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HISTORY OF ALBANIA

STUDENT FROM ALBANIA

Ilir ZHURKA

 

Albania is located in the western part of the Balkan peninsula. It borders the former Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) and Kosova in the north and the east, (FYR of) Macedonia in the east, and Greece in the south. It has access to the Adriatic and Ionian Seas in the west. From the Strait of Otranto, Albania is less than 100 km (60 miles) from Italy. The country covers a total of 28,000 squared kilometers (11,000 squared miles) and its population is 3.3 million.
The founding and later development of the city of Tirana were made possible by its geographic position on a fertile plain, rich in forest lands and water, and crossroads of the Adriatic and eastern Albania, and through the Qafa e K‘rab‘s valley and the Shkumbin river with the inner parts of the Balkan peninsula. The area around Tirana has been inhabited since the neolithic age. On the mountainside of Dajti are the remains of an ancient castle dating back to the first century B.C., which happens to be the castle that the Byzantine historian Prokop (sixth century) mentions as the castle of Tirkan. The name of the city contains an ancient root that is present in other places that have been inhabited by Illyrians. There was a system of castles on the surrounding hills (Petrel‘, Prez‘, Ndroq, Fark‘, etc.) that served as protection for Durr‘s and Kruja. The oldest discovery in the area of Tirana has been a mosaic with several other remains of buildings of the later antiquity, found at the Kroi i Sh‘ngjinit (Fountain of Sh‘ngjin), near a Medieval temple

Albania was until 1991 a communist country. From after World War II until his death in 1986, Albania was ruled with an iron fist by dictator Enver Hoxha. In 1986 he was preceded by Ramiz Alia. Until 1991, the only legal party was the Party of Labor of Albania.In 1990 and 1991, popular protests toppled the communist regime and the first democratic elections were held in 1991. In 1992, the second elections were held, in which the opposition (the Democratic Party) won the majority of seats.

The Albanian anthem was written by the Albanian poet Asdreni (an accronym for Aleks Stavre Drenova), who was born in 1872 and died in 1947. The original title of the hymn was "Betimi mi flamur", or "Pledge to the Flag". The hymn was first published as a poem in Liri e Shqipërisë (Freedom of Albania), an Albanian newspaper in Sofia, Bulgaria, in its issue of April 21, 1912. Later that year it appeared in a volume of collected poems by Asdreni, under the title èndra e lot‘ (Dreams and Tears), which was published in Bucharest. The official anthem is two verses shorter than the original poem. The music of the anthem was composed by the Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu.The original text in Albanian is in rhyme and meter. Next to it is an English translation in free verse, which is adapted from a translation found in an Albanian Bulletin published in USA.

The question of the origin of the Albanians is still a matter of controversy among the ethnologists. A great many theories have been propounded in solution of the problem relative to the place from which the original settlers of Albania proceeded to their present home. The existence of another Albania in the Caucasus, the mystery in which the derivation of the name "Albania" is enshrouded, and which name, on the other hand, is unknown to her people, and the fact that history and legend afford no record of the arrival of the Albanians in the Balkan Peninsula, have rendered the question of their origin a particularly difficult one.

A more concrete evidence of the Illyrian-Pelasgian origin of the Albanians is supplied by the study of the Albanian language. Notwithstanding certain points of resemblance in structure and phonetics, the Albanian language is entirely distinct from the tongues spoken by the neighboring natonalities. This language is particularly interesting as the only surviving representative of the so-called Thraco-Illyrian group of languages, which formed the primitive speech of the inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula. Its analysis presents, however, great difficulties, as, owing to the absence of early literary monuments, no certainty can be arrived at with regard to its earlier forms and later developments. In the course of time the Albanian language has been impregnated by a large number of foreign words, mainly of ancient Greek or Latin, which are younger than the Albanian Language, but there are certain indications that the primitive Illyrian language exerted a certain degree of influence on the grammatical development of the languages now spoken in the Balkan Peninsula.

   

 

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