|Albania Table of Contents
ca. 1000 B.C.
Illyrians, descendants of ancient Indo-European peoples,
settled in western part of the Balkan Peninsula.
Illyrians defeated by Philip II of Macedonia.
King Glaucius of Illyria expels Greeks from Durrės.
229 B.C. and 219 B.C.
Roman soldiers overrun Illyrian settlements in Neretva River
Roman forces capture Illyria's King Gentius at Shkodėr.
FIRST CENTURY A.D.
Christianity comes to Illyrian populated areas.
Romans, under Emperor Tiberius, subjugate Illyrians and
divide present-day Albania between Dalmatia, Epirus, and
Roman Empire's division into eastern and western parts
leaves the lands that now comprise Albania administratively
under the Eastern Empire but ecclesiastically under Rome.
FOURTH CENTURY-SEVENTH CENTURY
Goths, Huns, Avars, Serbs, Croats, and Bulgars successively
invade Illyrian lands in present-day Albania.
Illyrian people subordinated to the patriarchate of
Constantinople by the Byzantine emperor, Leo the Isaurian.
Christianity divides into Catholic and Orthodox churches,
leaving Christians in southern Albania under ecumenical
patriarch of Constantinople and those in northern Albania
under pope in Rome.
Albania and Albanians mentioned, for the first time in a
historical record, by Byzantine emperor.
Serbs occupy parts of northern and eastern Albania.
Venice wins control over most of Albania, but Byzantines
regain control of southern portion and establish Despotate
Forces of the King of Naples occupy Durrės and establish an
Albanian ruler of Durrės invites Ottoman forces to intervene
against a rival; subsequently, Albanian clans pay tribute
and swear fealty to Ottomans.
At Kosovo Polje, Albanians join Serbian-led Balkan army that
is crushed by Ottoman forces; coordinated resistance to
Ottoman westward progress evaporates.
Gjergj Kastrioti born, later becomes Albanian national hero
known as Skanderbeg.
After losing a battle near Nis, Skanderbeg defects from
Ottoman Empire, reembraces Roman Catholicism, and begins
holy war against the Ottomans.
Skanderbeg proclaimed chief of Albanian resistance.
Albanians, under Skanderbeg, rout Ottoman forces under
Sultan Murad II.
Krujė falls to Ottoman Turks; Shkodėr falls a year later.
Subsequently, many Albanians flee to southern Italy, Greece,
Egypt, and elsewhere; many remaining are forced to convert
EARLY SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Some Albanians who convert to Islam find careers in Ottoman
Empire's government and military service.
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY-EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
About two-thirds of Albanians convert to Islam.
Kara Mahmud Bushati, chief of Albanian tribe based in
Shkodėr, attacks Montenegrin territory; subsequently named
governor of Shkodėr by Ottoman authorities.
NINETEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES
Albanian leader Ali Pasha of Tepelenė assassinated by
Ottoman agents for promoting an autonomous state.
1000 Albanian leaders invited to meet with Ottoman general
who kills about half of them.
Ottoman Sublime Porte divides Albanian-populated lands into
vilayets of Janina and Rumelia with Ottoman
First school known to use Albanian language in modern times
opens in Shkodėr.
Russia's defeat of Ottoman Empire seriously weakens Ottoman
power over Albanian-populated areas.
Treaty of San Stefano, signed after the Russo-Turkish War,
assigned Albanian-populated lands to Bulgaria, Montenegro,
and Serbia; but Austria-Hungary and Britain block the
treaty's implementation. Albanian leaders meet in Prizren,
Kosovo, to form the Prizren League, initially advocating a
unified Albania under Ottoman suzerainty. During the
Congress of Berlin, the Great Powers overturn the Treaty of
San Stefano and divide Albanian lands among several states.
The Prizren League begins to organize resistance to the
Treaty of Berlin's provisions that affect Albanians.
Society for Printing of Albanian Writings, composed of Roman
Catholic, Muslim, and Orthodox Albanians, founded in
Ottoman forces crush Albanian resistance fighters at
Prizren. Prizren League's leaders and families arrested and
Ottoman authorities disband a reactivated Prizren League,
execute its leader later, then ban Albanian language books.
Albanians begin joining the Committee of Union and Progress
(Young Turks), which formed in Constantinople, hoping to
gain autonomy for their nation within the Ottoman Empire.
Albanian intellectuals meet in Bitola and choose the Latin
alphabet as standard script rather than Arabic or Cyrillic.
