Albanians come from an ancient tribe called Illyrians, a population which was created around 2000 BC. Illyrian provinces, especially in the coastal areas, were very developed both socially and politically. Illyrian states that were formed during this time, were included in the Mediterranean world of advanced civilization.
Throughout history though, Albanian territories have been ruled by various foreign empires starting with the Roman Empire followed by the Byzantines. Greeks reached Epidamos (today Durrës), Apollonia and Butrint in the 7th century BC establishing their self-governed colonies. Illyrians were able to preserve their language and traditions despite centuries of Roman and Greek occupation.
At the end of the 14th century, Albania was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Most of the country’s population was converted to Islam during this time. Under the lead of Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania managed to gain independence from the Ottomans but this was only for a short time in the mid-1400s. The Ottomans tried again to take control of the Kruje castle attacking Albania from all sides. Albania was to remain part of the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years until 1912. Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg played a very important part during this time. He participated in 25 battles and was victorious in 24 of them. For this reason, he is considered to be the perfect example of a warrior and leader.
From 1912 until the end of World War I Albanian was attacked from other neighboring countries. In 1939 Albania was occupied by Italy for 11 years and later in 1943, the country was occupied by Germany. A group called the Antifascist National Liberation front was created to provide resistance to foreign attacks.
Communist Party came into power in November 1944, when foreign forces left the country. Albania remained under the communist rule for the next 50 years, during which time the country was in complete isolation from other cultures. In 1991 Communism fell and Albania became a democratic country which leads to a new chapter in the Albanian history.
Online Albanian lessons for kids: dinolingo.com