small bays.
Terrain. A very hilly accumulative lowland, up to 40–45 km wide, deposited on a foothill sag stretches along the Adriatic shore. On the south, east, and north the lowland is bordered by the folded alpine ridges and massifs of the North Albanian Alps of moderate altitude (Prokletije, or “Accursed”), Tomori, and Korabi (up to 2,764 m in height), composed of limestone, sandstone, flysch, serpentine, and other Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks. The mountains are extremely dissected with sharp peaks; there are many intermontane hollows, with the largest in the regions of the cities of Korga and Gjirokastra.
Geological structure and minerals resources. Much of Albania falls within the boundaries of the Dinaric uplands of the alpine geosynclinal region, where folds were formed in the Lower Oligocene epoch. The western regions of the country constitute a segment of the foothill sag of this region, in which Oligocene, Miocene, and Pliocene clay-sandy hills and low limestone ridges (Cretaceous-Eocene) that extend to the north-northwest jut out from under alluvial deposits. In the inland regions, folded structures are complicated by thrusts, breaks, and intermontane depressions (the Korça hollow, Lake Ohrid, and others). The structure of these regions is dominated by Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Eocene limestone and dolomites and flysch; also characteristic are considerable outcroppings of ultra-basic rocks (especially in the north) intruded in the Mesozoic. In the extreme east (spurs of the Korabi and Koritnik) there are fragments of Paleozoic structures of the pelagonic massif consisting of metamorphic and crystalline rock. The most important minerals are chromites and copper and nickel ores; deposits of oil and bitumen are found in the zone of the foothill sag.
Climate. The climate is subtropical Mediterranean. On the plains in the summer, the weather is hot and dry, with an average July temperature of 24–25°C. In the winter the weather is mild, damp, and cyclonic, with an average January temperature of 8–9°C. In the mountains it is cooler and damp; the snow cover here lasts for several months. Annual precipitation exceeds 1,000 mm, with the primary maximum in the fall and secondary maxima in the winter and spring.
Rivers and lakes. The rivers are mountainous and have deep valleys and ravines, rapid currents, and considerable power resources. Only in the lower reaches, on the plains, are the valleys broad and the riverbeds have distinctly lower gradients. Rivers are mainly fed by rain, and in the spring, by snow. The flow is very unequal; it is heaviest during the winter half of the year, when the rivers in the plains greatly overflow, considerably increasing the marshiness of the coastal regions. In the summer, when it is essential to irrigate farmland fields, the rivers become extremely shallow or else dry up. The largest rivers are the Drini, Mati, Shkumbî, Semani, and Vijosa.
Three large tectonic lakes belong in part to Albania: the Shkodra, Ohrid, and Prespa. There are many lagoon-lakes (the largest are Narta and Karavastaja) and small karst and glacial lakes in the uplands. There are reservoirs on the Mati, Semani, and other rivers.
Soils and vegetation. Much of Albania is covered with forests; there is extensive shrub formation, as well as meadows. Three belts of vegetation and soil are clearly marked. First is the lower belt (to 300–600 m), which has the most warmth-loving flora of maquis-type evergreen shrubs and also box, deciduous shrubs, and other summer-blooming plants—Christ’s-thorn, blackberries, dewberries, and others. In places there are southern varieties of pine; the subtropical brown soils of dry forests and shrubs are typical. Second is the belt of mountain forests (up to 1,700–2,000 m), with oaks, chestnut trees, and beeches, firs, and pines growing on mountainous brown forest soils. Third, above 2,000 m, is the belt of alpine meadows.
Fauna. The animal population of Albania has been largely destroyed. In sparsely settled regions, wolves, jackals, and wild boars are encountered; waterfowl abound in coastal regions.
R. A. ERAMOV
Albanians form the majority of the population (about 96 percent); there are also Greeks (over 2 percent), Vlachs, and others. The language is Albanian. About three-fourths of the believers are Muslim; the rest are Christians—Catholic and Orthodox.
Albania is a country with a high rate of natural population growth (25–30 per 1,000 population). Half of the population is concentrated in the western low-lying area, which occupies about one-quarter of the country’s territory. About one-third of the population is urban. The largest cities (1967) are Tirana (169,300), Durrési (53,200), Shkodra (49,800), Vlora (50,400), Korça (45,900), and Elbasani (38,900).
N. V. IVANOVA and E. B. VALEV
Ancient history. The first traces of man on Albanian territory date from the middle Paleolithic. The most ancient inhabitants were the Pelasgians (Neolithic) and the Illyrians (from the second millennium B.C.). The Greeks founded a number of colonies between the seventh and third centuries B.C. The first state formations of the Illyrian tribes arose in the fourth century B.C.—the Enkeleys, the Taulantii, the Ardaei, and others. The territory of present-day Albania was conquered by Rome in the second century B.C. and was then included in the provinces of Dalmatia and Macedonia. During Roman rule, slaveholding relations developed (beginning in the first century A.D.). Albanian territory played an important role in the system of the Roman Empire: routes, the most important being the Via Egnatia, joining Rome with the Balkan provinces and the East passed through Albania.
End of the fourth century to the second half of the fifteenth century. When the Roman Empire was divided at the turn of the fifth century, Albania became part of Byzantium. The invasions by the Goths and Huns (end of the fourth-fifth centuries) ravaged the territory of Albania. Settlement by Slavic tribes began at the end of the sixth century. The coast of Albania, including the city of Dyrrachium (now Durrësi), remained under Byzantine power. The thema of Dyrrachium formed here in the first half of the ninth century. Other parts of Albania were included in the Bulgarian state and perhaps in Zeta. About 989 the thema of Dyrrachium was conquered by the Bulgarian king Samuil, and after the fall of the so-called First Bulgarian Kingdom in 1018, it became part of Byzantium. The ethnicon “Albanian” or “Arvanitis” appeared in Byzantine sources in the 11th century. It is possible that by this time an independent region of Arbanon already existed along the upper reaches of the Shkumbi River. It became the nucleus of the first independent Albanian state, the Principality of Arbëria (late 12th century). Dyrrachium was briefly conquered by the Normans in 1081 and 1185. After the fall of Byzantium, the Venetians strengthened themselves in Dyrrachium (1205); the remainder of Albanian territory became part of the Kingdom of Epirus in the second half of the 13th century. During the late 13th and first half of the 14th century, the western part of Albania was included in the Kingdom of Naples and the northern part in the Serbian Kingdom. In the middle of the 14th century, all of Albania was conquered by the Serbian king Stefan Dusan. The cities of Albania flourished in the 14th century. The most important artisan and commercial centers were Durrësi, Shkodra, Drishti, Vlora, Berati, and Lezha.
Feudal relations began to develop in the eighth to eleventh centuries. After the disintegration of Stefan Dusan’s state (1370’s), this development resulted in the strengthening of great feudal families, such as the Muzaki, Arianiti, Thopia, Balsha, and Zenebishi. Conflict among them was exploited by the Turkish aggressors, who began to invade Albania at the end of the 14th century and established their rule over nearly the entire country. In 1443, Skanderbeg (George Kastrioti) led the struggle of the Albanian people against the Turks. He was able to overcome the separatism of the Albanian feudal lords and to unite them in an alliance made official in 1444 in Lezha (the League of Lezha). Over a period of 25 years, the Albanian feudal state, under the leadership of Skanderbeg, successfully repelled the assaults of the Turkish forces. However, shortly after Skanderbeg’s death in 1468, the Turks broke the resistance of the Albanians and by 1479 occupied all of Albania with the exception of mountainous areas and some coastal cities which were under Venetian power.
