January 3, 2013

And our "History of" country today is...

The Enver Hoxha Pyramid in Tirana, Albania

Do you recognize where this is? A clue: That's a photo of what used to be called the Enver Hoxha Mausoleum. If I told you it's in the capital city of Tirana, would you know the country, or is it easy because we are proceeding through the Wikipedia "History of" pages for the 206 countries in the world in alphabetical order?

This is Albania, a region where, in antiquity, the Illyrians lived. There was Roman rule, Byzantine rule, invasions by Visigoths, Huns, and Ostrogoths, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire:
Part of the Albanian population gradually converted to Islam, with many joining the Sufi Order of the Bektashi. Converting from Christianity to Islam brought considerable advantages, including access to Ottoman trade networks, bureaucratic positions and the army.... The Albanians proved generally faithful to Ottoman rule following the end of the resistance led by [feudal heir] Skanderbeg, and accepted Islam more easily than their neighbors. No fewer than 42 Grand Viziers of the Empire were of Albanian descent....

[I]n the 19th century... an Albanian National Awakening took place and many revolts against the Ottoman Empire were organized...

The Principality [of Albania] was established on 21 February 1914. The Great Powers selected Prince William of Wied, a nephew of Queen Elisabeth of Romania to become the sovereign of the newly independent Albania....
There was WWI, then the rule of King Zog, who initiated reforms (such as ending the custom of making one's region part of one's name) and who was overthrown by the Italians under Mussolini in 1939. Mussolini "saw Albania as a historical part of the Roman Empire" and imposed "a policy of forced Italianization." After the Italian surrender in 1943, Germany occupied Albania. Germany "sought to gain popular support by backing causes popular with Albanians, especially the annexation of Kosovo.... Albanian collaborators... expelled and killed Serbs living in Kosovo."

After the Soviets liberated Albania in 1944, Enver Hoxha, the secretary general of the Albanian Communist Party, became the leader of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, and he continued on in that role for 41 years, until he died in 1985.
In 1967, the authorities conducted a violent campaign to extinguish religious practice in Albania, claiming that religion had divided the Albanian nation and kept it mired in backwardness. Student agitators combed the countryside, forcing Albanians to quit practicing their faith. Despite complaints, even by APL members, all churches, mosques, monasteries, and other religious institutions had been closed or converted into warehouses, gymnasiums, and workshops by year's end.
The Communists were defeated by the Democratic Party in 1992. Efforts to introduce capitalism — Wikipedia says — "led to the proliferation of pyramid schemes" and "anarchy," which was stabilized by "an EU military mission led by Italy." In 2009, Albania joined NATO.

That's enough from Wikipedia for now. I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of that, but it's a jumping off place that is far beyond anything I'd had in my head before reading it. Enver Hoxha? Previously unfamiliar to me. And his erstwhile mausoleum? Horrific. Looking for better images, I found this nice Flickr stream, and I'll send you to this image first, because I love it. Then you you can click the "newer"/"older" buttons to see what else is there.

103 comments:

Bob said...

Travel writer/novelist Paul Theroux visited Albania during a Grand Tour of the Mediterranean which he documented in his book The Pillars of Hercules. Well worth reading.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Enh, Ann, Some of us know where Tirana is and know who Hoxha was. Without having to look it up.

Ann Althouse said...

"Enh, Ann, Some of us know where Tirana is and know who Hoxha was. Without having to look it up."

I hope so!

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not purporting to bring news to readers here, only to perform a ritual of checking out each of the 206 pages for the countries.

Shouting Thomas said...

That A's have been pretty low rent to this point, Althouse.

Are any of the A's upscale?

Balfegor said...

Hoxha, Skanderbeg, and King Zog were all vaguely familiar to me as famous Albanians, but I had forgotten Tirana was the capital of Albania.

Incidentally, Skanderbeg is another one of those "Alexander" variants.

David53 said...

I love your interest in geography/history. My wife is watching Lifetime network....sigh..... But I love her dearly and wouldn't trade her for anyone. But it would be awesome if she liked the History Channel.

Sam L. said...

Zog is the best King Name I know.

Petunia said...

How about a daily quiz? Mix up the countries a bit, post a pic, drop a couple of hints, and see who gets the right answer first?

I knew Hoxha and Tirana without looking them up, as well. Interesting tidbit: Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter spent a lot of time in Albania and loved it there.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I love the name King Zog.

Chip Ahoy said...

¡Es una pirámide!

