Albanians of Romania

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Albanians of Romania
Shqiptarët e Rumanisë
Total population
520 (2002 census)
10,000 (estimate)
Regions with significant populations
Islam, Catholic and Albanian Orthodox
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The Albanians (Shqiptarë in Albanian, Albanezi in Romanian) are an ethnic minority in Romania. As an officially recognized ethnic minority, Albanians have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies to the League of Albanians of Romania (Liga Albanezilor din România).


In the 2002 census 520 Romanian citizens indicated their ethnicity was Albanian, and 484 stated that their native language was Albanian.[1] The actual number of the Albanian population in Romania is unofficially estimated at around 10,000 persons.[2] Most members of the community live in Bucharest,[2] while the rest mainly live in larger urban centers such as Timișoara, Iași, Constanța and Cluj-Napoca.

Most families are Orthodox and trace their origins to the area around Korçë.[3] Many other Romanian Albanians adhere to Islam — according to a 1999 article by Romanian scholar George Grigore, various studies show that about 3,000 members of the Romanian Muslim community may in fact be Albanian.[4] That section of the Albanian community is traditionally integrated into the Turk or Tatar groups, which makes its numbers hard to assess.[4]


An Albanian in Wallachia (1866 watercolor by Amadeo Preziosi)

An Albanian community inside the Danubian Principalities was first attested in Wallachia under Prince Michael the Brave: a report drafted by Habsburg authorities in Transylvania specified that 15,000 Albanians had been allowed to cross north of the Danube in 1595; Călinești (a village in present-day Florești, Prahova County) was one of their places of settlement, as evidenced in a document issued by Michael's rival and successor, Simion Movilă, who confirmed their right to reside in the locality.[5] The community's presence was first recorded in Bucharest around 1628.[6] In Moldavia, an ethnic Albanian, Vasile Lupu, became Prince in 1634.[5] Albanians are called by Romanians today Albanezi, but in the past they were known as Arbănasi, the old ethnonym dating back to the Middle Ages.[7]

The Albanian community was strengthened during the Phanariote epoch, when numerous immigrants opened businesses in a large number of cities and towns, and were employed as bodyguards of Wallachian princes and boyars (being usually recorded as Arbănași, akin to Arvanites, and its variant Arnăuți, borrowed from the Turkish Arnavut).[5][8] In 1820, a survey indicated that there were 90 traders from the Rumelian town of Arnaut Kioy present in the Wallachian capital, most of whom were probably Albanians and Aromanians.[9]

The Rilindja Kombëtare movement of Albanian nationalism inside the Ottoman Empire was present and prolific in Wallachia, the center of cultural initiatives taken by Dora d'Istria, Naim Frashëri, Jani Vreto, and Naum Veqilharxhi (the latter published the first ever Albanian primer in Bucharest, in 1844).[5] Aleksandër Stavre Drenova, a resident of Bucharest, authored the lyrics of Albania's national anthem, Hymni i Flamurit, which is sung to the tune of Pe-al nostru steag e scris Unire, composed by the Romanian Ciprian Porumbescu.[5] At the time, Albanians were present, alongside other Balkan communities, in Bucharest's commercial life, where many worked as street vendors (specializing in the sale of soft drinks or confectionery items).[10]

The newspaper Sqipetari/Albanezul, published by the Albanian community (1889)
Albanian schoolbook printed in Bucharest in 1887

Among the new groups of immigrants from various Balkan regions to Romania were the families of poets Victor Eftimiu and Lasgush Poradeci.[5] At the time, the independence movement gathered momentum, and, for a while after 1905, was focused on the activities of Albert Gjika. An Albanian school was opened in 1905 in the city of Constanța — among its pupils was poet Aleksandër Stavre Drenova.[5] In 1912, at a Bucharest meeting headed by Ismail Qemali and attended by Drenova, the first resolution regarding Albania's independence was adopted.[5]

In 1893, the Albanian community in Romania numbered around 30,000 persons. In 1920 almost 20,000 Albanians lived in Bucharest.[5] A new wave of Albanian immigrants, many of them Muslims from Yugoslavia,[5] followed in the wake of World War I.[4][5] In 1921, the first translation of the Qur'an into Albanian was completed by Ilo Mitkë Qafëzezi and published in the city of Ploieşti.[4] Many Albanians settled in Transylvania, where they generally established confectionery enterprises.[5]

The community was repressed under the communist regime, starting in 1953 (when the Albanian cultural association was closed down).[3] Rights lost were regained after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, but the number of people declaring themselves Albanian has decreased dramatically between 1920 and 2002.[2][3] Traditionally, members of the community have been included among a special "among others" category in the censuses.[2]

The community gained a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in 1996 when the Cultural Union of Albanians of Romania entered Parliament. In 2000 the community's seat was taken by the League of Albanians of Romania, who have held it since.

