|c. 8 to 10–12 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
| Albania 2,525,263 (2018)|
Kosovo 1,772,152 (2018)
Sunnism · Bektashism
Catholicism (Albanian Greek Catholic · Italian Albanian Catholic) · Eastern Orthodoxy (Albanian Orthodox) · Protestantism
a 502,546 Albanian citizens, an additional 43,751 Kosovo Albanians and 260,000 Arbëreshë people
b Albanians are not recognized as a minority in Turkey. However approximately 500,000 people are reported to profess an Albanian identity. Of those with full or partial Albanian ancestry and others who have adopted Turkish language, culture and identity their number is estimated at 1,300,000–5,000,000 many whom do not speak Albanian.
c The estimation contains Kosovo Albanians.
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The Albanians (//; Albanian: Shqiptarët, pronounced [ʃcipˈta:ɾət]) are an ethnic group native to the Balkan Peninsula and are identified by a common Albanian ancestry, culture, history and language. They primarily live in Albania, Kosovo[a], North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as in Croatia, Greece and Italy. They also constitute a diaspora with several communities established in the Americas, Europe and Oceania.
The history of the Albanian diaspora is centuries old and has its roots in migration from the Middle Ages, initially established in Southern Europe and subsequently on across other parts of the world. Between the 13th and 18th centuries, sizeable numbers of Albanians migrated to escape either various social, economic or political difficulties.
One population who became the Arvanites settled Southern Greece between the 13th and 16th centuries assimilating into and now self-identifying as Greeks. Another population who emerged as the Arbëreshës settled Sicily and Southern Italy constituting the oldest continuous Albanian diaspora. Smaller populations such as the Arbanasis whose migration dates back to the 18th century are located in Southern Croatia and scattered across Southern Ukraine.
Albanians are primarily composed of two sub-ethnic groups known as the Ghegs and Tosks. In the 13th century, the Ghegs converted to Roman Catholicism from Eastern Orthodoxy as a means to resist the Slavic Serbs. In the 15th century, Skanderbeg led the medieval Albanian resistance to the Ottoman conquest. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Albanians in large numbers converted to Islam, in part due to the privileged legal and social position of Muslims in the empire and coercion by Ottoman authorities in times of war.
Albanians attained important political and military positions within the Ottoman Empire and culturally contributed to the wider Muslim world. Following the Albanian National Awakening, during the Balkan Wars, in 1912, Albanians were partitioned between the newly-formed Independent Albania and Serbia, Greece and Montenegro. From 1945 to 1992, Albania was ruled by a communist government. Albanians in neighbouring Yugoslavia underwent periods of discrimination that concluded with the breakup of that state in the early 1990s and eventually the independence of Kosovo in 2008.
- 1 Ethnonym
- 2 History
- 3 Distribution
- 4 Diaspora
- 5 Culture
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 Sources
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The Albanians (Albanian: Shqiptarët) and their country Albania (Albanian: Shqipëria) have been identified by many ethnonyms. The most common native ethnonym is "Shqiptar", plural "Shqiptarë"; the name "Albanians" (Byzantine Greek: Albanoi/Arbanitai/Arbanites; Latin: Albanenses/Arbanenses) was used in medieval documents, that gradually entered European languages from which other similar derivative names emerged.
From these ethnonyms, names for Albanians were also derived in other languages, that were or still are in use. In English "Albanians"; Italian "Albanesi"; German "Albaner"; Greek "Arvanites", "Alvanitis" (Αλβανίτης) plural: "Alvanites" (Αλβανίτες), "Alvanos" (Αλβανός) plural: "Alvanoi" (Αλβανοί); Turkish "Arnaut", "Arnavut"; South Slavic languages "Arbanasi" (Арбанаси), "Albanci" (Албанци); Aromanian "Arbineş" and so on.
The term "Albanoi" (Αλβανοί) is first encountered twice in the works of Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates, and the term "Arvanitai" (Αρβανίται) is used once by the same author. He referred to the "Albanoi" as having taken part in a revolt against the Byzantine Empire in 1043, and to the "Arbanitai" as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium (modern Durrës). These references have been disputed as to whether they refer to the people of Albania. Historian E. Vranoussi believes that these "Albanoi" were Normans from Sicily. She also notes that the same term (as "Albani") in medieval Latin meant "foreigners".
The reference to "Arvanitai" from Attaliates regarding the participation of Albanians in a rebellion around 1078 is undisputed. In later Byzantine usage, the terms "Arbanitai" and "Albanoi" with a range of variants were used interchangeably, while sometimes the same groups were also called by the classicising name Illyrians. The first reference to the Albanian language dates to the latter 13th century (around 1285).
The ethnonym Albanian has been hypothesized to be connected to and stem from the Albanoi, an Illyrian tribe mentioned by Ptolemy with their centre at the city of Albanopolis. Linguists believe that the alb part in the root word originates from an Indo-European term for a type of mountainous topography, from which other words such as alps are derived. Through the root word alban and its rhotacized equivalents arban, albar, and arbar, the term in Albanian became rendered as Arbëneshë/Arbëreshë for the people and Arbënia/Arbëria for the country. The Albanian language was referred to as Arbnisht and Arbërisht. While the exonym Albania for the general region inhabited by the Albanians does have connotations to Classical Antiquity, the Albanian language employs a different ethnonym, with modern Albanians referring to themselves as Shqip(ë)tarë and to their country as Shqipëria. Two etymologies have been proposed for this ethnonym: one, derived from the etymology from the Albanian word for eagle (shqipe, var., shqiponjë). In Albanian folk etymology, this word denotes a bird totem, dating from the times of Skanderbeg as displayed on the Albanian flag. The other is within scholarship that connects it to the verb 'to speak' (me shqiptue) from the Latin "excipere". In this instance the Albanian endonym like Slav and others would originally have been a term connoting "those who speak [intelligibly, the same language]". The new ethnonyms Shqip(ë)tarë and Shqipëria emerged and replaced the older ethnonyms Arbëneshë/Arbëreshë and Arbënia/Arbëria between the late 17th and early 18th centuries. That era brought about religious and other sociopolitical changes. As such a new and generalised response by Albanians based on ethnic and linguistic consciousness to this new and different Ottoman world emerging around them was a change in ethnonym.
A text, compiled around the beginning of the 11th century in the Bulgarian language, contains possibly a reference to the Albanian people. It is preserved in a manuscript written in the Serbo-Croatian language traced back to the 17th century but published in the 20th century by Radoslav Grujic. It is a fragment of a once longer text that endeavours to explain the origins of peoples and languages in a question-and-answer form similar to a catechism.
The fragmented manuscript differentiated the world into seventy-two languages and three religious categories including Christians, half-believers and non-believers. Grujic dated it to the early 11th century and if this and the identification of the Arbanasi, as Albanians, are correct it would be the earliest written document referring to the Albanian people as a people or language group.
It can be seen that there are various languages on earth. Of them, there are five Orthodox languages: Bulgarian, Greek, Syrian, Iberian (Georgian) and Russian. Three of these have Orthodox alphabets: Greek, Bulgarian and Iberian. There are twelve languages of half-believers: Alamanians, Franks, Magyars (Hungarians), Indians, Jacobites, Armenians, Saxons, Lechs (Poles), Arbanasi (Albanians), Croatians, Hizi and Germans.
The first undisputed mention of Albanians in the historical record is attested in Byzantine source for the first time in 1079–1080, in a work titled History by Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates, who 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 the "Albanoi" of the events of 1043 refers to Albanians in an ethnic sense or whether "Albanoi" is a reference to Normans from Sicily under an archaic name (there was also a tribe in Italy by the name of "Albanoi"). However a later reference to Albanians from the same Attaleiates, regarding the participation of Albanians in a rebellion around 1078, is undisputed. At this point, they are already fully Christianized, although Albanian mythology and folklore are part of the Paleo-Balkan pagan mythology, in particular showing Greek influence.
From the late 11th century the Albanians were called Arbën/Arbër and their country as Arbanon, a mountainous area to the west of Lake Ochrida and the upper valley of the river Shkumbin. It was in 1190, when the rulers of Arbanon (local Albanian noble called Progon and his sons Dhimitër and Gjin) created their principality with its capital at Krujë. After the fall of Progon Dynasty in 1216, the principality came under Grigor Kamona and Gulam of Albania. Finally the Principality was dissolved in 1255. Around 1230 the two main centers of Albanian settlements, one around Devoll river in what is now central Albania, and the other around the region which was known with the name Arbanon.
In 1271 Charles of Anjou created the Kingdom of Albania, after he captured a part of the Despotate of Epirus. A major attempt to advance further in direction of Constantinople failed at the Siege of Berat (1280–1281). A Byzantine counteroffensive soon ensued, which drove the Angevins out of the interior by 1281. The Sicilian Vespers further weakened the position of Charles, and the Kingdom was soon reduced by the Epirotes to a small area around Durrës. The kingdom however held out until 1368, when the city was captured by Karl Thopia. The presence of the kingdom reinforced the influence of Catholicism and the conversion to its rite, not only in the region of Durrës but in other parts of the country. A new wave of Catholic dioceses, churches and monasteries were founded, a number of different religious orders began spreading into the country, and papal missionaries also reached the territories of the Kingdom of Albania. Those who were not Catholic in Central and North Albania converted and a great number of Albanian clerics and monks were present in the Dalmatian Catholic institutions.
