Stamps issued: 1945-PRESENT
A republic in southeast Europe, bordering on the Adriatic Sea. Under Turkish rule from 1478-1912, Albania became independent after the first Balkan War. Overrun by German, Serbian, Montenegrin, Greek, Bulgarian, Italian, French and Austrian troops during World War I, foreign forces remained in Albania until 1921. An Albanian state was established in 1920, existing first as a republic and, after 1928, as a monarchy. In 1939, the country was occupied by Italy and, later, Germany. In 1944, British-supported communist guerrillas, led by Enver Hoxha, drove the Germans from the country and established a provisional government. In 1946, a communist people's republic was proclaimed. At first it appeared that Albania would become a satellite of Yugoslavia, but it maintained its independence, under Hoxha's repressive regime. In 1960, because of the Soviet Union's de-Stalinization campaign, Albania broke with the Soviet Union and aligned its foreign policy with that of the People's Republic of China. In 1978 China's liberalization brought a break between that country and Albania. From 1978 to 1991, Albania was one of the most economically undeveloped nations in Europe and one of the most isolated nations in the world. Since 1991, with the collapse of communism in Europe, Albania has instituted a democratic republican government. Economic reverses in 1997 threatened the country with a return to the anarchy that has characterized so much of its history.