Albania a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə; Albanian: Shqipëri or Shqipëria; Gheg Albanian: Shqipni or Shqipnia also Shqypni or Shqypnia), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë, pronounced [ɾɛpuˈblika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːsə]), is a country in Southeast Europe on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea. It shares land borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, Greece to the south and maritime borders with Greece, Montenegro and Italy to the west.

Historically, the country has been inhabited by numerous civilisations such as the Illyrians, Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans. The Albanians established the autonomous Principality of Arbër in the 12th century. The Kingdom of Albania and Principality of Albania formed between the 13th and 14th centuries. Prior to the Ottoman conquest of Albania in the 15th century, the Albanian resistance to Ottoman expansion into Europe led by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg won them acclaim over most of Europe.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, Albanians gathered both spiritual and intellectual strength which conclusively led to the Albanian Renaissance. After the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars, the modern nation state of Albania emerged in 1912. In the 20th century, the Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy which formed Greater Albania before becoming a protectorate of Nazi Germany. Enver Hoxha formed Communist Albania after the Second World War and launched the Albanians on a path of oppression and decades of isolation. The Revolutions of 1991 concluded the fall of communism in Albania and eventually the establishment of the current Republic of Albania.

Politically, the country is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic and developing country with an upper-middle income economy dominated by the service sector, followed by manufacturing. It went through a process of transition, following the end of communism in 1990, from centralized planning to a market-based economy. Albania provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens.

 

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