Google Earth [pyramid tirana albania] plunks you right there.

Visitors pinned their photos around the site.

If you have that option open on the side panel, then it will show you the photos visitors pinned. If not, then of course it leaves that clutter out. With it on, though, you can see what interested visitors and what they managed with their crap point and shoots at the time and you do wonder how given the skill apparent they managed to pin a photo Google Earth. There's a lot going on around the pyramid not as many photos pinned there as I expected.

David said...

Ican't be the only person who immediately thought of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F_tT-q8EF0

Ann Althouse said...

"How about a daily quiz? Mix up the countries a bit, post a pic, drop a couple of hints, and see who gets the right answer first?"

Maybe alphabetical order is bad, but it keeps me from cherry picking.

After doing Afghanistan yesterday, I was not keen on doing another country in a geographic crossroads. I had to force myself. But Albania was next on the list. My #1 association with Albania was that it was the country that the characters in the movie "Wag the Dog" chose as the place to locate a fake war (on the theory that no one would realize it).

Ann Althouse said...

Winifred Ames: Why Albania?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Why not?
Winifred Ames: What have they done to us?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: What have they done FOR us? What do you know about them?
Winifred Ames: Nothing.
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: See? They keep to themselves. Shifty. Untrustable.

Ann Althouse said...

Albania was the epitome of a country that Americans don't know a damned thing about.

Balfegor said...

ZOG!

CWJ said...

OMG, I spent too much time over in the Gatsby thread. Yes, Ann, Americans know squat about Albania. In fact, I'll expand that to the entire Balkins. But not me! I have an Albanian Daughter of whom I am very proud.

Inga said...

Austria 2nd to last on the A list. Waiting patiently.

whswhs said...

When you said "Enver Hoxha" that was enough.

edutcher said...

Albania is such a nothing place, it barely made a ripple in WWII.

Inga said...

The next three countries that play huge roles in my family history, Germany, Hungary, Yugoslavia/ Croatia most of all.

I worked with a Serbian nurse that said the Kosovo war was fought because poor Albanians came into Kosovo and squatted land, enraged the Serbs.

SteveR said...

ST: Australia's coming up

CWJ said...

"Where, in antiquity, the Illyrians lived". No Ann, the Illyrians still live there. Albanian is the last of the Illyrian languages. It, and they, are related to almost nothing. Not Greek, not Romance, Not Slavic, not anything. The Albanians are to the Balkans, as our native Americans are to North America.

MrCharlie2 said...

but, not before Andorra. Wonder if Ann will find the words to their national anthem

YoungHegelian said...

One now little remembered aspect of modern Albanian history is how, under Hoxha, they splintered from Moscow & the Warsaw pact, and were Mao's only allies in Europe.

There were discussions in NATO on the topic of whether or not NATO should defend Albania if the Warsaw Pact invaded it.

Albania hated the West. The West knew little and cared even less for Albania. But between Moscow & Tirana, there was true mutual hatred.

MPH said...

I was just there in November -- Tirana is my wife's hometown. Our nine-month old daughter was able to meet both of her great-grandmothers.

http://michaelhussey.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/generations.jpg

BTW -- the horrific Enver Hoxha Mausoleum is in ruins today. It looks horrible, run down and probably ready to collapse in on itself. Here is a photo from 2011 (it looks even worse this year) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/raesmaa/5950010606/<

Surfed said...

I have several Albanian students. Their names are unpronouncable. I have Americanized their names. They like that. You'd think I worked on Ellis Island back in the day. At least they're not my West African students. The powers that be juxtaposition first and last names for that ethnic crew.

CWJ said...

Edutcher, first P-40s at Midway, and now deciding a country's worth on the basis of WWII. You're really on a role this evening. Bite me.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Watch Albania in the future. The Italians are pouring money into the coastal areas. Ive heard they have very nice beaches and islands.

I've not been to Albania but Croatia is very nice. Croatia has very nice a very nice rustic farm feel and ok beaches (rocky).

Mick Havoc said...

When I was assigned to Central Records the lady who supervised it for me was a pretty, stylish dark-eyed daughter of Albanian Muslim immigrants. Her dad was tortured and imprisoned by Hoxha and she had an instinctive hatred for anything Marxist.
Like the Danes, Albanian Muslims hid Jews from the Nazis.
Their women smoke, drive and dress very well.

MrCharlie2 said...

but, not before Andorra. Wonder if Ann will find the words to their national anthem

CWJ said...

