Albanians in North Macedonia
Shqiptarët në Maqedoninë e Veriut
Албанци од Северна Македонија
Total population
619,187 (2021 census)[1][note 1]
Regions with significant populations
 North Macedonia446,245 (2021)[1]
Diaspora172,942 (2021)[1][note 2]
Languages
Religion
Majority Islam Minority Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Other Albanian subgroups

Albanians in North Macedonia (Albanian: Shqiptarët në Maqedoninë e Veriut, Macedonian: Албанци од Северна Македонија, romanizedAlbanci od Severna Makedonija) are the second largest ethnic group in North Macedonia, forming 446,245 individuals or 24.3% of the resident population. Of the 2,097,319 total population in the 2021 census (including self-enumerated diaspora), 619,187 or 29.52% are Albanians.[1]

Geography

The Albanian minority is concentrated mostly in the western, north-western and partially middle area of the country with small communities located in the south-west. The largest Albanian communities are in the cities and surrounding regions of Tetovo, Gostivar, Debar, Struga, Kičevo, Kumanovo and Skopje. Smaller numbers are also found in and/or around the cities of Ohrid, Kruševo, Resen, Bitola and Veles.[2]

Toponymy

A number of placenames in North Macedonia have been considered as being ultimately derived through Albanian. Some cases include:

History

Antiquity

The multi-layered Albanian dialects in western Macedonia demonstrate that they have, at different stages, immigrated into an area that was inhabited by Albanians since antiquity.[13] The name development of 'Shtip' and 'Shkupi' may indicate that Proto-Albanian was spoken in the region in pre-Slavic antiquity.[14][15] Mihaescu argues that Albanian evolved in a region with much greater contact to Western Romance regions than to Romanian-speaking regions, and located this region in present-day Albania, Kosovo and Western North Macedonia, spanning east to Bitola and Pristina.[16]

The toponym Albanopolis has been found on a funeral inscription in Gorno Sonje, near the city of Skopje (ancient Scupi), present-day North Macedonia.[17] It was discovered in 1931 by Nikola Vulić and its text was analyzed and published in 1982 by Borka Dragojević-Josifovska. The inscription in Latin reads "POSIS MESTYLU F[ILIUS] FL[AVIA] DELVS MVCATI F[ILIA] DOM[O] ALBANOP[OLI] IPSA DELVS". It is translated as "Posis Mestylu, son of Flavia, daughter of Delus Mucati, who comes from Albanopolis". It dates to the end of the 1st century CE or the beginning of the 2nd century CE.[18]

The ethnonym Albanos was found on a funeral inscription from ancient Stobi in present-day North Macedonia, near Gradsko about 90 km to the southeast of Gorno Sonje. The inscription in ancient Greek reads "ΦΛ(ΑΒΙΩ) ΑΛΒΑΝΩ ΤΩ ΤΕΚΝΩ ΑΙΜΙΛΙΑΝΟΣ ΑΛΒΑΝΟ(Σ) ΜΝΗΜ(Η)Σ [ΧΑΡΗΝ]" ("In memory of Flavios Albanos, his son Aemilianos Albanos"). It dates to the 2nd/3rd century AD.[19]

Middle Ages

The Slavic migration probably shaped the present geographic spread of the Albanians. It is likely that Albanians took refuge in the mountainous areas of northern and central Albania, eastern Montenegro, western North Macedonia and Kosovo. Long-standing contact between Slavs and Albanians might have been common in mountain passages and agriculture or fishing areas, in particular in the valleys of the White and Black branches of the Drin and around the Shkodër and Ohrid lakes. The contact with one another in these areas have caused many changes in Slavic and Albanian local dialects.[20]

Placenames with the designation Arbanasi, an archaic term for Albanians, are usually found in "onomastic provinces" throughout the area of western, northeastern, central and southern North Macedonia: located in the area of Skopje, Kumanovo, Sveti Nikole, Stip, Kratovo, Prespa, Bitola, Ohrid, Prilep, Kichevo, Gostivar, and Tetovo. These "Albanian onomastic provinces" in the area of North Macedonia are chronologically old, which speaks of early contacts of Arbanasi (Albanians) with Latin and Old Slavic, and goes against the idea of a late 18th-century migration of Albanians into Macedonia.[21]

In a document of Serbian King Stefan Milutin that dates between 1293 and 1302, in which the citizens of Štip are named, there are several figures listed with Albanian names and anthroponomy.[22] Likewise, in a charter issued by the same ruler in 1300, it is noted that whoever visited the market of Skopje - be they Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Latin, Albanian, or Vlach - must pay the dues in both Tetovo and Gračanica.[23] Furthermore, in a 1330 letter by Serbian Tsar Stefan Dušan, several figures with Albanian names and anthroponomy (including the last name Arbanasin, which literally means Albanian) were recorded.[22] In 1350 the Serbian Tsar had donated a church and a number of serfs to the nobleman Ivanko around the region of Štip, and among the serfs a certain Gin Arbanasi is attested.[24]

