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Republic of Albania

Republika e Shqipërisë (Albanian)

Flag of Albania Albania state emblem
Flag Coat of arms
Europe-Albania
Capital

Tirana

Languages

Albanian

Demonym

Albanian

Currency

Albanian lek (ALL)

Establishment

-First state

1190

-League of Lezhë

March 2, 1444

-Independence from the Ottoman Empire

November 28, 1912

-Current Constitution

November 28, 1998

GDP (PPP)
-Total

$24.910 billion (2011)

-Per capita

$7,741 (2011)

GDP (nominal)
-Total

$12.847 billion (2011)

-Per capita

$3,992 (2011)

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The Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë), or just Albania (Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria) is a country located in Southern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo[1] to the northeast, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. The country also has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west, and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest.

EtymologyEdit

Main article: Wikipedia:Albania#Etymology

Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country, which is typically called Shqipëri by its people. In Medieval Greek, the country's name is also Albania (Greek: Ἀλβανία) besides variants Albanitia and Arbanitia.

The name may have possibly derived from the Illyrian tribe of Albani recorded by Ptolemy, who drafted a map in 150 AD that showed the city of Albanopolis, which is located near modern-day Krujë.

HistoryEdit

Territorial changes of the Ottoman Empire 1481

The Ottoman Empire in 1481.

It is believed that the first humans that inhabited the areas of modern-day Albania during the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic eras. Subsequently, the Illyrians, a group of tribes that inhabited the Western Balkans, settled in the area, which became known as Illyria. Beginning in the 7th century BC, Greek colonies were established on the Illyrian coast. The most important were Apollonia, Avlona, Buthrotum, Epidamnos, and Lissus.

The lands comprising modern-day Albania were subsequently incorporated into the Roman Empire, with the area above the Drin becoming part of the province of Illyricum, and the area south becoming part of Roman Macedonia. Illyricum was later divided into Dalmatia and Pannonia. The area was then ceded to the Themes province of the Byzantine Empire. During the mid-9th century, much of the land of modern-day Albania became part of the First Bulgarian Empire under dispute by the Byzantines, and it became known as Kutmichevitsa. The region was later recovered by the Second Bulgarian Empire. At the end of the 12th century, Albania was integrated into the Serbian Empire. The first Albanian state, the Principality of Arbër, was founded in 1190 by the House of Progon. After it fell in 1255, the Kingdom of Albania was established by Sicilian King Charles I. In 1368, after the disestablishment of the Kingdom of Albania, a number of Albanian principalities were formed, which eventually unified to become the League of Lezhë. During the 14th century, the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire began to pressure the alliance of principalities, and they eventually fell to the Ottomans and Venetians.

Albania became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. During World War II, Albania was invaded by the Kingdom of Italy under Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini, and shortly after, it became a puppet state of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. Albania then regained its independence in 1944, adopting a socialist government until 1991, when it became a unitary parliamentary republic.

EconomyEdit

Main article: Economy of Albania
45px-Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg.png This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Bank of Albania

The Bank of Albania.

Albania is considered a poor country by European standards. In 2010, its GDP per capita stood at 28 percent of the EU average. Still, as many businesses relocate to the country and consumer goods are becoming available from emerging market traders, Albania has shown potential for economic growth. Albania, Cyprus, and Poland are the only European countries that recorded economic growth during the beginning portion of 2009. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a 2.6% growth for Albania in 2010 and 3.2% in 2011. There are signs of increasing investments, and power cuts are reduced to the extent that Albania is now exporting energy.

A joint project between Albania and Croatia about the possibility of building a nuclear power plant at Lake Shkodër, close to Montenegro, has been discussed between the two countries. However, this plan has gathered criticism from Montenegro due to the seismicity of the area, which could possibly lead to future problems. In addition, there is some doubt that Albania will be able to finance such a project with a national budget of less than $5 billion. However, during February 2009, Italian electric utility company Enel announced plans to build and 800 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Albania, to diversify its electricity resources. Aging hydroelectric power plants generate nearly 100% of the nation's power, but are becoming more ineffective due to increasing droughts.

Albania has some deposits of petroleum and natural gas, but only produced 5400 barrels of oil per day in 2009. Natural gas production, estimated at 30 million cubic meters, is sufficient enough to meet consumer demands. Other natural resources found within the country include bauxite, coal, copper, and iron ore.

The most significant Albanian economic sector, agriculture, employs about 58% of the labor force and generates about 21% of the GDP. Crops widely produced in the country include corn, figs, olives, tobacco, and wheat.

Visitors to Albania have been gradually increasing each year, which helps contribute to the nation's GDP.

NumismaticsEdit

Dyrrachium coin

A coin of Dyrrhachium.

Albanian coinage dates back to the 5th century BC, introduced by Greek settlers at Apollonia and Dyrrhachium. As other Greek city-states began to be established in the lands of modern Albania, a wider variety of coins were produced. Upon Albania's integration into the Roman Empire, its coins began to circulate. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the land comprising modern-day Albania was ceded to the Byzantine Empire, which began issuing its coins in the area, which were later replaced by coins of the Republic of Venice. Ottoman piastres were issued from the beginning of the Ottoman rule in Albania until 1881, when the Ottoman lira was introduced. Upon gaining its independence in 1912, Albania began using coins of the Latin Monetary Union from France, Greece, and Italy, as well as the Austrian krone until 1925, when Albania introduced its own currency, the franga.[2] In 1946, the franga was replaced with the lek, which is currently being used by the country.

Currency History
Code Currency Name Dates Conversion Divisions
Ottoman Empire piastre
- 1881
Ottoman Empire lira
1881 - 1912
4000 Para = 100 Kurush = 1 Lira
Austrian krone
1912 - 1925
100 Heller = 1 Krone
Albania franga
1925 - 1946
100 Qindar Ari = 5 Lek = 1 Franka Ari
Albanian lek
1946 - 1961
1 Lek = 1 Lek 100 Qindarka = 1 Lek
ALL Albanian lek
1961 -
1 ALL = 10 Lek 100 Qindarka = 1 Lek

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared its independence on 17 February 2008, but is not fully recognized.
  2. The question over whether the franga is a separate currency from the lek is currently being discussed here.
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Europe
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