In the 14th century a number of Albanian principalities were created. These included Principality of Kastrioti, Principality of Dukagjini, Princedom of Albania, and Principality of Gjirokastër. At the beginning of the 15th century these principalities became stronger, especially because of the fall of the Serbian Empire. Some of these principalities were united in 1444 under the military alliance called League of Lezha.
Kingdom of Albania, 1272-1365. Charles of Naples established it after he conquered a part from the Despotate of Epirus.
Princedom of Albania 1368-1392
Borders of the Principality of Albania 1914-1925, recognized by the Treaty of Bucharest
At the dawn of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe, the geopolitical landscape was marked by scattered kingdoms of small principalities. The Ottomans erected their garrisons throughout southern Albania by 1415 and established formal jurisdiction over most of Albania by 1431. However, in 1443 a great and longstanding revolt broke under the lead of the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, which lasted until 1479, many times defeating major Ottoman armies led by sultans Murad II and Mehmed II. Skanderbeg united initially the Albanian princes and later established a centralized authority over most of the non-conquered territories, becoming Lord of Albania. He also tried relentlessly but rather unsuccessfully to create a European coalition against the Ottomans. He frustrated every attempt by the Turks to regain Albania, which they envisioned as a springboard for the invasion of Italy and western Europe. His unequal fight against the mightiest power of the time won the esteem of Europe as well as some support in the form of money and military aid from Naples, the papacy, Venice, and Ragusa. Finally after decades of resistance, Ottomans captured Shkodër in 1479 and Durrës in 1501. Skanderbeg's long struggle to keep Albania free became highly significant to the Albanian people, as it strengthened their solidarity, made them more conscious of their national identity, and served later as a great source of inspiration in their struggle for national unity, freedom, and independence. The invasion triggered a several waves of migration of Albanians from Albania, Epirus and Peloponnese to the south of Italy, constituting an Arbereshe community. Albanians were recruited all over Europe as a light cavalry known as stratioti. The stratioti were pioneers of light cavalry tactics during this era. In the early 16th century heavy cavalry in the European armies was principally remodeled after Albanian stradioti of the Venetian army, Hungarian hussars and German mercenary cavalry units (Schwarzreitern). By the 16th century, Ottoman rule over Southeast Europe was largely secure. The Ottomans proceeded in stages, first appointing a qadi along with governors and then military retainers in the cities. Timar holders, not necessarily converts to Islam, would occasionally rebel, the most famous case of which is Skanderbeg. His figure would be used later in the 19th century as a central component of Albanian national identity. Ottoman control over the Albanian territories was secured in 1571 when Ulcinj, presently in Montenegro, was captured.
The most significant impact on the Albanians was the gradual Islamization process of a large majority of the population, although such a process only became widespread in the 17th century. Mainly Catholics converted in the 17th century, while the Orthodox Albanians became Muslim mainly in the following century. Initially confined to the main city centres of Elbasan and Shkodër, by this time the countryside was also embracing the new religion. In Elbasan Muslims made up just over half the population in 1569–70 whereas in Shkodër this was almost 90% and in Berat closer to 60%. In the 17th century, however, Catholic conversion to Islam increased, even in the countryside. The motives for conversion according to scholars were diverse, depending on the context. The lack of source-material does not help when investigating such issues. Reasons in various different contexts included the incentive to escape high taxes levied on Christian subjects, ecclesiastical decay, coercion by Ottoman authorities in times of war, and the privileged legal and social position Muslims had over that of Christians within the empire.
Areas such as Albania, Western Macedonia, Southern Serbia, Kosovo, parts of northern Greece and southern Montenegro in Ottoman sources were referred to as Arnavudluk or Albania. The Ottoman period that followed in Albania after the end of Skanderbeg's resistance was characterized by other changes. Many Albanians gained prominent positions in the Ottoman government such as: Iljaz Hoxha, Hamza Kastrioti, Koca Davud Pasha, Zağanos Pasha, Köprülü Mehmed Pasha (head of the Köprülü family of Grand Viziers), the Bushati family, Sulejman Pasha, Edhem Pasha, Nezim Frakulla, Haxhi Shekreti, Hasan Zyko Kamberi, Ali Pasha of Gucia, Muhammad Ali of Egypt and Ali Pasha of Tepelena who rose to become one of the most powerful Muslim Albanian rulers in western Rumelia. During the Ottoman era Albanians involved in imperial service could also be found across the empire in Egypt, Algeria and across the Maghreb as vital military and administrative retainers.
In 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 people in the Balkan peninsula, and their march toward independence quickened. Because of the higher degree of Islamic influence, the Albanians internal social divisions, and the fear that they would lose their Albanian-inhabited territories to the emerging Balkan states, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece, were the last of the peoples in the Balkans to desire division from the Ottomans.
The national awakening as a coherent political movement began after the Treaty of San Stefano, according to which Albanian-inhabited territories were to be ceded to other states of the Balkans, and focused on preventing that partition. The Treaty of San Stefano was the impetus for the nation-building movement, which was based more on fear of partition than national identity. Even after, Albania declared independence on 28 November 1912, national identity was fragmented and possibly non-existent in much of the newly proposed country. The state of disunity and fragmentation would remain until the communist period following second World War, when the communist nation-building project would achieve greater success in nation-building and reach more people than any previous regime, thus creating Albanian national communist identity.
Approximately 5 million Albanians are geographically distributed across the Balkan Peninsula with about half this number living in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro as well as to a much smaller extent in Croatia and Serbia. There are also significant Albanian populations in Greece. Insignificant comunities are available in Bulgaria and Romania.
In North Macedonia, there are approximately 500.000 Albanians constituting the largest minority group in the country. The vast majority of the Albanians are largely concentrated around the municipalities of Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga and Skopje in the northwest and southwest of Macedonia.
In Montenegro, the Albanian population of Montenegro is currently estimated to be around 30.000 forming as well as one of the constituent minority groups of the country. They predominantly live in the coastal region of Montenegro around the municipalities of Ulcinj and Bar but also around Plav and the capital city of Podgorica. The cities of Ulcinj and Tuzi constitute the major centres of the Albanian community in Montenegro.
In Romania, the Albanians are recognized as a minority group and are hence represented in Parliament of Romania and enjoy ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious rights in the country. The Albanian migration to Romanian territory dates back to the 16th century however the actual number of Albanians in Romania is unofficially estimated at around 500 to 10.000.
An estimated 2.2 million Albanians live in the territory of Former Yugoslavia, the greater part, which is close to two million, in Kosovo.[a] Rights to use the Albanian language in education and government were given and guaranteed by the 1974 Constitution of SFRY and were widely utilized in Macedonia and in Montenegro before the Dissolution of Yugoslavia.
The presence of Albanians in Kosovo as well as in the adjacent regions of Toplica and Morava is recorded since the Middle Ages. As the Serbs expelled many Albanians from the wider Toplica and Morava regions in Southern Serbia, which the 1878 Congress of Berlin had given to the Principality of Serbia, many of them settled in Kosovo. In Kosovo, they and their descendants are known as Muhaxher (meaning the exiled, from the Arabic muhajir).
During the First Balkan War, Serbia and Montenegro, after expelling the Ottoman forces in present-day Albania and Kosovo, committed numerous war crimes against the Albanians, which were reported by the European, American and Serbian opposition press. Further during the Kosovo War, Serbian paramilitary forces committed war crimes in Kosovo, although the Serbian government claims that the army was only going after suspected Albanian terrorists. This triggered a 78-day NATO campaign in 1999. Nowadays, Albanians in Kosovo constitute the majority with 1,616,869 million.
Culturally, Albanians in Kosovo are very closely related to Albanians in Albania. Traditions and customs differ even from town to town in Kosovo itself. The spoken dialect is Gheg, typical of northern Albanians. The language of state institutions, education, books, media and newspapers is the standard dialect of Albanian, which is closer to the Tosk dialect. The most widespread religion among Albanians in Kosovo is Islam, mostly Sunni, and Roman Catholicism.
There are small Albanian populations dating to migrations from the 18th century. One group known as the Arbanas are located on Croatia's Dalmatian coast and fled Ottoman repression. The second known as the Албанці (Albantsi) are located in scattered communities across southern Ukraine and descend from Albanian warriors who fought against the Ottoman Empire during the Russo-Turkish wars and allowed to settle in the Russian Empire.
The Albanian migration to Italy can be broadly categorised into several migration cycles that occurred throughout history which in turn can be attributed to factors such as political or religious difficulties that emerged in the Balkan Peninsula. It dates back between the 15th and 17th centuries as once numerous Albanian and other Balkan soldiers, known as the Stratioti, were recruited to the Italian Peninsula as prominent mercenaries by the Neapolitans, Sicilians and Venetians. The Stratiotis, composed of Christians and Muslims, served initially for the Republic of Venice in their campaigns, among others, against the Ottoman Empire.
