Albania Population and Ethnic Groups

Albania Population and Ethnic Groups

According to necessaryhome, the Albanian population is made up of over two thirds (67%) of Muslims, about one fifth (21%) of Greek Orthodox, and 12% of Catholics. There are almost no Jews, with the exception of a few traders in the major centers. As can be seen from the table on p. 102 Muslims are spread throughout the country, prevailing in central and NE Albania; in the provinces of Dibra, Cossovo and Durazzo they form approximately nine tenths of the population, and are headed by the grand muftī of Tirana. The center of the Catholics is the N., that is the region of Scutari, with the Mirdizia; in the province of Shkoder they constitute two thirds of the population; they are missing in the S. and in the SE., where instead the Greek Orthodox take over. The latter are predominantly only in the province of Gjirokaster, but they also represent a notable element in the other three provinces of S., Còrizza, Berat and Valona; in N. di Durazzo they almost disappear. There are two Catholic archbishops (Scutari and Durazzo) and three Orthodox bishoprics (Còrizza, Berat and Durazzo). Albania was purely Catholic before the Turks brought Islam, to which entire tribes converted en masse out of obedience to the leaders and to ingratiate themselves with the rulers, rather than out of conviction. Islamism has also gained ground in recent times and there are even Muslim families who still remember their Christian ancestors. Orthodoxy spread from the S. through the work of the Greeks and was often an instrument of Hellenophilic propaganda. But the religious division does not have the importance in Albania that it has elsewhere in the Balkan Peninsula; notable differences correspond to it either in the way of life or in customs; sometimes we do not realize that we have passed from a Muslim territory to a Christian one or vice versa, if not by replacing the churches with mosques; but in mountainous Albania even mosques often lack their most distinctive feature, the minaret.

The ethnic and cultural characteristics of the Albanians, now briefly described, are also common to that fraction of the Albanian people, who live outside the current political borders; that it is indeed the diffusion of the Albanian type of house, and, parallel to it, that of some objects, such as the distaff, certifies the presence until recent times of Albanians, in territories where today they are almost no longer found, as in the surroundings of Niš and Vranja, where their disappearance by the Serbs has not dated for more than 50 years. Today the number of Albanians living within the borders of Yugoslavia is calculated at 442,000 by the official Yugoslav statistics, based on the language of use; it probably exceeds half a million, as has already been said. It is more difficult to calculate the number of Albanians living in the political borders of Greece. Those of Epirus are now strongly Hellenized; for those of central Greece, mostly immigrants since the early Middle Ages (central Attica, part of Boeotia, Megaride, islands of Salamis, Hydra, Spetsai, southern part of Euboea, part of Aegina and Andro, nuclei of Morea), there are no even approximate statistics; perhaps they hover around 100,000. Approximately 6,000 Albanians, recently immigrants, live in the United States, mostly in New England. If we add to these the Albanians of Italy (about 100,000), those living in Turkey, Egypt, Romania, etc., the total number of Albanians can be estimated at about 1,600,000. Hydra, Spetsai, southern part of Euboea, part of Aegina and Andro, nuclei of the Morea), there are no even approximate statistics; perhaps they hover around 100,000. Approximately 6,000 Albanians, recently immigrants, live in the United States, mostly in New England. If we add to these the Albanians of Italy (about 100,000), those living in Turkey, Egypt, Romania, etc., the total number of Albanians can be estimated at about 1,600,000. Hydra, Spetsai, southern part of Euboea, part of Aegina and Andro, nuclei of the Morea), there are no even approximate statistics; perhaps they hover around 100,000. Approximately 6,000 Albanians, recently immigrants, live in the United States, mostly in New England. If we add to these the Albanians of Italy (about 100,000), those living in Turkey, Egypt, Romania, etc., the total number of Albanians can be estimated at about 1,600,000.

Albania Population and Ethnic Groups