Thursday, June 30, 2005

Factsheet on Albania - AFP

TIRANA, June 30 (AFP) -

Albania, the southern Balkan state where legislative elections will be held on Sunday, is one of the poorest countries in Europe, after more than 50 years of communist dictatorship under Enver Hoxha who died in 1985.

- GEOGRAPHY: Covering some 28,748 square kilometers (11,099 square miles), Albania is a Mediterranean country which shares borders with Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro and Greece. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea in the west, and a coast on the Ionian Sea in the southwest.

- POPULATION: 3,1 million people.

- CAPITAL: Tirana (population of 500,000).

- RELIGION: Muslims (70 percent), Orthodox Christians (15 percent ), Catholics (8 percent).

- HISTORY: In 1912, after four centuries of the Ottoman empire's rule, Albania proclaimed independence in the southern town Vlora. Ahmed Zogu came to power in 1922 and in 1925, was elected president. He proclaimed a monarchy and became king in 1928, under the name Zog the First. In April 1939, Italy invaded the country and King Zog fled Albania, leaving the throne to Victor-Emmanuel III. Albanian communists, linked with Yugoslav leader Tito, launched a resistance movement against the fascists and Nazis, under the leadership of Stalinist Enver Hoxha.

In 1946, Hoxha proclaimed the People's Republic of Albania, which later become totally isolated. Hoxha ruled the country with an iron fist until his death in 1985. In 1990, his successor Ramiz Alia faced a popular revolt which he severely crushed. Thousands of Albanians fled the country but, under pressure from the street protests and unrest, Alia introduced a multi-party system and in December 1990 started the process of de-Stalinisation after 45 years of absolutist communist rule.

- POLITICS: President Alfred Moisiu, former defense minister, elected by the parliament on June 24, 2002. Prime Minister Fatos Nano, leader of the Socialist party since 1991.

In February and March 2004, social discontent provoked a series of protests, gathering thousands of people demanding Nano's dismissal.

In November 1998, more than 93.5 percent of voters adopted a new Constitution via a referendum.

- ECONOMY: After the communist regime was overthrown, Albania was left with an obsolete industrial base and a pattern of industrial capacity wholly unsuited to its needs.

In 1997, fraudulent pyramid schemes ruined the Albanian economy and left thousands without savings.

Almost half of the economically-active population is still engaged in agriculture, one fifth is believed to be working abroad, while unemployment is officially around 15 percent. According to UN data, a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line.

GNP: 2,414 dollars per inhabitant (World Bank 2004).

FOREIGN DEBT: 1.64 billion dollars (2004)

DEFENSE: Around 21.500 troops (IISS 2004/2005).

Albania is among the first ex-communist countries to join NATO Partnership for peace programme in 1994. In May 2003, together with Macedonia and Croatia, Albania signed an "Adriatic Chapter" with the United States, aimed at facilitating its integration into NATO.

Tirana was expected to sign an accord of stabilization and association with the European Union in 2004, but this was delayed after many European institutions strongly condemned Albania's failure to root out organized crime and corruption and the lack of political and economic progress.


Anonymous said...

add an extra 1913 Kosovo was annexed from Albania.

Anonymous said...

Annexed? It was more like "hey Serbia, have a Kosova (an Apple or somekind of fruit)...want more? Oh you can't digest it all...ok, next time.."

Anonymous said...

Here's another fun fact, in 1913 the province of Mala Prespa and Bolo Grdo from Macedonia was annexed to albania as the other 3 wolves grabbed a bigger piece of the pie.I guess Albania is a culprit to.


Anonymous said...

Ivan, greetings from Kosova!

With all due respect, but which 1913 Macedonia are you talking about? Correct me if I am wrong, but the capital of your country, Shkupi or Skopje, was the capital of the vilayet (district) of Kosovo just before 1913.

Read the forth pararaph: click here.


Chris Blaku said...

Ivan- How about Macedonia's illegal occupation of Tetova, Shkup, Diber, Struga, and countless other towns numbering over a million Albanians currently living inside of their borders?

Macedonia joined the Yugoslavia party and is guilty of mass murder, genocide, and the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Albanians into Kosova and Albania from the above mentioned villages and others. Moreover, Shkup was the capital of Albania before the modern Macedonians had evolved from Turkic Bulgar conquerers into Bulgarians then assimilated slightly with Serbians to become FRYOManians.

