Albania is the direct descendent of ancient ILLYRIA which, after its final conquest by the Romans in 167 BC, supplied Rome's famous Praetorian Guard and even some of its emperors. The central theme of Albania's history is that of the struggle and suffering of a fiercely independent but hopelessly outnumbered people against the tide of conquest in Europe. Albania's greatest triumph, under the direction of its leader and military genius, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, was the decimation, year after year, of huge Turkish armies that were sent by the Sultans in Istanbul to crush him and to conquer Albania. Its greatest sorrow was almost 500 years of bondage to the Turks a few years after Skanderbeg's death in 1468 until, finally, a short-lived independence was achieved only in this century on November 28, 1912.
For administrative purposes, the Turks had divided Albania into 4 provinces, or "vilayets" as they called them, of Shkodra, Kosova, Manastir, and Janina. When the European powers began to dismantle the Ottoman Empire after Russia defeated Turkey in a war that resulted in the 1878 San Stefano Treaty, they penalized Albania (because it was considered part of the Ottoman Empire) and divided it by ceding major portions of the Vilayet of Shkodra to Montenegro, the Vilayet of Kosova to Serbia, the Vilayet of Manastir to Macedonia, and the Vilayet of Janina to Greece.
What remained after the division of the 4 Vilayets comprises the nation of Albania as it is known today.
For further information check out these books:
1. The Albanians (ISBN 0-89950-932-0) an ethnic history from prehistoric times to the present.
2. Children of Kosova - Stories of Horror (ISBN 1-891654-04-7) A view from the Fort Dix refugee camp. Click Here for more information or to order this book.
3. Rescue in Albania (ISBN 1-888521-11-2) one hundred percent of Jews in Albania rescued from holocaust.
4. The OSS in World War II Albania (ISBN 978-0-7864-2967-7) Covert operations and collaboration with Communist partisans.