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Friday, 29 July 2011


Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country which is called Shqipëri by its people. The name may be derived from the Illyrian tribe of the Albani recorded by Roman geographer Ptolemy.

The Ottoman Turks conquered Albania around 1400 and ruled the country for more than 400 years.

In 1444 Albanian Lord George Kastrioti Skanderbeg organised a group of nobles to form the League of  Lezhë, an alliance of Albanian principalities that is regarded as the first unified Albanian state.

Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire on November 28, 1912, after the First Balkan War. Albanians celebrate their independence on November 28th.

The Albanian flag is red with a silhouetted black double-headed eagle in the center. The red stands for bravery, strength and valor, while the double-headed eagle represents the sovereign state of Albania located in the Balkans. The flag was adopted as the symbol of the new nation  when the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in Vlora on November 28, 1912.

Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in Üsküb, Ottoman Empire. She was the youngest of the children of a family from Shkodër, Albania and her father was involved in Albanian politics.

Ahmet Zogu declared Albania to be a monarchy and proclaimed himself king on September 1, 1928. The leader of Albania from 1925 to 1939, he served as Prime Minister (1922–1924), President (1925–1928) and then as King (1928–1939).

Zog I Skanderbeg III King of the Albanians (1895–1961)

King Zog of Albania was the only national leader in modern times to return fire during an assassination attempt.

When Geraldine Apponyi married King Zog in 1938 she became the first American woman to be a queen.

In an effort to mimic Hitler’s conquest of Prague, Mussolini’s troops invaded and occupied Albania on April 7, 1939.  King Zog was ejected from his throne by the Italians and escaped to England. He never saw his country again.

Countless Jewish lives were saved in Albania during World War II. Under the oath of "Besa", a uniquely Albanian code of honor, a guest in one's home must be protected at all costs, even if it means laying down your life for your guest.

Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania, declared the People's Republic of Albania on January 11, 1946, with himself as head of state.

Enver Hoxha at the top of his power. By Forrásjelölés Hasonló, Wikipedia

The Ghegs of northern Albania are the only tribal society that survived in Europe until the middle of the 20th century.

In 1967 Albania became the world’s first officially atheist state.

Leka II, the only child of the pretender to Albania's throne, Crown Prince Leka I, was born in South Africa on March 26, 1982. The South African government declared his maternity ward temporarily Albanian territory to ensure that Leka was born on Albanian soil.

In 1992, after the fall of communism, the country's name changed to simply Republic of Albania.

In 1995, drivers in the Albanian city of Shkodra refused to pay a new traffic-light tax on the grounds that their city had no traffic lights.

John Belushi, star of the film The Blues Brothers, had an Albanian father.

Albania was chosen as the top country in Lonely Planet's list of ten top countries to visit for 2011.

Nodding your head means 'no' and shaking your head means 'yes' in Albania.

The Albanians call Albania ‘Shqiperia’ or Republika e Shqiperise in full. 'Shqiperia' means “land of the eagle."

The Albanian currency, the lek, was named after Alexander the Great, whose name was often shortened to Leka in Albanian.

Albania has completed at every Olympics since 1992, but has never won a medal.

Source Daily Express

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