Excuse the vulgar description of your people, but you asked for it when declaring the "annexation" of land by Albania in the face of blatant Slav disregard for the rightful borders and ethnic makeup of Albania.

Anonymous said...

Ok let's get it straight that all of Macedonia was under Ottoman rule,so Albania is entitled to no land that is Macedonian. Chris you continue to call us (real Macedonians) bulgars that were serbinized,but when will you admit that slavic blood also courses through your vains. Hundreds of years of slavs conquering your land and then the turks,you mean to tell me that your women weren't subjected to rape and that bloodlines did not mingle. I do not deny my slavic heritage. I am proud of it,unlike yourselves. But you cannot deny that the current Macedonians in Macedonia(not the albanians)do not have any bloodties to the ancient Macedonians. Nothing in this world is of pure blood. You are just as much slavs as we are. And your cousin greeks are just as much albanian.
Please,I feel that you calling me and my kind "fyromians" is uncalled for. How would you like it if you called serbs?

Chris Blaku said...

During the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, there were no people called the Macedonians. They were Bulgarians, that eventually migrated into that area and because the Patriarch of Pej had ultimate control over the region (most of which was known as Kosova at this time), he adopted a strong policy of Slavization while purging Catholic from the region. That, in turn with strong Slavic influences in culture created modern day FRYOManians.

I do not deny that many Albanians were slavicized however, it is ridiculous for you to pretend that semi-assimilation occurred in a society that was based on closed-knit communities and codes of honor. It was a common tradition in the mountain codes eventually put together by Lek Dukagjini that Albanian clans, excluding dynasties, must not intermingle with foreigners, mainly the invading Slavic and Turkic Bulgars (who eventually mingled to become FRYOManians).

On the eve of Ottoman conquest, there was intense Slavization of the Albanian population of Kosova and Northern Albania, however, Islamization brought that to an end. The double edged sword of Ottoman conquest brought an end to the majority of Albanian's ties with Christianity, however it reinforced their national and cultural ties to their language and heritage.

Therefore, it can be concluded that, yes, there was intense assimilation and many Albanians eventually became Greeks, Turks, FRYOManians, Montenegrins, Bosnians and Croats. However, the clear majority of the people that are identified as Albanian today are of more or less pure blood, descendant of Illyrian ancestry.

You cannot call us Serbs, because we are not Serbs. We do not share customs, beliefs, or traditions with them, you do. You also share a common nomadic ancestry and blood thirsty aggressive tendancies to expand and conquer.
You do not, however, share ancestry with ancient Macedonians, who had no connections with Slavs but were rather gradually assimilated into Illyrian and Thracian tribes. It goes to notice that Alexander never conquered Illyria, but rather the majority of Illyrian tribes fought under him. His Illyrian blood brought alliances with Illyrian tribes, who helped him to conquer most of Central Asia.

The Albanians have no common ancestry with present day Greeks, who are a mix of everything that ever visited the Balkans. Ancient Greeks eventually ceased to exist, and the current inhabitants of the land merely assumed their name. The ancient Illyrians shared boundaries with the Greeks, however intermingling was rare, as the Greeks regarded anything non-Hellenic as "barbaric," which is what the Illyrians were described as in the writings of ancient Greek philosphers, poets, and scholars.

So there you have it FRYOManian.

Anonymous said...

Here you go Chris,science proves once again to eliminate false propaganda that serbo-albanians like you spread.

Genetic Differences Between Macedonians in Greece and the Greeks

American Association for the Advancement of Science

In the genetic analysis published by the Science Magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, participated Macedonians from the Macedonian minority of Northern Greece (Aegean Macedonia) and Greeks, among with other European nations. The research shows a drastic difference in the Y chromosome genetic composition between the Greeks and Macedonians who live in Greece, as figure 3 clearly demonstrates. This is another proof that the Macedonians (the descendents of the Macedonians of Alexander the Great) which after the occupation of southern Macedonia (Aegean Macedonia) by the Greek army in 1913 find themselves living in Greece, have genetically never been Greeks.


Anonymous said...

