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Country Information on Albania PDF Print E-mail

AlbaniaAlbania is breaking away from a centuries old domination by foreign powers and internal oppressors. Generation after generation the political, economical, social, and religious life of the Albanian people has been ruled by their oppressors. This has left deep marks in the people and has eventually led to the ruin of the nation.

MosqueThe Turks ruled over Albania for over five centuries (until 1912). During this period there was little development within the country. Many Albanians were converted to Islam, which was often enforced on them. Around 1940, 70% of the population was Muslim. The remaining part was either Greek-Orthodox (20%) or Roman-Catholic.

Before the independence process started in between both world wars, Albania was a sort of satellite state of Italy. In 1939 fascist Italy launched an invasion and was soon assisted by nazi Germany.

One of the many bunkersAfter the "liberation" in 1944 the communists took over Albania. Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, the country gradually became totally isolated from the rest of the world. Practically all political and economical ties with other countries were broken, even ties with communist countries. CommunismProudly they claimed to be the first atheistic country in the world. Anything that had to do with religion was absolutely prohibited. Most mosques and churches were destroyed, or were in some cases used as sports facilities. Many of the clergy were taken prisoner or were killed. Everything was controlled by Hoxha and his henchmen. Fear ruled over relationships that were not deeply confidential. Approximately a third of the population were informants.

The influence of Enver Hoxha proved not to be immortal. After his death the communistic stronghold he had built up, began to collapse. In the beginning of 1991 a new period in the history of the Albanian people started.

Soon it became obvious that Albania was the poorest nation of Europe. There was hardly any infrastructure, the industry was hopelessly outdated and the education and healthcare sectors were of an extremely low level.
In 1997 everything that had been built up over a period of 6 years was devastated when a revolution broke out as a result of the collapse of the pyramid money games, which had kept a large part of the people in its grip. In 1999 followed the Kosovo crisis, when the impoverished nation was flooded by more than 300,000 refugees from Kosovo. From the year 2000 onwards Albania has seen a gradual build-up of all sectors of society. The economic situation appears better than it actually is , because much of the progress is financed by the labour force which is employed outside Albania (Greece, Italy), A major problem in present Albania is the depopulation of the rural areas, which is caused by the much greater economic development of the urban areas.

 

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