(Albanian Shqipni, with variants). Country in Balkan Peninsula on Adriatic Sea. Area: ca. 11,100 sq. mi. Under Goths 4th5th cents., E Empire 6th13th cents., Serbs 14th c.; then became part of Ottoman Empire until 1912, when it became in indep. principality; invaded by Serbs 1913; indep. proclaimed again 1917; rep. 192528; monarchy 1928; under It. 193941; then invaded by Greece, followed by Ger.; invaded again 1944; people's (Communist) rep. 1946; mem. Warsaw Pact (and of UN 1955) 195568; under Chinese influence; cut links with China 1978. Ethnic composition: homogeneous; small Gk. minority. Language: Gheg in N, Tosk in S; official language based on Tosk; Gk. also spoken in south. Religion: ca. 70% Muslim, 20% Orthodox, 10% RC; all religious institutions closed by govt. 1967, reopened December 1990. Albania was Christianized early, probably by traders from Epirus and Macedonia, but the situation changed with the fall of the W Empire 5th6th cents.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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