This is the thread for Albania , Kosova and all the Ethnic Albanians of the world .
This is the thread for Albania , Kosova and all the Ethnic Albanians of the world .
History of Albania
The History of Albania began over four millennia ago with certain tribes residing in the area. After being conquered by the Roman Empire and later the Ottoman Empire, Albania became an independent state. Albania has recently started the conversion from communism to capitalism, and became a full member of NATO in 2009. The country is applying to join the European Union.
Most scholars consider that Albanians are the direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians, probably named after the Illyrian tribe named Albanoi, which was located in modern-day Albania. Other scholars dispute this and claim that Albanian derives from a dialect of the (otherwise extinct) Thracian language. Some believe the majority of the Illyrians were conquered and/ or assimilated or killed by the invading Slavic peoples after the fall of the Roman Empire. The perception of Illyrian as a centum language was based on analysis of the Messapic language in southern Italy, which scholars believed was related to the Illyrian language.
Those who support the Illyrian-Albanian continuity theory maintain that all Illyrian tribes, except the Albanians, were assimilated or driven southwards into Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia during the Early Middle Ages after the waves of migrating barbarians. A formidable mountain homeland and resilient tribal society enabled the Albanians to survive into modern times with their identity and their language intact. According to these scholars, the name 'Albania' is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Arbėr, or Arbėreshė, and later Albanoi, that lived near Durrės.
The Illyrians were Indo-European tribesmen who appeared in the western portion of the Balkan Peninsula about 1300 B.C., a period coinciding with the end of the Bronze Age and beginning of the Iron Age. They inhabited much of the area for at least the next millennium. Archaeologists associate the Illyrians with the Hallstatt culture, an Iron Age people noted for production of iron, bronze swords with winged-shaped handles, and domestication of horses. Illyrians were also extremely skilled and fierce warriors, goldsmiths, blacksmiths and pirates, and sheperd at the same time. The Illyrians, who were a mostly mountainous people, occupied lands extending from the Danube, Sava, and Morava rivers to the Adriatic Sea and the ar Mountains. At various times, groups of Illyrians, such as the Messapians and Iapyges, migrated to Italy through both overland routes and the sea.
Albanians were originally an extension of the southeast Illyrian peoples. By contrast with other areas, the coastal hinterland between the Narenta and the Drilon was occupied by a considerable number of smaller tribes, most of whom lost their identities during the final stages of Roman occupation. The twenty peoples listed by Pliny were only a fraction of the eighty-nine civitates attested by Varro a century earlier at the Narona conventus.
The southeast of Dalmatia was populated by "real Illyrians," and the evidence from personal names produces a uniform picture with very little influence from other parts of the province, except for a group of Celtic names in the upper Neretva valley around Konjic. In the later 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., all these peoples were part of the Illyrian kingdom, but with the removal of King Genti they all attained some form of independence, mostly through treaty arrangements with the Romans.
The Illyrians carried on commerce and warfare with their neighbors: Greeks, Paionians, Thracians, and other peoples. To the east in Dardania, there was a broad area of intermingling, or a "contact zone," between Illyrians and Thracians. This area encompassed the Danube below Belgrade down the west of the Morava valley to the Vardar and the northern border of Macedonia. In the south and along the Adriatic Sea coast, the Illyrians were heavily influenced by the Greeks, who founded trading colonies there. At the end of the 7th century B.C., Corinthian Greek settlers from Corfu established ports on the coast at Apollonia (Pojanė, near modern Fier) in 588 B.C. and farther north at Lissos (Lezhė) and Epidamnos (modern Durrės) in 623 B.C. The Illyrians living in Albania's rugged mountains, however, resisted Greek settlement. Illyrian raiders attacked the coastal cities and Illyrian pirates threatened Greek trading ships in the Adriatic Sea.
Illyrians produced and traded cattle, horses, agricultural goods, and wares fashioned from locally mined copper and iron. Feuds and warfare were constant facts of life for the Illyrian tribes, and Illyrian pirates plagued shipping on the Adriatic Sea. Councils of elders (bulae) chose the chieftains who headed each of the numerous Illyrian tribes. From time to time, local chieftains extended their rule over other tribes and formed short-lived kingdoms. During the fifth century B.C., well-developed Illyrian population centers existed as far north as the upper Sava River valley in what is now Slovenia. Illyrian friezes discovered near the present-day Slovenian city of Ljubljana depict ritual sacrifices, feasts, battles, sporting events, and other activities.
The Illyrian kingdom of Bardhyllis became a formidable local power in the fourth century B.C. He fought against Greek settlers and particularly Macedonia, a powerful Greek kingdom to the southeast. In 358 B.C., however, Macedonia's Phillip II, father of Alexander the Great, defeated the Illyrians and assumed control of their territory as far as Ohrid Lake. Alexander himself routed the forces of the Illyrian chieftain Clitus in 335 B.C. and Illyrian tribal leaders and soldiers accompanied Alexander on his conquest of Persia. After Alexander's death in 323 B.C., new Illyrian kingdoms were established. In 312 B.C., King Glaucius expelled the Greeks from Durrės. By the end of the third century, the Illyrian king Agron had united many independent cities and greatly expanded Illyrian territory. Agron made Shkodėr his capital and built an army and navy to protect Illyrian cities and ports. His kingdom, which stretched from Dalmatia in the north to the Vijosė River in the south, controlled parts of northern Albania, Montenegro, and Hercegovina. After Agron's death in 231 B.C., control of Illyria passed to his widow, Teuta. The queen ordered several attacks on neighboring states, but the pirate raids on merchant vessels in the Adriatic Sea made Teuta's realm an enemy of Rome. Roman troops defeated Teuta's army and seized the port of Epidamnos, which the Romans renamed Durrachium.
In the Illyrian Wars of 229 and 219 B.C., Rome overran the Illyrian settlements in the Neretva River valley. The Romans made new gains in 168 B.C., with Roman forces capturing Illyria's King Gentius at Shkodėr, which they called Scodra, and bringing him to Rome in 165 B.C. A century later, Julius Caesar and his rival Pompey fought their decisive battle near Durrės (Dyrrachium). Rome finally subjugated recalcitrant Illyrian tribes in the western Balkans during the reign of Emperor Tiberius in A.D. 9. The Romans divided the lands that constitute modern-day Albania among the provinces of Macedonia, Dalmatia, and Epirus.
For about four centuries, Roman rule brought the Illyrian-populated lands economic and cultural advancement and ended most of the enervating clashes among local tribes. The Illyrian mountain clansmen retained local authority but pledged allegiance to the emperor and acknowledged the authority of his envoys. During a yearly holiday honoring the Caesars, the Illyrian mountaineers swore loyalty to the emperor and reaffirmed their political rights. A form of this tradition, known as the kuvend, has survived to the present day in northern Albania.
The Romans established numerous military camps and colonies and completely Latinized the coastal cities. They also oversaw the construction of aqueducts and roads, including the extension of the Via Egnatia, an old Illyrian road and later famous military highway and trade route that led from Durrės through the Shkumbin River valley to Macedonia and Byzantium. Copper, asphalt, and silver were extracted from the mountains. The main exports were wine, cheese, oil, and fish from Scutari Lake and Ohrid Lake. Imports included tools, metalware, luxury goods, and other manufactured articles. Apollonia became a cultural center, and Julius Caesar himself sent his nephew, later the Emperor Augustus, to study there.
Illyrians distinguished themselves as warriors in the Roman legions and made up a significant portion of the Praetorian Guard. Several Roman emperors born in the Balkans are claimed by Albanians to be of Illyrian origin, including Gaius Decius, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian, Probus, Diocletian, and Constantine the Great.
Christianity came to Illyrian-populated lands in the first century A.D. Saint Paul wrote that he preached in the Roman province of Illyricum, and tradition holds that he visited Durrės. In 379, under emperor Theodosius I, as part of the Prefecture of Illyricum Orientale, the southern region was divided into three provinces: Epirus Vetus, with capital at Nicopolis, Epirus Nova (also known as 'Illyria Graeca') , with capital at Dyrrachion (modern Durrės), and Praevalitania, with capital at Shkodėr. Each city formed an archdiocese.
When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in A.D. 395, Illyria east of the Drinus River (Drina between Bosnia and Serbia), including the lands that now form Albania, were administered by the Eastern Empire but were ecclesiastically dependent on Rome. In A.D. 732, a Byzantine emperor, Leo III the Isaurian, subordinated the area to the patriarchate of Constantinople. For centuries thereafter, the Albanian lands became an arena for the ecclesiastical struggle between Rome and Constantinople. Remaining under Roman influence, most Albanians living in the mountainous north maintained their Roman Catholicism, whereas in the southern and central regions, the majority became Orthodox while forging closer links with Greek peoples to the south.
After the formation of the Slav principality of Dioclia (modern Montenegro), the metropolitan see of Bar was created in 1089, and dioceses in northern Albania (Shkodėr, Ulcinj) became its suffragans. Starting in 1019, Albanian dioceses of the Byzantine rite were suffragans of the independent Archdiocese of Ohrid until Dyrrachion and Nicopolis, were re-established as metropolitan sees. Thereafter, only the dioceses in inner Albania (Elbasan, Krujė) remained attached to Ohrid. In the 13th century during the Venetian occupation, the Latin Archdiocese of Durrės was founded.
Barbarian invasions and Early Middle Ages
The fall of the Western Roman Empire and the age of great migrations brought radical changes to the Balkan Peninsula and the Illyrian people. Barbarian tribesmen overran many rich Roman cities, destroying the existing social and economic order and leaving the great Roman aqueducts, coliseums, temples, and roads in ruins. The Illyrians gradually disappeared as a distinct people from the Balkans, replaced by the Bulgars, Serbs, Croats and Albanians. In the late Middle Ages, new waves of invaders swept over the Albanian-populated lands.
Thanks to their protective mountains, close-knit tribal society, and sheer pertinacity, however, the Albanian people developed their distinctive identity and language. Indeed, Albania's ancient communities evolved into fiercely independent clans. Albania remained an isolated place where landowning families ruled over large, private domains. Small principalities developed near port cities and in fertile river valleys. In the mountains, the Albanian clans fought for territory and for scarce natural resources.
In the fourth century, barbarian tribes began to prey upon the Roman Empire, and the fortunes of the Illyrian-populated lands sagged. The Germanic Goths and Asiatic Huns were the first to arrive, invading in mid-century; the Avars attacked in A.D. 570; and the Slavic Serbs and Croats overran Illyrian-populated areas in the early seventh century.
For a time, southern Illyricum remained an important source of manpower for the imperial army. Most of the reconquests in the western Mediterranean were achieved by troops from the southern Balkans. The security of these homelands was now based on local strongholds, either new or refurbished. The network of small forts, whose construction would have been a burden on local communities, represented a passive defense from a basis of limited control over the countryside. In Old and New Epirus, 50 existing forts were repaired, but according to Procopius in his Secret History, the region was ravaged almost every year of Justinian's reign by Huns and Slavs, causing many Roman casualties and so much destruction that the area was deserted. The refortifications had proven insufficient.
With the eventual collapse of Illyricum, the condition of the region worsened. There seems to have been a collapse of the inland towns which had arisen in the Hellenistic period, while the more secure coastal cities continued to enjoy a relatively prosperous existence. Some inland places were protected with the latest type of defenses, including Scampis (Elbasan) on the Via Egnatia and Vig near Shkodėr. The passage of the Visigoths and Ostrogoths through the area caused the building of several new hill-fortresses, such as Sarda overlooking the Drin River, sometime after the 5th century. The population of this area were Latin-speaking provincials, in the interior mainly of Illyrian origin, but more cosmopolitan in the coastal towns.
The dispersal of Slavs in the southern Balkans following the unsuccessful siege of Thessalonika in 586 led to an occupation of Praevalitania and the region south of the Shkumbin, a distribution indicated by place-names of Slav origin. During the 7th and 8th centuries Durrės and the coast remained under imperial control, but the old cities of Lezhė and Shkodėr sank to within their acropolis. This is due in large part to the wholesale withrdrawal of Byzantine forces from the Balkans to reinforce the Middle Eastern provinces in 620, leaving Albania to fend for itself.