Notable Albanian-Romanians[edit]

Prime Ministers[edit]

  • Victor Ponta - Romanian jurist and politician, who served as Prime Minister of Romania between his appointment by President Traian Băsescu in May 2012 and his resignation in November 2015
  • Ion Ghica - Five times Prime Minister of Romania ,Romanian revolutionary, mathematician, diplomat and politician,
  • Dimitrie Ghica - He served as Prime Minister between 1868 and 1870. Romanian politician. A prominent member of the Conservative Party
  • Ion Antonescu - Romanian soldier and authoritarian politician who, as the Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II[11][12]

Princes of Wallachia[edit]

  • George Ghica - Founder of the Ghica family, was Prince of Moldavia in 1658–1659 and Prince of Wallachia in 1659–1660
  • Grigore I Ghica - Prince of Wallachia between September 1660 and December 1664 and again between March 1672 and November 1673.
  • Grigore II Ghica - Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia at four different intervals
  • Matei Ghica - Prince of Wallachia between 11 September 1752 and 22 June 1753
  • Scarlat Ghica - Prince of Moldavia (2 March 1757 – 7 August 1758), and twice Prince of Wallachia (August 1758 – 5 June 1761; 18 August 1765 – 2 December 1766).
  • Alexandru Ghica - Voivode (Prince) of Wallachia from December 1766 to October 1768
  • Grigore III Ghica - Prince of Moldavia between 29 March 1764 – 3 February 1767 and September 1774 – 10 October 1777 and of Wallachia: 28 October 1768 – November 1769.
  • Grigore IV Ghica - Prince of Wallachia between 1822 and 1828
  • Alexandru II Ghica - Prince of Wallachia from April 1834 to 7 October 1842

Princes of Moldavia[edit]

  • Vasile Lupu - Voivode of Moldavia between 1634 and 1653
  • Marcu Cercel - Wallachian adventurer who served as Prince of Moldavia in July–September 1600
  • Grigore Alexandru - Prince of Moldavia between 14 October 1849, and June 1853
  • Scarlat Callimachi - Grand Dragoman of the Sublime Porte 1801–1806, Prince of Moldavia between August 24, 1806 – October 26, 1806, August 4, 1807 – June 13, 1810, September 17, 1812 – June 1819 and Prince of Wallachia between February 1821 – June 1821

Other Political affiliation[edit]

  • Ioan Grigore Ghica - Romanian politician who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Principality of Romania from 29 September 1862 to 29 August 1863
  • Vladimir Ghika - Romanian diplomat and essayist who, after his conversion from Romanian Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism, became a priest
  • Dimitrie I. Ghika - Romanian politician and diplomat
  • Bonifaciu Florescu - Romanian polygraph, the illegitimate son of writer-revolutionary Nicolae Bălcescu
  • Dimitrie Ghica-Comănești - Romanian nobleman, explorer, famous hunter, adventurer and politician
  • Pantazi Ghica - Wallachian, later Romanian politician and lawyer
  • Albert Ghica - Albanian-Romanian writer and socialite
  • Alexandrina Cantacuzino - Romanian political activist, philanthropist and diplomat, one of her country's leading feminists in the 1920s and '30s
  • Dimitrie Ghica - Romanian politician
  • Ilie Verdeț - Romanian communist politician


  • Alexandru Ghika - Romanian mathematician, founder of the Romanian school of functional analysis


  • Matila Ghyka - Romanian Naval officer,novelist, mathematician, historian, philosopher, diplomat and Plenipotentiary Minister in the United Kingdom during the late 1930s and until 1940

Arts and entertainment[edit]


  • Antonia Iacobescu - Romanian-American singer, performer, and model
  • Lora - Romanian pop-dance singer, model, judge on The Next Star show, and TV personality.
  • Andra - Romanian singer and judge at Românii au talent


  • Denis Alibec - Romanian professional footballer who plays for Astra Giurgiu and the Romania national team as a forward
  • Ionuț Mazilu - Romanian former footballer, currently a manager
  • Anca Grigoraș - retired Romanian artistic gymnast
  • Ionela Loaieș - Romanian artistic gymnast
  • Alin Tosca - Romanian professional footballer

Media, Wirters, Journalists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in Romanian) Recensământ 2002. Rezultate: Populația după etnie. Populația după limba maternă Archived 2009-04-18 at the Wayback Machine. at the 2002 Census official site Archived 2010-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved February 22, 2008
  2. ^ a b c d (in Romanian) "Albanezi - Date demografice" Archived 2010-08-11 at the Wayback Machine. at Divers online; retrieved February 26, 2008
  3. ^ a b c (in Romanian) "Albanezii - Perioada contemporană" at Divers online; retrieved July 16, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d George Grigore, "Muslims in Romania" Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine., in International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) Newsletter 3, July 1999, p.34; retrieved July 16, 2007
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l (in Romanian) "Albanezii - Scurt istoric" at Divers online; retrieved February 26, 2008
  6. ^ Giurescu, p.272
  7. ^ Kamusella, Tomasz (2009). The politics of language and nationalism in modern Central Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 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).
  8. ^ Giurescu, p.267, 272
  9. ^ Giurescu, p.267
  10. ^ Giurescu, p.168, 307
  11. ^ Neagu Djuvara (25 January 2018). "Neagu Djuvara despre Regele Mihai şi Monarhie". Radio România Cultural.
  12. ^ "Portret: Ion Teodorescu, târgovişteanul care a scris despre istoria Albaniei". Adevarul. 23 January 2010.


External links[edit]