Albania - Country history and economic development

168 B.C. Romans take over Illyria (comprising most of present-day Albania).

1000s A.D. Illyria becomes known as Albania; feudal agriculture develops and Adriatic cities become centers of commerce.

1388. Ottoman Turks invade Albania and subdue it by the early 16th century.

1500s. The Ottomans convert many formerly Christian Albanians to Islam. The feudal economy remains unchanged into the 20th century.

1878. Albanian nationalism grows and the Prizren League is organized in the present-day Kosovo province of Serbia to work for national independence.

1912. Albania is liberated from the Ottomans. The European powers recognize its independence but leave nearly half of the ethnic Albanians outside its borders.

1919. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson vetoes the partition of Albania among its neighbors following the end of World War I.

1925. Albania is taken over by a dictatorship and gradually turns into an Italian protectorate.

1939. Italian troops occupy Albania at the start of World War II.

1944. Albanian communists take over and impose Stalinist economic rules, which last until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.

1990. A multi-party system is allowed as thousands of Albanians try to escape the country by fleeing to foreign embassies in Tiranë.

1991. The first multi-party elections are won by the reformed communists, while the opposition Democratic Party wins 75 seats in the Assembly. Massive labor unrest topples the government.

1992. Elections are won by the democrats, and economic reforms and liberalization gain momentum. Elections in 1996 leave the cabinet in office but the opposition voices fraud accusations.

1997. The collapse of pyramid schemes causes violent riots. The government is toppled and the socialists (re-formed communists) return to power in early elections.

1999. More than 400,000 Albanian refugees from Kosovo flood into Albania.

2000. Albania joins the World Trade Organization.

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