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Albanisation: Wikis


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Albanisation (or Albanization, Albanianisation, Albanianization) is a term used to describe a linguistic or cultural assimilation to the Albanian language and Albanian culture.



The term is used in reference to Kosovo[1]. During censuses in the former Yugoslavia, many Roma would be registered as Albanian, identifying with Albanian culture as opposed to the Christian Serbian culture[2]. It is also talked about in reference to the Torbashis, a Muslim Slavic minority in the Republic of Macedonia, and the Gorani people in southern Kosovo with often albanised surnames[3].

When discussing Kosovo, Albanisation is often used to describe the demographic shift, whereby Albanians as a percentage of the population increase whilst Serbs and other minority groups decrease. Generally not considered to be a deliberate policy, this phenomenon has resulted due to a diversity of factors. Commencing from the time of Turkish conquest of the Balkans, the Slavic Christian element suffered greatly in Kosovo because the region was often a battleground between Serbia (and its European supporters) and Turkey. Either during battle or the harsh Turkish reprisals for insurgency, many Slavs were killed. Many more migrated north to safer lands. In turn, more and more Albanians settled Kosovo as many had converted to Islam and gained important positions within the Turkish regimen. Of the remaining Slavic Christian populace, many converted to Islam to escape discriminatory taxes and social practices. Islamification opened the door to Albanisation, since 90% of Kosovar Albanians are Muslim.

Even with the defeat of Turkey and the re-acquisition of Kosovo by Serbia in the early 20th century, Albanians remained the dominant demographic. This was maintained until the present time due to socio-political factors. Being a region where Turkish rule was most firmly established, it was the most backward region of the newly created Yugoslavia. Thus many Serbs chose to leave the area to more socio-economically developed regions. Coupled with this was the very high birth rate of Albanians, who often had up to ten children per family.

Republic of Macedonia

The chairman of a Muslim organisation for Muslim Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia, Riza Memedovski, accused the majority Albanian political party, the Party for Democratic Prosperity, of trying to conduct through assimilation, an "... Albanisation of western Macedonia."[4]


The Greeks of Southern Albania (also known with the term Northern Epirus, especially among the Greeks) were under a policy of Albanisation during the dictatorship of King Zogu and the communist regime.[1][2][3][4][5] The Bulgarians in Albania, especially in the eastern parts were also gradually albanised.


  1. ^  Allen, B. (1999) "Why Kosovo? The Anatomy of a Needless War" in Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  2. ^  Sigona, N. (2003) "How Can a ‘Nomad’ be a ‘Refugee’? Kosovo Roma and Labelling Policy in Italy" in Sociology. Vol. 37 pp. 69-79
  3. ^  Lederer, G. (2001) "Contemporary Islam in East Europe" in Central Asian Survey
  4. ^  Greek Helsinki Monitor (2001) Minorities in Southeastern Europe - Albanians of Macedonia (available online here)


  1. ^ Badlands-Borderland: A History of Southern Albania/Northern Epirus,ISBN 0715632019,2003,T.J. Winnifrith,Page 138:"... the Orthodox Albanian-speakers who had not been expelled. On the other hand under Hoxha there were draconian measures to keep Greek-speakers loyal to Albania. Albanian rather than Greek history was taught in schools. ..."
  2. ^,"the area studied was confined to the southern border fringes, and there is good reason to believe that this estimate was very low"."Under this definition, minority status was limited to those who lived in 99 villages in the southern border areas, thereby excluding important concentrations of Greek settlement in Vlora (perhaps 8000 people in 1994) and in adjoining areas along the coast, ancestral Greek towns such as Himara, and ethnic Greeks living elsewhere throughout the country. Mixed villages outside this designated zone, even those with a clear majority of ethnic Greeks, were not considered minority areas and therefore were denied any Greek-language cultural or educational provisions. In addition, many Greeks were forcibly removed from the minority zones to other parts of the country as a product of communist population policy, an important and constant element of which was to preempt ethnic sources of political dissent. Greek place-names were changed to Albanian names, while use of the Greek language, prohibited everywhere outside the minority zones, was prohibited for many official purposes within them as well."
  3. ^,onset in 1967 of the campaign by Albania’s communist party,the Albanian Party of Labour (PLA), to eradicate organised religion, a prime target of which was the Orthodox Church.Many churches were damaged or destroyed during this period, and many Greek-language books were banned because of their religious themes or orientation. Yet, as with other communist states, particularly in the Balkans, where measures putatively geared towards the consolidation of political control intersected with the pursuit of national integration, it is often impossible to distinguish sharply between ideological and ethno-cultural bases of repression. This is all the more true in the case of Albania’s anti-religion campaign because it was merely one element in the broader “Ideological and Cultural Revolution” begun by Hoxha in 1966 but whose main features he outlined at the PLA’s Fourth Congress in 1961.
  4. ^," under communism, pupils were taught only Albanian history and culture, even in Greek-language classes at the primary level." ,
  5. ^,"Under King Zog, the Greek villages suffered considerable repression, including the forcible closure of Greek-language schools in 1933-1934 and the ordering of Greek Orthodox monasteries to accept mentally sick individuals as inmates. "

See also



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