Albanians in Italy

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Albanians in Italy
Total population
c. 500.000–800.000
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Lombardy.svg Lombardy, Flag of Tuscany.svg Tuscany, Flag of Emilia-Romagna.svg Emilia Romagna
Languages
Religion
Related ethnic groups

The Albanians in Italy (Albanian: Shqiptarët në Itali; Italian: Albanesi in Italia) are people of full or partial Albanian ancestry and heritage in Italy. They trace their ancestry to the territories with a large Albanian population in the Balkans among others to Albania, Greece, Kosovo and North Macedonia. They are adherents of different religions and are Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant Christians, Sunni Muslims and Bektashis, as well as varius forms of Irreligion.

The Albanians in Italy may include among others a long established Arbëreshë population in Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily and across Southern Italy as well as Albanians to have migrated to Italy from any territory with a Albanian population in the Balkans and any person originally from the Republic of Albania.

The Albani were an aristocratic Roman family, members of which attained the highest dignities in the Roman Catholic Church, one, Clement XI, having been Pope. They were ethnic Albanians who originally moved to Urbino from the region of Malësi e Madhe in Albania.[1] and had been soldiers of Scanderbeg against the Ottoman Empire. Though eventually assimilated in their Italian environment, Clement XI's Albanian antecedents were evident in his having commissioned, during his reign as a Pope, the famous Illyricum Sacrum. Today it is one of the main sources of the field of Albanology, with over 5000 pages divided in several volumes written by Daniele Farlati and Dom. Coletti.

There is an Albanian community in southern Italy, known as Arbëreshë, who had settled in the country starting with the 15th and the 16th century and later, displaced by the changes brought about by the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. Some managed to escape and were offered refuge from the repression by the Kingdom of Naples and Kingdom of Sicily (both under Aragonese rule), where the Arbëreshë were given their own villages and protected.[2] The Arbëreshë were estimated as numbering at a quarter million in the 1976.[3]

History[edit]

Medieval period[edit]

Flag of the Arbëreshë people.
Distribution of the Arbëreshës in Italy.

During the 14th and 16th centuries AD, groups of Albanians started to settled in the Italian Peninsula. Their migration stemmed from severe political and social oppression and islamization process of the Ottomans following the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans.

Modern period[edit]

After the breakdown of the communist regime in Albania in 1990, Italy had been the main immigration target for Albanians leaving their country. This exodus was fueled mainly by socio-economic instability, a looming fear of civil war, and lack of confidence in the democratization process in Albania. Around 3 weeks after the overturning of the regime, in March 1991, around 25,700 Albanians crossed the Strait of Otranto into Italy.[4] Subsequently, in August 1991, another 20,000 migrants arrived in Bari Harbour aboard the Vlora.[5] The Italian government classified such Albanians as “illegal economic migrants” and started repatriated them after a period of detention in special camps in Southern Italy. Albanian attempts to immigrate by sea caused the Italian government to deploy a considerable number of Italian soldiers along the coast of Puglia - directly facing Albania.[6]

Italy had been a symbol of the West for many Albanians during the communist period, because of its geographic proximity. Additionally, Albania past status as an Italian colony might have fueled immigration efforts into Italy specifically.[7] There is also a linguistic connection similar to what attracts Romanians to Italy, as the Albanian language, although not itself Romance, has a huge amount of vocabulary of Romance origin like English or Maltese. Italy reacted to this migration pressure by introducing the "Martelli" law, stipulating that any immigrant who could prove that he or she had come into the country before the end of 1989 be granted a two-year residency permit.

The perception of Albanian immigrants by Italian citizens in the period was overwhelmingly negative. Italian media in the 1990s played a large part in devaluing and inferiorizing the Albanian immigrants.[8] A quantitative analysis of the frequency of words occurring in news articles within the early 90’s revealed that articles mentioning Albanians were positively correlated with the occurrence of words conveying negative sentiment. Therefore, articles mentioning Albanians were more likely to have news about organized crime and other activities with an illicit connotation.[9] There were also instances where newspapers propagated misinformation: such as linking the cholera outbursts in Bari with the inflow of refugees from Albania.[10]

From March 1997, Italy instituted a strict patrol of the Adriatic in an attempt to curb Albanian immigration. As a result, many Albanian immigrants in Italy do not have a legal status. Out of an estimated 150,000 Albanian immigrants in Italy in 1998, only some 82,000 were registered with authorities. In total there are 800,000 Albanians in Italy.[11] Italy also took efforts to alleviate the plight of Albanians in Albania. As a response to the Albanian political and refugee crisis in April 1997, in association with the United Nations, Italy led Operation Alba. This was a military-humanitarian mission involving 6000 Italian personnel. It was undertaken in order to deliver aid to the Albanian people.[12]

The Italian Government has housed significant numbers of Albanians from Kosovo in the Arbëresh settlements, most notably in Piana degli Albanesi in Sicily.

Demographics[edit]

Religion of Albanians in Italy (2011-2012)[13]

  Islam (41.5%)
  Catholic Church (27.7%)
  Protestantism (0.2%)
  Other religion (1.7%)
  Non religious (17.8%)

Religion[edit]

In the years 2011 and 2012 the ISTAT made a survey regarding the religious affiliation among the immigrants in Italy, the religion of the Albanian people in Italy were as follows:[13]

  • Muslims: 41.5%
  • Christians: 38.7%
  • Non religious. 17.8%
  • Other religions: 1.7%


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herbermann, Charles George; Knights of Columbus, Catholic Truth Committee (1913). The Catholic Encyclopedia. The New York Public Library: Robert Appleton Company. p. 255. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  2. ^ "LE MIGRAZIONI DEGLI ARBERESHE".
  3. ^ Albanian, Arbëreshë - A language of Italy - Ethnic population: 260,000 (Stephens 1976).
  4. ^ R.D., Grillo,; Jeff., Pratt,. The politics of recognizing difference : multiculturalism Italian-style. Ashgate, Ashgate. ISBN 9780754618911. OCLC 799289730.
  5. ^ Campani, Giovanna. "Albanian Refugees in Italy". Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  6. ^ R.D., Grillo,; Jeff., Pratt,. The politics of recognizing difference : multiculturalism Italian-style. Ashgate, Ashgate. ISBN 9780754618911. OCLC 799289730.
  7. ^ R.D., Grillo,; Jeff., Pratt,. The politics of recognizing difference : multiculturalism Italian-style. Ashgate, Ashgate. ISBN 9780754618911. OCLC 799289730.
  8. ^ R.D., Grillo,; Jeff., Pratt,. The politics of recognizing difference : multiculturalism Italian-style. Ashgate, Ashgate. ISBN 9780754618911. OCLC 799289730.
  9. ^ Stoppiello, S. (1999), “Nomi e immagini dell' ‘altro’. Un’analisi multidimensionale della stampa”, Studie emigrazione, 36 (135), pp. 417-442.
  10. ^ R.D., Grillo,; Jeff., Pratt,. The politics of recognizing difference : multiculturalism Italian-style. Ashgate, Ashgate. ISBN 9780754618911. OCLC 799289730.
  11. ^ "Albania: Looking Beyond Borders". migrationpolicy.org. 2004-08-01. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  12. ^ R.D., Grillo,; Jeff., Pratt,. The politics of recognizing difference : multiculturalism Italian-style. Ashgate, Ashgate. ISBN 9780754618911. OCLC 799289730.
  13. ^ a b "Appartenenza e pratica religiosa tra i cittadini stranieri". www.istat.it (in Italian). 2014-10-30. Retrieved 2017-10-22.