Chris,again something for you to read since you onle read propaganda.The Macedonian Lion was the coat of arms for Macedonia during the middle ages,a time when the Ottomans ruled over the balkans,a time you claim there were no such people called Macedonians.Need more proof,I have tons serby.By the way I do not mean to offend any of you Kosovars.I only mean to offend the serb chris blaku who is blatantly falsifying history.

The Macedonian Lion

The Macedonian Lion, like the Macedonian Sun is yet another oldest European symbol that still survives as cultural symbol of the Macedonians. Lions used to dwell around Macedonia and the ancient historians have recorded this. The lion hunt was popular among the Macedonians and lion hunt scenes have found their place in the Macedonian art. The famous mozaic below depects a nude Macedonian warrior wearing the traditional Macedonian hat kausia (so well documented by the ancient historians as another very important Macedonian national insignia), during a lion hunt.

Detail from an ancient Macedonian Mosaic (3rd century BC)

The Macedonian kings also wore the lion's skin. Below is a coin with the face of Alexander the Great, depicting the king with the lion's scalp on his head.

Alexander the Great wearing Lion's Scalp

On August 2, 338 BC, the Macedonians defeated the Greeks at Chaeronea in central Greece and conquered their country. On the battlefiled they erected an impressive sculpture of a proud-standing lion. The same lion sculpture is also found in the Macedonian city of Amphipolis.

The Macedonian Lion overlooking the battlefield of Greek defeat at Chaeronea

The Lion continued to be a Macedonian symbol even after the destruction of the Macedonian Empire and Kingdom in 168 BC.

In the course of the Middle Ages and in later periods the name of Macedonia can be found both in heraldry and itinerary literature. Macedonia is mentioned for the first time in the 1595 Korenich-Neorich rolls of arms, where the coat of arms of Macedonia is included among those of eleven other countries. As noted in detail by Aleksandar Matkovski, under the coat of arms is written "Macedonia", while above the arms in Cyrillic script is "Cimeri makedonske zemle" (the Coat of Arms of the Macedonian country). In the Korenich-Neorich rolls of arms, Macedonian arms are presented along with those of Croatia, Dalmatia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, the Duchagyni, and Kastrioti; in the 152 coats of arms depicted, the Macedonian coat of arms with the inscription "Macedonia" is included twice. The same rolls of arms includes the arms of King Dushan or of his son Urosh. This is a complex coat of arms, presenting these kings as symbols of the unity of the South Slavs and including the arms of nine Balkan regions: Macedonia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the coastal countries, Slavonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Rascia. Note that Macedonia is presented as a separate region.

In 1605, an extensive rolls of arms was published in Hungary. Siebmacher, its author, included the coat of arms-an single-headed eagle on a white background-of "Macedoniani", a Macedonian family from southern Hungary. Since the 15th century there had been a group of Macedonian immigrants in Baranya, inhabiting a village called Macedonia. The family Macedoniani originated from this village, where Dancho of Macedonia came from as well. Dancho is mentioned as early as 1439 as a rich noblemen; his descendants Ladislav of Macedonia, Bishop of Veliki Varazhdin in 1533, and Volk of Macedonia, ban (governor) of Szörèny, are also noted.
One of the oldest preserved rolls of arms is that of Palinich, most likely prepared in the late 16th and early 17th century. The arms of Macedonia are included, with the hand-written Latin inscription "Macedonia regni" below it. The term Macedonia is also found in Althan's 1614 rolls of arms. Above the beautifully drawn Macedonian coat of arms is the Cyrillic inscription "Makedonske zemle cimeri" and below that, in Latin, "Insignia regni Macedonia". Among the most beautifully drawn Macedonian coats of arms is the one kept in the Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade. This coat of arms, with the inscription "Macedoniae" belongs to the heraldry of King Dushan, along with arms of Illyria, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Sklavonia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Rascia.