The Arbëreshës are the traditional Albanian population of Italy and started to settle Southern Italy following the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans and Constantinople between the 14th and 16th centuries. Today, the Albanian community constitute one of the largest ethnolinguistic minority in Italy which is protected by law.
The total number of Arbëreshës is approximately 260,000 scattered across Sicily, Calabria and Apulia. There are as well numbers outside of Italy such as in North and South America, especially in such countries as Argentina, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the United States.
Centuries later in the end of the 20th century occurred another and simultaneously the largest migration cycle of Albanians to Italy surpassing the earlier migration of the Arbëreshë. Their migration stems from severe political and social oppression during decades of isolation from the outside world under the communist regime leaded by Enver Hoxha.
Between 2015 and 2016, the number of Albanians regularly residing in Italy was numbered to be around 480,000 and 500,000. Tuscany, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna represent the regions with the strongest presence of the modern Albanian population in Italy. In 2012, 41.5% of the Albanian population were counted as Muslim, 38.9% as Christian including 27.7% as Roman Catholic and 11% as Eastern Orthodox and 17.8% as Irreligious.
In Croatia, the Albanian language is one of the officially recognized minority languages of the country and is primarily spoken by the Albanians and Arbanasis. As defined in the 2011 census, the number of Albanians in the country was estimated to be 17,513. They are mostly concentrated in the coastal cities of Croatia and the capital city of Zagreb.
The history of Albanian presence in Croatia can be traced back to the Middle Ages[vague]. In this period, there was a significant Albanian community in Ragusa with numerous families of Albanian origin inclusively the Sorgo family who came from the Cape of Rodon in central Albania, across Kotor in eastern Montenegro, to Dalmatia.
By the 13th century, Albanian merchants were trading directly with the peoples of the Republic of Ragusa which increased familiarity between Albanians and Ragusans. The capture of Albania by the Ottoman Empire and the death of Skanderbeg caused many Christian Albanians to flee to Dalmatia and other countries including Italy and Greece.
In the 18th century, the suppression of Catholicism increased rapidly and dramatically which led the Arbanasis to flee to Dalmatia. They found initially refuge in Kotor and moved further north to Zadar where they established the village Borgo Erizzo which is at the present day a neighbourhood of Zadar.
An estimated 275,000–600,000 (Includes dual citizens, temporary migrants, and undocumented) Albanians live in Greece, forming the largest immigrant community in the country. They are economic migrants whose migration began in 1991, following the collapse of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania.
The Arvanites and Albanian-speakers of Western Thrace are a group descended from Tosks who migrated to southern and central Greece between the 13th and 16th centuries. They are Greek Orthodox Christians, and though they traditionally speak a dialect of Tosk Albanian known as Arvanitika, they have fully assimilated into the Greek nation and do not identify as Albanians. Arvanitika is in a state of attrition due to language shift towards Greek and large-scale internal migration to the cities and subsequent intermingling of the population during the 20th century.
The Cham Albanians were a group that formerly inhabited a region of Epirus known as Chameria, nowadays Thesprotia in northwestern Greece. Many Cham Albanians converted to Islam during the Ottoman era. Muslim Chams were expelled from Greece during World War II, by an anti-communist resistance group, as a result of their participation in a communist resistance group and the collaboration with the Axis occupation, while Orthodox Chams have largely assimilated into the Greek nation..
In the 20th and 21st centuries, there have been increasingly large numbers of Albanian people settling in other parts of Western and Northern Europe. In Albania, the collapse of communism triggered a new wave of migration and led to the emergence of a new diaspora, largely within Southern Europe, in such countries as Greece and Italy. In the 1990s, the estimated number of Albanians outside the territory of Albania was approximately 500,000 of whom 90% was settling in neighbouring Greece.
There are approximately 200.000 Albanians in Switzerland with the main concentration in the cantons of Zürich, Basel, Lucerne, Bern and St. Gallen. The neighbouring Germany is home to around 250.000 to 300.000 Albanians while in Austria there are around 40.000 and 80.000 Albanians concentrated in the states of Vienna, Styria, Salzburg, Lower and Upper Austria. A large proportion of these people are from Kosovo and North Macedonia with a lesser extent from Albania and other territories however, the number of Albanians in all three countries has sharply increased following the conflicts in the Balkans and the human tragedy in Kosovo.
The largest number of Albanians in Scandinavia is to be found in Sweden where 100,000 people of Albanian descent are thought to live. However, according to official data, only around 50,000 people have declared Albanian as their first language. A smaller number of Albanians have also settled in Norway and Denmark with more than 11,000 and 8,000 Albanians respecitvely.
In the United Kingdom, the number of Albanian nationals living in the UK increased from around 2,000 in 2004 to around 14,600 in 2015. As of other estimations, the population of Albanians in the UK lies between 70,000 and 100,000. Albanian migrants live in all parts of the UK especially in England.
Asia and Egypt
The Albanian diaspora in Turkey was formed during the Ottoman era through economic migration and early years of the Turkish republic through migration due to sociopolitical discrimination and violence experienced by Albanians in Balkan countries. According to a 2008 report prepared for the National Security Council of Turkey by academics of three Turkish universities in eastern Anatolia, there were approximately 1,300,000 people of Albanian descent living in Turkey. According to that study, more than 500,000 Albanian descendants still recognize their ancestry and or their language, culture and traditions. There are also other estimates regarding the Albanian population in Turkey that range from being 3–4 million people up to a total of 5 million in number, although most of these are Turkish citizens of either full or partial Albanian ancestry being no longer fluent in Albanian (cf. German Americans). This was due to various degrees of either linguistic and or cultural assimilation occurring amongst the Albanian diaspora in Turkey. Nonetheless, a sizable proportion of the Albanian community in Turkey, such as that of Istanbul, has maintained its distinct Albanian identity. Albanians are active in the civic life of Turkey.
In Egypt there are 18,000 Albanians, mostly Tosk speakers. Many are descendants of the Janissaries of Muhammad Ali Pasha, an Albanian who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. In addition to the dynasty that he established, a large part of the former Egyptian and Sudanese aristocracy was of Albanian origin. Albanian Sunnis, Bektashis and Orthodox Christians were all represented in this diaspora, whose members at some point included major Renaissance figures (Rilindasit), including Thimi Mitko, Spiro Dine, Andon Zako Çajupi, Milo Duçi, Fan Noli and others who lived in Egypt for a time. With the ascension of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and rise of Arab nationalism, the last remnants of Albanian community there were forced to leave. Albanians have been present in Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and for about five centuries as a legacy of Ottoman Turkish rule.
The first immigration of Albanians to Canada began already in the 19th and 20th centuries though the largest wave of migration from the Balkan Peninsula to Canada was in 1999, when 7,000 people mostly Albanians from Kosovo, arrived in that country. They primarily settled in Canada's industrial cities, mostly Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton, which was besides the United States a major centre of Albanian migration to North America.
Albanian Canadians have their roots in Albania, although the country of their birth could be Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Italy or Greece. In 2016, Canada was home to approximately 36,185 Albanians from Albania and 2,870 Albanians from Kosovo predominantly distributed in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.
The largest population of Albanians in the Americas is predominantly to be found in the United States. According to the 2013 American Community Survey, there are 194,028 Albanian Americans (American citizens of full or partial Albanian descent).
The descendants of the Arbëreshës from Italy were the first ethnic Albanians to arrive in the United States. The immigration of the Arbëreshës to the country occurred at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Having a strong sense of identity, the Arbëreshë Americans are often distinguishable from other Albanian Americans with regard to their italianized names and a common religion. They are often indistinguishable from Italian Americans because of being assimilated into the Italian American community.
Albanian immigration to Australia took place in the late 19th century and much of the 20th century. Following the introduction of migration quotas by the United States, people who had planned to immigrate to the States were forced to choose Australia instead. The majority of them had Muslim and Orthodox backgrounds and tended to live in Victoria and Queensland but also in Western and Northern Australia.
Italy's annexation of Albania and its alliance with Nazi Germany against the allies marked a difficult time for Albanian and Italian Australians as they were thought by Australian authorities to pose a fascist threat. However, the number of Albanian immigrants slowed consequently during that time but also due to immigration restrictions placed by the communist regime in Albania.
The most recent Albanian immigrants came mostly from Kosovo and the former Yugoslavian countries inclusively North Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro. The immigrants were mostly Muslims but also Orthodox and Catholics among them the relatives of the renowned Albanian nun and missionary Mother Teresa.
In 2016, approximately 4,041 persons resident in Australia identified themselves as having been born in Albania, while 15,901 persons identified themselves as having Albanian ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry. There are many Albanian Australians that were born in Italy, Macedonia as well as Kosovo, due to this they are recorded under those statistics.