In the Ottoman Empire: Albanian people’s struggle against Turkish rule (early 16th century to first half of the 19th century). The establishment of Turkish rule fundamentally changed the course of the social and political development of Albania. With the introduction of the Turkish military-feudal system of landholding, most of the land, with the exception of mountainous regions, passed into the state supply (miri), out of which the sultan allotted military fiefs— timars, zeamets, and hases —to small and large feudal lords. The peasants paid taxes to the feudal lords and to the state treasury: tithes (ashar), duties on cattle (djeleb), and so forth. Non-Muslims (Orthodox and Catholics) were in addition subjected to a monetary poll tax (jizya). Islam began to spread in Albania, although until the 17th century it attracted only the feudal leadership, which was interested in consolidating its material and legal situation. The peasantry resisted Islamization and the constantly increasing feudal oppression, but its uprisings (1481, 1537, 1571, 1708–11, 1716, and so forth) were unsuccessful. To the extent that the military-feudal system decayed and the Ottoman Empire weakened in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the influence of the Albanian separatist feudal lords grew. From 1756 to 1831, the great Bushati feudal family independently ruled large areas of northern and central Albania. From 1787 to 1822, southern Albania and adjacent areas of Greece and Macedonia were united under the power of another Albanian feudal lord, Ali Pasha Tepelena. Despite their mutual discord, the struggle of the Albanian feudal lords against Turkish rule objectively promoted the political and economic unification of both the southern and northern parts of Albania. From the 1830’s to the 1860’s, the Turkish government introduced reforms with the aim of regulating state and administrative control, thus preventing the disintegration of the empire. However, the reforms were accompanied by increased tax burdens and intensified national oppression, which led to the popular uprisings of 1843–45 and 1847.
Albanian renaissance: The struggle for national independence (second half of the 19th century to 1912). The growth of national consciousness becomes evident in Albanian history beginning in the mid-19th century. The first Albanian en-lighteners made their appearance—for example, N. Ve-qilharxhi, I. De Rada, K. Kristoforidhi, T. Mitko, I. Vreto, P. Vasa, N. Frashëri, and S. Frashëri. Their extensive activity in culture, literature, and the Albanian language deeply influenced the spiritual life of the people. Born to feudal and commercial circles, they anticipated the views later developed by bourgeois ideologists.
The upsurge in the liberation movements on the Balkan Peninsula in the last quarter of the 19th century included Albania, too. In the period preceding the 1878 Congress of Berlin, the Turkish government decided to exploit the Albanian movement, which aimed to maintain the integrity of regions settled by Albanians. On June 10, 1878, with the support of the Turkish government in Prizren, the creation of the so-called Albanian League was solemnly proclaimed. Taking advantage of the predominance of Muslim beys at its first sessions, the Turkish government got the league to accept a declaration opposing the territorial claims of the Balkan states against Turkey. However, the league soon broke with the Turkish government and demanded autonomy for Albania. The league declared itself the provisional and autonomous government of Albania, but was destroyed by the Turkish authorities in 1881. National societies, created by émigrés in Turkey and other countries, became the centers of propaganda for the ideas of a national liberation movement: the Society for an Albanian-Language Press in Istanbul (founded in 1879), the Drita Society in Bucharest (founded in 1884), the Dëshira Society in Sofia (founded in 1891), the Bashkimi Society in Egypt, and others. Their activity enjoyed the broad support of the popular masses.
By the turn of the 20th century, Albania—like many other provinces of Turkey—had become the object of the rivalry of the European imperialist powers. With the leaders of Austria-Hungary and Italy, the ruling circles of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro strove to participate in the division of Albanian lands. The Albanians’ national liberation movement gained in scope as a result of the 1905–07 Revolution in Russia and the 1908 Young Turk Revolution. Secret committees, which included representatives from the national bourgeoisie, feudal lords, and the intelligentsia as well as Albanian officers serving in the Turkish army, sprang up in a number of Albanian cities. The formation of cetas (armed detachments) began. In July 1908 the Albanian insurgents began to operate jointly with the young Turks, who promised to introduce democratic reforms and grant Albania self-government. At first, the Young Turks’ accession to power furthered the growth of the Albanian national movement: Albanian schools were created, political clubs sprang up, and Albanian newspapers began to appear. In November 1908 a national congress was held in the city of Monastir (Bitolj), which discussed the questions of a single Albanian alphabet and a political program for the national movement. However, the Young Turks not only failed to give Albania autonomy, but they also unleashed an open offensive against the national rights of Albanians—the punitive expedition to Kosovo of May 1909, the so-called law on gangs of 1909, and others. In the spring of 1910 the protest movement against Turkish rule developed into an armed uprising in north Albania. It was smashed after five months of heroic struggle by the Albanian people. Toward the spring of 1911, Albanian national organizations prepared a new uprising, which was to embrace the whole country. The demand for autonomy (the so-called Red Book) became the program of the uprising. But the Albanian national organizations in the north were provoked into premature action by the Montenegrin government, which planned to exploit the uprising. Meanwhile, the uprising began too late in southern and central Albania. Taking advantage of this, the Young Turk government, using bribes and threats, induced some of the movement’s leaders to come to an agreement, promising some insignificant reforms. Despite this, however, a general uprising flared up in the spring of 1912. It was supported by the partisans of the feudal-comprador party, Freedom and Consent, which opposed the Young Turks and strove to overthrow their government. At the height of the uprising, the Albanian feudal lords who were leading it betrayed the national interests of the Albanian people and in August 1912 reached an agreement with the Turkish government, which promised autonomy to Albania. The First Balkan War, which began in October 1912, quickly changed the circumstances. Albania was occupied by the troops of Montenegro (October), Serbia (October-November), and Greece (December). Turkey’s defeat in the war and the threat of Albania’s partition made it necessary to immediately promote the slogan of Albanian independence.
1912–17. On Nov. 28, 1912, at a meeting in Vlora of representatives from different regions of the country and emigré centers, the independence of Albania was proclaimed, and a provisional government headed by Ismail Qemal-bey was formed. Austria-Hungary and Italy, attempting to strengthen their positions in the Balkans and to keep Serbia from the Adriatic Sea, declared their support for the independence of Albania. On Dec. 17, 1912, the London Conference, attended by ambassadors from Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia, and France, recognized the autonomy of Albania; subsequently, Albania’s independence from Turkey was recognized by the 1913 Treaty of London and by the London Conference of Ambassadors of these same states, held on July 29, 1913. But in fact a protectorate of six imperialist powers—Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia, and France—had been established over Albania. They fixed the boundaries of the new state and in March 1914 turned the government of Albania over to the German prince William of Wied, who ruled the country until September 1914. However, his government controlled only the Durrësi region; the rest of the country was controlled by feudal groups, some of which were supported by Austria-Hungary, others by Italy, and still others by Serbia.
During World War I (1914–18), Albania’s status as a neutral country was violated, and it became an arena of military operations. In April 1915 the countries of the Entente and Italy signed the secret 1915 Treaty of London, which abolished the independence of Albania. By the end of World War I, Albania was occupied by Italian, Serbian, and Greek troops.
1918–39. The victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution created the preconditions for the successful struggle of the Albanian people for independence. The Albanian National Congress, which assembled Jan. 21–31, 1920, in Lushnje, proclaimed the independence of Albania and declared Tirana the country’s capital. As a result of the ensuing armed struggle led by the government created in Albania against feudal separatists and foreign occupiers, in the spring and summer of 1920 southern and southwestern regions of Albania were liberated from Italian troops; in 1922, the northeastern regions were liberated from Serbian troops. From 1922 to 1924 the boundaries of the Albanian state were determined on the basis of the decision of the 1913 London Conference of Ambassadors.
