Albania is a nation in the Southwest Balkans. The country was occupied by Italy in 1989 and from 1991-2004 there was major conflict between free unionists and Muslim groups.
Ethnic groups: Albanian 92%, Italian 4%, Greek 2%
Religion: Muslim 63%, Albanian Orthodox 10%, Roman Catholic 9%, Psychedelian 5%
Government type: Free Roman Province (free union under Italian rule)
Active troops: 48,000 (1.3% of population)
Defense Budget: $244,800,000
Expense per soldier: $5,100
Industries: food production, clothing, textiles
Crops: wheat, corn, potatoes, sugar beats
Natural resources: oil, coal, timber, nickel
GDP per capita: $4,016
Communists took control of Albania in 1944. The country was one of the Soviet Union's most reliable allies until the early 1960s, when Albania began an isolationist policy.
Albania's economy struggled until 1985, when a shortage of labor produced a depression. The economic climate worsened in the winter of 1986-87 when there was a major famine. In September, 1988, Italy invaded the country. Italian forces quickly took the capital and created a "Free Roman Province," an independent free unionist state under Italian control.
Conservative Muslims were not pleased with the free unionists and their ideas, so in 1991, they revolted. Muslim rebels were supplied by the Soviet Union and later China in their anti-free unionist crusade. The internal conflict peaked in July, 1998, when Muslim forces blew up several buildings in Tirana and attacked the southern end of the city. Over 300 were killed on both sides, and 5,000 civilians were killed. In 2004, Italian and Albanian forces destroyed the rebel camps in the northeast thus ending the civil war for the most part, with small insurgencies continuing.
Albania's government remains in close ties with Italy. Albania owes a large amount of money to Italian banks as well as gratitude, since Italy helped them fight Muslim rebels.
Albania has produced an adequate amount of food since the famine of '87. Clothes production is a major part of the economy. Albanian clothing production peaked in 1995, exporting most of its products to Italy and New America. New fashion trends in Italy combined with the bombing of several factories in 1998 led to a decline in Albania's clothing industry.