Albanians rise against the Ottoman authorities and seize
First Balkan War begins, and Albanian leaders affirm Albania
as an independent state.
Muslim and Christian delegates at Vlorė declare Albania
independent and establish a provisional government.
Ambassadorial conference opens in London and discusses
Treaty of London ends First Balkan War. Second Balkan War
Treaty of Bucharest ends Second Balkan War. Great Powers
recognize an independent Albanian state ruled by a
Prince Wilhelm, German army captain, installed as head of
the new Albanian state by the International Control
Commission, arrives in Albania.
New Albanian state collapses following outbreak of World War
I; Prince Wilhelm is stripped of authority and departs from
World War I ends, with Italian army occupying most of
Albania and Serbian, Greek and French force occupying
remainder. Italian and Yugoslav powers begin struggle for
dominance over Albanians.
Albanian leaders meet at Durrės to discuss presentation of
Albania's interests at the Paris Peace Conference.
Serbs attack Albania's inhabited cities. Albanians adopt
Albania denied official representation at the Paris Peace
Conference; British, French, and Greek negotiators later
decide to divide Albania among Greece, Italy, and
Albanian leaders meeting at Lushnjė reject the partitioning
of Albania by the Treaty of Paris, warn that Albanians will
take up arms in defense of their territory, and create a
Albanian government moves to Tiranė, which becomes the
Albania forces Italy to withdraw its troops and abandon
territorial claims to almost all Albanian territory.
Albania admitted to League of Nations as sovereign and
Yugoslav troops invade Albanian territories they had not
previously occupied; League of Nations commission forces
Yugoslav withdrawal and reaffirms Albania's 1913 borders.
Popular Party, headed by Xhafer Ypi, forms government with
Ahmed Zogu, the future King Zog, as internal affairs
Ecumenical patriarch in Constantinople recognizes the
Autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church.
Zogu assumes position of prime minister of government;
opposition to him becomes formidable.
Albania's Sunni Muslims break last ties with Constantinople
and pledge primary allegiance to native country.
Zogu's party wins elections for National Assembly, but Zogu
steps down after financial scandal and an assassination
A peasant-backed insurgency wins control of Tiranė; Fan S.
Noli becomes prime minister; Zogu flees to Yugoslavia.
Zogu, backed by Yugoslav army, returns to power and begins
to smother parliamentary democracy; Noli flees to Italy.
Italy, under Mussolini, begins penetration of Albanian
public and economic life.
Italy and Albania sign First Treaty of Tiranė, which
guarantees Zogu's political position and Albania's
Zogu pressures the parliament to dissolve itself; a new
constituent assembly declares Albania a kingdom and Zogu
becomes Zog I, "King of the Albanians."
Zog, standing up to Italians, refuses to renew the First
Treaty of Tiranė; Italians continue political and economic
After Albania signs trade agreements with Greece and
Yugoslavia, Italy suspends economic support, then attempts
to threaten Albania.
Mussolini presents a gift of 3,000,000 gold francs to
Albania; other economic aid follows.
Mussolini delivers ultimatum to Albania.
Mussolini's troops invade and occupy Albania; Albanian
parliament votes to unite country with Italy; Zog flees to
Greece; Italy's King Victor Emmanual III assumes Albanian
Italian army attacks Greece through Albania.
Germany, with support of Italy and other allies defeat
Greece and Yugoslavia.
Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav communist leader, directs
organizing of Albanian communists.
Albanian Communist Party founded; Enver Hoxha becomes first
Communist party organizes the National Liberation Movement,
a popular front resistance organization.
Noncommunist nationalist groups form to resist the Italian
Italy's surrender to Allied forces weakens Italian hold on
Albania; Albanian resistance fighters overwhelm five Italian
German forces invade and occupy Albania.
Communist partisans, supplied with British weapons, gain
control of southern Albania.
Communists meet to organize an Albanian government; Hoxha
becomes chairman of executive committee and supreme
commander of the Army of National Liberation.
Communist forces enter central and northern Albania.
Communists establish provisional government with Hoxha as
Germans withdraw from Tiranė, communists move into the
Communist provisional government adopts laws allowing state
regulation of commercial enterprises, foreign and domestic
Communist provisional government agrees to restore Kosovo to
Yugoslavia as an autonomous region; tribunals begin to
condemn thousands of "war criminals" and "enemies of the
people" to death or to prison. Communist regime begins to
nationalize industry, transportation, forests, pastures.
Yugoslavia recognizes communist government in Albania.
