Albania

Geography

Albania, country in southern Europe, located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula on the Strait of Otranto, the southern entrance to the Adriatic Sea. The capital city is Tirana (Tiranë).

 

Albanians refer to themselves as shqiptarë—often taken to mean “sons of eagles,” though it may well refer to “those associated with the shqip (i.e., Albanian) language”—and to their country as Shqipëria. They generally consider themselves to be descendants of the ancient Illyrians, who lived in central Europe and migrated southward to the territory of Albania at the beginning of the Bronze Age, about 2000 BCE. They have lived in relative isolation and obscurity through most of their difficult history, in part because of the rugged terrain of their mountainous land but also because of a complex of historical, cultural, and social factors.

 

Albania has one of the most homogeneous populations in Europe, with non-Albanians accounting for less than one-tenth of the total population. The largest minorities are Vlachs; Greeks, concentrated mainly in the southeast; and Macedonians, living along the eastern border.

Area:
28,748 km²
Population:
2.862 million (2020)
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