The majority of the Albanian people speak the Albanian language which comprise an independent branch within the Indo-European languages. It is a language isolate to any other known living language in Europe and indeed no other language in the world has been conclusively associated to its branch.
The Albanian language is spoken by approximately 5 million people only throughout the Balkan Peninsula as well as by communities around the Americas, Europe and Oceania. Numerous variants and dialects of Albanian are used as an official language in Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia. The language is also spoken in other countries whence it is officially recognised as a minority language in such countries as Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
There are two principal dialects of the Albanian language, Gheg and Tosk. The geographical dividing line is traditionally considered to be the Shkumbin River with Gheg spoken in the north of it and Tosk in the south. Dialects spoken in Croatia (Arbanasi), Kosovo, Montenegro and Northwestern Macedonia are Geg dialects, while those spoken in Greece (Arvanites, Çam), Southwestern Macedonia and Italy (Arbëreshë) are Tosk dialects.
The origin of the Albanian langauge is a contentious subject that has given rise to numerous hypotheses. The hypothesis of Albanian being one of the descendant of the Illyrian languages is based on geography where the languages were spoken however not enough archaeological evidence is left behind to come therefore to a definite conclusion.
Another hypothesis associates the Albanian language with the Thracian language. This theory takes exception to the territory, since the language was spoken in an area distinct from Albania, and no significant population movements have been recorded in the period when the shift from one language to the other is supposed to have occurred.
Most of the Albanians in Albania are polyglot and have the ability to understand, speak, read, or write a foreign language. As defined by the Institute of Statistics of Albania, 39.9% of the 25 to 64 years old Albanians are able to use at least one foreign language including English (40%), Italian (27.8%) and Greek (22.9%).
The Albanians in Italy are either Albanian immigrants from the 1990s, who came in Italy following the breakdown of the communist regime in Albania in 1990 and speak standard Albanian and the Italian language, or the Arbëreshë people, Albanian refugees who fled from Albania for Southern Italy between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries in consequence of the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans, who nowadays speak the Arbëresh language, a variety of Albanian that derives from Tosk spoken in southern Albania and follows a similar divergence pattern to Arvanitika.
The roots of literature of the Albanians can be traced to the Middle Ages with works about history, theology and philosophy similar to other European medieval literature of the time. The earliest preserved testaments to Albanian literature are dated to the 13th century represented by a manuscript created by Theodor of Shkodra.
The earliest known use of written Albanian is a baptismal formula (1462) written by the Archbishop of Durrës Paulus Angelus. In 1555, a Catholic clergyman Gjon Buzuku from the Shestan region published the earliest known book written in Albanian titled Meshari (The Missal) regarding Catholic prayers and rites containing archaic medieval language, lexemes and expressions obsolete in contemporary Albanian. Other Christian clergy such as Luca Matranga in the Arbëresh diaspora published (1592) in the Tosk dialect while other notable authors were from northern Albanian lands and included Pjetër Budi, Frang Bardhi, and Pjetër Bogdani.
With the conversion to Islam of many Albanians, Muslim poetic and other literary traditions were adopted giving rise to authors such as the Bejtexhinj (Albanian poets) and included individuals like Nezim Frakulla, Hasan Zyko Kamberi, Muhamet Kyçyku, and brothers Shahin and Dalip Frashëri. They compiled Albanian literature infused with expressions, language and themes stemming from the Middle East and their local socio-cultural environment. Albanian literature was composed in the Arbëresh diaspora by individuals such as Giulio Variboba, Nicola Chetta, Giuseppe Schirò, Giuseppe Serembe, Girolamo de Rada and others relating to religious, secular, poetic and eventually patriotic themes like Skanderbeg. From the 19th century Rilindja (Albanian national awakening), a corpus of Albanian literature with patriotic and other themes emerged calling for Albanian unity, self-determination and celebrating Albanian culture, language, legends and other figures of sociopoltical, cultural and historic importance. Figures who left their mark during this period were the poet brothers Naim and Sami Frashëri, Pashko Vasa, Luigj Gurakuqi and others.
Albanian independence (1912) until the advent of the Second World War marked a transition from patriotic and political Rilindja related literature to more distinctive, expressive and matured forms of Albanian literature, prose and poetry focusing upon additional themes of contemporary life. Andon Zako Çajupi, Ndre Mjeda, Faik Konitza, Fan Noli who translated many foreign works into Albanian, Gjergj Fishta who composed the epic the Highland Lute, Ernest Koliqi, modernist poets Migjeni and Lasgush Poradeci and others. Albania, post World War Two emerged as a communist state and Socialist realism became part of the literary scene. Authors and poets emerged such as Sejfulla Malëshova, Dritero Agolli and Ismail Kadare who has become an internationally acclaimed novelist and others who challenged the regime through various sociopolitical and historic themes in their works. Martin Camaj wrote in the diaspora while in neighbouring Yugoslavia, the emergence of Albanian cultural expression resulted in sociopolitical and poetic literature by notable authors like Adem Demaçi, Rexhep Qosja, Jusuf Buxhovi. The Albanian literary scene at the beginning of the 21st century remains vibrant producing new novelists, authors, poets and other writers.
The cuisine of the Albanians is diverse and has been widely influenced by their traditions, their varied environment in the Balkans and turbulent history throughout the course of the centuries. The enjoyment of food had and has a high priority in the lives of the Albanians especially when it comes to celebrating religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah or Ramadan.
In general, Albanian cuisine is different from region to another and each Albanian-speaking territory preserves a distinctive regional cuisine characterised by local specialties and different styles within Albanian cuisine. Therefore, there is a considerable diversity between the Italian and Greek-influenced cuisines of the Arbëreshës and Chams as well as of the Mediterranean and Balkan-influenced cuisines of the Albanians in the western Balkans.
Among the main characteristic in traditional Albanian cuisine is undoubtedly the generous use of a wide range of ingredients and spices specific to their locations. It includes many varieties of fruits such as lemons, oranges, figs and most notably olives. Spices and other herbs such as basil, lavender, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme are widely used, as are vegetables such as garlics, onions, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.
The Albanian diet, for those Albanians who lives closer to the oceans and lakes, are able to complement their diet with fresh and saltwater fish and seafood. Otherwise lamb is often considered as the traditional meat for different religious festivals and poultry, beef and pork are also in plentiful supply.
In Albania, Tavë Kosi is a national dish consisting of garlicky lamb and rice baked under a thick, tart veil of yogurt. Fërgesë is another national dish and is made up with peppers, tomatoes and cottage cheese. Another beloved dish in Albania and other Albanian-speaking territories is called Pite which is generally a filled and baked pastry with a filling of a mixture of spinach and gjizë or mish. Also famous is Flia consisting of multiple crepe-like layers brushed with crea. Petulla, a traditionally fried dough, and Krofne, similar to Berliner, constitute as well a popular speciality in Albanian cuisine.
Bukë, kripë e zemër is a traditional welcoming custom as symbols of hospitality in Albanian culture which can be traced to the medieval Albanian law. The Albanian code of honour, called Besa, resulted to look after guests and foreigners as an act of recognition and gratitude towards them.
Albanians are traditionally adherents of different spiritual traditions, religious faiths and beliefs marked by a majority of people being followers of the three abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Today, the most dominant religion of the Albanians is Islam with a Sunni majority and a Bektashi minority while Christianity is split between Catholicism and Orthodoxy with a smaller presence of Protestantism and Evangelicalism.
In the medieval era, before the arrival of Islam into the Albanian inhabited lands, Christianity was the predominant religion among the Albanians. They were mostly following Orthodox traditions and practices until the middle of the 13th century as Gheg Albanians began to convert to Catholicism as a mean to resist the oppression of the Slavs. During the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, Christianity began to be overtaken by Islam, and Catholicism and Orthodoxy continued to be practiced with less frequency.
During the modern era, the monarchy and communism in Albania as well as the socialism in Kosovo, historically part of Yugoslavia, followed a systematic secularisation of its people. This policy was chiefly applied within the borders of both territories and produced a secular majority of its population.
All forms of Christianity, Islam and other religious practices were prohibited except for old non-institutional pagan practices in the rural areas, which were seen as identifying with the national culture. The current Albanian state has revived some pagan festivals, such as the Spring festival (Albanian: Dita e Verës) held yearly on 14 March in the city of Elbasan. It is a national holiday.
The communist regime which ruled Albania after World War II persecuted and suppressed religious observance and institutions, and entirely banned religion to the point where Albania was officially declared to be the world's first atheist state. Religious freedom returned to Albania following the regime's change in 1992. Albanian Sunni Muslims are found throughout the country, Albanian Orthodox Christians as well as Bektashis are concentrated in the south, while Roman Catholics are found primarily in the north of the country.