The key evidence for the population of this time is the Komani-Krujė group of cemeteries centered on Durrės, town-based and Christian. These cemeteries went out of use by the early 9th century when the new military command theme of Durrės came into existence in 862. They indicate the survival of a Romanized population of Illyrian origin driven out by Slav settlements further north, the Romanoi mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus. This interpretation is supported by the concentration of Latin place-names around the Shkodėr Lake, in the Drin and Fan valleys and along the road from Lezhė to Ulpiana in Kosovo, with some in the Black Drin and Mat valleys, a distribution limited on the south by the line of the Via Egnatia.
Another population to the south is evidenced by an early tumulus culture, and this is considered to represent the Albėri of the tenth and eleventh centuries, for whom the region of Arbėri (Gheg Albėni), north of Tirana between the Mat and Erzen rivers, is named. A third region indicates movement from high altitudes between the Shkumbin and Mat, concentrated between Elbasan and Krujė, into the plain of the Mat - a likely place for Arbanon. However, the main brunt of the northern mountaineer population probably came from the northern Albanian mountains, in Dukagjin and Mirditė, and the mountains of Drin, descending into the lowlands of western Albania, the Black Drin river valley, and into parts of Old Serbia during the summer.
In the 8th and 9th century, the Bulgars conquered much of the Balkan Peninsula and extended their domain to the lowlands of what is now central and southern Albania. The Bulgarian tsar Simeon I defeated the Byzantine army and established colonies along the Adriatic seacoast. Samuil, conquered Durrės, the former Roman port of Durrachium that still traded with cities in Greece and Italy. Many Illyrians fled from coastal areas to the mountains, exchanging a sedentary peasant existence for the itinerant life of the herdsman. Other Illyrians intermarried with the conquerors and eventually assimilated. In general, the invaders destroyed or weakened Roman and Byzantine cultural centers in the lands that would become Albania.
But the Byzantine emperor Basil II, nicknamed the Bulgar-slayer, counterattacked in 1014. The Byzantine forces defeated the Bulgarian army, seized the Adriatic ports, and conquered Epirus, which lies south of Albania. These territories were far from the Byzantine capital at Constantinople, however, and Byzantine authority in the area gradually weakened. While the clans and landowners controlled the countryside, the people of the coastal cities fought against Byzantine rule.
It was during this period of rebellion and turmoil that the name Albania arose, the first historical mention of Albania and Albanians was in 1081, in an account of resistance by Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus to a Vatican-backed Norman fleet.
Late Middle Ages
The first historical mention of Albania and the Albanians as such appears in an account of the resistance by a Byzantine emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, to an offensive by the Vatican-backed Normans from southern Italy into the Albanian-populated lands in 1081. In the same year, the weakness of the Byzantine empire let northern Albania slip under Serbian control.
The ports of Albania remained a valuable prize for several rival nations. The Normans, who ruled a kingdom in southern Italy, conquered Durrės in 1081. The Byzantine reconquest of 1083 required the help of Venice, which soon gained commercial privileges in Albanian towns as a reward. This wealthy trading city in northern Italy built fortresses and trading posts in Albania's lowlands to bolster its power. The Normans returned in 1107 and again in 1185 but were quickly expelled.
Again during the late medieval period, invaders ravaged the Illyrian-inhabited regions of the Balkans. Norman, Venetian, and Byzantine fleets attacked by sea. Bulgar, Serb, and Byzantine forces came overland and held the region in their grip for years. Clashes between rival clans and intrusions by the Serbs produced hardship that triggered an exodus from the region southward into Greece, including Thessaly, the Peloponnese, and the Aegean Islands.
Divided into warring clans, the Albanians were unable to prevent the occupation of their country by outsiders. The Serbs occupied parts of northern and eastern Albania toward the end of the 12th century and conquered Shkodėr in the 1180s. In 1204, after Western crusaders sacked Constantinople, Venice won nominal control over central and southern Albania and the Epirus region of northern Greece and took possession of Durrės. A prince from the overthrown Byzantine ruling family, Michael Comnenus, made alliances with Albanian chiefs and drove the Venetians from lands that now make up southern Albania and northern Greece, and in 1204 he set up an independent Byzantine principality, the Despotate of Epirus, with Janina (now Ioannina) as its capital. His successor, Theodore, conciliated the Albanian chiefs in 1216, repulsed an attack on Durrės in 1217 by western Crusaders and Venetian ships, and turned his armies eastward before being defeated in 1230 by the revived Bulgarian Empire of Ivan Asen II.
In 1246 after a successful military campaign against the Second Bulgarian Empire, the restored Byzantine Empire pushed to the north Albanian coast, where the Albanian tribes were briefly weaned away from their alliance with the Despotate of Epirus. The Byzantines gained Durrės in 1256 but lost it in 1257 to Manfred, king of the Two Sicilies, who also acquired Vlorė and Berat in 1268. In 1272 his successor, Charles I of Anjou, the ruler of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, attacked from his base in southern Italy. Charles conquered Durrės and much of central Albania; he called his new domain the Albanian kingdom that would last until 1336.
Internal power struggles further weakened the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century, and by this time Serbia, a realm to the northeast, had already established a dynasty at Shkodėr to take control of northern Albania. In the mid-1300s, Stefan Duan, a Serbian king, conquered much of the western Balkans, including all of Albania except Durrės. Duan drew up a legal code for his realm and crowned himself "Emperor of the Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Albanians." But in 1355, while leading an attack against Constantinople, Duan suddenly died. His empire quickly broke apart, and his lands were divided among Serb and Albanian noblemen. Strong families came to the fore, especially the Balshas in the north and the Thopias in the center. Southern Albania fell to a Serbian chieftain, Thomas Preliubovich, in 1367. He was succeeded in 1385 by a Florentine noble.
The constant warfare in Albania caused poverty and deadly famines. Beginning in the 14th century, many Albanians left their troubled homeland and migrated southward into the mountains of Epirus and to the cities and islands of Greece. Albanian exiles also built communities in southern Italy and on the island of Sicily.
Last edited by Macedonia; 07-23-2009 at 01:54 PM.
Ottoman supremacy in the Balkan region began in 1385 with the Battle of Savra but was briefly interrupted in the 15th century, when Gjergj Kastrioti, an Albanian warrior known as Skanderbeg, allied with some Albanian chiefs and fought-off Turkish rule from 1443-1478 (although Kastrioti died in 1468). Kastrioti's strongholds included Kruja, Petrela and Berat. Upon the Ottomans' return, a large number of Albanians fled to Italy, Greece and Egypt and maintained their Arbėresh identity. Many Albanians won fame and fortune as soldiers, administrators, and merchants in far-flung parts of the Empire. As the centuries passed, however, Ottoman rulers lost the capacity to command the loyalty of local pashas, which threatened stability in the region. The Ottoman rulers of the nineteenth century struggled to shore up central authority, introducing reforms aimed at harnessing unruly pashas and checking the spread of nationalist ideas. Albania would be a part of the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century.
The Ottoman Empire did permit the Albanian population to teach the Albanian language in its schools as well as any minority living in the Ottoman Empire. One can see many Ephemera from those days written 5 languages...
Birth of nationalism
By the 1870s, the Sublime Porte's reforms aimed at checking the Ottoman Empire's disintegration had clearly failed. The image of the "Turkish yoke" had become fixed in the nationalist mythologies and psyches of the empire's Balkan peoples, and their march toward independence quickened. The Albanians, because of the higher degree of Islamic influence, their internal social divisions, and the fear that they would lose their Albanian-populated lands to the emerging Balkan states--Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece were the last of the Balkan peoples to desire division from the Ottoman Empire.
Albanian leaders formed the League of Prizren in 1878 with the backing of sultan Abdulhamid II, through which they pressed for territorial autonomy and defending their lands from the onslaught of their neighbors. After decades of unrest a major uprising exploded in the Albanian-populated Ottoman territories in 1912, on the eve of the First Balkan War. When Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece laid claim to Albanian lands during the war, the Albanians declared independence.
The European Great Powers endorsed an independent Albania in 1913, after the Second Balkan War leaving outside the Albanian border more than half of the Albanian population and their lands, that were partitioned between Montenegro,Serbia and Greece. They were assisted by Aubrey Herbert, a British MP who passionately advocated their cause in London. As a result, Herbert was offered the crown of Albania, but was dissuaded by the British prime minister, H. H. Asquith, from accepting. Instead the offer went to William of Wied, a German prince who accepted and became sovereign of the new Principality of Albania.
The young state, however, collapsed within weeks of the outbreak of World War I. Before this, Albanians rebelled against the German prince and declared the independence of their country from the jurisdiction of the great powers and established throughout the country a Muslim regime under the leadership of a local warrior, Haji Qamil. This situation did not last for a long time as World War I erupted and Albania was invaded by Montenegro, Serbia, Austria-Hungary, Greece, Italy, and France. After World War I, Albania was still under the occupation of Serbian and Italian forces. It was a rebellion of the respective populations of Northern and Southern Albania that pushed back the Serbs and Italians behind the recognized borders of Albania.
World War I and its effects
Albania achieved a degree of statehood after World War I, in part because of the diplomatic intercession of the United States. The country suffered from a debilitating lack of economic and social development, however, and its first years of independence were fraught with political instability. Unable to survive a predatory environment without a foreign protector, Albania became the object of tensions between Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (the later Yugoslavia), which both sought to dominate the country.
With Yugoslav military assistance, Ahmed Bey Zogu, the son of a clan Chieftain, emerged victorious from an internal political power struggle in late 1924. Zogu, however, quickly turned his back on Belgrade and looked instead to Benito Mussolini's modernist Italy for patronage. Under him, Albania joined the Italian coalition against Yugoslavia of Kingdom of Italy, Hungary, and Bulgaria in 1924-1927. After the United Kingdom's and France's political intervention in 1927 with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the alliance crumbled. In 1928 the country's parliament declared Albania a kingdom and Zogu King. King Zog remained a conservative, but initiated reforms, for example, in an attempt at social modernisation the custom of adding one's region to one's name was dropped. Zog also made donations of land to international organisations for the building of schools and hospitals . Mussolini's forces overthrew King Zog when Italy invaded Albania in 1939.
World War II and the rise of communism
The National Liberation War of the Albanian people started with the people's resistance against fascist aggression on April 7, 1939 and ended in November 1944. During the antifascist national liberation war, the Albanian people fought against Italy and Germany, which occupied the country. In the 1939-1941 period, the antifascist resistance was led by the National Front nationalist groups and later by the Communist Party. But the Albanian communists supported the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, and did not participate in the antifascist struggle until Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The communists turned the so-called war of liberation into a civil war, and committed crimes and used terror against their people. The Communists were supported by Yugoslavia, on the condition that Albania would return Kosovo to Serbia after the war.
After having taken over power of the country, the Albanian communists launched a tremendous terror campaign, shooting intellectuals and arresting thousands of innocent people. Some died due to suffering torture. The Albanian communist partisans that pretended to have also liberated Kosovo, comitted crimes and killed several thousand Kosovars.
Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu emerged as the most communist criminal leaders in Albania. They began to concentrate primarily on securing and maintaining their power base by killing all their political adversaries, and secondarily on preserving Albania's independence and reshaping the country according to the precepts of Stalinism so they could remain in power forever. Throughout all rule, Hoxha engineered an elaborate the cult of personality that elevated him to the status of a blood-thirsty idol. When he died in 1985, grandiose and ridiculous mourning ceremonies were organized, where the people was constrained to cry.
Also, after the die of the dictator, the regime don't change and the terror was exercised in the going years, without any amelioration. The country continued to stand closed and isolated of the Europe and the other west country. The prisons and the camps of deportation are full of innocent peoples. Who attempted to pass the border was killed. The economy falled in degrade, without any possibility of resumption.
