The Illyrians made frequent incursions into the Hellenistic states of Molosia, Peonia, and even Macedonia. In 35 BC, the Romans conquered the most accessible and civilized places, calling them the Illyric and Epirus provinces, although the more mountainous and remote territories never came under the control of the Roman Empire.
Under the Romans, Illyria experienced a time of peace and prosperity. The main trade route between Rome and Constantinople, the Via Egnatia, ran between Epidamnos / Durrës and Thessaloniki. The Illyrians, like the Greeks, preserved their language and traditions during Roman rule.
When the Roman Empire was divided in 395 BC, the Illyrians were assimilated by the Byzantine Empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries they converged with itinerant peoples such as the Visigoths, Huns, Ostrogoths; and they ended up being neighbors (to the north and east) of the Slavs, who assimilated the Illyrians or Macedonians in those areas.
In the late Middle Ages, according to localcollegeexplorer, the Ottoman Turks invaded the Balkan Peninsula. Between 1443 and 1468, Gjergj Kastriot, called Skanderbeg (the chief Alexander) in Turkish, led on behalf of the Albanians the joint struggles of Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanians and other peoples of the area against the Ottoman Turks, becoming the national hero and an icon of the fight against the Islamic invader. Antonio Vivaldi dedicated an opera to Skanderbeg with the same name. The first documents written in the Albanian language, in the Cyrillic alphabet, date from this period.
During this long period of occupation, several decisive events occurred for the current Albanian culture: a large part of the Orthodox urban population went into exile, mainly in southern Italy and Greece, and in part they were employed as mercenaries, while the majority of the population that remained in the country was converted to Islam, throughout the seven centuries of occupation.
After the progressive conversion to Islam (for interest and survival) and the Turkish assimilation of a large part of the Albanians, Albania became a privileged country loyal to the Empire, reaching high positions in the administration of the Empire (such as the Köprülü, Ali Pasha from Tepelen or Mehemet Ali) and also as shock forces to maintain control over Greece, Serbia, the territory of the current Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria. The emigration of part of the Serbian population from present-day Kosovo led the Albanians to become the majority in that region.
In 1912, faced with the successive defeats suffered by the Turks in the Balkan wars, the Albanians claimed their independence and achieved it although the threat of Austrian, Italian, Greek expansionism loomed with the Megalidea plan, from Montenegro (which remained with Ulcinj and some other area) and from Serbia (which was left with Kosovo). During the First World War, the impoverished territory was a battlefield between the forces of the Entente Cordiale and those of the so-called Central Empires, and at the end of the war, Serbian-Montenegrin control over the Albanian-majority areas of the north and east was ratified. ; Greece it obtained until the year 1914 the control of the Epirus of the north.
In 1918 in Argyropolis (despite the fact that this city was in the Greek occupation zone) the formal independence of Albania was proclaimed, although “independent Albania” soon became in practice an Italian protectorate initially under the command of Ahmet Zogu, who established a monarchy in 1928. It had only one king of its own: Ahmet Zogu or Zog I of Albania (1928-1939). The 7 of April of 1939 the army of fascist Italy invaded Albania and King Zog fled; then the Italian government proclaimed King of Albania to the King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia Victor Emmanuel III of Savoy (1939-1943)
During World War II guerrillas were organized against the Italians, and at the end of the war the communist party, created in 1941 under the influence of the Soviet Bolsheviks, took control of the Albanian state, under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, who had fought in resistance. In 1955, Albania became a member of the Warsaw Pact.
During some decades under his rule, Hoxha established and broke relations with various socialist countries. The country was isolated, first by the West, then Hoxha made a harsh criticism of Nikita Khrushchev, breaking relations with the Soviet Union and moving closer to China.
In 1985, Enver Hoxha died and Ramiz Alia took his place. Initially, Alia tried to follow in Hoxha’s footsteps, but the changes in Eastern Europe had already begun: Mikhail Gorbachev had appeared in the USSR with new policies (Glásnost and Perestroika). After Nicolae Ceauşescu (Romanian communist leader) was executed in a revolution, Alia signed the Helsinki Agreement (which was signed by other countries in 1975), by which he undertook to modify the legislation in civil matters. Multi-party elections were called, which the Democratic Party won in 1992 with 62% of the votes.
Since 1990 Albania has been oriented towards Western European states, was accepted into the Council of Europe and NATO, and has also asked to join the EU. Albania’s workforce continued to migrate to the European Union (EU) and North America.