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Flag of Albania.svg
Flag of Albania and national symbol of the Albanians
Shkodra - Tribesman of Shkreli (W Le Queux) .jpg
Rok, member of the Shkreli tribe . William Le Queux , 1906

Albanians ( Albanian  Shqiptarët ) form an ethnic group whose members live in particular in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula . They speak to the Indo-European languages associated Albanian . The closed settlement area of ​​the Albanians includes Albania , Kosovo and the north-western part of North Macedonia as well as other smaller regions in the neighboring countries of Montenegro , Serbia and Greece . Almost six million Albanians live in the Balkans. In Albania and Kosovo, they are the dominant nation with a population share of well over 90 percent each . The Albanians in North Macedonia form the largest minority in this country with around 25 percent of the population. At 0.82 percent, the Albanians in Serbia and Montenegro are a small minority. Many emigrants or their descendants live in the diaspora . Large Albanian communities can be found mainly in the western and central European countries, in the United States and in Turkey .

Albanians traditionally belong to different faiths. The majority profess Sunni Islam , followed by a wide margin by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches as well as the Bektashi Order .

In 1912 the Republic of Albania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire . Since then, almost half of the Albanians have lived beyond the borders of this nation-state , as the world powers did not respond to the demands of the Albanian delegation at that time. Because the Albanian settlement area did not match the territory of Albania, there was and still is ethnic tensions or open conflicts, especially with the Serbs and Macedonians . In the recent past this led to the Kosovo War in 1999 and the proclamation of an independent state of Kosovo in 2008, which is de facto a second Albanian nation-state. In Macedonia, after the civil war-like conditions, the Ohrid Framework Agreement was signed in 2001 , which aims to ensure more rights for the Albanians in Macedonia.

In the legal sense, all citizens of Albania are also considered Albanians , regardless of their ethnic affiliation.

Popular names

According to folk etymology, "Albanians" refer to "shqipe" (eagle) , hence the name "Adlerssons" (a golden eagle on the photo )

There are a number of different self and external names for the Albanians. Some of these names stand for the entire ethnic group, others only for parts of it. The meaning of some names has changed over time.

The name "Albanians" ( Latin Albani , ancient Greek Ἀλβανόι Albanoi or Ἀλβάνιοι Albanioi ) was already in use in ancient times . It referred to an Illyrian tribe whose residences were northeast of the city of Dyrrachium (today Durrës ), i.e. in today's Albania. This name, "Albanians", comes from the Italian "Albanesi", which soon spread into almost all other European languages. The term "Albanese", which is outdated in German today, still shows its Italian origin.

The self-designation of the Albanians has been " Shqiptarët " since the national movement in the 18th and 19th centuries . This is etymologically derived from shqiptoj , "to pronounce". In contrast, the derivation of the Albanian shqipe , "eagle", which is known from the metaphor "eagle sons" and arouses associations with Skanderbeg's eagle on the Albanian flag , is only a folk etymology . As in German, the term Skipetaren is also used as a synonym for the Albanians in other languages .

Arbëresh ” ( Tuscan ) or “ Arbër ” / “ Arbën ” ( Gegish ) were the Albanians' self- names in the Middle Ages, which became out of use during the Ottoman era . Today only the Albanians in southern Italy , whose ancestors immigrated from the 14th century, are called Arbëresh . Arbër / Arbën is a common first name among today's Albanians, and the old ethnonym as Arbanasi lives on as a place name .

" Arvanites " ( modern Greek Αρβανίτες Arvanítes ) was the Greek name for "Albanians". The Greek form of the ethnonym is the exact equivalent of the Albanian Arbër . As Arvanite ( Middle Greek Ἀρβανίται ) the Albanians first appeared in Byzantine written sources. Today only the descendants of the Albanians who immigrated to what is now Greece in the Middle Ages are called Arvanites.

The Turkish " Arnavutlar " is derived from Arbër or Ἀρβανίται Arvaníte . In the 18th century, the Turkish ethnonym was also adopted by European authors. This is how the German education Arnauten emerged as another synonym for Albanians. In the West, the term was often used exclusively for the Muslim Albanians.