Soon after Hoxha's death, voices for change emerged in the Albanian society and the government began to seek closer ties with the West in order to improve economic conditions, and initial democratic reforms were introduced including multi-party elections in 1991. Pursuant to a 1991 interim basic law, Albanians ratified a constitution in 1998, establishing a democratic system of government based upon the rule of law and guaranteeing the protection of fundamental human rights. But the question was other. The power fall on hand of ancient communists, with the force of weapons, that blockaded all reforms and give pretext to rise the corruption. The private property don't are recognized and returned to their owner. The political prisoners don't are compensated for their years of condemnation. The Europeans don't intervene to oblige the last governments to apply the reforms on that sense.
Since 1992 Albania has been seeking a closer relationship with the West. In 1992 the Democratic Party of Albania took control of the country through democratic elections. What followed were deliberate programs of economic and democratic reform, but Albanian inexperience with capitalism led to the proliferation of pyramid schemes - which were not banned due to the corruption of the government. Anarchy in late 1996 to early 1997, as a result of the collapse of these pyramid schemes, alarmed the world and prompted international mediation.
In 1995, Albania was accepted into the Council of Europe and requested membership in NATO. The workforce of Albania has continued to emigrate to Western countries, especially Greece and Italy.
In the 1997 unrest in Albania the general elections of June 1997 brought the Socialists and their allies to power. President Berisha resigned from his post, and Socialists elected Rexhep Meidani as president of Albania. Albanian Socialist Party Chairman Fatos Nano was elected Prime Minister, a post which he held until October 1998, when he resigned as a result of the tense situation created in the country after the assassination of Azem Hajdari, a prominent leader of the Democratic Party. Pandeli Majko was then elected Prime Minister, and he served in this post until November 1999, when he was replaced by Ilir Meta. Albania approved its constitution through a popular referendum which was held in November 1998, but which was boycotted by the opposition. The general local elections of October 2000 marked the loss of control of the Democrats over the local governments and a victory for the Socialists.
Although Albania has made strides toward democratic reform and maintaining the rule of law, serious deficiencies in the electoral code remain to be addressed, as demonstrated in the June 2001 parliamentary elections. International observers judged the 2001 elections to be acceptable, but the Union for Victory Coalition, the second-largest vote recipient, disputed the results and boycotted parliament until January 31, 2002. The Socialists re-elected Ilir Meta as Prime Minister in August 2001, a post which he held till February 2002, when he resigned due to party infighting. Pandeli Majko was re-elected Prime Minister in February 2002. In the June of 2005, the democratic coalition formed a guvernement with prime minuster Sali Berisha. After the president Alfred Moisiu, was elected Bamir Topi, 2006 until 2010.
Despite the political situation, the economy of Albania grew at an estimated 5% in 2007. The Albanian lek has strengthened from 143 Lekė to the US dollar in 2000 to 92 Lekė in 2007. In 2008 Albania officially joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
1. ^ The Balkans: from Constantinople to Communcism. "The Language of the Thracians"
2. ^ Centum and Satem languages
3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw, editors. date= 1994. ""The Ancient Illyrians," Albania: A Country Study". . http://countrystudies.us/albania/14.htm. Retrieved on 9 April 2008.
4. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia - Durazzo
5. ^ a b c d e f g h Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw, editors. date= 1994. ""The Barbarian Invasions and Middle Ages," Albania: A Country Study". . http://countrystudies.us/albania/15.htm. Retrieved on 9 April 2008.
6. ^ a b c Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw, editors. date= 1994. ""NATIONAL AWAKENING AND THE BIRTH OF ALBANIA, 1876-1918," Albania: A Country Study". . http://countrystudies.us/albania/20.htm. Retrieved on 9 April 2008.
7. ^ a b c d Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw, editors. date= 1994. ""Interwar Albania," Albania: A Country Study". . http://countrystudies.us/albania/24.htm. Retrieved on 9 April 2008.
8. ^ "Communist Albania">Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw, editors. date= 1994. ""Communist Albania," Albania: A Country Study". . http://countrystudies.us/albania/34.htm. Retrieved on 9 April 2008.
* Bushkoff, Leonard. "Albania, history of", Collier's Encyclopedia. vol. 1. NY: P.F. Collier, L.P., 1996.
* Oxford Encyclopedic World Atlas 5th Edition, Ed. Keith Lyle, Copyright 2000, Printed in Spain
* Rodgers, Mary M. (ed.). Albania...in Pictures. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1995.
* 2003 U.S. Department of State Background Note of Albania
* Afrim Krasniqi: The End of Albania's Siberia. Tirana 1998.
* Afrim Krasniqi: Civil Society in Albania. Tirana 2004.
* Afrim Krasniqi: Political Parties in Albania 1920-2006.Tirana 2006.
* Antonello Biagini, Storia dell'Albania contemporanea, Bompiani, 2005
* History of Albania
* Books about Albania and the Albanian people (scribd.com) Reference of books (and some journal articles) about Albania and the Albanian people; their history, language, origin, culture, literature, etc. Public domain books, fully accessible online.
Origin of the Albanians
The origin of the Albanians has been for some time a matter of dispute among historians. Most of them conclude that they are descendants of populations of the prehistoric Balkans, such as the Illyrians, Dacians or Thracians. These peoples are themselves practically unknown, and are blend into one another in Thraco-Illyrian and Daco-Thracian contact zones even in antiquity.
The Albanians first appear in historical records in Byzantine sources of the late 11th century. At this point, they are already fully Christianized and very little evidence of pre-Christian Albanian culture survives and Albanian mythology and folklore as it presents itself is notoriously syncretized from various sources, especially showing Greek influence.
Regarding the classification of the Albanian language, it forms a separate branch of Indo-European, belonging to the satem group, and its late attestation, the first records dating to the 15th century, makes it difficult for historical linguistics to make confident statements on its genesis.
Studies in genetic anthropology suggest that the Albanians share the same ancestry as most other European peoples.
Place of origin
The place where the Albanian language was formed is uncertain, but analysis has suggested that it was in a mountainous region, rather than in a plain or seacoast: while the words for plants and animals characteristic of mountainous regions are entirely original, the names for fish and for agricultural activities (such as ploughing) are borrowed from other languages.
It can also be presumed that the Albanians did not live in Dalmatia, because the Latin influence over Albanian is of Eastern Romance origin, rather than of Dalmatian origin. This influence includes Latin words exhibiting idiomatic expressions and changes in meaning found only in Eastern Romance and not in other Romance languages. Adding to this the many words found in Romanian with Albanian cognates (see Eastern Romance substratum), it may be assumed that Romanians and Albanians lived in close proximity at one time. Generally, the areas where this might have happened are considered to be regions varying from Transylvania, what is now Eastern Serbia (the region around Naissus), Kosovo and Northern Albania.
However, most agricultural terms in Romanian are of Latin origin, but not the terms related to city activities indicating that Romanians were an agricultural people in the low plains, as opposed to Albanians, who were originally shepherds in the highlands.
Some scholars even explain the gap between the Bulgarian and Serbian languages by postulating an Albanian-Romanian buffer-zone east of the Morava river. Although an intermediary Serbian dialect exists, it was formed only later, after the Serbian expansion to the east.
Another argument that sustains a northern origin of the Albanians is the relatively small number of words of Greek origin, although Southern Illyria was neighboring the Classical Greek civilization and there were different Greek colonies such as Epidamnus and Apolonia along Illyrian coastline.
While the eponymous Albania for the general region inhabited by the Albanians does hark back to the Roman era, and possibly an Illyrian tribe, the name was lost within the Albanian language, the Albanian endonym being Shqiptar, from the term for the Albanian language, shqip, a derivation of the verb shqipoj "to speak clearly", perhaps ultimately a loan from Latin excipio.
In the 2nd century BC, the History of the World written by Polybius, mentions a city named Arbon in present day central Albania. The people who lived there were called Arbanios and Arbanitai. In the 1st century AD, Pliny mentions an Illyrian tribe named Olbonenses. In the 2nd century AD, Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria, drafted a map of remarkable significance for the history of Illyria. This map shows the city of Albanopolis (located Northeast of Durrės). Ptolemy also mentions the Illyrian tribe named Albanoi, who lived around this city. In the 6th century AD, Stephanus of Byzantium in his important geographical dictionary entitled Ethnica (Εθνικά) mention a population called abroi from Adria Taulantii and a city in Illyria called Arbon, with its inhabitants called arbonios and arbonites.
In the 12th to 13th centuries, Byzantine writers use the words Arbanon for a principality in the region of Kruja.
Byzantine references to "Albanians"
* In History written in 1079-1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates referred to the Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the duke of Dyrrachium. It is disputed, however, whether that refers to Albanians in an ethnic sense.
* The earliest Serbian source mentioning "Albania" (Ar'banas') is a charter by Stefan Nemanja, dated 1198, which lists the region of Pilot (Pulatum) among the parts Nemanja conquered from Albania (ѡд Арьбанась Пилоть, "de Albania Pulatum").
* 1285 in Dubrovnik (Ragusa) a document states: "Audivi unam vocem clamantem in monte in lingua albanesca" (I heard a voice crying in the mountains in the Albanian language). It is unclear, however, whether this sentence refers to the Albanian language (or to which one of its two dialects), or whether it denotes another language spoken in the geographical or political region of Albania, such as Slavic, Greek or Italian.
* Arbanasi people are recorded as being 'half-believers' (non-Orthodox Christians) and speaking their own language in the Fragment of Origins of Nations between 1000-1018 by an anonymous in a Bulgarian text of the 11th century.
* Arbanitai of Arbanon are recorded in an account by Anna Comnena of the troubles in that region during the reign of her father Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118) by the Normans.
The Albanians were Christianised centuries before their first appearance in history, perhaps as early as in the 4th century. The earliest records of given names of Albanian individuals are found in Byzantine sources of the late 11th to 12th century. All Albanians in this period already bear unambiguously Christian names. The name of Komiskortes, an Albanian ally of the Byzantines in the Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081) is in fact a corrupt rendition of a Byzantine court title, κομης κορτης (from Latin comes curtis).
Around 1200, the names of members of the ruling family of Arbanon are recorded as Progon (Προγονος), Gjin (Ιωαννης, i.e. John) and Demetrios (Δημητριος), all derived from Greek. In 1253, the vassall in Arbanos has a name of Slavic origin, Goulamos (from golem' "great").
It is only in the mid 19th century national awakening and literary revival (Rilindja) that given names taken from the native Albanian vocabulary begin to replace the loaned Greek and Biblical names. Examples are mostly female given names, such as Lule "flower". This tendency becomes extreme in Communist Albania after 1944, where it was the regime's declared doctrine to oust Christian or Islamic given names. Ideologically acceptable names were listed in the Fjalor me emra njerėzish (1982). These could be native Albanian words like Flutur "butterfly", ideologically communist ones like Proletare, or "Illyrian" ones compiled from epigraphy, e.g. from the necropolis at Dyrrhachion excavated in 1958-60.
The word Shqiptar, by which Albanians today refer to themselves since the Ottoman times, was recorded for the first time in the 14th century, and it appears to have been a family name (Schipudar, Scapuder, Schepuder) in the city of Drivast.
First attestation of the Albanian language
The first document in the Albanian language (as spoken in the region around Mat) was recorded in 1462 by Paulus Angelus (whose name was later Albanized to Pal Engjėll), the archbishop of the catholic Archdiocese of Durazzo.
While Albanian (shqip) ethnogenesis clearly postdates the Roman era, an ultimate composition from prehistoric populations is widely held plausible, already because of the isolated position of the Albanian language within Indo-European.
The three chief candidates considered by historians are Illyrian, Dacian, or Thracian, though there were other non-Greek groups in the ancient Balkans, including Paionians (who lived north of Macedon) and Agrianians. The Illyrian language and the Thracian language are generally considered to have been on different Indo-European branches. Not much is left of the old Illyrian, Dacian or Thracian tongues, making it difficult to match Albanian with them.