After the emancipation of Albania, the task of democratizing the country became primary. Albania was a backward agricultural country with weakly developed capitalist relations and considerable feudal elements. But the frequently changing governments (1920–23) avoided implementing fundamental economic and political reforms. The leading role in these governments, as in all of the country’s political life, was played by A. Zogu’s feudal-landlord group, which resorted to foreign support. The antipopular policies of the ruling circles produced deep discontent in the country. A broad antifeudal popular movement headed by the organization Bashkimi (Union) took the form of an uprising—in essence, a bourgeois-democratic revolution—in June 1924. Zogu fled to Yugoslavia, and the government of F. Noli came to power with a program of bourgeois-democratic reforms. An important act of Noli’s foreign policy was the establishment of diplomatic relations with the USSR. However, democratic forces were organizationally and politically very weak. The small working class had neither its own party nor an independent program of participation in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, and the bourgeoisie showed itself unable to lead the people in the struggle against feudalism and the threats of foreign enslavement. In December 1924 counterrevolutionary detachments led by Zogu crossed the Yugoslav-Albanian border, and with military, material, and diplomatic aid from Yugoslavia, England, France, and Italy, the democratic movement in Albania was suppressed. After Albania was proclaimed a republic (Jan. 21, 1925), Zogu became president and then, on Sept. 1, 1928, king of Albania. The reactionary regime which he established helped turn Albania into an appendage supplying Fascist Italy with agricultural goods and raw materials. This resulted in the preservation of semifeudal relations in agriculture, the ruin and mass emigration of peasants, the predatory exploitation of Albania’s natural resources by foreign companies, and the persecution of democratic and revolutionary elements. Italian imperialism took over the key positions in Albania’s economy. The country’s dependent position was reinforced by bilateral agreements with Fascist Italy. Albania was deprived of an independent foreign policy. The terrorist methods of the government of Zogu, whose regime had no firm social base, could not halt the increasing resistance of the people—peasant unrest, the general uprising in Fieri in 1935, the general strike in Kugova in 1936. The first communist groups developed in the early 1930’s in the cities of Korça, Shkodra, and Tirana. Even among ruling circles, an oppositional mood developed (the antigovernmental putsch of 1937).
The national liberation struggle of the Albanian people against the fascist aggressors (1939–44). The victory of the people’s democratic revolution. On April 7, 1939, Fascist Italy attacked Albania. On April 12, Albania became part of Italy through a personal union; Zogu emigrated. All the threads of government were gathered in the hands of a deputy of the Italian king, who controlled a puppet Albanian government. During the first period of World War II, resistance to the Fascist invaders lacked a sufficient organized and mass nature. As a result of the entry of the USSR into the war against the fascist bloc and the formation of the Communist Party of Albania (CPA) in November 1941, real prospects for the victory of the national liberation struggle in Albania opened up. The temporary Central Committee of the CPA, elected at the organizational conference that formalized the creation of the CPA, outlined a program that provided for the expulsion of the occupiers and the creation of a people’s democratic government in liberated Albania. On the initiative of the CPA, national liberation councils began to form on liberated territory in March 1942. Their functions and organizational principles were determined at a conference in Peza (southwest of Tirana) on Sept. 16, 1942, where the National Liberation Front (NLF) was formed, uniting in its ranks fighters against the Fascist occupiers. The General National Liberation Council chosen in Peza directed local councils, which carried out the functions of administrative and military organs.
The liberation struggle entered a new phase in 1943. At the first All-Albanian Conference of the CPA in Labinoti (northeast of Elbasani) in March 1943, the course was set for a national uprising. The creation on July 10, 1943, of a general staff initiated the formation of the regular National Liberation Army (NLA). At the same time the permanent Central Committee of the CPA was elected.
By the fall of 1943 the Italian occupiers had been driven from most regions of southern and central Albania. The victories of the Soviet army and the surrender of Fascist Italy in September 1943 contributed to the considerable expansion of liberated territory controlled by the national liberation councils. In accordance with the decision of the second conference of the NLF in Labinoti in September 1943, the councils were recognized as the “basic political authority of the Albanian people,” and a charter for the councils was adopted. The entry of German fascist troops into Albania on Sept. 10, 1943, complicated the conditions of the struggle. In the winter of 1943–44 and the summer of 1944 the NLA repulsed the offensive of the German fascist invaders. Success became possible as a result of the general change in the military situation in the Balkans, which was connected with the victories of the Soviet army on the war fronts against fascist Germany. In the course of the liberation struggle, which developed into a people’s democratic revolution, the question of power was decisively resolved. On May 24, 1944, in Permeti, the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council of Albania was created—a legislative organ representing the sovereign power of the people. The council formed the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Committee of Albania, which was transformed on Oct. 20, 1944, into the Provisional Democratic Government. On Nov. 17, 1944, the NLA liberated Tirana, and on November 29 it completed the liberation of Albania.
After the establishment of the people’s power. The liberation movement in Albania, which from its very inception had been antifascist and anti-imperialist, was also directed against the exploiting classes, who moved over to the side of the invaders; thus the movement acquired the features of a civil war. After emancipation from the fascist invaders, democratic and socialist reforms were effected. By the law of Aug. 29, 1945, an agrarian reform was carried out, abolishing the economic base of large landowners and kulaks and transferring land into the hands of the toiling peasantry. State control was established over industrial enterprises and joint-stock companies (December 1944). In January 1945 foreign property and banks in Albania were nationalized. An absolute majority of industrial and commercial enterprises of the local bourgeoisie were nationalized during 1945–46, thus concluding the creation of a socialist sector in Albania’s national economy. By early 1947 the private sector in industry had been, in effect, liquidated. In December 1945 candidates of the Democratic Front of Albania were victorious in elections to the Constituent Assembly, winning 93.2 percent of the votes. On Jan. 11, 1946, Albania was proclaimed a people’s republic, and in March a constitution was adopted which consolidated the socioeconomic and political reforms that had been carried out. Relying on the comprehensive support of the USSR and other socialist countries, Albania set about the construction of socialism, essentially bypassing the stage of developed capitalism.
As a result of the successful fulfillment of the two-year plan (1949–50) and the first five-year plan (1951–55), Albania became an agricultural and industrial country. The economy of Albania achieved new successes during the second five-year plan (1956–60). By the early 1960’s, a base had been created for national industry, and the level and efficiency in agriculture, where cooperative and state agricultural enterprises began to play a leading role, had been increased. In 1960 the socialist sector accounted for 99 percent of industrial production, about 80 percent of agricultural production, about 90 percent of retail trade, and about 90 percent of the national income. Albania has made significant achievements in cultural construction.
The successes in the construction of socialism were closely connected with Albania’s collaboration during this period with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. In the Joint Soviet-Albanian Declaration, signed Apr. 17, 1957, resulting from negotiations between state delegations of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of Albania, Albania stated that “the government of the People’s Republic of Albania considers it necessary to especially stress that only through reliance on the aid and support of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries have the Albanian people, under the yoke of colonialism for many centuries, been able to defend their national independence and successfully bring about the construction of socialism” (Pravda, Apr. 18, 1957, p. 1). The Soviet Union has aided Albania in the planning, construction and the reconstruction of many industrial and other economic units; it has granted Albania large, long-term credits on favorable conditions for the development of its national economy. It has offered Albania much scientific and technical assistance by means of free licenses, scientific and technical documentation, and the dispatch of skilled specialists; aid in prospecting natural resources; assistance in the training of national cadres and in the development of culture, education, and other spheres of the country’s life and also in strengthening Albania’s defense capacities. Albania’s collaboration with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries—in February 1949 Albania was accepted as a member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON)—and its participation in the Warsaw Treaty Organization from May 1955 have promoted the consolidation of Albania’s foreign political position. This has been expressed, in particular, in Albania’s acceptance into the UN in December 1955.
