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Country Albania



Albania

A Balkan nation on the Adriatic Sea, bordered by Serbia and Montenegro and Macedonia to the N and E, and Greece to the S. The Albanians, a people whose ethnic roots may have been in the Illyrian and Thracian tribes who lived nearby in ancient times, have traditionally been isolated from outside influence by their mountains, forests, and swamps. The Greeks and Romans barely left their mark on this land . Albania was under the sway of the Byzantine Empire from 395 to 1347; the Serbs made inroads in the seventh century; and 200 years later the Bulgarians controlled parts of the area. Venice colonized it in the 11th century, and Naples soon became politically dominant, remaining so until the 14th century, when it was replaced first by the Serbs and then the Turks, who introduced Islam.

Albania was part of the Ottoman Empire when Balkan nationalism swept southeastern Europe in the 19th century. In 1912 the Albanians took advantage of the first Balkan War to declare their independence. This was upset by Serbian invasion the following year. World War I brought virtual dissolution of the state as various nations and ethnic groups fought to control the territory. Independence and territorial integrity were achieved once again following the war. Liberals and conservatives vied for power in the newly independent nation, with the latter winning out in 1925. The conservative leader, Ahmed Zogu, became King Zog in 1928. In 1939 Mussolini seized Albania for Italy.

During World War II Albanian partisans, led by Enver Hoxha, although clearly communists, received aid exclusively from Great Britain and France. Thus the communist government set up in 1946 came to power without Soviet assistance—the only communist government in Europe to do this. More Stalinist than the nation that spawned Stalin, Albania broke with the USSR in 1961 and allied itself with the then more ideologically pure Chinese. Albania was the most independent communist state of Eastern Europe, one of the most isolated, and also one of the most rigidly governed and controlled. By 1990, economic conditions were so bad that antigovernment demonstrators challenged the regime. In 1992 a noncommunist government replaced the communist regime and Albania opened itself to the world. In 1997 the country fell into economic collapse as a large percentage of the population participated in a pyramid investment scheme. The economic conditions became worse after 1999 as ethnic Albanian refugees fled to Albania from ethnic strife in neighboring Kosovo, but have improved after 2000 with growth rates of 9% per year slowing somewhat after the global economic slowdown in 2002.

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Albania: Top Cities

Amman 1,275,857 Amman 35.95 x 31.96 Asia/Amman
Az Zarqa' 792,665 Zarqa 36.09 x 32.07 Asia/Amman
Tirana 374,801 Qarku i Tiranes 19.82 x 41.33 Europe/Tirane
Irbid 307,480 Irbid 35.85 x 32.56 Asia/Amman
Russeifa 268,237 Zarqa 36.05 x 32.02 Asia/Amman
Wadi as Sir 181,212 Amman 35.82 x 31.95 Asia/Amman
`Ajlun 125,557 Irbid 35.75 x 32.33 Asia/Amman
Durres 122,034 Qarku i Durresit 19.44 x 41.32 Europe/Tirane
Elbasan 100,903 Qarku i Elbasanit 20.08 x 41.11 Europe/Tirane
Aqaba 95,048 Aqaba 35.01 x 29.53 Asia/Amman
Vlore 89,546 Qarku i Vlores 19.49 x 40.47 Europe/Tirane
Shkoder 88,245 Qarku i Shkodres 19.51 x 42.07 Europe/Tirane
Madaba 82,335 Madaba 35.80 x 31.72 Asia/Amman
As Salt 80,189 Balqa 35.73 x 32.04 Asia/Amman
Ar Ramtha 74,901 Irbid 36.01 x 32.56 Asia/Amman
Fier-Cifci 60,995 Qarku i Fierit 19.57 x 40.72 Europe/Tirane
Korce 58,259 Qarku i Korces 20.78 x 40.62 Europe/Tirane
Al Mafraq 57,118 Mafraq 36.21 x 32.34 Asia/Amman
Fier 56,297 Qarku i Fierit 19.56 x 40.72 Europe/Tirane
Berat 46,866 Qarku i Beratit 19.95 x 40.71 Europe/Tirane
Al Jubayhah 46,834 Amman 35.86 x 32.03 Asia/Amman
Lushnje 41,469 Qarku i Fierit 19.71 x 40.94 Europe/Tirane
Sahab 40,241 Amman 36.01 x 31.87 Asia/Amman
Al Quwaysimah 32,396 Amman 35.95 x 31.92 Asia/Amman
Kavaje 29,354 Qarku i Tiranes 19.56 x 41.19 Europe/Tirane
Jarash 27,046 Irbid 35.90 x 32.28 Asia/Amman
At Tafilah 25,429 Tafielah 35.60 x 30.84 Asia/Amman
Lac 24,825 Qarku i Lezhes 19.71 x 41.64 Europe/Tirane
Gjirokaster 23,437 Qarku i Gjirokastres 20.14 x 40.08 Europe/Tirane
`Izra 22,756 Karak 35.69 x 31.16 Asia/Amman