According to 2011 census, 58.79% of Albania adheres to Islam, making it the largest religion in the country. The majority of Albanian Muslims are Sunni with a Bektashi minority. Christianity is practiced by 16.99% of the population, making it the second largest religion in the country. The remaining population is either irreligious or belongs to other religious groups. Before World War II, there was given a distribution of 70% Muslims, 20% Eastern Orthodox, and 10% Roman Catholics. Today, Gallup Global Reports 2010 shows that religion plays a role in the lives of only 39% of Albanians, and ranks Albania the thirteenth least religious country in the world. The results of the 2011 census, however, have been criticized as questionable on a number of grounds, and have been said to drastically underrepresent the number of Orthodox, Bektashi and irreligious Albanians, with problems including whole communities reporting that they had not been contacted, workers filling out questions without even asking the respondents and a drastic difference between the final results and the preliminary results with regard to religion (which showed over 70% declining to answer the question about religion).
For part of its history, Albania has also had a Jewish community. Members of the Jewish community were saved by a group of Albanians during the Nazi occupation. Many left for Israel c. 1990–1992 when the borders were opened after the fall of the communist regime, but about 200 Jews still live in Albania.
|Religion||Albanians in Albania||Albanians in Kosovo||Albanians in Macedonia||Albanians in Montenegro||Albanians in Croatia||Albanians in Italy|
|Prefer not to answer||386,024||13.79||9,708||0.55||—||—||58||0.19||414||2.36||—||—|
|Believers without denomination||153,630||5.49||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Not relevant/not stated||68,022||2.43||1,188||0.06||—||—||48||0.16||63||0.36||—||—|
For Albanians, music is a vital component to their culture and characterised by its own peculiar features and diverse melodic pattern. Albanian music differ from region to region with two essential stylistic differences between the music of the Ghegs and Tosks that are contrasted by the heroic tone of the Ghegs and the relaxed sounds of the Tosks.
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- Riehl 2010, p. 238. "Other interesting groups in the context of European migration include the Albanians who from the thirteenth century immigrated to Greece (i.e., the so-called "Arvanites", see Sasse 1998) and to Southern Italy (Calabria, Sicily, cf Breu 2005)."
- Nasse 1964, pp. 24–26.
- Gogonas 2010, p. 3. "Arvanites originate from Albanian settlers who moved south at different times between the 14th and the 16th centuries from areas in what is today southern Albania The reasons for this migration are not entirely clear and may be manifold. In many instances the Arvanites were invited by the Byzantine and Latin rulers of the time. They were employed to resettle areas that had been largely depopulated through wars, epidemics and other reasons, and they were employed as soldiers. Some later movements are also believed to have been motivated to evade Islamisation after the Ottoman conquest. The main waves of the Arvanite migration into southern Greece started around 1300, reached a peak some time during the 14th century, and ended around 1600. Arvanites first reached Thessaly, then Attica and finally the Peloponnese (Clogg. 2002). Regarding the number of Arvanites in Greece, the 1951 census (the last census in Greece that included a question about language) gives a figure of 23.000 Arvaiithka speakers. Sociohinguistic research in the 1970s in the villages of Attica and Biotia alone indicated a figure of at least 30.000 speakers (Trudgill and Tzavaras 1977), while Lunden (1993) suggests 50.000 for Greece as a whole."
- Hall 1997, pp. 28–29. "The permeability of ethnic boundaries is also demonstrated in many of the Greek villages of Attiki and Viotia (ancient Attika and Boiotia), where Arvanites often form a majority) These Arvanites are descended from Albanians who first entered Greece between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries (though there was a subsequent wave of immigration in the second half of the eighteenth century). Although still regarded as ethnically distinct in the nineteenth century, their participation in the Greek War of Independence and the Civil War has led to increasing assimilation: in a survey conducted in the 1970s, 97 per crnt of Arvanite informants despite regularly speaking in Arvanitika, considered themselves to be Greek. A similar concern with being identified as Greek is exhibited by the bilingual Arvanites of the Eastern Argolid."
- Bintliff 2003, pp. 137–138. "First, we can explain the astonishing persistence of Albanian village culture from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries through the ethnic and religious tolerance characteristic of Islamic empires and so lacking in their Christian equivalents. Ottoman control rested upon allowing local communities to keep their religion, language, local laws, and representatives, provided that taxes were paid (the millet system). There was no pressure for Greeks and Albanians to conform to each other's language or other behavior. Clear signs of change are revealed in the travel diaries of the German scholar Ludwig Ross (1851), when he accompanied the Bavarian Otto, whom the Allies had foisted as king upon the newly freed Greek nation in the aftermath of the War of Independence in the 1830s. Ross praises the well-built Greek villages of central Greece with their healthy, happy, dancing inhabitants, and contrasts them specifically with the hovels and sickly inhabitants of Albanian villages. In fact, recent scholarship has underlined how far it was the West that built modem Greece in its own fanciful image as the land of a long-oppressed people who were the direct descendants of Pericles. Thus from the late nineteenth century onward the children of the inhabitants of the new "nation-state" were taught in Greek, history confined itself to the episodes of pure Greekness, and the tolerant Ottoman attitude to cultural diversity yielded to a deliberate policy of total Hellenization of the populace—effective enough to fool the casual observer. One is rather amazed at the persistence today of such dual-speaking populations in much of the Albanian colonization zone. However, apart from the provinciality of this essentially agricultural province, a high rate of illiteracy until well into this century has also helped to preserve Arvanitika in the Boeotian villagers (Meijs 1993)."; p. 140. "In contrast therefore to the more openly problematic issue of Slav speakers in northern Greece, Arvanitic speakers in central Greece lack any signs of an assertive ethnicity. I would like to suggest that they possess what we might term a passive ethnicity. As a result of a number of historical factors, much of the rural population in central Greece was Albanian-speaking by the time of the creation of the modern Greek state in the 1830s. Until this century, most of these people were illiterate and unschooled, yet there existed sufficient knowledge of Greek to communicate with officials and townspeople, itinerant traders, and so on, to limit the need to transform rural language usage. Life was extremely provincial, with just one major carriage-road passing through the center of the large province of Boeotia even in the 1930s (beyond which horseback and cart took over; van Effenterre 1989). Even in the 1960s, Arvanitic village children could be figures of fun for their Greek peers in the schools of Thebes (One of the two regional towns) (K. Sarri, personal communication, 2000). It was not a matter of cultural resistance but simple conservatism and provinciality, the extreme narrowness of rural life, that allowed Arvanitic language and local historic memories to survive so effectively to the very recent period."
- Liakos 2012, p. 230. "The term "Arvanite" is the medieval equivalent of "Albanian." it is retained today for the descendants of the Albanian tribes that migrated to the Greek lands during a period covering two centuries, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth."
- Liotta 2001, p. 198. "Among Greeks, the term "Alvanitis"—or "Arvanitis"—means a Christian of Albanian ancestry, one who speaks both Greek and Albanian, but possesses Greek "consciousness." Numerous "Arvanites" live in Greece today, although the ability to speak both languages is shrinking as the differences (due to technology and information access and vastly different economic bases) between Greece and Albania increase. The Greek communities of Elefsis, Marousi, Koropi, Keratea, and Markopoulo (all in the Attikan peninsula) once held significant Arvanite communities. "Arvanitis" is not necessarily a pejorative term; a recent Pan Hellenic socialist foreign minister spoke both Albanian and Greek (but not English). A former Greek foreign minister, Theodoros Pangalos, was an "Arvanite" from Elefsis."
- Pappas. para. 28. "While the bulk of stradioti rank and file were of Albanian origin from Greece, by the middle of the 16th century there is evidence that many had become Hellenized or even Italianized... Hellenization was perhaps well on its way prior to service abroad, since Albanian stradioti had settled in Greek lands for two generations prior to their emigration to Italy. Since many served under Greek commanders and served together with Greek stradioti, the process continued. Another factor in this assimilative process was the stradioti's and their families' active involvement and affiliation with the Greek Orthodox or Uniate Church communities in Naples, Venice and elsewhere. Hellenization thus occurred as a result of common service and church affiliation."