After 1960 the leaders of the Albanian Workers’ Party openly began to carry out dissentient actions with respect to the collaboration of socialist nations and the international communist movement. The unfriendly policies of Albania’s leaders undermined its cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. In December 1961 personnel of the Soviet embassy and trade representatives in Albania were recalled, as were personnel of the embassy and trade representatives of Albania in the Soviet Union. In 1962, Albania ended its participation, for all intents and purposes, in the work of COMECON. The blow administered by the Albanian leadership to cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries has had an adverse affect on the fulfillment of the country’s goals for the development of its economy and culture in its third five-year plan (1961–65). By 1965 industrial production had risen only 39 percent, instead of the planned 52 percent, in comparison with 1960, while agricultural production had risen 36 percent instead of 72 percent, and national income 44 percent instead of 56 percent. In the course of fulfilling the third five-year plan, targets for the distribution of national income were changed: instead of the 25.7 percent that had been initially planned, 28.7 percent of the national income was directed to the accumulation fund. The initially planned allocations to the consumption fund were correspondingly decreased. As a result, the targets for raising the real wages of factory and office workers were not met. In November 1966 the Congress of the fifth Albanian Workers’ Party approved the directives for the fourth five-year plan (1966–70).
In foreign policy, the Albanian leadership systematically continued its dissentient activities with respect to socialist collaboration and the international communist movement, extensively employing the means of mass information (the press and radio) to this purpose; it has rejected the proposals of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries for resolving differences and normalizing relations. The Albanian leaders have rejected the foreign policy proposals of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries aimed at strengthening peace and international security. In September 1968, Albanian leaders announced the country’s unilateral withdrawal from the Warsaw Treaty Organization, in which it had, in effect, ceased to participate after 1961. This activity of the Albanian leaders contradicts the interests of peace and socialism and, first and foremost, the interests of the Albanian people themselves.
REFERENCESArsh, G. L., I. G. Senkevich, and N. D. Smirnova. Kratkaia istoriia Albanii. Moscow, 1965.
Povest’ o Skanderbege. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Historia e Shqipërisë, vols. 1–2. Tirana, 1959–65.
Historia e Partisësë Punes té Shqipërisë . Tirana, 1968.
Makushev, V. V.’Istoricheskie razyskaniia o slavianakh ν Albanii ν srednie veka.” Varshavskie universitetskie izvestiia, 1871, no. 5.
Selishchev, A. M. Slavianskoe naselenie ν Albanii. Sofia, 1931.
Ducellier, A. “L’arbanon et les albanais au XI-e siécle.” Centre de Recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation Byzantines. Travaux et mémoires. Paris, 1968. Pages 354–68.
Albanica: Vepra të botuara në shek, XVI-XVIII. Tirana, 1965.
Arsh, G. L. Albaniia i Epir v kontse XVIII-nachale XIX vv. Moscow, 1963.
Naçi, S. N. Pashalleku i shkodrës nën sundimin e bushutllive nëgjysmën e dytë të shekuliit të XVIII (1757–1796). Tirana, 1964.
Kleigel’s, A. N. Neskol’ko slov ob albantsakh i vesennem vosstanii 1910 g. St. Petersburg, 1913.
Galkin, I. S. Diplomatiia evropeiskikh derzhav ν sviazi s osvoboditel’nym dvizheniem narodov Evropeiskoi Turtsii ν 1905–12 gg. Moscow, 1960.
Senkevich, I. G. Albaniia ν period Vostochnogo krizisa. Moscow, 1965.
Senkevich, I. G. Osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie albanskogo naroda ν 1905–1912 godakh. Moscow, 1959.
Grameno, M. Kryengritja shqiptare. Vlora, 1925.
Belegu, Xh. Lidhja e Prizrenit. Tirana, 1939.
Külçe, S. Firzovik toplantisi ve mesrutiyet. Izmir, 1943.
Külçe, S. Osmanli tarihinde Arnavutluk. Izmir, 1944.
Mile, L. Krjenoritjet popullore nëfillim të rilindjes sonë (1830–1877). Tirana, 1962.
Pollo, S. Revolucioni i parë rus i 1905–1907 dhe lufta e popullit shqiptar per pavarësi. Tirana, 1955.
Simonard, A. Essai sur l’indépendenee albanaise. Paris, 1942.
Burime të zgjedhura për historinërisë, vol. 1. Tirana, 1965.
Jaray, L. Au jeune Royaume d’Albanie. Paris, 1914.
Jaray, L. L’Albanie inconnue. Paris, 1913.
“Materialy nauchnoi sessii Otdeleniia istoricheskikh nauk Akademii nauk SSSR, posviashchennoi desiatiletiiu osvobozhdeniia Albanii.” In Doklady i soobshcheniia ln-ta istorii, issue 5. Moscow, 1955.
Baldacci, A. Studi speciali albanesi, vols. 1–3. Rome, 1932–37. Giannini, A. L’Albania dall’independenza all’unione coll’Italia (1913–1939). Milan, 1940.
N. D. SMIRNOVA and P. NIKITIN
The Albanian Workers Party (Partia e Punës e Shqipërisë, AWP) was founded Nov. 8, 1941; until 1948 it was the Communist Party of Albania. In November 1966 it had 66,327 members. Its central organs are the newspaper Zëri i popullit (since 1942) and the periodical Rruga e partisë (since 1954).
The Democratic Front of Albania (Fronti Demokratik i Shqipërisë, FDS), created on Sept. 16, 1942 (until Aug. 1945, the National Liberation Front), is a mass political organization based on individual membership: Its activity is carried out under the leadership of the AWP, and its central organ is the newspaper Bashkimi. The General Organization of Trade Unions of Albania, founded in October 1945, has 150,000 members (1967). It belongs to the World Federation of Trade Unions; its central organ is the newspaper Puna. The Union of Working Youth of Albania, created in February 1949 after the merger of the Union of Communist Youth (founded 1941) and the Union of Popular Youth (founded 1943), belongs to the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Its central organ is the newspaper Zëri i rinisë (since 1942). The Union of Albanian Women, founded in 1943, is a member of the Women’s International Democratic Federation: its central organ is the periodical Shqiptarja e re (since 1943).
General state of the economy. On the eve of World War II (1939–45) Albania was the most backward country in Europe economically, almost devoid of factory industry, railroads, and a commercial fleet despite its convenient access to the sea. Albania’s economy served as an appendage supplying the Italian economy with agricultural goods and raw materials. During World War II the economy suffered great losses because of the Italian and German fascist occupation. After the country was liberated in 1944 and the economy was quickly restored (1944–46) with the aid of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, Albania embarked on the path of socialist development (see above: Historical survey). The fulfillment of the two-year plan (1949–50) and the two five-year plans for the development of the national economy (1951–55 and 1956–60) in cooperation with the socialist countries brought about the establishment of a base for national industry. The output of industrial products increased 25 times between 1938 and 1960, while agricultural production increased 1.7 times. Profound changes in the structure of the national economy took place: industry’s share in the total industrial and agricultural production increased significantly (see Table 2). Industry accounts for approximately two-fifths of the national income of the People’s Republic of Albania.
The successes of socialist construction were closely connected with Albania’s cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. However, Albania, in effect, ceased participation in the work of COMECON as of 1962; it terminated its economic ties with the USSR. In the period of fulfillment of the third five-year plan (1961–65), Albania’s economy began to experience difficulties. The rates of growth of production decreased, building of production capacities slowed down, and so forth. A fourth plan for national economic development, was adopted for 1966–70. In comparison with 1965, the output of industrial production was to increase by 50–54 percent in 1970, gross agricultural production by 41–46 percent, and national income by 45–50 percent.
