1918-1924 1939-1944

Albania 1925-1939

On January 31st 1925 Ahmed Zogu assumed Albania's presidency; on September 1st 1928 he had himself crowned King Zogu I.
In order to overpower his rival, Ahmed Zogu had relied on support from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; in 1926 he signed an Albanian-SHS border treaty favourable to the latter. To counterbalance the Serb influence, Ahmed Zogu sought support from Italy, which in 1920 had annexed the previously Greek island of SASENO just off the Albanian coast.
Ahmed Zogu brought a degree of stability to Albania, but his rule was dictatorial, based on a bureaucracy, an efficient police force and on Italian credits. The Great Depression had a limited impact on Albania as the country hardly had an industrial base and still was largely agricultural. Poverty was wide-spread, the (not implemented) land reform a burning issue; many peasants emigrated; the first communist organizations were founded.
Over time Fascist Italy emerged as Albania's sole protector. When Europe's post-World War I order was broken up by the Munich Pact (1938), the Anschluss of Austria (1938) and the German occupation of Czechia in March 1939, Italian troops occupied Albania; King Zogu abdicated and the country was annexed by Italy.
In 1930, the population of Albania numbered 1,003,097; by 1939 it had risen to 1,037,856. The largest city was capital Tirana with 30,806 inhabitants (in 1930). The main agricultural products were maize and wheat, main animals held were sheep, goats, cattle and chicken. By 1936, Albania had 12 km of railway and 2100 km of roads. Both state revenue and expenses in 1937/38 amounted to 26.2 million Gold Franc.

DOCUMENTS Albanian Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
Albanian banknotes, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
REFERENCE Miranda Vickers, The Albanians - a Modern History, (1995) London : Tauris 2001, 282 pp., KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.65 V637a
Article : Albania, pp.612-618 in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, vol.14, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.14
Hübner's Weltstatistik, 73th edition 1939, ed. by Ernst Rösner, Wien 1939
Chapter XXXII : Balkan Kings, pp.468-476, in : John Gunter, Inside Europe, 1940 War Edition, NY : Harper & Bros. 1940 [G]
Article : Albania, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1926 pp.640-643, 1928 pp.647-650, 1929 pp.640-644, 1932 pp.644-649, 1937 pp.676-680 [G]
Article : Albania, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.28-29, 1928 p.31, 1930 p.37, 1931 pp.30-32, 1932 pp.23-24 , 1933 pp.20-21, 1934 p.33, 1935 pp.31-32, 1936 pp.32-33, 1937 pp.27-28, 1938 pp.27-28, 1939 pp.22-23 [G]
Article : Albania, in : New International Year Book 1925 pp.31-32, 1928 pp.32-33, 1930 pp.31-32, 1932 pp.28-29, 1933 pp.27-28, 1934 pp.25-26, 1935 pp.26-27, 1938 pp.26-27, 1939 pp.21-23 [G]
Article : Albania, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 pp.35-36, 1933 p.30, 1934 pp.31-32, 1935 pp.29-30, 1936 pp.26-27, 1937 pp.21-22, 1938 pp.23-24, 1939 pp.24-26 [G]

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First posted on April 27th 2002, last revised on August 24th 2007

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