Inga, Yeah right, the native people taking advantage of the Slav immigrants, so to speak. That's the Serb story whether its Kosovars, Bosnians, Macedonians, or even Croats. Its always someone taking advantage of them who in turn needs to be cleansed.

MPH said...

Side note: only two countries in Europe preferred McCain over Obama: Albania and Kosovo.

http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/sais/nexteurope/2008/10/mccains_edge_in_albania.html

Mr. D said...

David said...

I can't be the only person who immediately thought of this:


No doubt about it. First thing I thought of. The scary part is that I remembered the words, proving that Coach was right.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Communist architecture has got to be one of the most soul crushing inventions ever. Eastern Europe is strewn with awful monuments, statues and buildings. I've lived there for many years and go back 1-2 times a year but I never get used to it.

I'll see if I can find some links, especially to the abandoned monuments in the firmer Yugoslavia.

MPH said...

re: Bill, Republic of Texas

Here are some of my panoramic photos taken across the country -- including some of their incredible beaches.

http://michaelhussey.com/2009/09/17/panorama-photos-from-across-albania/

Erika said...

Bob, I thought of that book immediately as well. Everything I know about Albania I learned from Paul Theroux. Have you read Ghost Train to the Eastern Star (central Asia)? I think that's what it's called. Also awesome. As is Dark Star Safari (Africa).

CWJ said...

MPH, thanks for your comments. Albanians are so rare. How did you meet your wife?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

http://www.cracktwo.com/2011/04/25-abandoned-soviet-monuments-that-look.html?m=1

http://m.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=9551781

http://m.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fotostrecke-59943.html#spRedirectedFrom=www

http://m.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/a-777206.html#spRedirectedFrom=www



Craig said...

My wife has a colleague from Kosovo, named after the tribe, the Dardani, first known to have occupied the region. Albania was the first of now nearly one hundred countries to recognize the Republic of Kosovo.

CWJ said...

MPH, Berat's my daughter's hometown. That's a view I've not seen before. Great photo!

Phil 3:14 said...

Liam Neeson has taught what Albania is all about.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Thanks MPH for the link. I'll have to view it later because iPhone doesn't support flash. That always annoyed me about iPhone and one of the reasons I will go with a droid next.

traditionalguy said...

I do remember that Hitler in his games to take Czechoslovakia and Austria by threats and promises always held out a promise of Albania given to Mussolini in the deal so Germany's land grabs would not offend his friend.

Michael said...

I commend to you Theodore Dalyrmple's "The Wilder Shores of Marx" the opening chapter of which describes his trip to Albania with a group of English communists.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

Albania?

Don't you think Al Gore is taking his Al Jazeera-funded megalomania too far?

whswhs said...

Apparently right after the end of WWI, Rose Wilder Lane (later modestly famed as one of the "three furies of libertarianism," along with Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand) drove from France to Albania with her best friend, Helen Dore Boylston (later modestly famed as the author of the "Sue Barton" series for girls, about a young woman's career in nursing), and the two took up residence there for a couple of years.

I've just discovered that their journals (published 1983) are on the shelves of my local university library. Now I want to read them.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Althouse has interesting group of commentators. A thread on Albania has 47 comments and a thread on Detroit has 13!

edutcher said...

CWJ said...

Edutcher, first P-40s at Midway, and now deciding a country's worth on the basis of WWII. You're really on a role this evening. Bite me.

OK, then, the Cold War and WWI, too.

When did anybody notice, much less care, about Albania?

And bite yourself.

Inga said...

Michael, I don't know if the Albanians she was referring to were Kosovo citizens or if they were Albanians who crossed into Kosovo illegally. She emphasized that the Serbs in the region felt threatened by the Albanians and that the Albanians were taking land illegally from the Serbs.

I have no idea what the real truth was, nor do I take any sides. Her husband was in the Serbian Army.

bagoh20 said...

There are nine cities in the Americas that have larger populations than Albania, only two are in the U.S.

The largest Sao Paulo, Brazil has 4 times the population of Albania. That's a lot of body fluids.

Michael said...

Inga. There are/were likely people of Albanian heritage who were not trapped in the country by the Marxists, people who left in the 20s or 30s and were and always would be identified as Albanians. That is the likely story.

pm317 said...

MPH, so you are the guy behind ratemyprofessors.com..I have mixed feelings about that whole enterprise.

Your wife is pretty and the daughter is cuter.

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crunchy Frog said...