In the international division of labor, Albania stands out as
|Table 2. Structure of gross industrial and agricultural production (1966 prices; in percent)|
|Source: Ekonomika stran sotsializma, 1967. Moscow, 1968 (based on data from Ekonomlce popullore, 1967, no. 1, p. 32).|
|Gross industrial and agricultural production...............||100.0||100.0||100.0||100.0||100.0|
|Gross industrial production..............................||8.0||35.3||48.4||56.6||53.4|
|Gross agricultural production............................||92.0||64.7||51.6||43.4||46.6|
a supplier of products of the mining, woodworking, and food industries and also of such agricultural products as tobacco, olives, and citrus fruits. Albania is primarily a purchaser of industrial products.
Industry. The food and textile industries occupy an important place in Albania’s industrial structure. During the years of socialist construction, light industry, mining, the petroleum industry, and the woodworking industry were developed. The first steps were taken to create metallurgical, machine-building, and chemicals industries.
Most of the country’s manufacturing industry is concentrated in the cities of Tirana, Durrësi, Shkodra, Vlora, Korça, and Elbasani. The fuel and power industry has developed mainly through the exploitation of petroleum and hydroelectric resources. There are hydroelectric power plants on the Mati, Bistritsa, Drini, and other rivers; the Lenin Hydroelectric Power Plant was built near Tirana with the aid of the Soviet Union. The main thermoelectric power plant is in the city of Fieri. The oil fields in the basin of the Semani River and in the regions of the cities of Stalin and Patosi are joined by oil pipelines to the oil-refining centers in Stalin and Cërriku, where an oil refinery was built with the aid of the Soviet Union; a new plant has been built in Fieri. Natural bitumen is mined in Selenica near Vlora. Albania is first in foreign
|Table 3. Output of industrial products|
|Electric power (billion kW-hr) .................||0.02||0.2||0.34||0.4||0.6|
|Lignites (tons) ..............................||40,900||291,000||331,0002||393.0002||408.0002|
|Petroleum, raw (tons) ........................||100,000||700,000||800,000||900,000||app. 1,000,000|
|Chromites (tons) ............................||52,000||289,000||311,000||302,000||328,000|
|Iron-nickel ores, by content of nickel (tons)......||—||2,500||3,700||3,900||4,000|
|Refined copper (tons)........................||900||900||2,2001||—||—|
|Cotton fabrics (million tons) ..................||1||25||281||—||—|
|Sugar (tons) ................................||600||13,200||15,000||14,000||18,000|
Europe (outside the USSR) in its supply and mining of chromites (in the Bulqiza, Martaneshi, and Kukësi regions). Iron-nickel ores are mined (since 1958) to the west of Lake Ohrid. The copper ores mined in the basins of the Mati and Drini rivers have provided the basis for the development of the copper-smelting industry (in Rubiku and Kükesi). The first ferrous metallurgical plant has been constructed in Elbasani. The chemical industry is being created anew; it includes production of phosphorous (Laçi) and nitrogen fertilizers (Fieri) and of soda (Vlora). A network of cement factories has been created (Vlora, Shkodra, Elbasani, and Fushë-Kruja). The woodworking industry has sprung up in the main logging regions in the north and center of the country; especially notable is the integrated plant in Elbasani, built with the aid of the USSR. Sawtimber, plywood, and paper are produced. Cotton textile production is most important in the textile industry; it was created with the aid of the USSR and China. There are integrated textile plants in Tirana and Berati and cotton-ginning plants in Fieri and Rrogozhina. The country has leather and shoe enterprises. The tobacco industry is well developed (Shkodra, Durrësi, and Gjirokastra), as are branches of the food industry: sugar (Maliqi and Korça), olive oil production (about 2,000 tons in 1965), fish and fruit canning, and wine production. See Table 3 for the output of industrial products.
Agriculture. Agriculture is an important branch of Albania’s national economy, accounting for approximately two-fifths of the national income and employing over half of the economically active population. The socialist sector—state farms (goskhozes) and production cooperatives—contains 98.5 percent of the cultivated land (1967), of which four-fifths is in cooperatives and one-fifth in state farms. Agriculture is generally extensive in character. In 1967 the cooperatives constituted 97.8 percent of all peasant farms. In 1967 there was an equivalent of 9,000 15–hp tractors and 683 grain harvester combines in use; on the average, 19,000 tons of chemical fertilizers were introduced into the soil annually from 1961 to 1966. The land is characterized (1967) by a high proportion of forested territory (43.2 percent) and pastures (23.5 percent) in comparison with the amount of cultivated land (about 19.7 percent, about 560,000 hectares). Over half of the tilled land is concentrated in the western plains and hilly zone and also the Korça hollow. A total of 227,200 hectares is irrigated. Over two-thirds of the gross agricultural output comes from farming. The structure of agricultural production is characterized by the increased importance of the plant industry in the gross agriculture product, which has risen from 56.8 percent in 1967 to 61 percent in 1970 (according to the plan) and the decreased share contributed by livestock raising, which has dropped from 29.5 percent to 26 percent. The sown area is being expanded by draining the marshy lands and especially by reclaiming previously forested lands and pastures. Crop patterns have undergone great changes in the postwar period: the share of grain production has decreased from 96.5 percent in 1938 to 68.6 percent in 1967, while the importance of industrial crops (about 14.1 percent as opposed to 1.3 percent in 1938), vegetables and potatoes (8 percent as opposed to 1.7 percent), and fodder (9.3 percent as opposed to 0.5 percent) has increased, and the area of orchards (oranges, figs, quinces, almonds, peaches, plums, pears, and apples) and vineyards has grown. Table 4 gives information on the yield of agricultural crops.
|Table 4. Yield of certain agricultural crops (tons)|
|Grains (including legumes) . . .||250,000||230,000||330,000|
In livestock raising, sheep farming (1.7 million head) and goat raising (1.2 million) are important; there are less than 500,000 head of cattle.
Inforestry, 11.2 million cum of wood were cut from 1961 to 1967, of which 7.9 million cu m went for fuel. The industrial consumption of wood including that by local woodworking enterprises, is steadily increasing.
Transportation. The main form of transport is by motor vehicle. The first railroad was built in 1947, joining the seaport of Durrësi with Tirana and Elbasani. The length of rail lines is 218 km (1968). The main seaports are Durrësi and Vlora.
External economic relations. The foreign trade turnover of Albania increased by a factor of 5 from 1950 to 1960. Mining products, including chromites and iron-nickel ores, crude copper, petroleum, and natural bitumen, are the most important export items; next in importance are agricultural raw goods and semifinished products (tobacco, leather, and wool), fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, and timber industry products (saw timber and plywood). Machines and equipment, rolled metal, means of transport, medicines, chemicals, and goods for mass consumption are imported.
Until 1960 the Soviet Union accounted for more than half of Albania’s foreign trade turnover. After 1961, when Albania’s trade with European socialist countries declined sharply (up to 35 percent), its trade with China expanded; the People’s Republic of China accounts for the largest share of Albania’s foreign trade. The volume of goods traded with capitalist countries—Italy, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, and others—has increased.
The monetary unit is the lek.
REFERENCESValev, E. B. Albaniia. Moscow, 1960.
Valev, E. B., P. I. Glushakov, and I. M. Maergoiz. Ekonomicheskaia geografiia sotsialisticheskikh stran zarubezhnoi Evropy, issue 2. Moscow, 1964.
Ekonomika stran sotsializma, 1967. Moscow, 1968.
Vjetari statistikor. Tirana, 1967–68.
E. B. VALEV
The armed forces were formed during World War II (1939–45) out of separate units fighting for Albania’s liberation from fascist Italian and German aggressors. After World War II and until 1961, Albania’s armed forces were built on the basis of military cooperation with the USSR and other countries of the Warsaw Pact. Subsequently, Albanian leaders terminated military cooperation with the European socialist countries.