Since the 15th century the Latin name " Epirotes " (German "Epiroten") came up for the Albanians in the west . As is customary in the Renaissance , an ancient parallel was sought, and in the Albanians one saw the descendants of those peoples who had lived in the ancient landscape of Epirus . The Albanians only became known in western Europe in the Middle Ages. This was due on the one hand to Skanderbeg , the Epirotarum princeps , who gained pan-European popularity through his defensive struggle against the Ottomans, but on the other hand with the emigration of numerous Albanians to Italy, who thus came into the focus of the western peoples.

The speakers of one of the two main Albanian dialects are referred to as “ against ” or “ tosken ”.

" Camen " (Albanian Camet , Greek Τσάμηδες Tsamides ) called those Albanians south of the city in Epirus Konispol live or have lived. Most of the Çamen converted to Islam during the Ottoman rule. Between 1914 and 1945 almost all of them were forced to emigrate or expelled from their settlement areas in Greece. Several hundred were also killed by Greek militarists, including children, the elderly and women.

The terms “ Kosovar Albanians ” (Albanian Shqiptarët e Kosovës ) or “ Kosovars ” (Albanian Kosovarët ) emerged in the course of the 20th century for political reasons. They serve to differentiate themselves from those Albanians who belong to the state nation of the Republic of Albania. There are no specific names for the Albanians living in Macedonia and Montenegro, they call themselves “ Shqiptarë ” (“Albanians”; plural indefinite).

Settlement area

Albanian-speaking area in south-eastern Europe and southern Italy

The closed Albanian settlement area (alb. Shqiptaria ) includes Albania and almost all of Kosovo. In northern Kosovo , however, the Serbs make up the majority of the population. On the north-western edge, the Albanian language area extends into Montenegro. The municipality of Gusinje , Ulcinj , the town of Tuzi and the neighboring, Montenegrin part of the Malësia e Madhe landscape are mostly populated by Albanians, as are some places belonging to the municipalities of Plav and Rožaje . In the east, the ethnic-Albanian towns near Preševo and Bujanovac extend into Serbia. In Macedonia, the area south of Preševo ​​and in the west of the country via Tetovo , Gostivar and Kičevo to Struga is mostly inhabited by an Albanian population. In Greece, the coastal region of Epirus south to the Acheron River was the original settlement area of ​​the Çamen at the beginning of the 20th century . Today the Albanians have become a very small minority there because of the displacement by the Greeks. Exact data on their number are not available.

Despite the borders, the Albanian people have largely retained their cultural unity. The national identity is particularly expressed in folk culture with its costumes and dance . But there are also countless parallels in literature , music, cuisine and other areas.


Albanian is an independent language of the Indo-European language family. Essential components with regard to vocabulary and grammatical structure are on the one hand the old Balkan substrate , on the other hand the ancient Greek, but above all the subsequent Latin superstrat .

At the beginning of the 11th century AD, the original forms of the two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk , emerged, both of which are divided into numerous sub-dialects (see the section Dialects in the article Albanian language ). The Shkumbin River in central Albania forms the approximate boundary of the two dialect zones. To the south of it, Tuskish is spoken, in the north, Gegish.

In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, Albanian was hardly written and taught. In the 20th century, over 80 percent of Albania's population was illiterate. Its introduction as a written and school language is a result of the Rilindja national movement in the last third of the 19th century. The standardization of the written high-level language was a lengthy process, which came to a preliminary conclusion with an all-Albanian spelling congress in Tirana in 1972 and the dictionary published on this basis in 1980. The Albanians in Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have adopted this standardized script, which is mainly based on the Tuscan forms, but in everyday life they mainly speak their Gish dialects. In Albania, the school system has made a decisive contribution to the widespread use of the standard language today.

Since the political changes at the beginning of the 1990s, discussions about linguistic norms have increased again. In the meantime, Gegic forms are being given greater consideration in the standard language (especially in Kosovo). The intensive migration movements within Albania due to the rural exodus , especially to the central agglomeration of Tirana - Durrës , and also the increased use of modern media, are currently causing a rapid decline in dialect differences and the number of dialect speakers in general.



