about|Albanians as an ethnic group|demographic information|Demographics of Albania

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Albanians "Shqiptarë"

caption = Skanderbeg · Ali Pasha · Muhammad Ali of Egypt · Lekë Dukagjini · Mother Teresa · Ferid Murad
pop = Approximately 15 million
region3 = flagcountry|Turkey
pop3 = 3,000,000-6,000,000
ref3 = [cite news |title=Türkiyedeki Kürtlerin Sayısı! |publisher=Milliyet |date=2008-06-06 |accessdate=2008-06-07 |language=Turkish |url=]
region1 = flagcountry|Albania
pop1 = 3,500,000
ref1 = lower| [ [ CIA - The World Factbook - Albania ] ]
region2 = flagcountry|Kosovo
pop2 = 1,960,000
ref2 =lower| [ Statistical Office of Kosova [] ]
region6 = flagcountry|Serbia (excl. Kosovo)
pop6 = 50,000
ref6 = lower| [ [ - New Kosova Report - Birthate picks up again in Kosovo - Society }]
region4 = flagicon|Republic of Macedonia Rep. Macedonia
pop4 = 509,083
ref4 = lower| [Republic of Macedonia 2002 census - [] ] [ [ CIA - The World Factbook - Macedonia ] ]
region5 = flagcountry|Greece
pop5 = 443,550
ref5 = lower| [] ]
region7 = flagcountry|Montenegro
pop7 = 50,000 (2007)
ref7 = lower| [Yugoslavian Federation 2003 census - [] ]
region8 = flagcountry|Italy
pop8 = 375,947 (2006)
ref8 = lower| [| [ Italy: Foreigner Citizens -- 2006] ]
region9 = flagcountry|United States
pop9 = 500,000 (2006)
ref9 = lower| [ [|547;&-ds_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_&-TABLE_NAMEX=&-ci_type=A&-mt_name=ACS_2006_EST_G2000_B04003&-CONTEXT=dt&-tree_id=4001&-all_geo_types=N&-redoLog=true&-geo_id=01000US&-search_results=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en 2006 Community Survey] ]
region10 = flagcountry|Canada
pop10 = 22,395
ref10 = [ [ Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada Highlight Tables, 2006 Census ] ]
region11 = flagcountry|Sweden
pop11 = 35,000
ref11 = lower| [ [ Hot tvingar kosovoalbaner att flytta ] ] [ [] ]
region12 = flagcountry|Switzerland
pop12 = 200,000
ref12 = lower| [95,000 speakers of Albanian as first language as of 2000: see Demographics of Switzerland]
region13 = flagcountry|Germany
pop13 = 350,000
ref13 = lower| [Federal Republic of Germany - [] ]
region14 = flagcountry|Croatia
pop14 = 15,082
ref14 = lower| [Croatian Bureu of statistics - [] ]
region15 = flagcountry|Australia
pop15 = 11,815
ref15 = lower| [ [ 2006 Census Table : Australia ] ]
region16 = flagcountry|Russia
pop16 = 10,000
ref16 = lower| [ [ Ethnic groups of Russia ] ]
languages = Albanian
religions = Predominantly Islam, the majority of the population adhering to the Sunni and Bektashi schools. Others adhere mainly to Christian denominations such as Eastern orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

Albanians ( _sq. Shqiptarët) are an ethnic group and a nation, in the sense of sharing a common Albanian culture, speaking the Albanian language as a mother tongue and being of Albanian descent.

About half of Albanians live in Albania, with other large groups residing in the self-declared independent region of Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. There are also Albanian minorities and immigrant communities in a number of other countries (Turkey, Greece and Italy).

History of the term

Albanians are the descendants of a Paleo-Balkans people, perhaps the ancient Illyrians or Thracians/Dacians or a mixture of these, but scholarly opinion is divided on specifics. Names similar to the ones used to describe the Albanians, albeit much later, were used in the 2nd century BCE by Polybius ("Arbanios, Arbanitai" with their city "Arbon"), the 1st century CE by Pliny ("Olbonensis"), and the 2nd century CE by geographer and astronomer Ptolemy ("Albanoi"), to describe an Illyrian tribe situated in what is now Central Albania with Albanopolis as their main city.

The ethnonym applied to the people now known as Albanians is first attested from the 11th century (e.g. Anna Komnene, "Alexiad" 4.8.4), although such a nominal connection does not prove an actual link to the Illyrian tribe. The first reference to a " _la. lingua albanesca" dates to the later 13th century.