The armed forces of Albania consist of land troops, an air force, and a navy. They include paramilitary organizations and troops for internal security.
Medicine and public health. In 1967 the birthrate per 1,000 population was 35.3, the death rate 8.4, and infant mortality 86.8 per 1,000 live births (1965). The average life-span is 64.9 years for men, 67 years for women (1965–66). Infectious pathology predominates in Albania; before the victory of the People’s Democratic Revolution, malaria, tuberculosis, and intestinal diseases were widespread. Since 1958 a program has been under way to eliminate malaria, and there have been campaigns against poliomyelitis, diphtheria (which have achieved important successes), and typhoid, paratyphoid, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.
In the coastal areas of Albania there are seats of human dermal leishmaniasis (in the south), ancylostomiasis, typhus (in the region of Shkodra), Q fever, and spotted fever; photo-dermatitis is common. In the inland regions of Albania, goiter is endemic (the regions of Pogradeci and other areas), and there are seats of acarid-bite encephalitis and neurotropic viruses (of the Western Nile equine encephalomyelitis type). Skin diseases appear everywhere: pyoderma, furunculosis, and extreme mycoses among children and different forms of eczema, skin tuberculosis, and parasitic sycosis of the beard among adults. Cases of extreme blastomycosis are encountered.
Public health is supervised by the Ministry of Public Health; medical aid for factory and office workers, invalids, and their families is free. It is financed out of the state budget; in 1968 it amounted to 5.3 percent of the budget. In 1968, Albania had 196 hospital institutions with 11,900 beds (5.8 beds per 1,000 population); in 1967 there were 1,041 dispensaries and polyclinics, 106 dental clinics, and 133 children’s day nurseries with 9,900 places. There are 1,255 doctors (1 doctorper 1,607 residents), 154 dentists, and over 500 medical assistants. Doctors are trained at the medical faculty of the University of Tirana (about 100 graduates a year), while secondary medical personnel are trained in medical schools and technicums. In Tirana the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Roentgenology Center were founded in 1968 and the Oncology Institute in 1969.
The long warm and dry periods, the sandy beaches of the Adriatic coast, the scenic mountain areas located near the sea, and curative mineral springs favor the development of health resorts and international tourism. The country has health resorts on the Albanian Riviera and in Durrësi, Ujet-e-Ftohta, Pogradeci, and Lixha.
A. IU. MYCHKO-MEGRIN and IA. D. POGORELOV
Veterinary services. The pathology of agricultural livestock is dominated by infectious and invasionary diseases, although under the people’s regime significant successes have been achieved in the campaigns against woolsorter’s disease, brucellosis, and certain parasitic blood diseases. In 1966 among the cattle of the low-lying coastal areas, there were 29 outbreaks of tuberculosis and Q fever was prevalent, while Newcastle disease appeared among domestic fowl (66 outbreaks). The interior of the country—the main sheep- and goat-raising region—has endemic contagious agalactia of sheep and goats (86 outbreaks), which causes serious economic harm. In this region cases of brucellosis (53 outbreaks), blackleg (129 outbreaks), and woolsorter’s disease (137 outbreaks) continue to be recorded. In the high mountainous pastures of the interior, sheep farming is seriously harmed by frequent outbursts of braxy-type diseases. Helminthiasis of agricultural animals appears everywhere in Albania—echinococcosis, fascioliasis, dicroceliasis, and nematodiasis.
There are 250 veterinarians in Albania (1966). They are trained in the veterinary departments of the Albanian Institute of Agriculture. Veterinary service in the country is supervised by the veterinary division of the Ministry of Agriculture. Scientific research work is conducted mainly in the Veterinary Scientific Research Institute. The main efforts of veterinary service are directed toward the struggle against infectious disease of cattle and small livestock.
I. A. BAKULOV
REFERENCESVjetari statisticor i Republikes Popullore të Shqipërisë, 1965. Tirana, 1965.
“Ochrona zdrowia w europejskich krajach socjalistycznych w swietle danych statystycznych.” Zdrowie publiczne. 1967, no. 10.
Before the establishment of the people’s democratic structure, 85 to 90 percent of the population was illiterate. After the country’s liberation from the fascist invaders (1944), a campaign to eliminate illiteracy was successfully carried out. In 1946 a law laying the basis for a unified school system was issued. The implementation of school reform began with the 1963–64 academic year. Compulsory eight-year education has been introduced. The public education system (in 1969) includes kindergartens, eight-year incomplete secondary schools (including four-year elementary schools), and twelve-year secondary schools. There are still four-year primary schools in rural areas. In 1967 there were over 26,000 pupils in preschool institutions. In the 1967–68 academic year, there were 268,500 pupils in primary schools, 177,100 in eight-year schools, and 19,900 in twelve-year secondary schools. There are plans for a new reorganization of public education between 1970 and 1976.
Vocational education is provided by lower vocational schools (one to two years), operating on the basis of elementary schools and secondary (three- to four-year) vocational schools, and technicums on the basis of the incomplete secondary schools. During the 1967–68 academic year, there were 25,900 students in vocational schools and technicums. Teachers for primary schools and kindergartens are trained in three-or four-year pedogogical colleges, which accept students who have graduated from incomplete secondary schools; teachers for secondary schools are trained in two-year teachers’ colleges and the State University of Tirana (founded 1957; seven departments). The university supervises the Scientific Research Institute of History and Philology and the Institute of Folklore, Music, and Choral Singing. In addition, there are two teachers’ colleges, agricultural institutes, zootechnic institutes, and an art college. During the 1967–68 academic year, there were 12,400 students in institutions of higher learning.
The largest libraries are the National Library (founded 1922) with 450,000 volumes and the University Library with about 300,000, both in Tirana.
The main museums are the Archaeological Museum (founded 1948), the Ethnologic Museum (1948), and the Museum of the Struggle for National Liberation (1949), all in Tirana.
Before World War II (1939–45) there were no scientific institutions or institutions of higher learning in Albania. After the people’s democratic structure was established, the first scientific institution was opened—the Institute of Sciences (1947), with its three divisions: language and literature; history, sociology, and economics; and natural sciences. Work has been conducted in the compilation of Albanian-Russian and Russian-Albanian dictionaries; expeditions to gather folklore material; a census of the most valuable archaeological and ethnologic objects and cultural monuments; the classification of species and study of zonal distribution of flora; the discovery and practical application of medicinal plants; the study of varieties of commercial fish; the study of mineral deposits; and the compilation of weather forecasts. Albania has been greatly aided in establishing scientific institutions and developing research, particularly in geology, by the USSR and other socialist countries. In 1952 the Commission to Coordinate Plans of Scientific Research With the Needs of the National Economy was established in the Institute of Sciences. In 1955 it was given supervisory power over the Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture and the Scientific Research Livestock Institute, which had recently been organized in Lushnja and Shkodra.
In 1957 the State University—a unified academic and scientific center—was established in Tirana as a result of the merger of the pedagogical, polytechnical, economic, medical, and juridical institutes and the Institute of Sciences. Branch scientific research institutes and establishments were transferred to the control of the appropriate ministries. Scientific work in chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, geology, and medicine is concentrated in the corresponding departments of the university. Original research on Albanian materials is conducted in biology, agricultural biology, and geology. In 1965 a mathematical society was organized at the university. In the social sciences, a number of works on history, literature, and language have been produced.
The following scientific journals are published in Albania: Buletini i Universitet Shtetëror i Tiranës: Shkencat natyres (since 1957), Studime historike (since 1964), Studime filologjike (since 1964), Studia Albanica (since 1964), and Etnografija Shqiptare (since 1962).