Without looking it up, I knew Tirana was the capital of Albania, that the Muslims of Kosovo (that the Serbs were oppressing) are ethnic Albanians, and that the Italian army in WWII was so inept that it got its ass kicked by Albania to the extent that Germany had to take units off the eastern front to pull its ashes out of the fire.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

CWJ, as I said I'm not taking sides, I'm very interested in anything to do with Yugoslavia, as my own ethnic German relatives were ethnically cleansed at the end of WW2, out of Slavonia/Croatia,/Yugoslavia, that and other reasons.

chickelit said...

The NYT is my source of what I know about Albania, birthplace of the "cult of the ugly:" link

MPH said...

re: CWJ

I met my wife via Yahoo! Groups (long story), back when those mattered.

We spent a night inside Berat castle this past November -- which is something I've wanted to do since I first visited in 2009 (which is when I took that panorama). It was wonderful. We loved the restaurant "Onufri," which is right inside the castle gates.

Here are my photos from that night inside the castle. My wife is not religious, but she said she it felt haunted: https://picasaweb.google.com/101449979670849839330/BeratAlbania

CWJ said...

Thank you MPH, but for whatever reason your link failed on my computer. Oh well. I'm still envious that you spent time in Berat.

CWJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MPH said...

re: pm317

I started RateMyProfessors because at the end of every college course we'd write a review of that course and the professor, which I knew was just going to end up buried in some cabinet in the dean's office. I didn't so much care about my own review, but really wanted to read the other students' thoughts, especially for courses I was considering taking in the future.

I believe RateMyProfessors and RateMyTeachers have helped students think about their education as something they can and should own rather than something that is imposed upon them. There is a good reason our most vocal critics are teachers unions; students thinking about the value of their education are a threat to their monopoly.

Cheryl said...

Hey--I just wanted to say "Thank You!" for doing this. It is great fun, and my (middle-school-aged) boys and I are reading them together. I think we will be talking about King Zog for a while. What a name.

BTW they were blown away by the numbers of Afghans killed by the Russians and then the Taliban in yesterday's post.

CWJ said...

Actually Inga you said no such thing, I checked. Nonetheless, and I don't care. In fact, I wouldn't expect you personally to have an opinion one way or the other. but I understand your interest.

I was just responding to what your Serb colleague said. I've heard it so many times before.

However, when Ann gets to Hungary, (maybe March or so), let's compare notes. I have both a Magyar daughter and a Magyar son.

Inga said...

CWJ,

"I have no idea what the real truth was, nor do I take any sides. Her husband was in the Serbian Army."

1/3/13 7:44 PM

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MPH said...

re: CWJ

Sorry, try this link instead to view the Berat photos (you must be logged into a Google account to see them)
https://plus.google.com/photos/101449979670849839330/albums/5829406842277924769

Inga said...

CWJ, yes I look forward to Hungary. My German ancestors were very much influenced culturally by the Magyars.

Does your daughter have one of those beautiful cloth Magyar dolls? I found two of them on EBay, quite a treasure to me.

Petunia said...

I first heard of Zog and Albania in a Monty Python sketch. With Inspector Harry "Snapper" Organs.

Methadras said...

Commies, sure do love their large star like pointed buildings to house their dead guys.

pm317 said...

MPH, it is a good innovative idea for its time and kudos to you for thinking of it. If everybody, seriously and fairly participated in it, it would be useful. Otherwise it would be just a bunch of disgruntled students who got a well deserved C or god forbid a B when they thought they were entitled to an A who will say something there. Anyway, you would have heard all this and more.

wyo sis said...

MPH
You are surrounded by beautiful women! Congratulations. The woman in the center with the white hair reminds me of my mother who is also a beautiful woman in her 80's with absolutely gorgeous skin.

Big Mike said...

Eh, I knew where Tirana was and who Enver Hoxha was even before I saw the "Albania" tag.

CWJ said...

MPH, perfect they opened this Time. Thank you!!

CWJ said...

Inga, I doubt it, sadly. Can you link a photo so I know for sure? To look at her, my daughter, she's a bit bohemian. Loves black and red and "Vampire Diaries". On top of that she loves all things motorsports. I joked with her and so do her "brothers" that she's the best son I've ever had. But underneath all that, she's a loving family dedicated girl.

Inga said...

CWJ, instead of posting my pic to Photobucket, or Flicker, I just made the dolls my avatar for tonight. So here they are, the embroidery is gorgeous.

joe said...