Due to the high rate of migration of various ethnic groups throughout the Balkans in the last two decades, exact figures are difficult to obtain. A tenuous breakdown of Albanians by location is as follows:


Approximately 15 million Albanians are to be found within the Balkan peninsula with only about half this number residing in Albania and the other divided between Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece and to a much smaller extent Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania.

Albanians in Greece, because of historical migration, are divided into different groupings. The first comprises the Arvanites, descendants of ethnic Albanian immigrants from the 11th to the 15th century that have been largely assimilated by the dominant Greek population and generally self-identify as Greeks. A second group comprises Albanian nationals who migrated during the 1990s, mainly as illegal immigrants. According to the 2001 census, there were 481,663 holders of Albanian citizenship in Greece. The Watson Institute raised this number to 600,000 in 2004. There are an estimated 1 million Albanians in Greece in 2008. [Barjarba, Kosra. " [ Migration and Ethnicity in Albania] ". Waston Institute for International Studies, 2004. Retrieved on 29 January 2007.]

An unknown number of Orthodox Cham Albanians reside in the Greek region of Epirus ( _sq. Çamëria). There is thought to have been a population of around 19,000 Muslim Chams before the end of World War II who left Greece for Albania in 1945. The exact reasons for their departure vary depending on source. (According to Greek sources, it was to avoid the impending military court sentences, a consequence of their collaboration with the Italian/German occupying forces. Albanian sources claim they were forcefully expelled by the EDES troops of the Greek resistance for having collaborated with the Italian/German occupying forces.)

Approximately 1,5 million are dispersed throughout the rest of Europe, most of these in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy (the majority having arrived since 1991, but also older populations of Arbëreshë), Austria and France.


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 3 to 6 million Albanians living in Turkey. [Milliyet, Türkiyedeki Kürtlerin Sayısı. 2008-06-06.] The history of Albanians in Turkey began during the Ottoman Wars. The Ottoman king better known as Sultan would take young Albanian men to train them in his army. The reason he would do that is to keep their son’s family honest to the Ottoman Empire. One of the great soldiers who had to undergo the same treatment was later known as Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu. One of the cities of modern day Turkey with a large Albanian population is Izmir. Due to the pressure by the Turkish government the Albanians consider themselves Turkish rather than Albanian.

=Rest of the world=
Americas: In the United States the number reaches 500,000 according to the latest [ 2006 US Census] , while in Canada approximately 15,000 as of the 2001 census. Oceania: In Australia and New Zealand 12,000 in total. Africa: In Egypt there are 18,000 Albanians, mostly Tosk speakers. Many are descendants of the soldiers of Mehmet Ali. A large part of the former nobility of Egypt was Albanian in origin. A small community also resides in South Africa.

Kosovo and Republic of Macedonia

Both the Kosovo and the western regions of the Republic of Macedonia have in recent years seen armed movements (Kosovo Liberation Army, UCPMB, Macedonian NLA) aiming either for independence, greater autonomy, or increased political rights. Further clashes were also reported in the Preševo Valley during the period between 2000 to 2001 (in the lead-up to the Macedonian conflict).

In February 2008, the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, an assembly under UNMIK, declared Kosovo's independence as the Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës). Its independence is recognized by some countries and opposed by others, including the Republic of Serbia, which continues to claim sovereignty over it as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

The conflict in the Republic of Macedonia seems to have calmed down. It was resolved by the Macedonian government giving the Albanian minority a greater role in the government and the right to use the Albanian language in areas where the Albanians form a majority.

It is worth mentioning here that rights to use the Albanian language in education and government were given and guaranteed by the Constitution of SFRY and were widely utilized in Serbia, Macedonia, and in Montenegro long before Dissolution of Yugoslavia. The only thing that changed in that matter is that before NATO intervention in 1999, there were information services and news ("Dnevnik") broadcaster in Albanian language on the Serbian National Radio and Television, RTS.


Development of Modern Albanian Religious Affiliation

The original culture continued until the Roman and Byzantine Empires crowned Christianity- as official religion of the regime, thus suffusing Paganism. Both were later overshadowed by Islam, which kept the scepter of the major religion during the period of Ottoman Turkish rule from the 15th century until year 1912. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism and Paganism were continued practiced with less frequency.

During the 20th century the monarchy and later the totalitarian state followed a systematic secularization of the nation and the national culture. This policy was chiefly applied within the borders of the current Albanian state. It produced a secular majority in the 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 lunar Spring festival ( _sq. Dita e Verës) held yearly on March 14 in the city of Elbasan. It is a national holiday.