The Ohmuchevich family was known for its efforts to prove inheritance right over Bosnia and Macedonia. Over decades, the family tendered many claims to the territory, endeavoring to prove the rights of the Ohmuchevichs to large regions in the Balkans. They even printed coats of arms, wishing to prove their noble descent and their right to rule these large regions, Macedonia always taking the central place among them. Their enormous wealth made it possible for them to print heraldic collections and other books-which, regardless of the strength or validity of their claims to the territories-made the term "Macedonia" popular both in a geographical and an ethnic sense. The 1636 role of arms authored by Admiral Andriya Ohmuchevich and Marko Skoroevich argued that Macedonia and Bosnia could be liberated from Turkish rule only with the help of Vienna and the Hapsburgs. The Rolls of Arms of Marko Skoroevich was dedicated to Prince Ferdinand; though the young prince did not yet know to read, he could look at the "pictures" and by the help of the coats of arms grow familiar with the geographical terms and toponyms. The Macedonian coat of arms in this collection is included in a group of heraldries belonging to the South Slavic states, with the inscription "Insignia regni Macedonia" above it. On this coat of arms the lion is depicted standing rampant, yellow on a red background.

The term Macedonia is also written below the Macedonian arms in the 1675 Foynitsa rolls of arms, as well as in Du Cange's 1680 History of Byzantium, published in Paris. Macedonian coat of arms containing the inscription "Macedonia" can also be found in the 1689 Olovo rolls of arms in Bologna. The Berlin rolls of arms from the late 1wth century also includes the term Macedonia written in Latin below the coat of arms. and "Cimeri makedonske zemle" above.

In short, there are many records dating from the 17th century in which the term Macedonia is mentioned. It is also included in the handwritten 1694 stemmatographia of Pavle Riter Vitezovich: "Macedonia" is printed in Latin above the coat of arms. In the printed 1701 stemmatographia of Pavle Vitezovich, the inscription "Macedonia" is placed above the Macedonian coat of arms, while below there are four verses in Latin which tell that, in former times, the golden shields were symbols of imperial dignity, now replaced by a Turkish turbanned fez.
Hristofor Zhefarovich, the most prominent Balkan artist of the 18th century, was Macedonian-born, most likely in Doyran. He was educated in Greek schools, but he acquired his artistic knowledge in Thessaloniki and Ohrid. His Stemmatographia includes two rolls, one containing 56 coats of arms from all the Slavs and a second set of 20 containing South Slavic coats of arms. The Macedonian coat of arms is presented in both compositions with the inscription "Makedonia".

The term "Macedonia" is also written below the Macedonian coat of arms in the 1746 rolls of arms of Ivo Saraka and in the third volume of Jovan Raich's rolls of arms, printed in 1794. Each coat of arms is labeled: the Macedonian as "Macedoniae", the Serbian as "Serbia", the Bulgarian as "Bulgaria" and the Bosnian as "Bosna". The terms Macedonia and Macedonians were also recorded by travelers passing over its roads while travelling from East to West and vice versa, or while wandering over its territory. Historical misconceptions certainly had their effects on these travel accounts; the writers often named the Macedonians as Bulgarians, Serbs or Greeks.

But in many itineraries the terms Macedonia and Macedonians remained clearly distinguished from those for other Balkan states and other Balkan peoples. Thus, when the Venetian captain Angiolello passed through Macedonia and on August 13, 1470 recorded his stay on the Holy Mountain, he wrote that "there are many Christian monks, some of whom are Greeks, others Macedonians, Vlachs, and there are even Italians and people from other nations." Four days later, while camping by the mouth of the Mesta River, he noted that "there live Greeks and Macedonians."

An unknown author describes the Ohrid countryside, writing "Albania is the region which had been called Macedonia by the ancient peoples, i.e. it is a part of Macedonia, as Macedonia covers many countries and regions."
In the 15th century, Bertrando de la Brokier traveled through the Balkans and left behind an account of his travels. Among other things, he writes "...and I remembered the heavy oppression of the Turk over the emperor in Constantinople and over all Greeks, Macedonians and Bulgarians, and even over the Despot of Rascia [Rashka, as he referred to Gjuragj Brankovich] and all his subjects, which is very unfortunate for the all of Christianity.... And there are many Christians who are forced to serve the Turk, like the Greeks, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Albanians, Esklavonians, Rascians and Serbians...".

In 1461, some time after Brokier's travels through the Balkans, the Venician commissioner to Rome, Paulus Maurocenus, made plans to drive the Turks out of the Balkans: "...When the enemy forces are crushed, no one will ever doubt that all of Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly, Greece or Athens, and Peloponnesus...".