There is debate whether the Illyrian language was a centum or a satem language. It is also uncertain whether Illyrians spoke a homogeneous language or rather a collection of different but related languages that were wrongly considered the same language by ancient writers. Some of those tribes, along with their language, are no longer considered Illyrian. The same is sometimes said of the Thracian language. For example, based on the toponyms and other lexical items, Thracian and Dacian were probably different but related languages.
In the early half of the 20th century, many scholars thought that Thracian and Illyrian were one language branch, but due to the lack of evidence, most linguists are skeptical and now reject this idea, and usually place them on different branches.
The origins debate is often politically charged, and to be conclusive more evidence is needed. Such evidence unfortunately may not be easily forthcoming because of a lack of sources. Scholars are beginning to move away from a single-origin scenario of Albanian ethnogenesis. The area of what is now Macedonia and Albania was a melting pot of Thracian, Illyrian and Greek cultures in ancient times.
The theory that Albanians were related to the Illyrians was proposed for the first time by a German historian in 1774. The scholars who advocate an Illyrian origin are numerous. There are two variants of the theory: one is that the Albanians are the descendants of indigenous Illyrian tribes laying in what is now Albania. The other is that the Albanians are the descendants of Illyrian tribes laying north of the Jireček Line and probably north or northeast of Albania.
The arguments for the Illyrian-Albanian connection have been as follows:
* The national name Albania is derived from Albanoi, an Illyrian tribe mentioned by Ptolemy about 150 A.D.
* From what we know from the old Balkan populations territories (Greeks, Illyrians, Thracians, Dacians), Albanian language is spoken in the same region where Illyrian was spoken in ancient times.
* There is no evidence of any major migration into Albanian territory since the records of Illyrian occupation.
* Many of what remain as attested words to Illyrian have an Albanian explanation and also a number of Illyrian lexical items (toponyms, hydronyms, oronyms, anthroponyms, etc.) have been linked to Albanian.
* Borrowed words (eg Gk (NW) "device, instrument" mākhanį > *mokėr "millstone" Gk (NW) drįpanon > *drapėr "sickle" etc) from Greek language date back before the Christian era and are mostly of Doric dialect of Greek language, which means that the ancestors of the Albanians were in Northwestern part of Ancient Greek civilization and probably borrowed them from Greek cities (Dyrrachium, Apollonia, etc) in the Illyrian territory, colonies whic belonged to the Doric division of Greek, or from the contacts in Epirus area.
* Borrowed words from Latin (eg Latin aurum > ar "gold", gaudium > gaz "gas" etc) date back before the Christian era, while Illyrians in the todays Albanian territory were the first from the old Balkan populations to be conquered by Romans in 229 - 167 B.C., Thracians were conquered in 45 A.D. and Dacians in 106 A.D.
* The ancient Illyrian place-names of the region have achieved their current form following Albanian phonetic rules e.g. Durrachion > Durrės (with the Albanian initial accent) Aulona > Vlonė~Vlorė (with rhotacism) Scodra > Shkodra etc.
* The characteristics of the Albanian dialects Tosk and Geg in the treatment of the native and loanwords from other languages, have lead to the conclusion that the dialectal split preceded the Slavic migration to the Balkans which means that in that period (5th to 6th century AD) Albanians were occupying pretty much the same area around Shkumbin river which straddled the Jirecek line.
To propagate the connection, the Albanian communist regime adopted a policy of naming people with "Illyrian" names. The reverses of three Albanian coins depict Illyrian motives: an Illyrian helmet in the 50 lekė coin issued in 2003, king Gentius in the 50 lekė coin issued in 1996 and 2000, and queen Teuta in the 100 lekė coin issued in 2000. Gentius is also depicted on the obverse of the 2000 lekė banknote, issued in 2008.
Arguments against Illyrian origin
* The theory of an Illyrian origin for the Albanians is weakened by the lack of any Albanian names before the 12th century and the absence of Greek influence that would surely be present if the Albanians inhabited their homeland conitnuously since ancient times.
* The lack of clear archaeological evidence for a continuous settlement of an Albanian-speaking population since Illyrian times. For example, while Albanians scholars maintain that the Komani-Kruja burial sites support the Illyrian-Albanian continuity theory, other scholars reject this and consider that the remains indicate a population of Romanized Illyrians who spoke a Romanic language.
Thracian or Dacian origin
Aside from an Illyrian origin, a Dacian or Thracian origin is also hypothesized. There are a number of factors taken as evidence for a Dacian or Thracian origin of Albanians. Schramm (1994) suggests an origin of the Albanians in the Bessoi, a Thracian tribe that was Christianized as early as during the 4th century. Schramm argues that such an early Christianization would explain the otherwise surprising virtual absence of any traces of a pre-Christian pagan religion among the Albanians as they appear in history during the Late Middle Ages.
Albanian shares several hundred common words with Eastern Romance, these Eastern Romance words being part of the pre-Roman substrate (see: Eastern Romance substratum) and not loans; Albanian and Eastern Romance also share grammatical features (see Balkan language union) and phonological features, such as the common phonemes or the rhotacism of "n".
Linguists such as Vladimir Georgiev have concluded that the phonology of the Dacian language is close to that of Albanian. He suggests that Rumanian is a fully Romanised Dacian language, whereas Albanian is only partly so. However, the degree of this closeness has been criticized and challenged by other linguists, and it is based on incomplete evidence.
Cities whose names follow Albanian phonetic laws - such as Shtip (tip), Shkupi (Skopje) and Ni - lie in the areas once inhabited by Thracians, Dardani, and Paionians; however, Illyrians also inhabited or may have inhabited these regions, including Naissus. Hemp for example states that Naissus may as well be considered Illyrian territory.
There are some close correspondences between Thracian and Albanian words. However, as with Illyrian, most Dacian and Thracian words and names have not been closely linked with Albanian (v. Hemp). Also, many Dacian and Thracian placenames were made out of joined names (such as Dacian Sucidava or Thracian Bessapara; see List of Dacian cities and List of ancient Thracian cities), while the modern Albanian language does not allow this.
There are no records that indicate a migration of Dacians into present day Albania. However, Thracian tribes such as the Bryges were present in Albania near Durrės since before the Roman conquest (v. Hemp). An argument against a Thracian origin (which does not apply to Dacian) is that most Thracian territory was on the Greek half of the Jirecek Line, aside from varied Thracian populations stretching from Thrace into Albania, passing through Paionia and Dardania and up into Moesia; it is considered that most Thracians were Hellenized in Thrace (v. Hoddinott) and Macedonia.
Apart from linguistic theory that Albanian is more akin to eastern Romance (i.e. Dacian substrate) than western Roman (with Illyrian substrate- such as Dalmatian), Georgiev also notes that marine words in Albanian are borrowed from other languages, suggesting that Albanians were not originally a coastal people (as the Illyrians were). The scarcity of Greek loan words also supports a Dacian theory - if Albanians originated in the region of Illyria there would surely be a heavy Greek influence.
The Dacian theory could also be consistent with the known patterns of barbarian incursions. Although there is no documentation of an Albanian migration (in fact there is no documentation of Albanians per se until the 11th century) the Morava valley region adjacent to Dacia was most heavily affected by migrations, thus making it plausible for its indigenous population to flee to, for example, the relative safety of mountainous northern Albania.
Different genetic studies has been made on European population some of them including current Albanian population. On of the first studies was that of (Belledi et al. (2000)) where they claimed the European ancestry of the current Albanian population Later more genetical studies have been made regarding the European populations and this improved our knowledge on the actual status of the current Albanian population.
Prehistoric markers of Y-DNA Haplogroup I in the current Albanian population are represented by (2.8%) belonging to I1a* M253, (17.0%) belonging to I1b*P37, (3.8%)belonging to I1c M223 with a hb=0.581 (Rootsi et al. (2004))
Other Neolithic markers regarding Haplogroup J in the current Albanian population are represented as (14.3%) belonging to J-M102/M12, (3.6%) belonging to J-M67, (1.8%) belonging to J-M92 and (2.2%) belonging to J-M267. The current Albanian population shows the highest level of J-M102/M12 at 14.3% followed by the North -Center Italy with 9.6% and Greeks with 6.5% (Semino et al. (2004)).
The Neolithic markers of Haplogroup E in current Albanian population it are entirely represented (100%) by the E-M78 (Semino et al. (2004)) while in turn the E-M78 in current Albanian population is entirely represented (100%) by E-V13 Cruciani et al. (2007). Also the current Albanian population has the highest level of Hg E and E-V13 respectivly in the Balkan region (Semino et al. (2004)), Cruciani et al. (2007).
The intepretation of the data has been made also in the above mentioned studies but also in other studies. The subgroup of J-M102/M12 in the study of (Semino et al. (2004)) was suggested that it is related with the movement of the population from the souther Balkans:
Whereas J-M67* and J-M92 show higher frequencies and variances in Europe (0.40 and 0.32, respectively) and in Turkey (0.32 and 0.30, respectively [Cinnioglu et al. 2004]) than in the Middle East (0.17 and 0.09, respectively), J-M12(M102) shows its maximum frequency in the Balkans. In spite of the relative high value of variance of this haplogroup in Turkey (Cinnioglu et al. 2004)which, however, could be due to multiple arrivalsthe pattern of distribution and the network of J-M12(M102) are consistent with its diffusion in Europe from the southern Balkans. (Semino et al. (2004))
The haplogroup J2b (J-M12) is frequently also discussed in connection to E-V13, as a haplogroup with a seemingly very similar distribution and pre-history especially at Cruciani et al. (2007). He sugested that E-V13 originated in situ in the Balkans:
Haplogroup E-V13 is the only E-M78 lineage that reaches the highest frequencies out of Africa. In fact, it represents about 85% of the European E-M78 chromosomes with a clinal pattern of frequency distribution from the southern Balkan peninsula (19.6%) to western Europe (2.5%). The same haplogroup is also present at lower frequencies in Anatolia (3.8%), the Near East (2.0%), and the Caucasus (1.8%). In Africa, haplogroup E-V13 is rare, being observed only in northern Africa at a low frequency (0.9%)...The arrangement of E-V13 and J-M12 frequency surfaces appears to fit the expectations for a range expansion in an already populated territory (Klopfstein et al. 2006). ..Thus, the present work discloses a further level of complexity in the interpretation of the genetic landscape of southeastern Europe, this being to a large extent the consequence of a recent population increase in situ rather than the result of a mere flow of western Asian migrants in the early Neolithic.(Cruciani et al. (2007))
Cruciani et al. (2007)sugested that the population movement from the Balkans may have been as recent as 5300 years ago. The authors suggest that this in situ population increase in the Balkans is to be associated with the Balkan Bronze age, rather than an actual migratory movement of peoples from western Asia. In the next step, "the dispersion of the E-V13 and J-M12 haplogroups seems to have mainly followed the river waterways connecting the southern Balkans to north-central Europe".
These 2 haplogroups account for more than one-fourth of the chromosomes currently found in the southern Balkans, underlining the strong demographic impact of the expansion in the area. Our estimated coalescence age of about 4.5 ky for haplogroups E-V13 and J-M12 in Europe (and their CIs) would also exclude a demographic expansion associated with the introduction of agriculture from Anatolia and would place this event at the beginning of the Balkan Bronze Age, a period that saw strong demographic changes as clearly testified from archeological records (Childe 1957; Piggott 1965; Kristiansen 1998). (Cruciani et al. (2007))
However, another author Battaglia et al. (2008) propose that the E-M78* lineage ancestral to all modern E-V13 men moved rapidly out of a Southern Egyptian homeland, in the wetter conditions of the early Holocene; arrived in Europe with only Mesolithic technologies and then only subsequently integrated with Neolithic cultures which arrived later in the Balkans. They he suggest that the E-V13 sub-clade of E-M78 originated in situ in Europe, and proposed that the first major dispersal of E-V13 from the Balkans may have been in the direction of the Adriatic Sea with the Neolithic Impressed Ware culture often referred to as Impressa or Cardial.