The periodical press developed in Albania during the second half of the 19th century. As a result of the persecution of the Albanian national liberation movement by the Turkish authorities, the first Albanian newspapers and periodicals were published by Albanian patriotic organizations abroad. A periodical press began to appear inside the country in 1912 after Albania’s independence was proclaimed and developed particularly strongly after the people’s democratic revolution. In 1967, more than 50 central newspapers, periodicals, and other printed matter with more than 300,000 printings per issue were published in Albania.
The most important newspapers are Zëri i popullit (since 1942)—the organ of the Central Committee of the Albanian Workers’ Party; Bashkimi (since 1943)—the organ of the Democratic Front of Albania; Laiko vima (since 1945)—the organ for the Greek national minority; Puna (since 1945)—the organ of the Central Council of Albanian trade unions; Züri i rinisë (since 1942)—the organ of the Union of Working Youth of Albania; and Drita —a weekly literary newspaper. Periodicals include Rruga e partisë (since 1954)—the organ of the Central Committee of the Albanian Workers’ Party; Shqiptarja e re (since 1943)—the organ of the Union of Albanian Women; Hosteni (since 1945)—the organ of the Union of Journalists of Albania; and Nendori (from 1954)—the weekly organ of the Union of Writers and Art Workers of Albania devoted to literature, the arts, and social and political themes. The Albanian Telegraph Agency (AgjensiaTelegrafike Shqiptar, ATSh) was founded in 1944.
Radiodifuzioni dhe Televizioni Shqiptar is a state radio and television organization. In 1949 the central radio station at
Tirana was built. There are also some radio stations in district centers (Korça, Shkodra, and others). Broadcasting is in Albanian and foreign languages. There has been television since 1960.
Albania has a rich folklore—epic poems about great heroes and historical songs. The earliest surviving monument in the Albanian written language is the Formula of Baptism (1462) of Bishop Pal Engeli. In 1555 the first book in the Albanian language appeared—the Meshari of Gjon Buzuku. The humanists P. Budi, F. Bardhë, P. Bogdani, and M. Barleti (History of the Life and Exploits of Skanderbeg, 1508–10) wrote during the 16th and 17th centuries. Didactic religious literature in Greek (T. Kavaljotti, D. Todhri) developed in the cities of Voskopoja, Elbasani, and Berati in the 18th century. The verses and poems of the bejtexhinj poets of the 18th and 19th centuries (written in the Albanian language with the Arabic alphabet) N. Frakulla, H. Zyko Kamberi, and M. Cami, played an important role in the struggle against assimilation by the Turks. The so-called Arbëresh literature of Albanian émigrés in southern Italy began to develop in the 16th century.
The literature of the era of national renaissance developed under the banner of romanticism. The struggle of the Albanian people against the Turkish yoke increased the interest in folk creative work. Notable Albanian writers of the 19th century include I. De Rada, author of the narrative poems Songs of Milosao (1836), Songs of Serafina Topisa (1839–43), and Unfortunate Skanderbeg (1886); G. Dara Junior, author of the narrative poem The Last Song of Bales (1887); Z. Serembe; A. Santori; and V. Stratico. Other prominent writers of this era include the prose writer and translator K. Kristoforidhi, the folklorists T. Mitko and S. Dine, the publicist S. Frashëri, and the poet V. Shkodrani (P. Vasa).
One of the founders of modern Albanian literature was N. Frashëri, author of the narrative poem The Herd and the Field (1886), the collection of poems Summer Flowers (1890), and the narrative poem The Story of Skanderbeg (1898).
The outstanding realist poets of the early 20th century included A. Çajupi, who advocated the unification of Albanians and opposed religious conflicts, calling for a struggle for national freedom—the collection Dad Tomorri (1902), the pamphlet Salonican Club (1908), and the comedy Fourteen-Year-Old Fiancé (1902)—and N. Mjedja—the poem “The Weeping of the Nightingale” (1887) and the collection Juvenilia (1917). Prominent Albanian poets included Asdreni (A. S. Drenova)—the collections Rays of the Sun (1904), Dreams and Tears (1912), and Psalms of an Exile (1930)—F. Shiroka, L. Gurakuqi, R. Siliqi; M. Grameno among other prose writers stands out. The work of the poet G. Fishta is characterized by chauvinist tendencies. F. Noli, author of The Story of Skanderbeg (1921) and of lyric and political verses, was a representative of progressive literature. The prose writers F. Postoli and H. Stermili and the poet and realist prose writer Migjeni (M. G. Nikolla, 1911–38; the collection Free Verses, 1936) made their appearance in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Social motifs became established in the literature of the 1930’s.
During World War II (1939–45), national liberation partisan poetry developed in Albania: the narrative poem of Sh. Musaraj The Epic of Balli Kombétar (1944) is well known. After Albania’s liberation from the occupation, the theme of people’s war against the Italian and German fascists continued to develop—the poem of F. Gjata, “Song of the Partisan Benko” (1950), the novel of D. Shuteriqi The Liberators (1952–55), and P. Marko’s Last City (1960). At the same time, the theme of the social transformation of life appeared: I. Kadare’s anthology of poems My Lifetime (1961); S. Spasse’s novel They Were Not Alone (1952) and Aphrodite Again in the Countryside (1955); and F. Gjata’s Swamp (1959) and On the Lake Shore (1961). During the late 1950’s and the 1960’s, autobiographical novellas and novels and books dealing with different events of Albania’s history appeared: D. Shuteriqi’s story “Gurnecka” (1957) and the novels On the Waves of Life (1961) by V. Kokony and Dead River (1965) by I. Xoxa.
REFERENCESHistoria e letërisë shqipe, vols. 1–2. Tirana, 1959.
Serkova, T. F. Poeziia ital’ianskikh arbereshei i problemy albanskogo romantizma. Moscow, 1966. A report to the first congress of Balkan researchers.
T. F. SERKOVA
The most ancient artistic monuments on the territory of present-day Albania date from the first millennium B.C.: for example, Illyrian fortifications made of large, crude stone blocks; cast bronze ornamentation found in burial grounds. Remains from antiquity (from the seventh century B.C.) in the form of defensive structures, public and residential buildings, architectural details, mosaics, and ceramics have survived on the sites of Greek colonies (Illyria, Apollonia, Butrint, Durrësi, and others) and Roman fortified cities (Elbasani and others). In the Middle Ages, the church architecture of central and southern Albania was dominated by Byzantine-type structures—churches in the villages of Lavdari (the locality of Opari) and Mborja (both of the 13th—14th centuries), in the city of Voskopoja (17th—18th centuries). In the northern regions, where the influence of Catholicism was strong, the Roman type dominated (the cathedral in the village of Shasi and the churches in the villages of Vau-i-Dejes and Oboti—all from the 13th century). With the spread of Islam (from the 15th century, but mainly from the 17th century) nobles’ courts (sarai), closed markets (bezisteni), and mosques (in Elbasani, Shkodra, Tirana, and other cities) began to appear in the cities of Albania. Until the mid-20th century, two-story stone residential buildings with tiled roofs or stone lower floors and wooden or trellised upper floors predominated in most cities of Albania. In wooded regions houses were made of boards; in coastal regions they were of clay, adobe, or reed with a coating of clay. To prevent earthquake damage, wooden beams were put into the masonry of urban and rural houses. In mountainous regions until the start of the 20th century, kullas —tower-like three-story buildings with overhanging loopholes—were erected along with one- and two-story stone houses.