In his 1547 itinerary of southern Macedonia, Pierre Bellon discourses on the Holy Mountain, the mines in Siderokapsa and Kavalla, and frequently refers to the region as Macedonia.

In his writings of 1573, the French traveler Philip du Fresne-Canais notes: "I saw a large plain at the beginning of which Skopje is located, hidden by small hills, a very big town which, according to some, is in Bulgaria, but according to my opinion is in Macedonia...".
In 1566 Yakov of Macedonia, a printer and a writer, left for Venice. There he printed a number of liturgical texts and other writings in the printing house of the Montenegrin voivoda (commander) Bozhidar Vukovich. In the preface to one of the liturgies he writes : "...I took great effort in making this work and in making holy books, for a long time and for many years... I came out from Macedonia, my homeland, and entered the Western countries...".
The printing of geographical maps stimulated the wider use of the term Macedonia. Many centuries passed from the first maps of Ptolemy, in which Ancient Macedonia is presented, to Peutinger's table, a maritime map depicting the coastline along the Aegean coast drafted by the Ottoman admiral and cartographer Pyrireis, to the map of the Macedonians in St. Petersburg. One of the more realistic geographical maps of Macedonia is Gastaldi's 1560 map published in Venice. It is there that certain Macedonian place names are adopted for the first time by the West: the Vardar River, Skopje, Mt. Skopska Crna Gora, Tikvesh Valley, Demir Kapiya, Bitola, Kratovo, Struga, Ohrid and Ohrid Lake, Prespa and Prespa Lake, Prilep, Kostur, Lerin, Voden and Resen.
The Mercator map (Duisburg, 1589) and Laurenberg map (Amsterdam, 1647) followed Gastaldi's lead in giving some inhabited sites both their ancient and their contemporary Macedonian names, such as Lychnidos/Ohrid and Edessa/Voden. In Rome, G. Cantelli da Vigniola published a 1689 map which shows-with slight deviations-the territory of Macedonia and its geographical borders. Though map contains many errors, it for the first time marks the towns of Tetovo, Kumanovo, Katlanovo, Veles, Debar, Kavalla, Ber and Enije Vardar. Only seven years later, in Paris, N. Senson detailed Macedonia in a number of 1696 maps. These were followed by the maps of G. de L'Isle (Paris, 1707), Homann (1717), Harenberg (Nuernberg, 1741), S. Jenvier (Paris, 1750), A. Lapie (Paris, 1843), the Map of European Turkey (Belgrade, 1853), the commercial map of the province of Macedonia (Paris, 1885), and a "Map of Macedonia" by Dimitrija Chupovski (St. Petersburg, 1913) in which Macedonia is shown in its geographical and ethnic borders. On all these maps Macedonia is clearly labeled as Macedonia.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to see the pictures of the coat of arms.


Anonymous said...

Ivan the Macedonia u talk about should seek answer eastward. Albanians have always been there, since the illyrian times. The territory where Albanians live is the exact same territory where Illyrian tribes lived.

Anonymous said...

Albanians have nothing to do with ancient Macedonia.

Chris Blaku said...

You know as well as I do that due to strong Greek influence on Western teaching throughout Europe, Macedonia was commonly referred to as central Albania, and Epirus as southern Albania. Your noted historical documents really amount to nothing more than a discontinued history continuing itself in the minds of wishful historians. The Ancient Macedonians had relations with Illyrian, Thracian and Greek tribes, regardless of what their specific ethnic ties were. In the end, they were overwhelmed by Greek influence and assimilated between Illyrian and Greek cultures.

Modern day Macedonians descend from thousand year old mix of Turkic Bulgars and Vlachs. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, they were at the disposable of the stronger Serbian nation, which heavily brought their form of Slavization through their Orthodox Church, creating the psuedo-Bulgarian/Serbians we know today as, Macedonians.

So your constant references to past acknowledgments of the nation of Macedonia to a people that were closed off to the Balkans due to Turkish rule, or simply never visited them, is irrelevant.

Chris Blaku said...

It should be noted that numerous Albanian/Arberesh teachings and notables in Italy were known as "Macedons" and "Epirots" due to the aforementioned ignorance of an Albanian nationality.

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