The ancestors of the Albanian people, who emerged in the Middle Ages, are members of the ancient, partially Romanized population of Southeast Europe (for example, there are many Latin words in the Albanian language, but less ancient Greek). Mainly the Illyrians or the Dacians come into question .

The hypothesis of Illyrian descent is based on the remaining Illyrian population in the Albanian highlands, who survived the upheavals of the Great Migration (4th to 6th centuries) there. It is based primarily on similarities between the Illyrian and Albanian languages ​​as well as the high density of Old Balkan toponyms in the region in question. In addition, there is the corresponding interpretation of some sparse references from ancient literature: for example, Ptolemy's name is the Illyrian Albanoi and the city of Albanopolis .

The hypothesis of Dacian descent assumes that the ancestors of the Albanians immigrated from the northeast and that they are hardly Romanized Dacians . The proponents of this theory justify this with some lexical and grammatical similarities between the Romanian and Albanian languages, which go back to an old Balkan substrate.

Gottfried Schramm formulated the thesis that the Albanians descended from the Thracian tribe of the Bessen , who retained their Thracian language through a very early adoption of Christianity.

There is also the thesis that rejects both an Illyrian and a Thracian origin. According to this, Albanian is the continuation of an old Balkan idiom that is not to be equated with Illyrian or Thracian, but with a third, not handed down language.

For the first time, at the turn of the 11th to the 12th century, the Byzantine historiographers Michael Attaliates and Anna Komnena mention a tribe called Arvanite or Arber . The ethnogenesis of the Arbanitai had taken place in the centuries before in the western border area between the Bulgarian and the Byzantine empires in the mountainous regions on the rivers Mat and Drin (region around Mirdita ). This area was not really ruled by either of the two empires for a long time and thus offered an independent culture, which was based economically on transhumant pasture management, opportunities to develop. The northern Albanian mountainous country remained untouched by the Slavic conquest at the end of the migration period (from the 6th century).

Since the 10th or 11th century, the Arvanitë ('Arvanites' or 'Albanians') slowly spread towards the Adriatic coast and also to the south and east. Both Balkan-Roman and Slavic elements were integrated into the emerging Albanian ethnic group and partially assimilated . In the north of the Albanian settlement area with the metropolis Bar as the ecclesiastical center, western Catholicism dominated in the Middle Ages , in the south the Greek (Orthodox) church (with the metropolises Dyrrachion and Ohrid ) was predominant. In 1198 the Albanians are mentioned for the first time in Slavonic in a document from the Serbian Prince Stefan Nemanja . In 1190 Progon , Archon of Kruja , was able to make his district independent from the Byzantines. The first time an Albanian nobleman founded his own principality.

Late Middle Ages and Ottoman Empire

In the Middle Ages, the Albanian nobles were unable to found an empire that comprised their entire settlement area or even only substantial parts of it. From the end of the 13th century a number of smaller principalities emerged under Albanian rulers ( Muzaka , Bue Shpata , Kastrioten , Thopia and others, see the list of Albanian noble families ). However, these were more or less strongly influenced by the neighboring powers Epirus , Byzantium , Serbia , Venice and Naples , and later also by the Ottomans . As a result, the Albanians did not form a political, religious or cultural unit even before the Ottoman conquest.

The lack of a medieval imperial tradition of its own would make itself felt centuries later in the development of the modern Albanian nation. In the 19th century, the other Southeastern European peoples referred to their medieval heyday when they formed their nations. This not only strengthened the national identity of Serbs, Greeks and Bulgarians, but also provided the politicians of these nations with the justification with which they claimed the Albanian-inhabited areas for their expanding states.

From the end of the 14th century, the Ottomans expanded into the Albanian countries. After a century of eventful wars, during which the successful defensive battles between Prince Skanderbeg and his League of Lezha had a decisive influence on the historical memory of the Albanians, the Turks ruled Albania and the neighboring countries for more than 400 years after the fall of Shkodra (1479) .

Conversion to Islam reached its main wave in the 15th century when the first large mosques were built or churches were converted as such. Subsequently, most Albanians converted to Islam over the next three centuries.