In any case E-V13 is generally described in population genetics as one of the components of the European genetic composition which shows the contribution made by the populations who dispersed Neolithic technology. As such, it also represents a relatively recent genetic movement out of Africa into Eurasia, and has been described "a signal for a separate late-Pleistocene migration from Africa to Europe over Sinai ... which is not manifested in mtDNA haplogroup distributions".
An interesting study regarding old Balkan populations and their genetic affinities with current European populations has been carried out in 2004. This study was based in mtDNA polymorphisms (HVR I and HVR II sequences) on the skeletal remains of some old Thracian populations from SE of Romania, dating from the Bronze and Iron Age:
human fossil bones of 20 individuals dating about 3200-4100 years, from the Bronze Age, belonging to some cultures such as Tei, Monteoru and Noua were found in graves from some necropoles in SE of Romania, namely in Zimnicea, Smeeni, Candesti, Cioinagi-Balintesti, Gradistea-Coslogeni and Sultana-Malu Rosu.... and the human fossil bones and teeth of 27 individuals from the early Iron Age, dating from the 10th -7th century B.C. from the Hallstatt Era (the Babadag Culture), were found extremely SE of Romania near the Black Sea coast, in some settlements from Dobrogea, namely: Jurilovca, Satu Nou, Babadag, Niculitel and Enisala-Palanca.
After comparing this material with the present-day European population the authors concluded:
Computing the frequency of common point mutations of the present-day European population with the Thracian population has resulted that the Italian (7.9 %), the Albanian (6.3 %) and the Greek (5.8 %) have shown a bias of closer genetic kinship with the Thracian individuals than the Romanian and Bulgarian individuals (only 4.2%)..
1. ^ Mircea Eliade, Charles J. Adams, The Encyclopedia of religion, Macmillan, 1987, ISBN 9780029097007, p. 179.
2. ^ Michele Belledi, Estella S. Poloni, Rosa Casalotti, Franco Conterio, Ilia Mikerezi, James Tagliavini and Laurent Excoffier. "Maternal and paternal lineages in Albania and the genetic structure of Indo-European populations". European Journal of Human Genetics, July 2000, Volume 8, Number 7, pp. 480-486. "Mitochondrial DNA HV1 sequences and Y chromosome haplotypes (DYS19 STR and YAP) were characterized in an Albanian sample and compared with those of several other Indo-European populations from the European continent. No significant difference was observed between Albanians and most other Europeans, despite the fact that Albanians are clearly different from all other Indo-Europeans linguistically. We observe a general lack of genetic structure among Indo-European populations for both maternal and paternal polymorphisms, as well as low levels of correlation between linguistics and genetics, even though slightly more significant for the Y chromosome than for mtDNA. Altogether, our results show that the linguistic structure of continental Indo-European populations is not reflected in the variability of the mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers. This discrepancy could be due to very recent differentiation of Indo-European populations in Europe and/or substantial amounts of gene flow among these populations."
3. ^ http://members.tripod.com/~Groznijat/balkan/ehamp.html Eric Hamp, "The position of Albanian, Ancient IE dialects, Proceedings of the Conference on IE linguistics held at the University of California, Los Angeles, April 25-27, 1963, ed. By Henrik Birnbaum and Jaan Puhvel. "It is clear that in the Middle Ages the Albanians extended farther north (Jokl, Albaner §2); that there are persuasive arguments which have been advanced against their having extended as far as the Adriatic coast the fact that Scodra 'Scutari' (Shkodėr) shows un-Albanian development (see §6 below), that there is no demonstrated old maritime vocabulary (see above), and that there are few ancient Greek loans (Jokl, Albaner §5; but see §5 below)
4. ^ W. Cimochowski (BUShT 1958:3.37-48)
5. ^ http://members.tripod.com/~Groznijat/balkan/ehamp.html Eric Hamp, "The position of Albanian, Ancient IE dialects, Proceedings of the Conference on IE linguistics held at the University of California, Los Angeles, April 25-27, 1963, ed. By Henrik Birnbaum and Jaan Puhvel
6. ^ Robert Elsie, A dictionary of Albanian religion, mythology and folk culture, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2001, ISBN 9781850655701, p. 79.
7. ^ Pritsak, Omeljan (1991). "Albanians". Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. 1. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 52-53.
8. ^ Thalloczy/Jirecek/Sufflay, Acta et diplomata res Albaniae mediae aetatis, Vindobonae, MCMXIII, I, 113 (1198).
9. ^ Konstantin Jireček: Die Romanen in den Städten Dalmatiens während des Mittelalters, I, 42-44.
10. ^ R. Elsie: Early Albania, a Reader of Historical Texts, 11th - 17th Centuries, Wiesbaden 2003, p. 3
11. ^ Comnena, Anna. The Alexiad, Book IV.
12. ^ Elsie, Robert (1986). "Paulus Angelus". Dictionary of Albanian Literature. New York/Westport/London: Greenwood Press. pp. 4.
13. ^ Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0631198075, p. 183. "We may begin with the Venetic peoples, Veneti, Carni, Histri and Liburni, whose language set them apart from the rest of the Illyrians."
14. ^ Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1992. ISBN 0631198075, p. 81. "In Roman Pannonia the Latobici and Varciani who dwelt east of the Venetic Catari in the upper Sava valley were Celtic but the Colapiani of the Colapis (Kulpa) valley were Illyrians..."
15. ^ Thunmann, Johannes E. "Untersuchungen uber die Geschichte der Oslichen Europaischen Volger". Teil, Leipzig, 1774.
16. ^ Indo-European language and culture: an introduction By Benjamin W. Fortson Edition: 5, illustrated Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2004 ISBN 1405103167, 9781405103169
17. ^ Stipčević, Alexander. Iliri (2nd edition). Zagreb, 1989 (also published in Italian as "Gli Illiri")
18. ^ NGL Hammond The Relations of Illyrian Albania with the Greeks and the Romans. In Perspectives on Albania, edited by Tom Winnifrith, St. Martins Press, New York 1992
19. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985
20. ^ Thunman, Hahn, Kretschmer, Ribezzo, La Piana, Sufflay, Erdeljanovic and Stadtmuller referenced at Hamp see (The position of Albanian, E. Hamp 1963)
21. ^ Jireček as referenced at Hamp see (The position of Albanian, E. Hamp 1963)
22. ^ a b c d Demiraj, Shaban. Prejardhja e shqiptarėve nė dritėn e dėshmive tė gjuhės shqipe.(Origin of Albanians through the testimonies of the Albanian language) Shkenca (Tirane) 1999
23. ^ History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453 By Alexander A. Vasiliev Edition: 2, illustrated Published by Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1958 ISBN 0299809269, 9780299809263 (page 613)
24. ^ History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries By Barbara Jelavich Edition: reprint, illustrated Published by Cambridge University Press, 1983 ISBN 0521274583, 9780521274586 (page 25)
25. ^ The Indo-European languages By Anna Giacalone Ramat, Paolo Ramat Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1998 ISBN 041506449X, 9780415064491 (page 481)
26. ^ Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985 page 11
27. ^ Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985 page 11 link 
28. ^ Ēabej, E. "Die alteren Wohnsitze der Albaner auf der Balkanhalbinsel im Lichte der Sprache und der Ortsnamen," VII Congresso internaz. di sciense onomastiche, 1961 241-251; Albanian version BUShT 1962:1.219-227. "Problemi i autoktonisė sė shqiptarėvet nė dritėn e emravet tė vendeve," BUShT 1958:2.54-66. Also summarized in Bibliotheca Classica Orientalis (1960):5.20. See their summary at Hamp "Position of Albanian"
29. ^ Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985 page 11 link 
30. ^ Ēabej, E. "Die alteren Wohnsitze der Albaner auf der Balkanhalbinsel im Lichte der Sprache und der Ortsnamen," VII Congresso internaz. di sciense onomastiche, 1961 241-251; Albanian version BUShT 1962:1.219-227
31. ^ Ēabej, Eqrem. Karakteristikat e huazimeve latine tė gjuhės shqipe.(The characteristics of Latin Loans in Albanian language) SF 1974/2 (In German RL 1962/1) (13-51)
32. ^ Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985 (page 11) borrowed words from Greek and Latin date back to before Christian era see also (page 9) Even very common words such as mik"friend"(
33. ^ Ēabej, E. "Die alteren Wohnsitze der Albaner auf der Balkanhalbinsel im Lichte der Sprache und der Ortsnamen," VII Congresso internaz. di sciense onomastiche, 1961 241-251; Albanian version BUShT 1962:1.219-227
34. ^ Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985 page 11 link 
35. ^ Cimochowski, W. "Des recherches sur la toponomastique de lAlbanie," Ling. Posn. 8.133-45 (1960). On Durrės
36. ^ In Tosk /a/ before a nasal has become a central vowel (shwa), and intervocalic /n/ has become /r/. These two sound changes have affected only the pre-Slav stratum of the Albanian lexicon, that is the native words and loanwords from Greek and Latin (page 23) Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World By Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie Contributor Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie Edition: illustrated Published by Elsevier, 2008 ISBN 0080877745, 9780080877747
37. ^ The dialectal split into Geg and Tosk happened sometime after the region become Christianized in the fourth century AD; Christian Latin loanwords show Tosk rhotacism, such as Tosk murgu"monk" (Geg mungu) from Lat. monachus. (page 392) Indo-European language and culture: an introduction By Benjamin W. Fortson Edition: 5, illustrated Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2004 ISBN 1405103167, 9781405103169
38. ^ The Greek and Latin loans have undergone most of the far-reaching phonological changes which have so altered the shape of inherited words while Slavic and Turkish words do not show those changes. Thus Albanian must have acquired much of its present form by the time Slavs entered into Balkans in the fifth and sixth centuries AD (page 9)Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture By J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams Edition: illustrated Published by Taylor & Francis, 1997 ISBN 1884964982, 9781884964985
39. ^ The river Shkumbin in central Albania historically forms the boundary between those two dialects, with the population on the north speaking varieties of Geg and the population on the south varieties of Tosk. (page 23) Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World By Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie Contributor Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie Edition: illustrated Published by Elsevier,2008 ISBN 0080877745, 9780080877747
40. ^ See also Hamp 1963 The isogloss is clear in all dialects I have studied, which embrace nearly all types possible. It must be relatively old, that is, dating back into the post-Roman first millennium. As a guess, it seems possible that this isogloss reflects a spread of the speech area, after the settlement of the Albanians in roughly their present location, so that the speech area straddled the Jireček Line.
41. ^ Vickers, Miranda. The Albanians. I.B. Tauris, 1999, ISBN 960-210-279-9, p. 196. "From time to time official lists were published with pagan, so-called Illyrian or freshly minted names considered appropriate for the new breed of revolutionary Albanians."
42. ^ Bank of Albania. Currency: Albanian coins in circulation, issue of 1995, 1996 and 2000. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
43. ^ Bank of Albania. Currency: Banknotes in circulation. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
44. ^ Turnock, David. The Making of Eastern Europe, from the Earliest Times to 1815. Taylor and Francis, 1988. p.137,
45. ^ Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0631198075, p. 278. "...likely identification seems to be with a Romanized population of Illyrian origin driven out by Slav settlements further north, the 'Romanoi' mentioned..."
46. ^ Jirecek, Konstantin. "The history of the Serbians" (Geschichte der Serben), Gotha, 1911
47. ^ Schramm, Gottfried, Anfänge des albanischen Christentums: Die frühe Bekehrung der Bessen und ihre langen Folgen (1994).
48. ^ Eric P. Hamp, University of Chicago The Position of Albanian (Ancient IE dialects, Proceedings of the Conference on IE linguistics held at the University of California, Los Angeles, April 25-27, 1963, ed. By Henrik Birnbaum and Jaan Puhvel)
49. ^ Duridanov, Ivan. "The Language of the Thracians", (Ezikyt na trakite), Nauka i izkustvo, Sofia, 1976.