The painting of medieval Albania developed under strong Byzantine influence. Early monuments of frescoes date from the 12th–14th centuries: the paintings of the Trinity Church in Lavdari, the churches in the monasteries near the villages of Rubiku, Pojani, and others. Beginning in the 16th century, Byzantine traditions weakened, and echoes of the Italian Renaissance penetrated Albania. Monument artists (the masters Onouphrios of Neokastron, his son Nicholas and others) worked in a more realistic genre, modifying traditional composition. Realistic tendencies increase in the work of the painter David of Selenica (the paintings in the Nicholas Church in Yoskopoja, 18th century). Monumental painting experienced a decline from the mid-18th century. Icon painting became most important, and it remained the main form of Albanian art until the early 20th century, maintaining Byzantine traditions. In the period of the so-called national renaissance (second half of the 19th century), as a result of the weakening of the influence of Islam, which had prevented the depiction of living things, the first easel painting began to appear (portraits and landscapes); sculpture appeared in the 1920’s. At that time, a number of artists with professional training came to the fore—S. Xega, S. Rota, and others.
In modern Albanian cities, sections that have retained a medieval appearance exist side by side with regularly planned and well-built sections that arose in the first decades of the 20th century and modern buildings—three- to five-story brick houses with balconies and loggias. Villages and workers’ settlements have low-rise mass-planned houses.
During the second half of the 1940’sandthe 1950’s, realistic tendencies grew stronger in Albanian art. Different genres developed in painting: historical paintings, paintings of everyday life, portraits, and landscapes—S. Rota, V. Mio, M. Zajmi, S. Kaceli, and others. The first graphic works appeared in the 1940’s; caricatures, book illustrations, and posters. The sculptors O. Paskali, I. Paço, K. Hoshi, A. Mano, and others produced portraits, genre compositions, and monumental sculpture.
Folk decorative and applied art includes traditional filigreed silver ornamentation for clothing, woolen rugs (primarily without nap), and wooden domestic items covered with small polychromic patterns. Carved-out and high-relief woodcutting in the interiors of religious and residential buildings was replaced in the 19th century by plaster modeling and decorative wall painting.
REFERENCESProkofeva, M. “Khudozhniki Albanii.” Iskusstvo, 1959, no. 4, pp. 27–33.
Puzanova, V., and D. Damo. “Nekotorye pamiatniki monumental’-noi zhivopisi 13–14 vv. v Albanii.” Studia albanica, 1965, no. 2.
Puzanova, V., and D. Damo. “O tverchestve albanskogo srednevekovogo khudozhnika Onufriia.” Ibid., 1966, no. 1.
Adhami, S. Monument të kulturës në Shqipëri. Tirana, 1958.
IU. V. IVANOVA
The folk music of Albania is marked by stylistic diversity, characteristic of the various regions of the country. Along with even-measured melodies in the diatonic scale there are songs with steps of augmented seconds and complex metric formations of the most diverse phrasing, characteristic of Eastern music. Pentatonic melodies are frequently encountered. Songs are often performed by three voices with the accompaniment of instruments—the qiftel and lahuta (stringed), the gajda (a kind of bagpipe), the zumare and fyell (wind instruments), and the violin, clarinet, and tambourine. Professional music developed in Albania after the establishment of the people’s democratic structure. In 1947 the J. Misja Arts Lycée with a musical division opened in Tirana. A philharmonic orchestra (1950), the State Opera and Ballet Theater with an affiliated ballet school (1956), and the Chorus of the People’s Army (1944) are located in Tirana. The first works of Albanian professional music include the operetta Dawn by K. Kono, his vocal and symphonic poem Heroes of Borova, D. Leki’s overture on Albanian folk themes, K. Trako’s oratorio, and Q. Zadei’s First Symphony.
In 1954 the first Albanian opera, Mrika by P. Jkovia, was staged; in 1960, T. Daji’s opera Spring was performed. The first national ballet, Daii’s Halil and Hajria had its premiere; it was followed by Zadei’s Delina and K. Lari’s The Partisan. In 1968, P. Jakova’s opera Skanderbeg was performed in Tirana.
REFERENCESKono, K. “Muzykal’naia zhizn’ narodnoi Albanii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1952, no. 5.
Leka, D. “Mir—eto tvorchestvo.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1952, no. 5.
V. KONOPATSKAIA and R. KOCHI
The first theatrical presentations in Albania were performed by a theater group in the village of Testorati in 1874. The progressive writers and figures of the so-called national renaissance (second half of 19th century)—S. Frashëri, M. Grameno, F. Noli, A. Çajupi, and others—played a large role in the creation of a national drama; their plays have been kept in the repertory of the modern Albanian theater.
The amateur theater movement spread after the proclamation of Albania’s national independence (1912). During the occupation of the country by Italian and German forces (1939–44) partisan theaters were organized. In 1944 they formed the base of the first professional theater of Albania, the People’s Theater in Tirana. In this theater historical plays by Albanian authors and Russian and Soviet playwrights were performed. The establishment of the people’s regime promoted the appearance in the repertory of historical plays about the national liberation struggle of the Albanian people against Italian and German invaders and plays about the new life of the Albanian countryside; the playwrights included S. Pitarka, B. Levonja, F. Paçrami, and I. Urugi. The theater performed classical drama as well—for instance, the works of Shakespeare, Schiller, Moliere. In the 1960’s the theater’s repertory included Albanian nationalist and Chinese plays.
Professional theaters have been established in the cities of Shkodra (1949), Korça (1950), and Durrési (1953). Directors include Honored Artists of the People’s Republic of Albania P. Stilu, A. Pano, and others. Among actors, such People’s Artists of the People’s Republic of Albania as L. Kovaçi (died 1963), M. Poni, and N. Frashéri are notable. Honored Artists include M. Logoreci, B. Levonia (died 1968), B. Imami, M. Stefag, L. Filipi, K. Roshi, and T. Kurti. Many Albanian actors and directors studied in the Soviet Union. In 1959 the A. Moissi Higher School for actors was established in Tirana. The periodical Nëndori, which deals with questions of the theater, has been published since 1953.
Cinematography developed in Albania after the proclamation of the people’s republic. Newsreels and, beginning in the 1950’s, documentary films have been released. In 1952 the film studio New Albania was built in Tirana. Albanian and Soviet cinematographers worked together on the film The Great Warrior of Albania Skanderbeg (1954, directed by S. I. Iutkevich)—the first experiment in creative cinematography. Full-length feature films have been released since 1958— Tana, Land in Flames, and others. Popular scientific films are also produced.
REFERENCEIutkevich, S. I. Iskusstvo narodnoi Albanii. Moscow, 1958.
Official name: Republic of Albania
Capital city: Tirana
Internet country code: .al
Flag description: Red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
National anthem: Himni Flamurit (“ The Flag Hymn”; first line in English translation: “United all around the flag”) Geographical description: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Serbia to the north
Total area: 11,099 sq. mi. (28,748 sq. km.)
Climate: Mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Nationality: noun: Albanian(s); adjective: Albanian
Population: 3,600,523 (July 2007 CIA est.)
Ethnic groups: Albanian 98.6%, Greeks 1.17%, others (Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians,
Balkan Egyptians, and Bulgarians) 0.23%
Languages spoken: Albanian (official), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Religions: Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
|Catholic Easter||Apr 24, 2011; Apr 8, 2012; Mar 31, 2013; Apr 20, 2014; Apr 5, 2015; Mar 27, 2016; Apr 16, 2017; Apr 1, 2018; Apr 21, 2019; Apr 12, 2020; Apr 4, 2021; Apr 17, 2022; Apr 9, 2023|
|Independence Day||Nov 28|
|May Day||May 1|
|Mother Teresa Day||Oct 19|
|National Liberation Day||Nov 29|
|New Year's Day||Jan 1|
|New Year's Holiday||Jan 2|
|Orthodox Easter||Apr 24, 2011; Apr 15, 2012; May 5, 2013; Apr 20, 2014; Apr 12, 2015; May 1, 2016; Apr 16, 2017; Apr 8, 2018; Apr 28, 2019; Apr 19, 2020; May 2, 2021; Apr 24, 2022; Apr 16, 2023|