Emergence of the modern Albanian nation

Ethnographic map of the central Balkans from 1861. The settlement areas of the Albanians are shown in yellow. Guillaume Lejean (1828-1878)

Around the middle of the 19th century, individual intellectuals, influenced by Western European thinking about culture and nation, began to work on the creation of a uniform Albanian written language and to create the first works of modern Albanian literature . In the following decades, both in the Albanian countries and in the centers of emigrants such as Constantinople , Bucharest , Boston and other Albanian cultural associations; some of them published their own newspapers. For example, the Istanbul Society for the Printing of Albanian Literature (alb. Shoqëria e të shtypurve shkronja shqip ), founded in 1879 , the Bashkimi cultural association in Shkodra and the Vatra association in Boston, which was established at the beginning of the 20th century, were important . In 1908, delegates from all Albanian countries and from the centers of the diaspora agreed during a congress in Monastir (today Bitola ) on the exclusive use of the Latin alphabet with some special characters. This was an important step in creating a common written language.

The threatened division of the still existing Ottoman provinces in the Balkans among the already existing nation-states in south-eastern Europe such as Greece , Serbia , Bulgaria and Montenegro triggered the first politically motivated national movement among the Albanians in 1878. The Prizren League, which was founded in the same year, was essentially supported by wealthy Albanian landowners as well as Muslim and Catholic clergy. Essential points of the political program of the league were the retention of the entire settlement area of ​​the Albanians with the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of an autonomous Albanian province with its own tax administration, equality of religions and establishment of an Albanian-speaking school system. After the league had helped curb the further expansion of the neighboring Balkan states, not least through armed resistance, it was forcibly dissolved by the Ottoman central power in 1881. The domestic and cultural-political demands of the league remained unfulfilled until the beginning of the 20th century. Not least because of this, the second generation of nationalists decided to fight for the establishment of an Albanian nation state.

Both the cultural and the political national movement had covered the entire Albanian settlement area and at least the members of the upper social classes (landowners, wealthy townspeople, clergy) felt themselves to be members of a common nation, regardless of whether they were in Shkodra, Prizren , Dibra , Korça or Janina lived. The division of the Albanian populated areas in 1913 (except for the new Albania, large areas were added to Serbia, Greece and Montenegro) could not change anything. Especially culturally, the Albanians in Albania, Kosovo and the neighboring areas see themselves to this day as a nation that is growing together in the cultural and communication space of the Albanosphere . In the times of closed borders, on the other hand, the common language, literature and culture were the only unifying bond. The Kosovars were involved in the codification of the modern Albanian written language in the decades after the Second World War .

Albanian Diaspora

Albanian emigration over time
Period Target areas
13th to 15th centuries Central and Southern Greece, Calabria
15th to 17th centuries Southern and Central Italy (including Sicily)
18th century Dalmatia, Abruzzo,
Dobruja, Thrace, Anatolia, Ukraine
1850-1912 Constantinople, Bucharest, Constanța,
Trieste, Sofia, Alexandria,
Izmir, Thessaloniki
from 1880 Boston and New York
1918-1965 United States, Turkey
1966-1989 Slovenia, Croatia, Belgrade, Vojvodina,
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey
1990-2000 Greece
since 1990 Italy, United States, United Kingdom,
Germany, Austria, Switzerland,
Sweden, Belgium, Canada

Because of their poverty, the Albanian regions have been and are classic emigration areas for many centuries. In addition, religious and political oppression were often reasons for the Albanian emigration . Beginning in the 13th century, larger groups of Albanians have left their traditional settlement area and settled elsewhere. The emigrants today are connected to the Albanian people to very different degrees. Gradually, this ranges from an ethnic awareness that has been preserved for centuries, including the use and transmission of the Albanian language, to complete assimilation, which has taken place more or less quickly.

Because Albanian parents want to strengthen the social status and integration opportunities of their children abroad with foreign names, the traditional Albanian first names are no longer so common in Albania . In 2014 there was not a single Albanian name among the 20 most popular first names of newborns in Albania. Instead, mostly foreign, English or Christian (Greek and Italian) names are given.

