Development of a Nation
How Albania became Albania,
and how the Albanians became Albanian.

Albanians as a people, and the country of Albania as a nation-state,
evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral
bloodlines, the Albanian language, borders, culture, and even how they
received their name.

Ancestral Background
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Albania in 2008

Slavic tribes
Ancestral Background:

  1. 3000 BC – People along the Baltic coast
    centered around modern Lithuania begin speaking the
    Proto-Balto-Slavic language, a branch off from

    . This serves as the genesis of the Slavic
    and Baltic languages/peoples.
  2. 1000 BC – A group splinters from the
    Proto-Balto-Slavic people, migrating southeast into modern Ukraine.
    This branch off group were the predecessors to Slavs, who would
    ultimately extend outward in all directions.
  3. In the 6th century, as Germanics
    migrated westward, a group of Slavs expanded southward to fill the
    void, inhabiting the northern border of the Byzantine Empire
    (continuation of the Roman Empire in the Greek world).
  4. 558 – Avars, a central Asian Turkic people,
    driven west into Europe (through modern Ukraine) by Persians and
    more powerful Turkic empires, came into contact with the Byzantines.
    They were paid off by the Byzantines to settle the area north of the
    Danube River, and to subdue barbarian Germanics remaining in the
    territory. The Avars succeeded in driving the Germans out of area,
    including the Lombards, who were driven into Italy, where they
    become the ruling class. At this time, large groups of Slavic
    peoples were settled north of the Danube as well. The Avar raids
    forced them south into the Balkan peninsula, where they settled
    lands abandoned by Germanic peoples, including modern Romania and
    Hungary. Slavic peoples would inhabit the entire Balkan region north
    of the Greek-inhabited lands at the very southern portion of the
    peninsula by 700. The Illyrians, the original inhabitants, would be driven into a remote
    mountainous region in modern Albania, becoming forefathers to modern
    Albanians, which would also include a Slavic component from
    intermixing. Illyrians were the original settlers of the western
    Balkan peninsula, north of the ancient Greeks, around modern Serbia,
    Albania, Bosnia and Croatia. They inhabited this region during the
    centuries the territory was ruled by the Roman Empire, through the
    time of the Slavic migrations.

Save as much as 70% on select National Geographic merchandise!

Development of Albanian

  1. South Slavs intermixed with Illyrians in the
    mountainous region of modern Albania, forming a new Albanian
    ethnogroup, beginning in the 6th century, during the time
    of the Slavic migrations southward into the Balkan peninsula. The
    Illyrian language became dominant among this group.
  2. The Albanians would soon become part of the
    Roman Catholic sphere of influence, largely converting to
    Catholicism, causing their language to be influenced by Latin.
  3. Throughout the remainder of the Middle Ages,
    the language would be influenced by Bulgarian, due to a lengthy
    stint under Bulgarian rule in region during the formative years of
    the language (850 to 1018).
  4. By the 13th century, the language
    and the people in this region would be referred to as Albanian.
  5. Beginning in the 14th century,
    Albania would be under Ottoman rule until early in the 20th
    century, gaining many Turkic loan words.

  6. Albanians would fill the void left by Serbs migrating out of modern
    SE Serbia to escape Ottoman rule, transforming Kosovo into an
    Albanian territory, making Albanian the dominant language in Kosovo
    as well (as Albanians are the dominant nationality in this region),
    as it remains to this day.

Save 20% off and Free Shipping on Select Language Learning Software

Formation of Albanian

  1. Ottoman Empire Conquests
    Rome, the northern section of modern Albanian rested in the ancient
    Illyrian Kingdom, while the remaining Albanian lands to the south
    were home to Greek city states.
  2. In 229 BC, the Illyrians were conquered by the
    rapidly expanding Roman Empire, becoming the province of Illyricum.
  3. During the Slavic migrations in the 6th
    century into the Balkan peninsula, the Illyrians were pushed into
    the mountainous coastal region constituting modern Albania. Shortly
    after, the territory was placed under Byzantine Empire rule,
    although the inhabitants (Illyrians with a Slavic component) remain
    largely independent/tribal.

  4. Balkans independence from Ottoman Empire
    came under Bulgarian Empire rule from the 9th century to
  5. Byzantines conquer Balkan territories in 11th
    century, capturing the territory of modern Albania in 1014, but
    later lose control over region.
  6. 1081 – Northern Albania comes under Serbian
  7. By about 1350, Serbia had conquered all of
  8. 1385 – Albania is conquered by the Muslim,
    Turkic Ottoman Empire.
  9. Albania declared independence in 1912, as
    Serbia and Greece seized possession of Balkan Ottoman territories,
    including Albania.
  10. The Great Powers (such as the UK) lobby for an
    independent Albania, which is

    Italy 1939
    but part of Albanian lands (such as Kosovo, the northwest corner of
    Greece, and southern Montenegro) were separated from this new
    sovereign state, forming Albania’s modern borders.
  11. During WWI, Albania fell under Italian and
    Serbian occupation. It remained a semi-sovereign state during the
    interwar period.
  12. Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, just
    before WWII.

  13. Albania regained independence at the end of WWII, and has remained
    an independent nation to this day. – The World’s Largest Maps Store!

Etymology (How
Name Received):

“Albania” is derived from
the Slavic term for a mountainous region, first used in the 13th

Albanian Culture:

Albanians largely converted to Islam during the Ottoman reign,
transforming their culture from that of Christianized-Slavic to one
dominated by Islamic principles. However, Albanians and Kosovars exhibit
a low tendency for religious extremism.

Albania in 2008:

One of the poorest
economies in Europe. Still trying to make the transition from a gray
economy (where goods are not typically sold through typical sales
channels, such as authorized distributors/importers). Unreliable power,
unclear property rights, inadequate infrastructure (such as roads), have
held Albanian back economically.
Government: Democratic Republic
Religion: Muslim (Sunni) 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman
Catholic 10%. Serbian population primarily Serbian Orthodox. Albanians
were largely Muslim until after WWII, when it became communist.
Following the Soviet policy on religion, religious practices were deemed
illegal until 1990. But most Albanians are inactive religiously, largely
due to its suppression for nearly 50 years after the war. Christians and
Muslims have generally co-existed peacefully in Albania, as nationalism
has traditionally taken precedence over religious affiliation.
Demographics: Albanian 95%, Greek 3% (southern portion
traditionally Greek territory).
Foreign Policy: Generally focused on maintaining friendly
relations with other Balkan nations, and protecting Albanians in other
Balkan nations, such as Serbia (supporting Kosovar independence for
instance). Has led to conflict with Greece, where there have been issues
with ethnic Albanians.
Population: 3,619,778 (2008)

Formation of Nations (All European Nations)

Genealogy Search: - Search MILLIONS of names
First Name Last Name
For females, use maiden name
(last name before marriage)
find family
First Name Last Name
First Name Last Name