- Veremis & Kolipoulos 2003, pp. 24–25. "For the time being, the Greeks of free Greece could indulge in defining their brethren of unredeemed Greece, primarily the Slav Macedonians and secondarily the Orthodox Albanians and the Vlachs. Primary school students were taught, in the 1880s, that ‘Greeks [are] our kinsmen, of common descent, speaking the language we speak and professing the religion we profess’." But this definition, it seems, was reserved for small children who could not possibly understand the intricate arguments of their parents on the question of Greek identity. What was essential to understand at that tender age was that modern Greeks descended from the ancient Greeks. Grown up children, however, must have been no less confused than adults on the criteria for defining modern Greek identity. Did the Greeks constitute a ‘race’ apart from the Albanians, the Slavs and the Vlachs? Yes and no. High school students were told that the ‘other races’, i.e. the Slavs, the Albanians and the Vlachs, ‘having been Hellenized with the years in terms of mores and customs, are now being assimilated into the Greeks’. On the Slavs of Macedonia there seems to have been no consensus. Were they Bulgars, Slavicized Greeks or early Slavs? They ‘were’ Bulgars until the 1870s and Slavicized Greeks, or Hellenized Slavs subsequently, according to the needs of the dominant theory. There was no consensus, either, on the Vlachs. Were they Latinized Greek mountaineers of late immigrants from Vlachia? As in the case of the Slavs of Macedonia, Vlach descent shifted from the southern Balkans to the Danube, until the Romanians claimed the Vlachs for their brethren; which made the latter irrevocably indigenous to the southern Balkan mountains. The Albanians or ‘Arvanites’, were readily ‘adopted’ as brethren of common descent for at least three reasons. Firstly, the Albanians had been living in southern Greece, as far south as the Peloponnese, in considerable numbers. Secondly, Christian Albanians had fought with distinction and in considerable numbers in the War of Independence. Thirdly, credible Albanian claims for the establishment of an Albanian nation state materialized too Late for Greek national theorists to abandon well-entrenched positions. Commenting on a geography textbook for primary schools in 1901, a state committee found it inadequate and misleading. One of its principal shortcomings concerned the Albanians, who were described as ‘close kinsmen of the Greeks’. ‘These are unacceptable from the point of view of our national claims and as far as historical truth is concerned’, commented the committee. ‘it must have been maintained that they are of common descent with the Greeks (Pelasgians), that they speak a language akin to that of the Greeks and that they participated in all struggles for national liberation of the common fatherland.’"
- Barančić 2008, p. 551. "Možemo reći da svi na neki način pripadamo nekoj vrsti etničke kategorije, a često i više nego jednoj. Kao primjer navodim slučaj zadarskih Arbanasa. Da bismo shvatili Arbanase i problem njihova etnojezičnog (etničkog i jezičnog) identiteta, potrebno je ići u povijest njihova doseljenja koje seže u početak 18. st., tj. točnije: razdoblje od prve seobe 1726., razdoblje druge seobe od 1733., pa sve do 1754. godine koja se smatra završnom godinom njihova doseljenja. Svi su se doselili iz tri sela s područja Skadarskog jezera – Briske, Šestana i Livara. Bježeći od Turaka, kuge i ostalih nevolja, generalni providur Nicola Erizzo II dozvolio im je da se nasele u područje današnjih Arbanasa i Zemunika. Jedan dio stanovništva u Zemuniku se asimilirao s ondašnjim stanovništvom zaboravivši svoj jezik. To su npr. današnji Prenđe, Šestani, Ćurkovići, Paleke itd. Drugi dio stanovništva je nastojao zadržati svoj etnički i jezični identitet tijekom ovih 280 godina. Dana 10. svibnja 2006. godine obilježena je 280. obljetnica njihova dolaska u predgrađe grada Zadra. Nije bilo lako, osobito u samom početku, jer nisu imali svoju crkvu, škole itd., pa je jedini način održavanja njihova identiteta i jezika bio usmenim putem. We can say that all in some way belong to a kind of ethnic category, and often more than one. As an example, I cite the case of Zadar Arbanasi. To understand the problem of the Albanians and their ethnolinguistic (ethnic and linguistic) identity, it is necessary to go into the history of their immigration that goes back to the beginning of the 18th century., etc more precisely: the period from the first migration of 1726, the period of the second migration of 1733, and until 1754, which is considered to be the final year of their immigration. All they moved from three villages from the area of Lake Scutari – Briska, Šestan and Livara. Fleeing from the Ottomans, plague and other troubles, the general provider Nicola Erizzo II allowed them to settle in the area of today's Arbanasa and Zemunik. One part of the population in Zemunik became assimilated with the local population, forgetting their language. These are for example, today's Prenda, Šestani, Ćurkovići, Paleke etc. The second part of the population tried to maintain their ethnic and linguistic identity during these 280 years. On May 10, 2006 marked the 280th anniversary of their arrival in the suburb of Zadar. It was not easy, especially in the beginning, because they did not have their own church, school, etc., and is the only way to maintain their identity and language was verbally."
- Novik 2015, pp. 261–262. "Historical Facts. Four villages with Albanian population are located in the Ukraine: Karakurt (Zhovtnevoe) set up in 1811 (Odessa region), Tyushki (Georgievka), Dzhandran (Gammovka) and Taz (Devninskoe) set up in 1862 (Zaporizh’a region). Before migrating to the territory of the Russian empire, Albanians had moved from the south-east of the present day Albania into Bulgaria (Varna region) because of the Osmanli invasion (Державин, 1914, 1926, 1933, 1948, pp. 156–169). Three hundred years later they had moved from Bulgaria to the Russian empire on account of Turkish-Russian opposition in the Balkan Peninsula. Ethnic Albanians also live in Moldova, Odessa and St. Petersburg. Present Day Situation. Nowadays, in the Ukraine and Russia there are an estimated 5000 ethnic Albanians. They live mainly in villages situated in the Odessa and Zaporizh’a regions. The language and many elements of traditional culture are still preserved and maintained in four Albanian villages (Будина, 2000, pp. 239–255; Иванова, 2000, pp. 40–53). From the ethnolinguistic and linguistic point of view these Albanian villages are of particular interest and value since they are excellent examples of a "melting pot" (Иванова, 1995, 1999). Bulgarians and Gagauzes live side by side with Albanians in Karakurt; Russians and Ukrainians share the same space with Albanians in the Azov Sea region. It is worth mentioning that in these multi-lingual environments, the Albanian patois retains original Balkan features."
- Stavrianos 2000, p. 498. "Religious differences also existed before the coming of the Turks. Originally, all Albanians had belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church... Then the Ghegs in the North adopted in order to better resist the pressure of Orthodox Serbs."
- Hugh Chisholm (1910). Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. Encyclopædia Britannica. p. 485. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
The Roman Catholic Ghegs appear to have abandoned the Eastern for the Western Church in the middle of the 13th century
- Ramet 1989, p. 381. "Prior to the Turkish conquest, the ghegs (the chief tribal group in northern Albania) had found in Roman Catholicism a means of resisting the Slavs, and though Albanian Orthodoxy remained important among the tosks (the chief tribal group in southern Albania), ..."
- Vickers 2011, pp. 17–24.
- Giakoumis 2010, pp. 87–88.
- Myhill, John (2006). Language, religion and national identity in Europe and the Middle East: A historical study. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 9789027227119.
- Koti 2010, pp. 16–17.
- Ramet 1998, pp. 203–204.
- Skendi 1956, pp. 321–323.
- Clayer, Nathalie (2012), "Albania", in Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Three, Brill Online, (Subscription required (help))
- Bell, Imogen (2002). Central and South-Eastern Europe 2003. Psychology Press. p. 66. ISBN 9781857431360.
- Elsie 2005, pp. 3–4. "Their traditional designation, based on a root *alban- and its rhotacized variants *arban-, *albar-, and *arbar-, appears from the eleventh century onwards in Byzantine chronicles (Albanoi, Arbanitai, Arbanites), and from the fourteenth century onwards in Latin and other Western documents (Albanenses, Arbanenses)."
- Lloshi 1999, p. 277. "The Albanians of today call themselves shqiptarë, their country Shqipëri, and their language shqipe. These terms came into use between the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries. Foreigners call them albanesi (Italian), Albaner (German), Albanians (English), Alvanos (Greek), and Arbanasi (old Serbian), the country Albania, Albanie, Albanien, Alvania, and Albanija, and the language Albanese, Albanisch, Albanian, Alvaniki, and Arbanashki respectively. All these words are derived from the name Albanoi of an Illyrian tribe and their center Albanopolis, noted by the astronomer of Alexandria, Ptolemy, in the 2nd century AD. Alban could be a plural of alb- arb-, denoting the inhabitants of the plains (ÇABEJ 1976). The name passed over the boundaries of the Illyrian tribe in central Albania, and was generalised for all the Albanians. They called themselves arbënesh, arbëresh, the country Arbëni, Arbëri, and the language arbëneshe, arbëreshe. In the foreign languages, the Middle Ages denominations of these names survived, but for the Albanians they were substituted by shqiptarë, Shqipëri and shqipe. The primary root is the adverb shqip, meaning "clearly, intelligibly". There is a very close semantic parallel to this in the German noun Deutsche, "the Germans" and "the German language" (Lloshi 1984) Shqip spread out from the north to the south, and Shqipni/Shqipëri is probably a collective noun, following the common pattern of Arbëni, Arbëri. The change happened after the Ottoman conquest because of the conflict in the whole line of the political, social, economic, religious, and cultural spheres with a totally alien world of the Oriental type. A new and more generalised ethnic and linguistic consciousness of all these people responded to this."