Inga wrote;

/as my own ethnic German relatives were ethnically cleansed at the end of WW2, out of Slavonia/Croatia,/Yugoslavia, that and other reasons./

That's what happens when you stir-up two World Wars,basing it on "persecution of Germans living in other nations", or using NAZI metrics, race.

Think Sudetenland or Danzig.

Why even those Germans( Autonome Sozialistische Sowjetrepublik der Wolgadeutschen)living in the USSR were eventually removed, or the Minnonites if you prefer.

The idea of pan-Germanism was all set up before the 20th century.
Soo, when you want to remove a settled group(ethnic in nation or empire)) of people that you suddenly want to remove for sheer political reasons, you send in the Alemans to replace the previous ethnic/religious group.

Think Zimmerman Papers, which was the reason we entered WW1. Take Mexico, where in the middle of slaughtering their "own", the magical Aleman was allowed to immigrate to Mexico(Minnonites) and begin to buy land and do thar thing, farming.
Now, being that land was already "owned" by native(ethnic) Mexicans, the Aleman bought the land of dead,imprisoned, or confiscated land(taxes) of those ethnic Mexicans. See "ethnic" Catholic Mexican. Once again the politics set the slaughter up to remove a group of people based only by their religion and not the color of their skin.

But, things are picking up in Mexico, since a couple of Minnonites were kidnapped and executed carrying a nag full of money. They were mere "school teachers.)

In western Mexico those Alemans are also being drawn into the ethnic/narco/religious warfare by socialist accusing them of water stealing.(unlicensed water wells)That and the fact they have been apprehended at the border of the USA for narcotics. Ah, the petard of "Goofy" Plutarco Calles

And btw, bonga bonga Inga, non-pleasure to you too!!





Inga said...

CWJ, your daughter must be a teen, right? She's too old for these but, there are a couple of Hungarian children's book author/ illustrators from 1920 through the 50's that authored and illustrated adorable books about Hungarian children and life in Hungary.

But perhaps it should wait for the country of Hungary to be discussed.

CWJ said...

Thank you, Inga. They are charming. After I posted I googled and found similar dolls. Truly, thank you for sharing. I know we've crossed swords politically, but if you ever find yourself coming to KC, let me know somehow. Our family will make sure you have a comfortable time here.

KC has the nation's only WWI memorial and museum. It really is a sensitive exposition of central and eastern Europe's situation during the early 20th cen. Our mitteleuropean children have all found more to discover about their home countries here than they have at home.

Inga said...

Joe, I'm not excusing the actions of the Germans in any of the world Wars. Retribution is a bitch.

My family were Donauschwaben, settled in Hungary in 1720 and then slowly spread south and east and ended up in what was Yugoslavia, then since they were ethnic Germans they were expelled. I can understand why.

MBR said...

Err ... this Wikipedia entry as reported by Ann has some large factual errors. Neither Albania nor Yugoslavia were ever liberated by the Soviets. There was no "EU military mission led by Italy", if for no other reasons than that the EU does not have a military, and would not, in any case, have been so insensitive as to have sent one headed by Italy, the former colonial ruler. Wikipedia is an unreliable source.

Inga said...

That's very kind of you CWJ, thank you. I've got lots of Hungarian recipes, straight from the old country, let me know if you're interested.

Look up June Meyer, she wrote a wonderful Hungarian cookbook.

CWJ said...

Inga, Actually, all our children are teens initially. Children did not come to us naturally, so we have hosted high school exchange students for years. Sara, our Egyptian daughter this year, is our tenth. And yes they are our children. Everyone is different, but nearly all their natural families have accepted us as joint parents with them. Not sure that I would be as open to sharing my children as are they.

Inga said...

Oh Joe, the ethnic group those Donauschwaben replaced were the Turks, after Queen Maria Theresa's army drove them out of the region.

The Magyars seemed to live in harmony with the Donauschwaben.

CWJ said...

MBR, I hear you. Wiki is often a broken reed. Particularly so when the topic is one that's not likely to get the push back that the amateur contributors deserve. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't actually read the Albania entry for this very reason. I suspected that I'd be outraged without knowing how to correct it.

Balfegor said...

Re: MBR:

There was no "EU military mission led by Italy", if for no other reasons than that the EU does not have a military, and would not, in any case, have been so insensitive as to have sent one headed by Italy, the former colonial ruler.