Arvanites in Greece

Albanian peasant woman from Athens . Charles Gleyre (1806-1874)

In the 13th century, the first Albanians came to Greece at the invitation of local potentates. They were in demand as peasants as well as mercenaries for the troops of the Duke of Athens , the Despot of Morea and other princes. But Albanian tribes also settled on their own in the regions of Thessaly , Boeotia , Attica , the Peloponnese and some Aegean islands , which were only sparsely populated due to the constant wars . They settled there in their own villages. In the Peloponnese alone, around 10,000 settling Albanians are named around the year 1400, and even 30,000 are expected for 1450. The influx continued into the 15th century. The Orthodox Tosks , who had settled in central and southern Greece, soon lost contact with their areas of origin. They lived among the Greeks. In their villages they spoke Albanian dialects well into the 20th century, which admittedly took on more and more Greek elements over time. A small part of the Arvanites fled from the Turks to southern Italy at the end of the 15th century and strengthened the Arbëresh Albanian communities that had developed there.

The Arvanites took an active part in the formation of the modern Greek nation and in the liberation struggle against the Turks since the 18th century. As with the Greeks, their Orthodox Christian identity was transformed into a modern national consciousness. Since the founding of the Greek state, the Arvanite dialects were little respected, and over time most of the Arvanites switched to the Greek language. This process accelerated after the Second World War through rural exodus and urbanization. Today only remnants of the Arvanite are preserved. Old traditions are still cultivated, especially in folklore . The Arvanites, whose number cannot be made more certain, consider themselves largely part of the Greek nation.

Arbëresh in Italy

The Arbëresh are descendants of Albanian emigrants who moved to Italy in several waves in the 15th and 16th centuries. At first they were mercenaries who fought in Italy for various kings of Naples . Most of them fled to southern Italy from the Muslim Ottomans . The King of Naples settled the new subjects in Calabria , Apulia and Sicily, mainly in sparsely populated areas. In 1743 there was an Albanian emigration from Çameria .

With the bull of 1536 Pope Paul III. to the Albanians in Italy full recognition within Catholicism . During the pontificate of Pope Clement XI. (1700–1721), who was of Albanian origin, and that of Clement XII. (1730–1740) there was a repeated interest on the part of the Holy See towards the Byzantine tradition in Greek or Albanian.

Many of the communities where Arbëresh is still spoken today have lost the Byzantine rite over the centuries. This came under pressure from the religious and civil authorities at the local level. Around half of the Arbëresh communities converted to the Latin rite in the first two centuries . The Byzantine rite is mainly held in the Arbëresh communities in the province of Cosenza , in Calabria and in those around Piana degli Albanesi in Sicily.

Even so, many Arbëresh have assimilated over the centuries. Because of its decreasing number of speakers, the Arbëresh is one of the threatened languages . According to an estimate from 2002, around 80,000 people speak this language. Other estimates are 260,000 (1976) and 100,000 (1987).

Arbanasi in Dalmatia

The Madonna di Loreto church in Arbanasi

In 1655 the first group of Orthodox Albanians moved to Istria near Pula .

At the beginning of the 18th century, 16 Gegic Catholic families from the Shkodra area immigrated to the then Venetian Dalmatia , because at that time the oppression of Catholics in the Paschalik Shkodra increased. They came from the villages of Brisk and Shestan the western shore of Lake Skadar and fled to Venetian Albania to Kotor , where they were received by the Archbishop Zmajević. The Venetian general provveditore Nicolò Erizzo assigned settlement land to the 121 Albanian refugees further north in Dalmatia near Zadar , where they founded the village of Borgo Erizzo named after him on August 15, 1726 . The place was later renamed Arbanasi after its residents and is now a district of Zadar.

In 1727 a further 71 people from seven families came to the Venetian Dalamtia, who were settled in Zemunik Donji 15 kilometers east of Zadar. Another group of 28 families followed in 1733, a total of 150 people.

While the population of Borgo Erizzo still speaks Albanian and Italian in addition to Croatian , those of Zemunik assimilated with the local population.

Albanian mobility in the Ottoman Empire

The majority of Albanians, after their settlement areas became part of the Ottoman Empire, converted to Islam in the centuries that followed. As members of the ruling religion, some of them were offered various employment and career opportunities in the army, in administration and in religious institutions within the empire. As part of their activities, they came to various provinces and, in large numbers, to the capital Constantinople. For a long time they assimilated quickly to the Turkish-speaking environment there. Many of those who had only come from Albania in the second half of the 19th century retained their ethnic-Albanian consciousness in the age of nationalism. A part became active in the Albanian national movement. At the beginning of the 20th century, thousands of Albanians lived in Constantinople ; there were also significant Albanian communities in Thessaloniki , Smyrna and even Alexandria .