- Demiraj 2010, p. 534. "The ethnic name shqiptar has always been discussed together with the ethnic complex: (tosk) arbëresh, arbëror, arbër — (gheg) arbënesh, arbënu(e)r, arbën; i.e. [arbën/r(—)]. p.536. Among the neighbouring peoples and elsewhere the denomination of the Albanians is based upon the root arb/alb, cp. Greek ’Αλβανός, ’Αρβανός "Albanian", ‘Αρβανίτης "Arbëresh of Greece", Serbian Albanac, Arbanas, Bulg., Mac. албанец, Arom. arbinés (Papahagi 1963 135), Turk. arnaut, Ital. albanese, German Albaner etc. This basis is in use among the Arbëreshs of Italy and Greece as well; cp. arvanit, more rarely arbëror by the arbëreshs of Greece, as against arbëresh, arbëresh, bri(e)sh (beside gjegj — Altimari 1994 (1992) 53 s.). (Italy) (Kr. ?) árbanas, (Mandr.) allbanc, (Ukr.) allbanc(er) (Musliu — Dauti 1996) etj. For the various forms and uses of this or that variant see, inter alia, also Çabej SE II 6lss.; Demiraj 1999 175 ss. etj.
- Kamusella 2009, p. 241. "Prior to the emergence of the modern self-ethnonym Shqiptarë in the mid-16th century (for the first time it was recorded in 1555 by the Catholic Gheg, Gjon Buzuku, in his missal), North Albanians (Ghegs) referred to themselves as Arbën, and South Albanians (Tosks) Arbër. Hence, the self-ethnonym Arbëreshë of the present-day Italo-Albanians (numbering about 100,000) in southern Italy and Sicily, whose ancestors, in the wake of the Ottoman wars, emigrated from their homeland in the 14th century. These self-ethnonyms perhaps influenced the Byzantine Greek Arvanites for ‘Albanians,’ which was followed by similar ones in Bulgarian and Serbian (Arbanasi), Ottoman (Arnaut), Romanian (Arbănas), and Aromanian (Arbineş). It is clear that scholars and Albanians themselves agree that they do not agree on any single etymology of the ethnonym ‘Albanian.’ A similar predicament is faced by the self-ethnonym Shqiptarë. The most popular scholarly explanation is that it was formed by analogy to ‘Slavs’ (*Slovene), believed to be derived from slovo (‘word’), and by extension, from *sluti (‘to speak clearly.’) The last explanation semantically contrasts with Slavic Niemiec (‘mute,’‘stammering,’‘babbling’), and Greek ‘barbarian’ (from barbaros ‘those who stammer, babble’). Hence, Shqiptarë could be derived from Albanian shqipoi (from Latin excipere) for ‘to speak clearly, to understand.’ The Albanian public favors the belief that their self-ethnonym stems from shqipe (‘eagle’) found on the Albanian national flag."
- Murati 1991, p. 71. "emri etnik a nacional e shqiptarëve, përkundër trajtës së drejtë sllave Albanci, tash del të shqiptohet si Šiptari e Šipci me një konotacion përbuzës negativ, ashtu siç është përdorur në krye të herës te serbët edhe në kohën e Jugosllavisë së Vjetër bashkë dhe me formën Šiftari e Arnauti me po të njëtat konotacione pejorative. [ethnic name or the national one of Albanians, despite the right Slavic term Albanci, now appears to be pronounced as Šiptari of Šipci with a connotation that is contemptuously negative, as it is used in the very beginning of the Serbs era at the time of the old Yugoslavia together and the form Šiftari and Arnauti which have the same pejorative connotations.]"
- Koukoudis 2003, p. 34. "The Vlachs call the Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians Arbinéši, and it was under this name that the ancestors of the modern Albanians first appeared in the Middle Ages."
- Madgearu & Gordon 2008, p. 25. "It is still disputed by scholars that those Albanoi from 1042 were Normans from Sicily, [Southern Italy], or if they are in fact the Albanoi [a large clan of that belongs to the many clans of Albanians] found in Albanian lands during this time frame."
- Pritsak 1991, pp. 52–53.
- Vranoussi Erasmia, "The terms Albanoi and Arvanitai and the first mention of the homonym people of the Balkans in the 11th century sources", Balkanika Symmikta, 1970, 2, p. 207 - 228. For the meanings of Albanus, Albani, Albains etc, see pp 226-228, with footnotes to the lexicons Du Gange , Glossarium mediae el infimae Latinitatis, edition 1883, vol. 1, pp. 162 - 163, J. Niermeyer , Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon minus, Leiden 1960, pp. 32 - 33 and others. In Greek language.
- Madgearu & Gordon 2008, p. 25. "It was supposed that those Albanoi from 1042 were Normans from Sicily, called by an archaic name (the Albanoi were an independent tribe from Southern Italy). The following instance is indisputable. It comes from the same Attaliates, who wrote that the Albanians (Arbanitai) were involved in the 1078; rebellion of..."
- Mazaris 1975, pp. 76–79.
- N. Gregoras (ed. Bonn) V, 6; XI, 6.
- Finlay 1851, p. 37.
- "Robert Elsie, The earliest reference to the existence of the Albanian Language". Scribd.com. 2007-05-28. Archived from the original on 7 February 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
- Vasiliev 1958, p. 613.
- Jelavich 1983, p. 25.
- Demiraj 1998, p. 481.
- Mëniku & Campos 2012, p. 2. "Albanian is an Indo-European language, but like modern Greek and Armenian, it does not have any other closely related living language. Within the Indo-European family, it forms a group of its own. In Albanian, the language is called shqip. Albania is called Shqipëri, and the Albanians call themselves shqiptarë. Until the fifteenth century the language was known as Arbërisht or Arbnisht, which is still the name used for the language in Italy and Greece. The Greeks refer to all the varieties of Albanian spoken in Greece as Arvanitika. In the second century AD, Ptolemy, the Alexandrian mathematician, astronomer and geographer, used the name Albanoi to refer to an Illyrian tribe that used to live in what is now central Albania. During the Middle Ages the population of that area was referred to as Arbanori or Albanon. It is clear that the words Arbëresh, Arvanitika, and even Albanian and Albania are all related to the older name of the language."
- Malcolm 1998, p. 29. "Linguists believe that the ‘Alb-’ element comes from the Indo-European word for a type of mountainous terrain, from which the word ‘Alps’ is also derived."
- "ALBANCI". Enciklopedija Jugoslavije 2nd ed. Supplement. Zagreb: JLZ. 1984. p. 1.
- Elsie 2003, p. 3.
- Bonnefoy 1993, p. 253.
- Eliade & Adams 1987, p. 179.
- Norris 1993, p. 35.
- Nicol 1986, p. 160. "The geographical location of the mysterious 'Arbanon' has at last no doubt been settled by the researches of Alain Ducellier. In the 11th century at least it was the name given to the mountainous area to the west of Lake Ohrid and the upper valley of the river Shkumbin..."
- Ducellier 1995, p. 780.
- Ducellier 1995, pp. 780–781. "the Albanians dominated the central regions of what is now the Albanian republic, in the areas which are drained by the Devollit river"
- Ducellier 1995, pp. 780–781.
- Prifti, Skënder (2002). Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime (in Albanian). Botimet Toena. p. 207. ISBN 978-99927-1-622-9.
- Lala, Eleva (2008). Lala, Etleva (2008), Regnum Albaniae, the Papal Curia, and the Western Visions of a Borderline Nobility (PDF), Central European University, Department of Medieval Studies (PDF). Budapest, Hungary: Central European University, Department of Medieval Studies. p. 52.
- Lala, Etleva (2008). Regnum Albaiae, the Papal Curia and the Western Visions of a Borderline Nobility (PDF). Budapes, Hungary: Central European Department for Medieval Studies. p. 146.
- Licursi, Emiddio Pietro (2011). Empire of Nations: The Consolidation of Albanian and Turkish National Identities in theLate Ottoman Empire, 1878–1913. New York: Columbia University. p. 19.
- "Albania :: The decline of Byzantium – Encyclopædia Britannica". britannica.com. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Barletius, Marinus. De obsidione Scodrensi. Venice: Bernardino de Vitabilus, 1504.
- "In Italy Online – Ethnic Italy – The History of Albanians in Italy". initaly.com. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Downing 1992, p. 66.
- Giakoumis 2010, pp. 86–87.
- Anscombe 2006, pp. 88. "This Albanian participation in brigandage is easier to track than for many other social groups in Ottoman lands, because Albanian (Arnavud) was one of the relatively few ethnic markers regularly added to the usual religious (Muslim-Zimmi) tags used to identify people in state records. These records show that the magnitude of banditry involving Albanians grew through the 1770s and 1780s to reach crisis proportions in the 1790s and 1800s."; p.107. "In light of the recent violent troubles in Kosovo and Macedonia and the strong emotions tied to them, readers are urged most emphatically not to draw either of two unwarranted conclusions from this article: that Albanians are somehow inherently inclined to banditry, or that the extent of Ottoman "Albania" or Arnavudluk (which included parts of present-day northern Greece, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, Kosovo, and southern Serbia) gives any historical "justification" for the creation of a "Greater Albania" today."