In a text by Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos there is mention of nomadic Albanians present in the vicinity of Ohrid at around 1328.[25] Andrea Gropa ruled the region and the city of Ohrid as an ally of King of Serbia Vukašin Mrnjavčević until Vukašin's death in 1371, with Andrea beginning a rivalry with his son, Prince Marko. Ruling as an independent ruler since the time of Vukašin, Andrea became de jure independent from Prince Marko in 1371 and was referred to as Župan and Gospodar of Ohrid (Lord of Ochrid). He joined the Albanian ruler and noble Andrea II Muzaka, and managed to take Kostur, Prilep and all Dibër region from Marko by that year. During Andrea's reign, the Gropa family forged their own coins.[26]

Gropa domains in the late 14th century

Albanian noble families controlled swathes of land in North Macedonia during different historical periods within the Middle Ages. The Gropa family ruled the regions between Pogradec, Ohrid and Debar during the 12th — 14th centuries.[27] The presence of Albanians within modern-day North Macedonia is attested to by Serbian kings of the Middle Ages. In 1330, Stefan Dečanski explicitly mentioned the presence of Albanians and the Albanian names of villages in Kosovo, particularly in the district of Prizren, as well as within the district of Skopje. Between 1348 and 1353, Albanians are mentioned by Stefan Dušan as farmers and soldiers in the district of Tetovo and frequenters of the Fair of Saint George held in the vicinity of Skopje. In fact, entire Albanian villages were gifted by Serbian kings, especially by Stefan Dušan, as presents to the Serbian monastery of Tetovo, as well as to the monasteries of Prizren and Deçan.[28]

In the Middle Ages, Dibër was part of the Principality of Kastrioti ruled by the royal Kastrioti family with Gjon Kastrioti on the Albanian throne. After the death of Gjon Kastrioti in 1437, the eastern region was annexed by the Ottomans and became seat of the Sanjak of Dibra.[29] Skanderbeg carried out several military actions in the territory of modern-day North Macedonia during his rebellion against the Ottoman Turks, such as the Battle of Oranik and the Battle of Ohrid. Svetigrad had initially served as a fortress for the League of Lezhë before being taken by the Ottomans. Both Svetigrad and Modriç,[30] along with the surrounding areas in the Dibër region, were under Skanderbeg's control.

Ottoman Empire

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Albanians from Debar in 1863

The arrest and liquidation of local Albanophone pashas, most notably that of Abdurrahman Pasha of Kalkandelen (now Tetova) and his two brothers, Havzi Pasha of Üsküb (now Shkup) and Hussein Pasha of Kustendil, directly caused the Uprising of Dervish Cara, which occurred between 1843 and 1844. The rebels of this uprising were led by Dervish Cara, and they had the support of the Christian population as well as other Albanophone pashas.[31] The revolt began in Üsküb in July 1843 and several Ottoman-controlled towns and regions were captured over the next two years - in North Macedonia, these territories included Gostivar, Tetova, Skopje, Kumanova, Ohrid and Manastir.[32] The Ottoman government declared an amnesty, the abolishment of the new taxes and the postponement of the recruitment process, in an effort to disunite the rebels.[33] In May 1844, the Ottoman army attacked the rebels, forcing them to retreat to the areas of Kalkandelen, Üsküb and Kumanova. Heavy fighting took place from 13 to 17 May 1844 in Katlanovo Pass, and on 18 May in Katlanovo thermals. The rebels could no longer resist the numerically superior and better-armed Ottoman army. In May–July, the Ottoman army retook all areas taken by the rebels. Dervish Cara was captured by Ottoman forces in summer 1844.

The resistance would continue in the Dibër valley, which was very strong under its local leaders. Ottoman forces led by Rexhep Pasha were defeated by the rebels in the field of Mavrova. The rebels in the Sanjak of Dibër were led from Sheh Mustafa Zerqani, a Bektashi priest.[34] In a meeting in November 1844 they declared that the old autonomy of Dibër was not to be changed. The rebel army led by Cen Leka tried to stop the advancing Ottoman army led by Hayredin Pasha. The Ottoman commander declared again an amnesty, the abolishment of the new taxes and the postponement of the recruitment process which would become voluntary in the future.