Sweeping agricultural reforms begin; about half of arable
land eventually redistributed to peasants from large
landowners; most church properties nationalized. United
Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration begins
sending supplies to Albania.
Soviet Union recognizes provisional government; Britain and
United States make full diplomatic recognition conditional.
In elections for the People's Assembly only candidates from
the Democratic Front are on ballot.
People's Assembly proclaims Albania a "people's republic";
purges of noncommunists from positions of power in
People's Assembly adopts new constitution, Hoxha becomes
prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister, and
commander-in-chief; Soviet-style central planning begins.
Treaty of friendship and cooperation signed with Yugoslavia;
Yugoslav advisers and grain begin pouring into Albania.
British destroyers hit mines off Albania's coast; United
Nations (UN) and the International Court of Justice
subsequently condemn Albania.
Albania breaks diplomatic relations with the United States
after latter withdraws its informal mission.
Economic Planning Commission draws up first economic plan
that established production targets for mining,
manufacturing and agricultural enterprises.
UN commission concludes that Albania, together with Bulgaria
and Yugoslavia, supports communist guerrillas in Greece;
Yugoslav leaders launch verbal offensive against anti-
Yugoslav Albanian communists, including Hoxha; pro-Yugoslav
faction begins to wield power.
Albania refuses participation in the Marshall Plan of the
Albanian Communist Party leaders vote to merge Albanian and
Yugoslav economies and militaries.
Cominform expels Yugoslavia; Albanian leaders launch anti-
Yugoslav propaganda campaign, cut economic ties, and force
Yugoslav advisers to leave; Stalin becomes national hero in
Hoxha begins purging high-ranking party members accused of
"Titoism"; treaty of friendship with Yugoslavia abrogated by
Albania; Soviet Union begins giving economic aid to Albania
and Soviet advisers replace ousted Yugoslavs.
First Party Congress changes name of Albanian Communist
Party to Albanian Party of Labor.
Regime issues Decree on Religious Communities.
Albania joins Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(Comecon); all foreign trade conducted with member
Pro-Tito Albanian communists purged.
Britain and United States begin inserting anticommunist
Albanian guerrilla units into Albania; all are unsuccessful.
A new constitution is approved by People's Assembly. Hoxha
becomes minister of defense and foreign minister.
Albania and Soviet Union sign agreement on mutual economic
Hoxha relinquishes post of prime minister to Mehmet Shehu
but retains primary power as party leader.
Albania becomes a founding member of the Warsaw Pact.
After Nikita Khrushchev's "secret speech" exposes Stalin's
crimes, Hoxha defends Stalin; close relations with Soviet
Union become strained.
Large amounts of economic aid from Soviet Union, East
European countries, and China begin pouring into Albania.
Khrushchev visits Albania.
Albania sides with China in Sino-Soviet ideological dispute;
consequently Soviet economic support to Albania is curtailed
and Chinese aid is increased.
Hoxha rails against Khrushchev and supports China during an
international communist conference in Moscow.
Hoxha harangues against the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia at
Albania's Fourth Party Congress.
Soviet Union breaks diplomatic relations; other East
European countries severely reduce contacts but do not break
relations; Albania looks toward China for support.
Albanian regime introduces austerity program in attempt to
compensate for withdrawal of Soviet economic support; China
incapable of delivering sufficient aid; Albania becomes
China's spokesman at UN.
Hoxha hails Khrushchev's removal as leader of the Soviet
Union; diplomatic relations fail to improve.
Hoxha initiates Cultural and Ideological Revolution.
Albanian Party of Labor "open letter" to the people
establishes egalitarian wage and job structure for all
Hoxha regime conducts violent campaign to extinguish
religious life in Albania; by year's end over two thousand
religious buildings were closed or converted to other uses.
Albania condemns Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia,
subsequently Albania withdraws from Warsaw Pact.
Hoxha begins criticizing new Chinese regime after Mao's
A new constitution promulgated superceeding the 1950
version; Albania becomes a people's socialist republic.
Top military officials purged after "Chinese conspiracy" is
China terminates all economic and military aid to Albania.
Hoxha selects Ramiz Alia as the next party head, bypassing
Shehu, after rebuke by Politburo, dies, possibly murdered on
Alia becomes chairman of Presidium of the People's Assembly.
Hoxha begins semiretirement; Alia starts administering
Alia featured as party's and country's undisputed leader at
Ninth Party Congress.
Greece ends state of war that existed since World War II.