- Anscombe 2006b, p. 772. "In this case, however, Ottoman records contain useful information about the ethnicities of the leading actors in the story. In comparison with ‘Serbs’, who were not a meaningful category to the Ottoman state, its records refer to ‘Albanians’ more frequently than to many other cultural or linguistic groups. The term ‘Arnavud’ was used to denote persons who spoke one of the dialects of Albanian, came from mountainous country in the western Balkans (referred to as ‘Arnavudluk’, and including not only the area now forming the state of Albania but also neighbouring parts of Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro), organized society on the strength of blood ties (family, clan, tribe), engaged predominantly in a mix of settled agriculture and livestock herding, and were notable fighters — a group, in short, difficult to control. Other peoples, such as Georgians, Ahkhaz, Circassians, Tatars, Kurds, and Bedouin Arabs who were frequently identified by their ethnicity, shared similar cultural traits."
- Kolovos 2007, p. 41. "Anscombe (ibid., 107 n. 3) notes that Ottoman "Albania" or Arnavudluk... included parts of present-day northern Greece, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, Kosovo, and southern Serbia"; see also El2. s.v. "Arnawutluk. 6. History" (H. İnalcık) and Arsh, He Alvania. 31.33, 39–40. For the Byzantine period. see Psimouli, Souli. 28."
- Norris 1993, p. 196.
- Raymond Zickel; Walter R. Iwaskiw, eds. (1994). "National Awakening and the Birth of Albania". Retrieved 9 April 2008.[dead link]
- Karl Kaser, Frank Kressing. Albania – A country in transition Aspects of changing identities in a south-east European country Archived 13 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlag Extracts, 2002, p. 15
- Tara Ashley O' Brien. Manufacturing Homogeneity in the Modern Albanian Nation-Building Project. University of Budapest, 2008, p. 4-5
- "THE CONSTITUTION OF MONTENEGRO" (PDF). wipo.int. p. 1.
The determination that we, as free and equal citizens, members of peoples and national minorities who live in Montenegro: Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniacs, Albanians, Muslims, Croats and the others, are committed to democratic and civic Montenegro
- "Reservations and Declarations for Treaty No.148 – European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages". Council of Europe. Council of Europe. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.
- "Constitution of Romania" (PDF). wipo.int/. p. 2.
The State recognizes and guarantees the right of persons belonging to national minorities to the preservation, development and expression of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity.
- Civil resistance in Kosovo By Howard Clark, pg. 12
- Anscombe 2006b, pp. 767–774, 785–788. "While the ethnic roots of some settlements can be determined from the Ottoman records, Serbian and Albanian historians have at times read too much into them in their running dispute over the ethnic history of early Ottoman Kosovo. Their attempts to use early Ottoman provincial surveys (tahrir defterleri) to gauge the ethnic make—up of the population in the fifteenth century have proved little. Leaving aside questions arising from the dialects and pronunciation of the census scribes, interpreters, and even priests who baptized those recorded, no natural law binds ethnicity to name. Imitation, in which the customs, tastes, and even names of those in the public eye are copied by the less exalted, is a time—tested tradition and one followed in the Ottoman Empire. Some Christian sipahis in early Ottoman Albania took such Turkic names as Timurtaş, for example, in a kind of cultural conformity completed later by conversion to Islam. Such cultural mimicry makes onomastics an inappropriate tool for anyone wishing to use Ottoman records to prove claims so modern as to have been irrelevant to the pre—modern state. The seventeenth—century Ottoman notable arid author Evliya Çelebi, who wrote a massive account of his travels around the empire and abroad, included in it details of local society that normally would not appear in official correspondence; for this reason his account of a visit to several towns in Kosovo in 1660 is extremely valuable. Evliya confirms that western and at least parts of central Kosovo were ‘Arnavud’. He notes that the town of Vučitrn had few speakers of ‘Boşnakca’; its inhabitants spoke Albanian or Turkish. He terms the highlands around Tetovo (in Macedonia), Peć, and Prizren the ‘mountains of Arnavudluk’. Elsewhere, he states that ‘the mountains of Peć’ lay in Arnavudluk, from which issued one of the rivers converging at Mitrovica, just north-west of which he sites Kosovo's border with Bosna. This river, the Ibar, flows from a source in the mountains of Montenegro north—north—west of Peć, in the region of Rozaje to which the Këlmendi would later be moved. He names the other river running by Mitrovica as the Kılab and says that it, too, had its source in Aravudluk; by this he apparently meant the Lab, which today is the name of the river descending from mountains north—east of Mitrovica to join the Sitnica north of Priština. As Evliya travelled south, he appears to have named the entire stretch of river he was following the Kılab, not noting the change of name when he took the right fork at the confluence of the Lab and Sitnica. Thus, Evliya states that the tomb of Murad I, killed in the battle of Kosovo Polje, stood beside the Kılab, although it stands near the Sitnica outside Priština. Despite the confusion of names, Evliya included in Arnavudluk not only the western fringe of Kosovo, but also the central mountains from which the Sitnica (‘Kılab’) and its first tributaries descend. Given that a large Albanian population lived in Kosovo, especially in the west and centre, both before and after the Habsburg invasion of 1689–90, it remains possible, in theory, that at that time in the Ottoman Empire, one people emigrated en masse and another immigrated to take its place.
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In the 1600s Albanian seasonal workers were employed by these Albanian Janissaries in and around Istanbul and Iznik, and in 1860 Kayserili Ahmet, the governor of Izmir, employed Albanians to fight the raiding Zeybeks. Today, the descendants of Ottoman Albanians do not form a community per se, but at least some still identify as ethnically Albanian. However, it is unknown how many, if any, of these Ottoman Albanians retain Albanian language skills. The second category of ethnic Albanians living in modern Turkey is composed of people who are the descendants of refugees from the Balkans who because of war were forced to migrate inwards towards Eastern Thrace and Anatolia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the Ottoman Empire dissolved. These Balkan Albanians are the largest group of ethnic Albanians living in Turkey today, and can be subcategorized into those who ended up in actual Albanian-speaking communities and those who were relocated into villages where they were the only Albanian-speaking migrants. Not surprisingly, the language is retained by some of the descendants from those of the former, but not those of the latter. The third category of ethnic Albanians in Turkey comprises recent or twentieth century migrants from the Balkans. These recent migrants can be subcategorized into those who came from Kosovo in the 1950s–1970s, those who came from Kosovo in 1999, and those who came from the Republic of Albania after 1992. All of these in the third category know a variety of modern Albanian and are mostly located in the western parts of Turkey in large metropolitan areas. Our research focuses on the history of migration and community formation of the Albanians located in the Samsun Province in the Black Sea region around 1912–1913 who would fall into the second category discussed above (see Figure 1). Turkish census data between 1927 and 1965 recorded the presence of Albanian speakers in Samsun Province, and the fieldwork we have been conducting in Samsun since September 2005 has revealed that there is still a significant number of Albanians living in the city and its surrounding region. According to the community leaders we interviewed, there are about 30,000–40,000 ethnic Albanian Turkish citizens in Samsun Province. The community was largely rural, located in the villages and engaged in agricultural activities until the 1970s. After this time, gradual migration to urban areas, particularly smaller towns and nearby cities has been observed. Long-distance rural-to-urban migration also began in later years mostly due to increasing demand for education and better jobs. Those who migrated to areas outside of Samsun Province generally preferred the cities located in the west of Turkey, particularly metropolitan areas such as Istanbul, Izmir and Bursa mainly because of the job opportunities as well as the large Albanian communities already residing in these cities. Today, the size of the Albanian community in Samsun Province is considered to be much smaller and gradually shrinking because of outward migration. Our observation is that the Albanians in Samsun seem to be fully integrated into Turkish society, and engaged in agriculture and small trading businesses. As education becomes accessible to the wider society and modernization accelerates transportation and hence communication of urban values, younger generations have also started to acquire professional occupations. Whilst a significant number of people still speak Albanian fluently as the language in the family, they have a perfect command of the Turkish language and cannot be distinguished from the rest of the population in terms of occupation, education, dress and traditions. In this article, we are interested in the history of this Albanian community in Samsun. Given the lack of any research on the Albanian presence in Turkey, our questions are simple and exploratory. When and where did these people come from? How and why did they choose Samsun as a site of resettlement? How did the socio- cultural characteristics of this community change over time? It is generally believed that the Albanians in Samsun Province are the descendants of the migrants and refugees from Kosovo who arrived in Turkey during the wars of 1912–13. Based on our research in Samsun Province, we argue that this information is partial and misleading. The interviews we conducted with the Albanian families and community leaders in the region and the review of Ottoman history show that part of the Albanian community in Samsun was founded through three stages of successive migrations. The first migration involved the forced removal of Muslim Albanians from the Sancak of Nish in 1878; the second migration occurred when these migrants’ children fled from the massacres in Kosovo in 1912–13 to Anatolia; and the third migration took place between 1913 and 1924 from the scattered villages in Central Anatolia where they were originally placed to the Samsun area in the Black Sea Region. Thus, the Albanian community founded in the 1920s in Samsun was in many ways a reassembling of the demolished Muslim Albanian community of Nish. This trajectory of the Albanian community of Nish shows that the fate of this community was intimately bound up with the fate of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans and the socio-cultural composition of modern Turkey still carries on the legacy of its historical ancestor."
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