50. ^ It is disputed whether or not the Dardani can be considered Illyrians. However, the evidence indicates at least a strong Illyrian element.
51. ^ Cabej, Eqrem. "Die aelteren Wohnsitze der Albaner auf der Balkanhalbinsel im Lichte der Sprache und Ortsnamen", Florence, 1961.
52. ^ a b c Malcolm, Noel. "Kosovo, a short history". London: Macmillan, 1998, p. 22-40.
53. ^ Maternal and paternal lineages in Albania and the genetic structure of Indo-European populations 
54. ^ Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup I Reveals Distinct Domains of Prehistoric Gene Flow in Europe 
55. ^ Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area 
56. ^ Tracing Past Human Male Movements in Northern/Eastern Africa and Western Eurasia: New Clues from Y-Chromosomal Haplogroups E-M78 and J-M12 
57. ^ Y-chromosomal evidence of the cultural diffusion of agriculture in southeast Europe 
58. ^ Semino et al. (2000), King and Underhill (2002) Underhill (2002)
59. ^ Underhill and Kivisild (2007)
60. ^ Paleo-mtDNA analysis and population genetic aspects of old Thracian populations from South-East of Romania Cardos G., Stoian V., Miritoiu N., Comsa A., Kroll A., Voss S., Rodewald A. (2004 Romanian Society of Legal Medicine) link 
61. ^ Paleo-mtDNA analysis and population genetic aspects of old Thracian populations from South-East of Romania p 240-241
62. ^ Paleo-mtDNA analysis and population genetic aspects of old Thracian populations from South-East of Romania p 246
Albanian (Gjuha shqipe pronounced [ˈɟuha ˈʃcipɛ] or shqip pronounced [ˈʃcip]) is a unique Indo-European language spoken by nearly 6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, Montenegro, and southern Serbia. Albanian is also spoken by native communities in Greece, along the eastern coast of southern Italy, and on the island of Sicily. Additionally, speakers of Albanian can be found elsewhere throughout the latter two countries resulting from a modern diaspora, originating from the Balkans, that also includes Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. An estimated 3 million Albanians are believed to be the total of the diaspora concentrated mostly in Western Europe and North America.
Undisputed earliest texts
The first certain document in Albanian is "Formula e pagėzimit"(1462) (Baptesimal formula), issued by Pal Engjėlli, (1417-1470) the Archbishop of Durrės and a close friend and counsellor of Skanderbeg and it was written in Latin characters as follows "Unte paghesont premenit Atit et birit et spertit senit" (I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost) It was discovered and published in 1915 by Nicolae Iorga. The second is "Fjalori i Arnold von Harf" in (Arnold von Harf vocabulary) in 1469; the third document "Ungjilli i Pashkėve" or Ungjilli i Shėn Mateut is dated in the 15th century.
The first book in Albanian was written by Gjon Buzuku between 20 March 1554 to 5 January 1555. In Albanian, the book is known as Meshari (The Missal). The book was written in the Gheg dialect in the Latin alphabet with some Slavic letters adapted for Albanian vowels. The book was discovered in 1740 by Gjon Nikollė Kazazi, the Albanian archbishop of Skopje. It contains the liturgies of the main holidays. There are also texts of prayers and rituals and catechetical texts. Every page contains two columns. The initials are decorated. The grammar and the vocabulary are more archaic than in the Gheg text from the 17th century. The text is very valuable from the viewpoint of the history of language. The 188 pages of the book comprise about 154,000 words with a total vocabulary of ca. 1,500 different words, and are a veritable precious source for lexicographers and historical linguists. The archaic text is easily read due to the circumstance that it is mainly a translation of known texts, in particular the Bible. Most of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John were translated in the book. It also contains passages from the Psalms, the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Jeremiah, the Letters to the Corinthians, and many illustrations. The consequent character of orthography and grammar seems to indicate an earlier tradition of writing. The Apostolic Library in the Vatican holds the only known copy of the book.
Disputed earliest text
In 1967 scholar Dumitru Todericiu studied microfilms of the Bellifortis text, manuscript 663, preserved at the Musée Condé of the Chantilly Castle in France. This work was written by Konrad Kyeser around 1402-1405. The original Latin context is an astrological one, part of an initiation ritual practiced by young boys when becoming men and a vestige of the ancient phallic cult, very common in the Balkan peninsula. On page 153v Todericiu discovered a text insertion in a strange language. Until then, scholars considered it as a text without actual meaning, written in an artificial language. Believing the words were in Albanian, Todericiu, together with professor Dumitru Polena from Bucharest, after four months' work obtained a modern version of the text:
A star has fallen in a place in the woods, distinguish the star, distinguish it.
Distinguish the star from the others, they are ours, they are.
Do you see where the great voice has resounded? Stand beside it
That thunder. It did not fall. It did not fall for you, the one which would do it.
Like the ears, you should not believe ... that the moon fell when ...
Try to encompass that which spurts far ...
Call the light when the moon falls and no longer exists ...
Dr. Robert Elsie, a specialist in Albanian studies, considers that "The Todericiu/Polena Romanian translation of the non-Latin lines, although it may offer some clues if the text is indeed Albanian, is fanciful and based, among other things, on a false reading of the manuscript, including the exclusion of a whole line. [...] Certain evidence, both linguistic and non-linguistic, supports an Albanian origin for the Bellifortis text under study. The incantation and taboo character of such a passage involving initiation rites, however, precludes an interlinear translation. If the Bellifortis text is indeed Albanian, which remains to be proved conclusively, it would be the oldest datable text in that language".
In 1635 Frang Bardhi published in Rome his Dictionarum latinum-epiroticum, the first known Latin-Albanian dictionary. The evidence shows, moreover, that the study of Albanian has a tradition of 350 years and includes works of Frang Bardhi (1606-1643), Andre Bogdani (1600-1685), Nilo Katalanos (1637-1694) and others.
The alphabet used by romantics
History of the alphabet
The history of the Albanian alphabet is closely linked with the influence of religion among Albanians. The writers from the North of Albania used Latin letters under the influence of the Catholic Church, those from the South of Albania under the Greek Orthodox church used Greek letters, while others used Arabic letters under the influence of Islam. There were also attempts for an original Albanian alphabet in the period of 1750-1850. The current alphabet in use among Albanians is one of the two variants approved in the Congress of Manastir held by Albanian intellectuals from November 14 to 22 November 1908, in Manastir (Bitola, Macedonia).
A first reference for Latin letters was in a medieval Latin manuscript of 1332, possibly attributed to a monk called Brocardus Monacus or to one Guillaume Adam. In this manuscript there is a quoted phrase about the existence of books in Albania "licet Albanenses aliam omnino linguam a latina habeant et diversam, tamen litteram latinam habent in usu et in omnibus suis libris" (The Albanians indeed have a language quite different from Latin, however they use Latin letters in all their books). Though the reference to the existence of the Albanian language is clear, that to writing in Albanian is ambiguous. It cannot be said for certain whether the author meant books in Albanian language written with Latin letters or simply books written in Latin.
However the first certain document in Albanian "Formula e pagėzimit"(1462) (Baptesimal formula), issued by Pal Engjėlli, (1417-1470) was written in Latin characters. It was a simple phrase that was supposed to be used by the relatives of a dying person if they couldn't make it to churches during the troubled times of the Ottoman invasion.
Also, the five Albanian writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Gjon Buzuku, Lekė Matrėnga, Pjetėr Budi, Frang Bardhi and Pjetėr Bogdani) who form the core of early Albanian literature, all used Latin scripts for their Albanian books; this alphabet remained in use by writers in northern Albania until the beginning of the 20th century.
While the writers from the North with their Latin based alphabet began establishing an Albanian literature, this was not the case for the writers who used the Greek letters. Their activity consisted mostly in translating Greek Orthodox religious text and not in forming any kind of literature which could form a strong tradition for the use of Greek letters. As the known albanologist Robert Elsie has written:
The predominance of Greek as the language of Christian education and culture in southern Albania and the often hostile attitude of the Orthodox church to the spread of writing in Albanian made it impossible for an Albanian literature in Greek script to evolve. The Orthodox church, as the main vehicle of culture in the southern Balkans, while intent on spreading Christian education and values, was never convinced of the utility of writing in the vernacular as a means of converting the masses, as the Catholic church in northern Albania had been, to a certain extent, during the Counter-Reformation. Nor, with the exception of the ephemeral printing press in Voskopoja, did the southern Albanians ever have at their disposal publishing facilities like those available to the clerics and scholars of Catholic Albania in Venice and Dalmatia. As such, the Orthodox tradition in Albanian writing, a strong cultural heritage of scholarship and erudition, though one limited primarily to translations of religious texts and to the compilation of dictionaries, was to remain a flower which never really blossomed.
The turning point was the aftermath of the League of Prizren (1878) events when in 1879 Sami and Naim Frashėri formed the "Association for Albanian publications". They created an alphabet based on the principle "one sound one letter" based on Latin characters with some Greek characters for letters such as (f) and (dh). This was called "The ABC of Stamboll". In 1905 this alphabet was in use in all Albanian territory, North and South, including Catholic, Moslem and Orthodox areas.
At the same time other Alphabets on the principle "one sound one letter" were created. The variants were those of "Bashkimi Association" (special characters were obtained by the conjunction of two Latin letters t-h->th, g-j->gj etc) and "Agimi Association" (with special characters g'(gj) n'(nj)).
In the Congress of Manastir held by Albanian intellectuals in 1908 the two variants approved for the future use were "The ABC of Stamboll" and the "Alphabet of Bashkimi". Alarmed by these events the New Turks tried to impose a Turkish alphabet on the Albanian population, by organizing a farce congress in 1909. This forced Albanian intellectuals to organize a second congress at Manastir (Bitola) on the 21st March 1910, where they confirmed the decision taken in the first congress of Manastir. After Albanian independence in 1912 there were two alphabets in use, following the events of the Balkan wars and World War I the variant of Bashkimi dominated the terrain, since it was easier to use (except for ē and ė, only Latin letters were in use) and laso as a result of a growing nationalism among Albanians (not preferring to use Greek characters of The ABC of Stamboll). The variant of "Alphabet of Bashkimi" is now the official alphabet of the Albanian language.
Albanian was demonstrated to be an Indo-European language in 1854 by the philologist Franz Bopp. The Albanian language constitutes its own branch of the Indo-European language family.
Establishing longer relations, Albanian is often compared to Balto-Slavic on the one hand and Germanic on the other, both of which share a number of isoglosses with Albanian. Moreover, Albanian has undergone a vowel shift in which stressed, long o has fallen to a, much like in the former and opposite the latter. Likewise, Albanian has taken the old relative jos and innovatively used it exclusively to qualify adjectives, much in the way Balto-Slavic has used this word to provide the definite ending of adjectives. Other linguists link Albanian with Greek and Armenian, while placing Germanic and Balto-Slavic in another branch of Indo-European. Nakhleh, Ringe, and Warnow found that Albanian can be placed at a variety of points within the Indo-European tree with equally good fit; determining its correct placement is hampered by the loss of much of its former diagnostic inflectional morphology and vocabulary.
Traditionally scholars have seen the Albanian as the descendant of Illyrian  while some dispute this claiming that it derives from Dacian or Thracian. (Illyrian, Dacian, and Thracian, however, may have formed a subgroup or a sprachbund; see Thraco-Illyrian.)
Although sometimes Albanian has been referred to as the "weird sister" for several words that do not correspond to IE cognates, it has retained many proto-IE features: for example, the demonstrative pronoun *ko is cognate to Albanian ky/kjo but not to English this or to Russian etot.