Camille Corot , The Albanian

Until the 18th century, large groups of Albanians settled far away from their traditional settlement areas in other provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Albanian villages emerged in Dobruja , Thrace and Anatolia . The Albanians who settled in southern Ukraine were rebels who had to flee the Ottoman Empire. The Albanian communities that arose here and there during the Ottoman era are today largely assimilated into their surroundings.

Emigration at the time of the national movement (1878-1912)

Albanian newspaper from Bucharest from 1889

In the 19th century, Albanians left their Ottoman-ruled homeland for political reasons, for example because they were threatened with imprisonment for participating in prohibited national activities. Emigrant communities with a few hundred to several thousand members emerged in the Romanian cities of Bucharest and Constanța , and after Bulgarian independence also in Sofia . Many stayed in Romania or Bulgaria even after 1912 . After the Second World War they disappeared through assimilation and migration to America .

In the 19th century, Italy and Austria-Hungary were the destinations of emigration for a large number of Catholic Albanians . In Trieste , a greater Albanian community formed; it was also quickly assimilated in the interwar period .

Albanian emigration to the United States began at the end of the 19th century . At the beginning mostly Orthodox Tosks emigrated to the New World. They mainly settled in Boston and New York . Most of these early immigrants were illiterate. But there was also a small group of intellectuals who were intensely committed to the mother tongue education among their compatriots. Successful literacy - in 1919 more than a third of the 40,000 immigrants up to then could read and write - was the prerequisite for many emigrants to be culturally and politically committed to the Albanian national movement. The first cultural and aid associations were founded soon after the turn of the century. The Albanian-language newspapers Kombi ("The Nation") and Djelli ("The Sun") appeared from 1906 and 1907 respectively . The first beginnings of the Albanian Orthodox National Church under Fan Noli also originated in the United States. Albanian emigrants from the USA took part in the Monastir Congress in 1908 . In April 1912 the Albanian-American umbrella organization Vatra was founded. After the First World War , Albanian intellectuals residing in the United States were an important lobby group for the national cause. They successfully intervened with President Woodrow Wilson , who advocated the restoration of the Albanian state at the Paris Peace Conference .

Emigration between the world wars

After large parts of the Albanian settlement area came to Serbia and Greece as a result of the First Balkan War in 1912 , the new rulers put pressure on the Albanian population to leave the country. Many went to Albania, but a few thousand Kosovars and Çamen each emigrated to Turkey between the world wars .

From 1919 to 1924, when the US government restricted immigration, 20–30 thousand Albanians came to the United States. Among them were now many against , Catholics and Muslims. Besides economic reasons, the oppression by the Serbian conquerors also played a role for the Kosovars. Among the few emigrants in the 1930s were some who had to leave their homeland because of their opposition to Ahmet Zogu's regime . Until the 1940s, the Albanians in America remained closely linked to their country of origin. Her political and cultural commitment was almost always related to Albania and within the young diaspora community almost only Albanian was spoken.

Albanian emigration since 1945

Albanians in Europe

Immediately after taking power, the communists of Albania began to persecute members of the old intellectual and religious elites in particular. In the first years after the war, several thousand opponents of the communists were able to leave the country. Most went to the United States, some to Italy, including collaborators with the Italian fascists . Since 1948 all borders were closed and closely guarded; Emigration was hardly possible any more.

After the Second World War, the Albanians in America assimilated more and more. The ties to their countries of origin, which had now become communist, were largely severed. The main language in the emigrant families was now English . Even in the services of the Albanian Orthodox communities, English appeared alongside Albanian. The children and grandchildren of the emigrants often no longer spoke Albanian. US citizens of Albanian origin also became involved in American politics in the second half of the 20th century.

In Kosovo, the Albanians continued to be suppressed by the Yugoslav authorities. Tens of thousands of Muslim Albanians therefore emigrated to Turkey by the mid-1960s, which at that time was the only country to accept emigrants from Kosovo.