Albania and Greece sign a series of long-term agreements.
Alia, addressing the Eighth Plenum of the Central Committee,
signals that radical changes to the economic system are
Ninth Plenum of the Central Committee; demonstrations at
Shkodėr force authorities to declare state of emergency.
Alia declares willingness to establish diplomatic relations
with the Soviet Union and the United States.
The Secretary General of the UN visits Albania.
Regime announces desire to join the Conference on Security
and Cooperation in Europe. People's Assembly passes laws
liberalizing criminal code, reforming court system, lifting
some restrictions on freedom of worship, and guaranteeing
the right to travel abroad.
Unemployment throughout the economy increases as a result of
government's reform measures; drought reduces electric-
power production, forcing plant shutdowns.
Young people demonstrate against regime in Tiranė, and 5,000
citizens seek refuge in foreign embassies; Central Committee
plenum makes significant changes in leadership of party and
state. Soviet Union and Albania sign protocol normalizing
Government abandons its monopoly on foreign commerce and
begins to open Albania to foreign trade.
Alia addresses the UN General Assembly in New York.
Tiranė hosts the Balkan Foreign Ministers' Conference, the
first international political meeting in Albania since the
end of World War II. Ismail Kadare, Albania's most prominent
writer, defects to France.
University students demonstrate in streets and call for
dictatorship to end; Alia meets with students; Thirteenth
Plenum of the Central Committee of the APL authorizes a
multiparty system; Albanian Democratic Party, first
opposition party established; regime authorizes political
pluralism; draft constitution is published; by year's end,
5,000 Albanian refugees had crossed the mountains into
First opposition newspaper Rilindja Demokratike begins
publishing. Thousands of Albanians seek refuge in Greece.
Albania and the United States reestablish diplomatic
relations after a thirty-five year break. Thousands more
Albanians attempt to gain asylum in Italy.
First multiparty elections held since the 1920s; 98.9
percent of voters participated; Albanian Party of Labor wins
over 67 percent of vote for People's Assembly seats;
Albanian Democratic Party wins about 30 percent.
Communist-dominated People's Assembly reelects Alia to new
presidential term. Ministry of Internal Affairs replaced by
Ministry of Public Order; Frontier Guards and Directorate of
Prison Administration are placed under the Ministry of
Defense and the Ministry of Justice, respectively. People's
Assembly passes Law on Major Constitutional Provisions
providing for fundamental human rights and separation of
powers and invalidates 1976 constitution. People's Assembly
appoints commission to draft new constitution.
Prime Minister Nano and rest of cabinet resign after trade
unions call for general strike to protest worsening economic
conditions and killing of opposition demonstrators in
Shkodėr. Coalition government led by Prime Minister Ylli
Buti takes office; Tenth Party Congress of the Albanian
Party of Labor meets and renames party the Socialist Party
of Albania (SPA); Albania accepted as a full member of CSCE;
United States secretary of state, James A. Baker, visits
Sigurimi, notorious secret police, is abolished and replaced
by National Information Service.
Up to 18,000 Albanians cross the Adriatic Sea to seek asylum
in Italy; most are returned. People's Assembly passes law on
economic activity that authorizes private ownership of
property, privatizing of state property, investment by
foreigners, and private employment of workers.
United States Embassy opens in Tiranė. Albania joins
International Monetary Fund.
Coalition government dissolves when opposition parties
accuse communists of blocking reform and Albanian Democratic
Party withdraws its ministers from the cabinet. Prime
Minister Bufi resigns and Alia names Vilson Ahmeti as prime
minister. Alia sets March 1992 for new elections.
Albanian People's Assembly prevents OMONIA, the party
representing Greek Albanians, from fielding candidates in
the elections planned for March.
Albanian Democratic Party scores decisive election victory
over the Socialist Party of Albania in the midst of economic
freefall and social chaos.
Sali Berisha, a leader of the Albanian Democratic Party,
becomes the first democratically elected president.
Albania signs Black Sea economic cooperation part with ten
other countries, including six former Soviet republics.
Socialist Party of Albania gains significantly in local
Former President Alia and eighteen other former communist
officials, including Nexhmije Hoxha, arrested and charged
with corruption and other offenses.
Albania joins the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Albania recognizes the former Yugoslav Republic of
President Berisha and President Momir Bulatovic of
Montenegro meet in Tiranė to discuss ways of improving
Greece recalls its ambassador for consultations after series
of border incidents and alleged human rights abuses in
Source: U.S. Library of Congress