Albanian-PIE phonological correspondences
Phonologically Albanian is not so conservative. Like many IE stocks it has merged the two series of voiced stops (e.g. both d and dh became d etc). In addition the voiced stops tend to disappear when between vowels. There is almost the complete loss of final syllables and the very widespread loss of other unstressed syllables (e.g. mik "friend" form Lat. amicus) PIE *a and *o appear as a ( as e before high front vowel follows) while *ē and *ā become o and PIE *ō appears as e. The most remarkable is the fate of the tectals; the palatals, velars and labiovelars all remain distinct before front vowels, a conservation found otherwise in Luvian and related Anatolian languages. Thus PIE *ḱ, *k and *kʷ become th, q and s respectively (before back vowels *ḱ becomes th while *k and *kʷ merge as k). Another remarkable conservatorism is the preservation of initial *h4 as Alb h (all other laryngeals disappear completely).
Proto-Indo-European Labial Stops and Albanian Correspondences PIE Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*p p /*pékʷe/o - "cook" /pjek "cook"
*b b /*sorbéįe/o - "drink, slurp" /gjerb "drink"
*bh b /*bhaḱeha - "bean" /bathė "bean"
Proto-Indo-European Coronal Stops and Albanian Correspondences PIE Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*t t /*tuhx - "though" /ti "thou"
ē /*ụet-es - "calf" /viē "calf"
*d d /*dihxtis - "light" /ditė "day"
dh /*deḱm̥ - "ten" /dhjetė "ten"
gj /*dlh1gho - "long" /gjatė "long" (Tosk dialectal: glatė)
*dh d /*dhēgʷhe/o - "burn" /djeg "burn"
Proto-Indo-European Palatal Stops and Albanian Correspondences PIE Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*ḱ th /*ḱéhimi - "I say" / thom "I say"
k /*ḱreh2u - "limb" / krah "arm"
q /*ḱleụ - "to hear" /quhet "to have the name" (Tosk dialectal: kluhet)
ē /*ḱent - "to stick" /ēandėr "prop"
s /*ḱuk - "horn" /sutė "doe"
*ǵ dh /*ǵómbhos - "tooth, peg" /dhėmb "tooth" (Gheg: dhamb)
gj /*ǵenu - "knee" /gju "knee" (Tosk dialectal: glu) (Gheg: gjū)
d /*ǵeus - "to enjoy" /desha "I loved"
*ǵh d /*ĝhŗsdhi - "grain, barley" /drithė "grain"
dh /*ĝhed - "to defecate" / dhjes "to defecate"
Proto-Indo-European Velar Stops and Albanian Correspondences PIE Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*k k /*kįpmi - "I take" /kam "I have"
q /*klau - "to weep" /qan "to weep" (Tosk dialectal: klan)
*g g /*h3ligos - "sick" /ligė "bad"
gj /*h1reug - "to retch" /regj "to tan hides"
*gh g /*ghordhos - "enclosure" /gardh "fence"
gj /*ghédnịe/o - "get" /gjej "find"
Proto-Indo-European Labialized Velar Stops and Albanian Correspondences PIE /Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*kʷ k /*kʷehasleha - "cough" / kollė "cough"
s /*kʷéle/o - "turn" /sjell "fetch"
*gʷ g /*gʷŗ - "stone" /gur "stone"
z /*gʷērhxu - "heaviness" /zor "heaviness, trouble"
gj /*gʷes - "leaves" /gjeth "leaf"
*gʷh g /*dhégʷhe/o - "burn" /djeg "burn"
z /*h1en-dhogʷhéịe/o - "kindle" /ndez "kindle"
gj gʷhen - "to hit" gjuan "to hunt"
Proto-Indo-European Coronal Sibilant and Albanian Correspondences PIE Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*s gj /*séḱstis - "six" /gjashtė "six"
sh /*septm̥tis - "seven" /shtatė "seven"
sh /*pumsos - "body-hair" / push "fuzz, nap, pile"
th /*suh1 - "swine" /thi "boar"
ų /*h1ésmi - "am" /jam "am"
d /*sụorgéịe/o - "be ill" /dergjet "lies ill"
h /*selk - "to drag" /heq "to pick up" (Archaic: helq)
h /*sḱi-eh2 - "shadow" /hije "shadow"
Proto-Indo-European Sonorant Consonants and Albanian Correspondences PIE /Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*ị gj /*ịése/o - "ferment" /gjesh "knead"
*ụ v /*ụoséịe/o - "dres" /vesh "dresses"
*m m /*mehatr-eha - "maternal" /motėr "sister"
*n n /*nos - "we" /ne "we"
nj /*h₁ói-no - "one" /njė "one" (Gheg: nji, njo)
r /*ǵheimen - "winter" /dimėr "winter" (Gheg: dimėn)
*l l /*h3ligos - "sick" / ligė "bad"
ll /*kʷéle/o - "turn" / sjell "fetch"
*r r /*repe/o - "take" / rjep "peel"
rr /*ụrēn - "sheep" /rrunzė "female lamb"
*ņ e /*h1ņmen - "name" /emėr "name" (Gheg: źmėn)
*m̥ e /*ụiḱm̥ti - "twenty" /zet "twenty"
*ļ uj /*uļkʷos - "wolf" /ujk "wolf" (Archaic: ulk)
*ŗ ri /*ǵhŗsdom - "grain, barley" /drithė "grain"
Proto-Indo-European Laryngeals and Albanian Correspondences PIE Albanian /PIE /Albanian
*h1 ų /*h1ésmi - "am" /jam "am"
*h2 ų /*h2ŗtḱos - "bear" /ari "bear"
*h3 ų /*h3ónŗ - "dream" /ėndėrr "dream" (Gheg: andėrr)
*h4 h /*h4órǵhiịeha - "testicle" /herdhe "testicle"
Proto-Indo-European Vowels and Albanian Correspondences PIE /Albanian PIE /Albanian
*i i /*sinos - "bosom" /gji "bosom"
e /*dụighehs - "twig" /degė "branch"
*ī i /*dīhxtis - "light" /ditė "day"
*e e /*penkʷe - "five" /pesė "five" (Gheg dialectal: pźs)
je /*ụétos - "year" (loc.) /vjet "last year"
ja /*sélpos - "fat" /gjalpė "butter"
*ē o /*ǵhēsr - "hand" /dorė "hand"
*a a /*bhaḱeha- "bean" /bathė "bean"
e /*haélbhit - "barley" /elb "barley"
*ō a /*ghórdhos - "enclosure" /gardh "fence"
e /*ghórdhoi - "enclosures" /gjerdh "fences"
*o e /*h2oḱtōtis - "eight" /tetė "eight"
*u u /*supnos - "sleep" /gjumė "sleep"
*ū y /*suhxsos - "grandfather" /gjysh "grandfather"
i /*mūs - "mouse" /mi "mouse"
Albanian is spoken by nearly 6 million people mainly in Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece and Italy (Arbereshe); and by immigrant communities in many other countries, notably the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Albanian in a revised form of the Tosk dialect is the official language of Albania and Kosovo; and is official in the municipalities where there are more than 20% ethnic Albanian inhabitants in the Republic of Macedonia. It is also an official language of Montenegro where it is spoken in the municipalities with ethnic Albanian populations.
Standard Albanian has 7 vowels and 29 consonants. Gheg uses long and nasal vowels which are absent in Tosk. Another peculiarity is the mid-central vowel "ė" reduced at the end of the word. The stress is fixed mainly on the penultimate syllable. Another notable difference between Gheg and Tosk pronunciations is that the Tosk equivalent of the Gheg sound "n" (as in femen, emen etc.) is the sound "r" (femer, emer etc.) It is noteworthy that in loanwords, the Gheg dialect retains the original "n" sound, like in "femen" (Italian "femminile", English "feminine", etc.), while this is not the case with the Tosk, which uses "r" instead ("femer").
Phonetics and Phonology
IPA /Description /Written as /Pronounced as in
p /Voiceless bilabial plosive /p /pen
b /Voiced bilabial plosive /b /bat
t /Voiceless alveolar plosive /t /tan
d /Voiced alveolar plosive /d /debt
c /Voiceless palatal plosive /q /similar to get you
ɟ /Voiced palatal plosive /gj /similar to told you
k /Voiceless velar plosive / k /car
ɡ /Voiced velar plosive /g /go
ts /Voiceless alveolar affricate /c /hats
dz /Voiced alveolar affricate /x /goods
tʃ /Voiceless postalveolar affricate /ē /chin
dʒ /Voiced postalveolar affricate /xh /jet
θ /Voiceless dental fricative /th /thin
š /Voiced dental fricative /dh /then
f /Voiceless labiodental fricative /f /far
v /Voiced labiodental fricative /v /van
s /Voiceless alveolar fricative /s /son
z /Voiced alveolar fricative /z /zip
ʃ /Voiceless postalveolar fricative /sh /show
ʒ /Voiced postalveolar fricative / zh /vision
h /Voiceless glottal fricative /h /hat
m /Bilabial nasal /m /man
n /Alveolar nasal /n /not
ɲ /Palatal nasal /nj /Spanish seńor
j /Palatal approximant /j /yes
l /Alveolar lateral approximant /l /lean
ɫ /Velarized alveolar lateral approximant /ll /ball
r /Alveolar trill /rr /Spanish hierro
ɾ /Alveolar tap /r /Spanish aro
* The palatal stops /c/ and /ɟ/ have no English equivalent, so the pronunciation guide is approximate. Palatal stops can be found in other languages, for example, in Hungarian (where these sounds are spelled ty and gy respectively).
* The palatal nasal /ɲ/ corresponds to the sound of the Spanish ń or the French or Italian digraph gn (as in gnocchi). It is pronounced as one sound, not a nasal plus a glide.
* The ll sound is a velarised lateral, close to English dark L.
* The contrast between flapped r and trilled rr is the same as in Spanish. English does not have either of the two sounds phonemically (but tt in butter is pronounced as a flap r in most American dialects).
* The letter ē can be spelt ch on American English keyboards, both due to its English sound. (Usually, however, it's spelled simply c or more rarely q, which may cause confusion; however, meanings are usually understood).
IPA /Description /Written as /Pronounced as in
i /Close front unrounded vowel /i /bead
ɛ /Open-mid front unrounded vowel /e /bed
a /Open front unrounded vowel /a /Spanish casa
ə /Schwa /ė /about
ɔ /Open-mid back rounded vowel /o /four
y /Close front rounded vowel /y /French tu, German über
u /Close back rounded vowel /u /boot
Albanian nouns are inflected by gender (masculine, feminine and neuter) and number (singular and plural). There are 5 declensions with 6 cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and vocative), although the vocative only occurs with a limited number of words. The cases apply to both definite and indefinite nouns and there are numerous cases of syncretism. The equivalent of a genitive is formed by using the prepositions i/e/tė/sė with the dative.
The following shows the declension of the masculine noun mal (mountain), a masculine noun which ends with "i":
Indefinite Singular /Indefinite Plural /Definite Singular /Definite Plural
Nominative /mal (mountain) /male (mountains) /mali (the mountain) /malet (the mountains)
Accusative /mal /male /malin /malet
Genitive /i/e/tė/sė mali /i/e/tė/sė maleve /i/e/tė/sė malit /i/e/tė/sė maleve
Dative /mali /maleve /malit /maleve
Ablative /mali /maleve/malesh /malit /maleve
The following shows the declension of the masculine noun zog (bird), a masculine noun which ends with "u":
Indefinite Singular /Indefinite Plural /Definite Singular /Definite Plural
Nominative /zog (bird) /zogj (birds) /zogu (the bird) /zogjtė (the birds)
Accusative / zog /zogj /zogun /zogjtė
Genitive /i/e/tė/sė zogu /i/e/tė/sė zogjve / i/e/tė/sė zogut /i/e/tė/sė zogjve
Dative /zogu /zogjve /zogut /zogjve
Ablative /zogu /zogjve /zogut /zogjve
The following table shows the declension of the feminine noun vajzė (girl):
Indefinite Singular /Indefinite Plural /Definite Singular /Definite Plural
Nominative / vajzė (girl) / vajza (girls) /vajza (the girl) /vajzat (the girls)
Accusative / vajzė /vajza /vajzėn /vajzat
Genitive /i/e/tė/sė vajze / i/e/tė/sė vajzave / i/e/tė/sė vajzės /i/e/tė/sė vajzave
Dative /vajze /vajzave /vajzės /vajzave
Ablative /vajze /vajzave/vajzash /vajzės /vajzave
The definite article is placed after the noun as in many other Balkan languages, for example Romanian and Bulgarian.