The reference is probably to the Multinational Protection Force led by Italy:

The letter indicates that the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday, 27 March, adopted a decision that established the conditions for launching an assistance effort for Albania. In that regard, the letter states, Italy has taken the initiative of promoting the creation of a multinational protection force, with the objective of creating a safe and secure environment for the action of international organizations in Albania. In particular, the force would ensure protection of ports, the Tirana airport, the main communication lines and stocks of humanitarian aid.

You can read through the somewhat unclear history from the UN perspective here. It's clear from the June 1997 resolution that the MPF was, in fact, a military force, as it references

the readiness of the countries contributing to the multinational protection force to maintain their military contingents in Albania for a limited time as part of the multinational protection force

I think that is the Italy-led military mission the wiki article is referring to.

Paddy O said...

It was a large, heavy, serious-looking van that was almost
on the verge of being an actual lorry, and it was painted in a
uniform dark metallic grey. It reminded Kate of the huge
gun-metal-grey freight lorries which thunder through Bulgaria and
Yugoslavia on their way from Albania with nothing but the word
"Albania" stencilled on their sides. She remembered wondering
what it was that the Albanians exported in such an anonymous
way, but when on one occasion she had looked it up, she found
that their only export was electricity - which, if she
remembered her high school physics correctly, was unlikely to
be moved around in lorries.


from Douglas Adams, Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

kentuckyliz said...

Wow...no mention of the most well known Albanian ever?

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

YoungHegelian said...

Wow...no mention of the most well known Albanian ever?

John Belushi?

Mick Havoc said...

Inga, can you make a killer goulash?

Inga said...

Mick, yes I can, and since insomnia has hit tonight, I may just go make a pot of it now, I have a sirloin tip roast in the fridge all thawed out.

Dante said...

I hope so!

You hope some know, or you hope most do? I had no idea. It looked to me like a modern version of the chichen itza, one of those mayan pyramid power structures.

I mean, who cares? What's the significance?

Emperor Qin employed hundreds of thousands of artists to make the Terracotta Soldiers. The only thing remarkable about that is that he didn't kill his soldiers to protect him after death.

The only thing I can imagine is that in modern day society, indigents are given a life of Democrat worship, TVs, drugs, and a life of reproducing criminals.

Mick Havoc said...

Sweet!
Good food, drink, music and motorcycles will transcend politics!
Life is too short to concentrate on differences!

Ululating Umlungu said...

Prince Leka of Albania, who succeeded as head of the House of Zogu, King of the Albanians, was born here in South Africa in 1982. His maternity ward was declared temporarily Albanian territory to ensure that he was born on Albanian soil.

The Drill SGT said...

95 comments and nobody mentioned this?

Converting from Christianity to Islam brought considerable advantages, including access to Ottoman trade networks, bureaucratic positions and the army....

The alternate way would be:

After the Muslim conquest, Christians were persecuted and relegated to second class status throughout the culture. e.g. Dhimmi

Clyde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clyde said...

Three countries in and already we see the pattern: Life was nasty, brutish and short. War. Famine. Pestilence. Economic collapse. These are the common lot of mankind throughout the ages, up until very recently and in comparatively small pockets off affluence like the United States of America.

We should not lose track of the fact that a life of plenty is atypical, unusual and not guaranteed. Most Americans alive today cannot remember a time when they were not well off, at least compared to the standards of the world at large. Those who remember the Great Depression are in the 70s and older. Those of us who are younger that that think that prosperity is our due just for showing up, that it has always been that way. Our $16 trillion national debt may disagree.

wyo sis said...

This is a good thing then. As we go through the countries we'll pick up lots of errors and correct them. This is actually a strength of Wickipedia. And of blogging.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Correcting Wikipedia turns out to be fine in theory, and nasty in practice. It has an inner priesthood, solidly of the politically correct persuasion, which censors 'incorrect' entries and alterations no matter how factual.

There have been some interesting Internet threads on this specific subject, but I haven't been able to turn them up this morning.

Mitch H. said...

Huh, I can't believe I've never heard of King Zog. Skanderbeg and Hoxha, yeah, but Zog? Not so much. I wasn't even sure of Albania's participation in the pre-WWI Balkan Wars until I read that wiki.

Anthony said...

Albania mattered some during World War 2. The Italians invaded, then used Albania as a launching pad for their disastrous invasion of Greece. The Germans had to come bail out the Italians after the Greeks occupied over a quarter of Albania. This may have delayed the invasion of the Soviet Union, particularly since to get to Greece, the Germans had to invade Yugoslavia first.

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