In the 1970s, the Kosovar Albanians were disproportionately involved in the Yugoslav guest worker migration to the Federal Republic of Germany , Switzerland and Austria . At around the same time, intra-Yugoslav migration also increased. Kosovars and Albanians from North Macedonia settled in the Slovenian and Croatian industrial centers and in the greater Belgrade area well into the 1980s .

The fall of the communist regime in Albania, the desolate economic situation in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia and, last but not least, the war in Kosovo have led to the largest wave of emigration in the history of the Albanian people. It is the largest migration in Europe since the expulsions in the 1940s. It has left lasting traces both in the regions of origin and in the most important receiving countries, Greece and Italy.

Between 1989 and 2004 around one million people left Albania, which corresponds to around a third of the current population of Albania. Due to economic and political crises, 1991/92 and 1997 were years in which the mass exodus to Italy or Greece reached its peak. Although thousands were then sent back home, by 2001 over 440,000 Albanians had settled in Greece . There the Albanians make up 60% of all immigrants. In the rapidly growing Greek economy, the Albanians predominantly took on poorly paid jobs in agriculture and construction for which local workers could no longer be found. However, since the Greek financial crisis in 2010 there has been a new trend that many Albanians are returning to Albania because they have lost their jobs in the host country. Around 350,000 Albanians immigrated to Italy between 1990 and early 2006. In the meantime, a dense network of Albanian migrant associations has also emerged in Italy. Turkey has also been a destination for labor migrants from Albania since 1990.

Since the late 1980s, over 400,000 Albanians have left Kosovo permanently for economic and political reasons. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovars fled the country during the Kosovo war ; most of them have since returned home. For decades, Switzerland has been an important destination for permanent Kosovar emigration . Around 95,000 Albanians lived there in 2000. There are also larger Albanian diaspora communities in Germany, Austria, Sweden and Great Britain . In the year 2000, 113,661 people of Albanian descent were counted in the USA. The classic immigration countries Canada and Australia have also been destinations for Albanian migrants in the past two decades. The English-speaking countries have allowed a limited number of Albanians to immigrate legally every year since the war in Kosovo. Overall, however, Albanian emigration has declined in recent years. The main reasons for this are, on the one hand, the economic stabilization in the countries of origin and the greater isolation of the most important immigration countries in the Schengen area . In addition, a large part of the young population willing to emigrate has long since left Albania and Kosovo; this has reduced the pressure to emigrate.


