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Thursday 23rd May
Albania Facts
Albania is in the Balkan Peninsula in South Eastern Europe. Other countries in this area include (some) countries of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia, as well as Bulgaria and Greece.

The highest point in Albania is Mount Korab (2,753 m).

Albania is called Shqiperia translated as "land of the eagles". A two-headed eagle is the emblem on Albania's flag.

In early times the area was settled by Illyrians.

"Albania" is derived from the name of the Albanoi tribe that inhabited the region around Durres.

Albania's ports and harbours have been used for over two and a half thousand years. Vlora was the main port of Illyria.

Tirana has been inhabited since Neolithic times. It was developed in the seventeenth century during the Ottoman occupation.

The ancient city of Butrint is on the World Heritage List.

Berat is a designated Museum City. Its castle is one of the largest in Albania.

By the second century Albania was a Christian country.

Ottoman Turks introduced Islam in the fifteenth century.

George Skanderbeg is a fifteenth century Albanian hero who led the resistance against the Ottoman Empire.

Written by a Catholic priest in 1555 "Meshari" was the first book published in Albania.

In 1851 Edward Lear, an Englishman, visited Albania gathering material for his publication "Journals of a Landscape Painter in Albania".

Albania became independent in 1912. However, its borders were redrawn leaving areas of large Albanian populations in Kosova and western Macedonia outside its boundaries.

Albania was a member of the "Warsaw Pact" until 1968. The Treaty (1955-1991) allowed the Red Army to have bases in member states. (Warsaw Treaty Organisation member countries were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic), East Germany (DDR), Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union).

Following the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968, Albania left the Warsaw Pact although it had not been an active member since the early 1960s.

During the conflict in former Yugoslavia many ethnic Albanians fled to Albania from Kosovo:

The break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s resulted in much conflict. Kosovo suffered inter-ethnic unrest and civil war leading to the US-NATO aerial bombardment of Serbia and the deployment of KFOR (NATO-led peacekeeping force K-For) and UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) to secure and administer the Kosovo region on behalf of the international community.

In 2001 there was a rebellion by ethnic Albanians in Macedonia that caused fears of civil war.

In 2001 a Stabilisation and Association agreement was signed with the EU. The agreement focused on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later the separate countries of Serbia and Montenegro), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania.

The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008.

In the 1990s many Albanians became economic migrants leaving home to seek work.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania is a private business promotion and development organisation founded in September 2000. It aims to increase trade between the United States and Albania and to promote US investment in the country.

In 2014 the European Commission recommended Albania for European Union membership.

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