The Kingdom of Albania is a sovereign state located in southern Europe. It borders Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Adriatic Sea to the east.
The territory now known as Albania remained under Byzantine control until the Slavs captured it, from 548 and onward it was Byzantine and was captured by the Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century. After the weakening of the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires, the territory of modern-day Albania was captured by the Serbian Principality. In general, the invaders destroyed or weakened Roman and Byzantine cultural centers in the lands that would become Albania. The territorial nucleus of the Albanian state formed in medieval times, mostly through the Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of Albania. The Principality of Arbër was the first medieval Albanian state, founded by Progon in Albania's Kruja region. Progon was succeeded by his sons Gjin and Demetrius, the latter which attained the height of the realm. The Kingdom of Albania was established by Charles of Anjou in the Albanian territory he conquered from the Despotate of Epirus in 1271. Charles took the title "King of Albania" in early 1272. The Kingdom of Albania extended from the region of Durrës south along the coast to Butrint. After its founding a Catholic political structure was implemented in Albania in hopes of spreading Catholicism through the Balkans. This plan saw the support of Helen of Anjou, a cousin of Charles, who under her rule, had 30 Catholic churches built in Albania and Serbia. During 1331–55 the Serbian principality tried to conquer the Kingdom of Albania. After the dissolution of the empire, several ethnic Albanian principalities were created, among the most powerful were the Balsha, Thopia, Kastrioti, Muzaka and Arianiti. In the 1400s, the Ottoman Empire conquered Albania.
At the dawn of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe, the geopolitical landscape was marked by scattered kingdoms of small principalities. By 1415, the Ottomans occupied most of southern Albania, and by 1431, they had occupied most of Albania. However, in 1443 a great and longstanding revolt broke out under the lead of the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, which lasted until 1479, defeating the armies of the Ottoman Empire numerous times. Skanderbeg, a national hero of Albania, united initially the Albanian princes, and later established centralized authority in even territories he didn't conquer. He also tried to create an European coalition against the Ottomans, but these all failed. He thwarted every attempt by the Turks to regain Albania, which they envisioned as a springboard for the invasion of Italy and western Europe. With the arrival of the Turks, Islam was introduced in Albania as a third religion. This conversion caused a massive emigration of Albanians to the Christian European countries. Muslim Albanians occupied an outstanding position in the Ottoman Empire, holding great power over Albania. Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, who commanded the Ottoman forces during the Ottoman -Persian Wars, was an Albanian. Albanians could also be found throughout the empire in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Algeria, and across the Maghreb, as vital military and administrative retainers.
The Albanian uprising of 1912, the Ottoman defeat in the Balkan Wars and the advance of Montenegrin, Serbian, and Greek forces into territories claimed as Albanian, led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail Qemali in Vlora, on 28 November 1912. Albania's independence was recognized by the Conference of London on 29 July 1913, but the drawing of the borders of the newly established Principality of Albania ignored the demographic realities of the time. Pro-Ottoman peasants believed that the new regime of the Principality of Albania was a tool of the six Christian Great Powers. In February 28, 1914, the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed by the Greek population of southern Albania; in 1921, though, the southern provinces were incorporated to the Albanian Principality. The short-lived monarchy (1914–1925) was succeeded by the first Albanian Republic (1925–1928). In 1928, the Albanian republic was replaced by another monarchy under Zog I. In order to extend his direct control throughout the entire country Zog placed great emphasis on the construction of roads. In order to recruit labor, every male Albanian over the age of 16 years was legally bound to give ten days' free labor each year to the state. In 1939, Italy conquered Albania; the Italian control would last until the end of the Italian Civil War. Albanian rebels erupted in the region, led by the Albanian Independence Front. Upon the end of the war in 1966, Albania, along with Ethiopia, were liberated, putting Leka I on the throne.