Most of the Muslim Albanians in Albania are [ [ Albania] . "The World Factbook".] [ [ Muslims in Europe: Country guide: Albania] . BBC.] Sunni Muslims and Bektashis. It is estimated that 38% of ethnic Albanians in the Republic of Kosovo are Muslim, and 89% in the Republic of Macedonia. (CIA Factbook 2007). The statistics, however are pre-WWII and with the collapse of communism there has been a revival of religiosity. There are also Orthodox Christians, predominantly in Southern Albania, bordering Greece, and Roman Catholics is the main religion for Albanians , predominantly in Northern Albania, bordering the Republic of Montenegro. After 1992 an influx of foreign missionaries has brought more rel igious diversity with faiths such as Jehova Witnesses, Mormons, Hindus, Bahá'í, Scientologists, a variety of Christian denominations and others. This rich blend of religions has rarely caused religious strife. People of different religions freely intermarry. For part of its history, Albania has also had a Jewish community. Some of the members of the Jewish community were saved by a group of Albanians during the Nazi occupation. [ [ Rescue in Albania: One Hundred Percent of Jews in Albania Rescued from Holocaust] ". "The Jews of Albania". California: Brunswick Press, 1997. Retrieved on 29 January 2007.] Many left for Israel circa 1990-1992 during warfare with the break-up of Yugoslavia.

All over the world, an estimated 38% of Albanians are Muslims, 35% are Orthodox Christians and are Roman Catholics.

Other ethnonyms

The Albanians are and have been referred to by other terms as well. Some of them are:
*Arbër, Arbën, Arbëreshë; the old native term denoting ancient and medieval Albanians and sharing the same root with the latter. At the time the country was called Arbër (Gheg: Arbën) and Arbëria (Gheg: Arbënia). This term is still used for the Albanians that migrated to Italy during the Middle Ages.
*Arnauts; old term used mainly from Turks and by extension by European authors during the Ottoman Empire. A derivate of Arbër, Albanian.
*Skipetars; the historical rendering of the ethnonym "Shqiptar" (or "Shqyptar" by French, Austrian and German authors) in use from the 18th century (but probably earlier) to the present, the literal translation of which is "subject of the eagle". The term "Šiptari" is a derivation used by Yugoslavs which the Albanians consider derogatory.


Because of confounding nationality with religious affiliation many authors from Byzantine times have also called and registered Albanians with the following names:
*Latins; term used during the Middle Ages from Venetian and other European authors to denote Albanians of Catholic faith mainly in the Northern regions up to the 19th century.
*Greeks; old term used generically from Byzantine times up to the 20th century by other European authors to denote Albanians of Orthodox faith in the Southern regions, as also those migrating, during the Ottoman Occupation, from Epirus and Peloponnese to Italy. Toponyms reflecting this historical misnaming began being corrected in fascist Italy during the 1930s ("'Piana dei Greci --> Piana degli Albanesi).
*Serbs; old term as above, used by authors to denote Albanians of Orthodox faith in the Northern regions up to the 19th century.
*Turks; old term used by ecclesiastical writings and embraced by other European authors to denote Albanians of Muslim faith, and generally all Albanian legions of the Ottoman army.

Historical individuals

Prominent Albanians have included the defender of Albania during the mid-15th century Skenderbeg, Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa, the writer Ismail Kadare, the painter Ibrahim Kodra, the composer Simon Gjoni, the Olympic athlete Klodiana Shala, and Pope Clement XI. Other well known individuals include the prime minister of the Ottoman Empire Ferhat Pasha and Mehemet Ali the viceroy of Egypt. John Belushi and his brother Jim Belushi were of Albanian parents who emigrated to the USA after WWII. The American actress Eliza Dushku was born of an Albanian father and a half-Danish mother, while Nobel Prize winner Ferid Murad has an Albanian father and an American mother.

See also

columns |width=49%
col1 =
* Demographics of Albania
* History of Albania
* Cham Albanians
* Arvanites
* Albanian diaspora
col2 =
* Mandritsa
* Kosovo war
* List of Albanians
* List of Albanian-Americans

Notes and references

Further reading

*Edith Durham. " [ The Burden of the Balkans] " (1905)

External links

* [ Albanians in Turkey]
* [ Albanian Canadian League Information Service (ACLIS)]
* [ Albanians in the Balkans] U.S. Institute of Peace Report, November 2001

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