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Web links

Commons : Albanians  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Republic of Kosovo is not included here.
  2. See the section on ethnogenesis .
  3. Marinus Barletius: Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis. Romae 1510.
  4. Akademia e Shkencave e RPS tы Shqipërisë, Instituti i Gjuhësisë dhe i Letërsisë: Fjalor i gjuhës së sotme shqipe. Tirana 1980.
  5. ^ Ptolemy, Geographia III, 20.
  6. Kurt Gostentschnigg: The question of Albanian ethnogesis A historical outline of their discussion up to the end of the 20th century , part 2. In: Albanische Hefte 3/2007, p. 17 (PDF)
  7. ^ Eva Anne Frantz: The Albanians in the Western Balkans - Status and Perspectives of Research. Conference in honor of Peter Bartl. IN: H-Soz-u-Kult. February 2007.
  8. Michaelis Attaliotae Historia, ed. v. August Immanuel Bekker. (= Corpus scriptorum historiae Byzantinae. 47). Bonn 1853
    Anna Comnena: Alexias, translated a. ed. v. Diether Roderich Reinsch. Berlin 2001. ISBN 3-11-017195-3 .
  9. ^ Karl Kaser: Shepherds, Fighters, Tribal Heroes: Origins and Presence of the Balkan Patriarchate, Böhlau Verlag , 1992, p. 136 p. 136
  10. Franz Miklosich: Monumenta Serbica spectantia historiam Serbiae, Bosnae, Ragusii. Vienna 1858, p. 32.
  11. Craze For Foreign Names Alarms Albanian Patriots. Retrieved October 31, 2017 .
  12. Miranda Vickers: Shqiptarët - Një histori modern . Bota Shqiptare, 2008, ISBN 978-99956-11-68-2 , Hyrje , p. 16-17 (English: The Albanians - A Modern History . Translated by Xhevdet Shehu).
  13. Donald Nicol : The Despotate of Epirus 1267-1479 . London 1984, p. 251 .
  14. ^ Giuseppe Maria Viscardi: Tra Europa e "Indie di quaggiù". Chiesa, religosità e cultura popolare nel Mezzogiorno . Storia e Letteratura, Rome 2005, ISBN 88-8498-155-7 , p. 377 (Italian, online version in Google Book Search [accessed November 10, 2016]).
  15. Raynaldo Perugini: La presenza ed il ruolo della Chiesa greco - Ortodossa in Italia . In: Storia e metodi dell'analisi dell'architettura, S. Atanasio dei Greci e Collegio greco . Storia e Letteratura, p. 36 (Italian, [PDF]).
  16. Pietro Pompilio Rodotà: Dell'Origine, Progresso e Stato presente del Rito Greco in Italia, osservato dai greci, monaci basiliani e albanesi, Libro III, Capo. III . Biblioteca Vaticana, Rome 1763, p. 59 (Italian, online version in Google Book Search [accessed November 11, 2016]).
  17. UNESCO Language Atlas. In: Retrieved May 31, 2012 .
  18. ^ Albanian, Arbëreshë: a language of Italy. In: Retrieved May 31, 2012 .
  19. ^ A b Robert Elsie : Historical Dictionary of Albania (=  Historical Dictionaries of Europe . No. 75 ). 2nd Edition. The Scarecrow Press, Lanham 2010, ISBN 978-0-8108-6188-6 , Croatia, Albanians in, p. 95 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed January 22, 2017]).
  20. Pirro Marconi, Sestilio Montanelli (ed.): Albania (=  Guida d'Italia . No. 25 ). Touring Club Italiano, Milan 1940, p. 86 (Italian, limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed January 22, 2017]).
  21. Peter Bartl: "Ratzen" and "Albenser": Turkish struggle as an integration factor . In: Klaus Detlev Grothusen (Hrsg.): Yugoslavia: Integration Problems in Past and Present - Contributions of the South East Europe Working Group of the German Research Foundation to the 5th International South East Europe Congress of the Association internationale d'études du Sud-Est européen, Belgrade, 11.- 17th September 1984 . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1984, ISBN 3-525-27315-0 , p. 139 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed January 18, 2017]).
  22. a b Borgo Erizzo. Online magazine, accessed on January 18, 2017 (Italian).
  23. From Dalmatia . In: Supplement to Bohemia No. 106 . April 17, 1875, p. 1 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed January 18, 2017]).
  24. ^ Franz von Miklosich : The Slavic elements in Albanian . In: Albanian Research . tape 1 . Imperial and Royal Court and State Printing Office, Vienna 1870, p. 2 ( [PDF]).
  25. Maximilijana Barančić: Arbanasi i etnojezični identitet . Croatica et Slavica Iadertina, Zadar 2008, p. 551 (Croatian, [accessed January 22, 2017]).
  26. Russell King, Nicola Mai: Out of Albania - From risis migration to social inclusion in Italy , Berghahn Books, New York 2008, ISBN 978-1-84545-544-6
  27. Data on imm igrants in Greece, from Census 2001 ( Memento from March 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (this does not include Albanians with dual citizenship, see:, News from November 29, 2006 ).
  28. Istituto nazionale di statistica: La popolazione straniera residente in Italia (PDF; 315 kB)
  29. For example: Assoalbania: Associazioni , Associazione Culturale Italo-Albanese Vatra , Forum delle associazioni Albanesi dell'Emilia-Romagna .
  30. ^ Marko Ljubic: KOSOVO: END of PATIENCE. In: Focus Online . March 9, 1998, accessed October 14, 2018 .
  31. Federal Population Census 2000: Language Landscape in Switzerland
  32. The Austrian population in 2001 by colloquial language, nationality and country of birth
    Rinia - Albanian Student Association in Austria ( Memento from September 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  33. 2000 US Census ( Memento from December 23, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  34. Australian Census 2001 (PDF; 434 kB)