* The definite article can be in the form of noun suffixes, which vary with gender and case.
o For example in singular nominative, masculine nouns add -i, or those ending in -g/-k/-h, take -u (to avoid palatalization):
+ mal (mountain) / mali (the mountain);
+ libėr (book) / libri (the book);
+ zog (bird) / zogu (the bird).
o Feminine nouns take the suffix -(j)a:
+ veturė (car) / vetura (the car);
+ shtėpi (house) / shtėpia (the house);
+ lule (flower) / lulja (the flower).
* Neuter nouns take -t.
Albanian has developed an analytical verbal structure in place of the earlier synthetic system, inherited from Proto-Indo-European. Its complex system of moods (6 types) and tenses (3 simple and 5 complex constructions) is distinctive among Balkan languages. There are two general types of conjugation. In Albanian the constituent order is subject verb object and negation is expressed by the particles nuk or s' in front of the verb, for example:
* Toni nuk flet anglisht "Tony does not speak English" ;
* Toni s'flet anglisht "Tony doesn't speak English" ;
* Nuk e di "I do not know" ;
* S'e di "I don't know".
In imperative sentences, the particle mos is used :
* Mos harro "do not forget!".
However, with verbs in the non-active form (forma joveprore), the verb is often in sentence-initial position :
* Parashikohet njė ndėrprerje "An interruption is anticipated".
Cognates with Illyrian
* brisa, "husk of grapes"; cf. Alb bėrsķ "lees, dregs; mash" (< PA *brutiā)
* lośgeon, "pool"; cf. Alb lag "to wet, soak, bathe, wash" (< PA *lauga), lėgatė "pool" (< PA *leugatā), lakshte "dew" (< PA *laugista)
* mandos, "small horse"; cf. Alb mėz, māz "poney"
* mantķa "bramblebush"; Old and dial. Alb mandė, mod. Alb mėn, man "berry, mulberry"
* rhinos, "fog, mist"; cf. OAlb ren, mod. Alb re, rź "cloud" (< PA *rina)
* sibina, "spear"; cf. Alb thupėr "bar, stick"
* sica, "dagger"; cf. Alb thika "knife"
Early Greek loans
Early Greek loandwords borrowed into Albanian were mainly commodity items and trade goods.
* bagėm "oil for anointment" < Gk bįptisma "anointment"
* bletė "hive; bee" < Greco-Latin < Gk (Attic) mélitta "honey-bee" (vs. Gk (Ionic) mélissa).
* brukė "tamarisk" < Gk mourikē
* drapėr "sickle" < Gk (NW) drįpanon
* kopsht "garden" < Gk (NW) kāpos
* kumbull "plum" < Gk kokkumēlon
* lakėr "cabbage, green vegetables" < Gk lįkhanon "green; vegetable"
* lėpjetė "orach, dock" < Gk lįpathon
* lyej "to smear, oil" < *elaiwā < Gk elai(w)on "oil"
* mokėr "millstone" < Gk (NW) mākhanį "device, instrument"
* ngjalė "eel" < Gk enchelys
* pjepėr "melon" < Gk pépon "melon"
* presh "leek" < Gk prįson
* shpellė "cave" < Gk spēlaion "cave"
* trumzė "thyme" < Gk thżmbra, thrżmbē
Some were borrowed through Late Latin, while others came from the Ostrogothic expansion into parts of Praevalitana around Nakić and the Gulf of Kotor in Montenegro.
* fat "groom, husband" < Goth brūžfažs "bridegroom"
* gomar "donkey, ass" < *margė < Goth *marh "horse"
* petk "herder's coat; clothing" < Goth paida; cf. OHG pfeit, OE pād
* shkulkė "boundary marker for pastures made of branches" < Late Latin < Goth skulka "guardian"
* shkumė "foam" < Late Latin < Goth scūma
* tirq "trousers" < Late Latin tubrucus < Goth *žiobroc "knee-britches"; cf. OHG dioh-bruoh
The earliest accepted document in the Albanian language is from the 15th century AD. The earliest reference to a Lingua Albanesca is from a 1285 document of Ragusa. This is a time when Albanian Principalities start to be mentioned and expand inside and outside the Byzantine Empire. It is assumed that Greek and Balkan Latin (which was the ancestor of Romanian and other Balkan Romance languages), would exert a great influence on Albanian. Examples of words borrowed from Latin: qytet < civitas (city), qiell < caelum (sky), mik < amicus (friend).
After the Slavs arrived in the Balkans, another source of Albanian vocabulary were the Slavic languages, especially Bulgarian. The rise of the Ottoman Empire meant an influx of Turkish words; this also entailed the borrowing of Farsi and Arabic words through Turkish. Surprisingly the Farsi words seem to have been absorbed the most. Some loanwords from Modern Greek also exist especially in the south of Albania. A lot of the loaned words have been resubstituted from Albanian rooted words or modern Latinized (international) words.
Albanian has been written using many different alphabets since the 15th century. The earliest written Albanian records come from the Ghegh area in makeshift spellings based on Italian or Greek and sometimes in Turko-Arabic characters. Originally, the Tosk dialect was written in the Greek alphabet and the Ghegh dialect was written in the Latin alphabet. They have both also been written in the Ottoman Turkish version of the Arabic alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet, and some local alphabets.
In 1908 an official, standardized Albanian spelling was developed, based on a Gheg dialect and using the Latin alphabet with the addition of the letters ė, ē, and nine digraphs. After World War II the official language changed in that it adopted the Tosk dialect as its model.
The Albanian language is a distinct Indo-European language that does not belong to any other existing branch. Sharing lexical isoglosses with Greek, Balto-Slavic, and Germanic, the word stock of Albanian is quite distinct. Hastily tied to Germanic and Balto-Slavic by the merger of PIE *ǒ and *ǎ into *ǎ in a supposed "northern group", Albanian has proven to be distinct from the other two groups as this vowel shift is only part of a larger push chain that affected all long vowels. Albanian does share with Balto-Slavic two features: a lengthening of syllabic consonants before voiced obstruents and a distinct treatment of long syllables ending in a sonorant. Conservative features of Albanian include the retention of the distinction between active and middle voice, present and aorist tenses, distinguishing the three original series of dorsal consonants (i.e., palatals, velars, and labio-velars) before front vowels, and initial PIE *h4 as an h. However, heavy borrowing from Latin, Greek, Turkish, and Slavic have resulted in Albanian being only a minor player in the reconstruction of Proto Indo-European vocabulary.
Albanian is considered to have its closest linguistic affinity to and to have evolved from an extinct Paleo-Balkan language, usually taken to be either Illyrian or Dacian. See also Thraco-Illyrian and Messapian language.
The period during which Proto-Albanian and Latin interacted was protracted and drawn out over six centuries, 1st c. AD to 6th or 7th c. AD. This is born out into roughly three layers of borrowings, the largest number belonging to the second layer. The first, with the fewest borrowings, was a time of less important interaction. The final period, probably preceding the Slavic or Germanic invasions, also has a notably smaller amount of borrowings. Each layer is characterized by a different treatment of most vowels, the first layer having several that follow the evolution of Early Proto-Albanian into Albanian; later layers reflect vowel changes endemic to Late Latin and presumably Proto-Romance. Other formative changes include the syncretism of several noun case endings, especially in the plural, as well as a large scale palatalization.
A brief period followed, between 7th c. AD and 9th c. AD, that was marked by heavy borrowings from Southern Slavic, some of which predate the "o-a" shift common to the modern forms of this language group. Starting in the latter 9th c. AD, a period followed characterized by protracted contact with the Proto-Romanians, or Vlachs, though lexical borrowing seems to have been mostly one sided - from Albanian into Romanian. Such borrowing indicates that the Romanians migrated from an area where the majority was Slavic (i.e. Middle Bulgarian) to an area with a majority of Albanian speakers, i.e. Dardania, where Vlachs are recorded in the 10th c. AD. Their movement is probably related to the expansion of the Bulgarian empire into Albania around that time. This fact places the Albanians at a rather early date in the western or central Balkans.
Latin element of the Albanian language
Regarding the Latin loanwords, the first one who noticed the earlier influence on the Albanian language was Jernej Kopitar (1829) who claimed that "the latin loanwords in Albanian language had the pronunciation of the time of Emperor August". This scholar presented cases like "qiqer" ← cicer, "qytet" ← civitas, "peshk" ← piscis, "shėngjetė" ← sagitta etc. where we can see a Latin c- (= /k-/) or /g-/ followed by a front vowel maintained in the Albanian language as palatal or velar stop. This was approved later by Gustav Meyer (1888) and Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke(1914) . Another scholar interested in this problem was Eqrem Ēabej, who dedicated a special work  , where he noticed among other things the indices of the archaic Latin element in the Albanian language. Among them are:
a) Evolution au → a which is noticed in the oldest Latin element of the Albanian language like aurum → "ar", gaudium → "gas", laurus → "lar". This has not happened in later borrowings like causa → "kafshė", laud → "lavd".
b) Evolution o → e, just as in the inherited IE elements of the Albanian language (*nos → "ne", *+oct- → "tetė" etc.) which is noticed in the oldest Latin loanwords like pomum → "pemė", hora → "herė".
c) The drop of the syllable between two vowels (just like in the inherited IE element), e.g. cubitus → "kut", medicus → "mjek", padul → "pyll", while in latter Latin borrowings this is not noticed anymore: paganus → "i pėganė"/"i pėgėrė", plaga → "plagė" etc.
d) Palatalization of /tj-/, /dj-/, /kj-/ into /s-/, /z-/, /q-/: vitius → "ves", ratio → "(a)rėsye", radius → "rreze", facies → "faqe", socius → "shoq" etc.
Another author contributing in this area was Haralambie Mihăescu, who demonstrated that some 85 Latin words have survived in Albanian, but not in any Romance language (including Romanian). Some of them are "bujk" ← bubulcus, "mėrrajė" ← hibernalia, "shelqėror" ← sarcinarius, "tėrfurk" ← trifurcus, "qift" ← accipiter, "mushkonjė" ← +musconea, "kulshedėr" ← chersydrus, "shpnetkė"/"shpretkė" ← +spleneticum, "shullг"/"shullė" ← solanum.
In addition, he identified 151 other Albanian words of Latin origin which can not be found in Romanian. Some of them are "mik" ← amicus, "anmik"/"armik" ← inimicus, "bekoj" ← benedicere, "qelq" ← calix (calicis), "kėshtjellė" ← castellum, "qind" ← centum, "gjel" ← gallus, "gjymtyrė" ← iunctЇra, "mjek" ← medicus, "rjetė" ← rete, "shėrbej" ← servire, "shpėrej" ← sperare, "vullnet" ← voluntas (voluntatis).
He also noticed that even the earliest words of church terminology in Albanian language present such phonetical changes that testify their ancient borrowing from Latin. Some of them are "lter" ← altare, "engjėll" ← angelus, "bekoj" ← benedicere, "i krishtenė"/"i krishterė" ← christianus, "kryq" ← crux (crucis), "klishė"/"kishė" ← ecclesia, "ipeshkv" ← episcopus, "ungjill" ← evangelium, "mallkoj" ← maledicere, "meshė" ← missa, "munėg"/murg" ← monacus, "i pėganė"/"i pėgėrė" ← paganus.
Other authors have shown that in contrast to Romanian, there are also other Latin loanwords in Albanian which show a very ancient sound pattern, from the 1st century B.C.: from (Latin) cingula → "qingėlė" (Alb); from (Latin) vetus, veteris → "vjetėr" (Alb) etc. while the Romance languages have inherited these words from (Vulgar Latin) *cingla → "chinga" (N. Romanian) 'belly band, saddle girth', ; from (Vulgar Latin) veteran → "batrān" (N. Romanian) 'old' , etc.
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