The League of Prizren fought against Bulgarian groups and repelled them in the regions of Köprülü, Përlep and Manastir, which were at that time inhabited by Albanians, wiping out the Bulgarian movements in those areas.[35]

In a 1903 document by the Cartographic Society of Sofia, the villages of Struga Malesia were all registered with Albanian Orthodox majorities, but nowadays they have assimilated and identify as Macedonians.[36] There is a sizeable amount of Turkified Albanians in Ohrid who originate from the cities of Elbasan, Durrës and Ulcinj.[37] A significant part of the Muslim Albanian population of Kumanovo and Bitola was also Turkified during Ottoman rule.[38]

Skopje after being captured by Albanian revolutionaries in August, 1912 after defeating the Ottoman forces holding the city

An Albanian revolt took place against the Ottoman Empire lasted from January until August 1912. Albanians took Skopje on August. The revolt ended when the Ottoman government agreed to fulfill the rebels' demands, namely the creation of an Albanian Vilayet and expansion of Albanians rights on 4 September 1912.[39]

German linguist Gustav Weigand described the process of Turkification of the Albanian urban population of Macedonia in his 1923 work Ethnographie Makedoniens (Ethnography of Macedonia). He writes that in the cities, especially noting Skopje and Bitola, many of the Turkish inhabitants are in fact Albanians, being distinguished by the difference in articulation of certain Turkish words, as well as their clothing and tool use. They speak Albanian at home, however use Turkish when in public. They refer to themselves as Turks, the term at the time also being a synonym for Muslim, with ethnic Turks referring to them as Turkoshak, a derogatory term for someone portraying themselves as Turkish.[40]

Balkan Wars

Main article: Massacres of Albanians in the Balkan Wars

During the Balkan wars Serbia took control of cities in northern and western Ottoman Macedonia, lands inhabited by a large Albanian population. The advance of the Serbian army as well as the formation of local Chetnik groups was followed beatings, imprisonments, massacres, disarmaments, burnings of Albanian villages as well as looting Albanian possessions. In this state of war, large numbers of Albanians fearing persecution by the Serbian army fled to Anatolia, mostly from Kumanovo and Skopje but also from Veles, Prilep, Krushevo, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kichevo, Ohrid and Bitola. Most of these Muhacirs never returned.[41] After the Battle of Kumanovo, Chetnik paramilitary groups supported by the Serbian Army attacked and expelled the Albanian populations of Kratovo, Štip, Veles, Kruševo and Bitola. Albanians were massacred in Skopje, Veles, Prilep, Tetovo, Gostivar and most other cities.[42]

Yugoslavia

Main article: Yugoslav colonization of Kosovo

Shortly after the defeat of Turkey by the Balkan allies, a conference of ambassadors of the Great Powers (Britain, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Italy) convened in London in December 1912 to settle the outstanding issues raised by the conflict. With support given to the Albanians by Austria-Hungary and Italy, the conference agreed to create an independent state of Albania, which became a reality in 1913. However, the boundaries of the new state were drawn in such a way that large areas with Albanian populations remained outside of Albania, including the area that would go on to become the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.

During the Skopje communist party conference held on August 12–13, 1945, Qemal Sejfulla, a representative of the Turkish minority, although himself of Albanian origin from Kaçanik, declared that: "In the cities there are some regroupings - differentiations between Turks and Albanians. As it is known that the great Serbian policy towards the Albanian masses was a policy of physical liquidations. While the policy towards the Turks - was more tolerant, for which a very large part of the Albanians became Turks - were assimilated."[43]

When the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was established in 1946, the constitution guaranteed the right of minorities to cultural development and free use of their language. Minority schools and classes in minority languages were introduced immediately, in order to counter the high percentage of illiteracy among these groups. In the following two decades, the communist party continuously introduced measures meant to promote the incorporation of the Albanian community into the economic and social life of the new socialist state through education, professional training, and social opportunities.[44]

A policy of Turkification of the Albanian population was employed by the Yugoslav authorities in cooperation with the Turkish government, stretching the period of 1948–1959. A commission was created to tour Albanian communities in Macedonia, visiting Tetovo, Gostivar, Debar, Kičevo, Struga, Kumanovo, Gjorče Petrov and Resen. Starting in 1948, six Turkish schools were opened in areas with large Albanian majorities, such as Tearce, Gorna Banjica, Dolna Banjica Vrapčište as well as in the outskirts of Tetovo and Gostivar. In 1951–52, a total of 40 Turkish schools were opened in Debar, Kičevo, Kumanovo, Struga, Resen, Bitola, Kruševo and Prilep.[45]

In 1952, Yugoslavia and Turkey signed a free emigration agreement that allowed for Muslims in Yugoslavia to migrate to Turkey. Some of these individuals from more northern portions of Yugoslavia did not complete their migrations and instead settled in Macedonia, including 10,643 Albanians from Sandžak.[46]

Contemporary analysis described cases of resistance to the Turkish schools in the Polog area, with Albanian speaking students and teachers refused to attend Turkish schools. In Tetovo, none of the native teachers wanted to give lessons in Turkish, so substitutes from Skopje were brought in instead. Another notable case happened in Gostivar, where a teacher from Banjica, who according to the committees analysis: "even though he was born in the same village and his mother tongue is Turkish, when the Turkish school was opened he refused to teach in Turkish and had asked to work in Albanian villages ...". Thus the Yugoslav committee characterized the local population as having adopted a "Greater Albanian political worldview". Resistance against the opening of Turkish schools was most prevalent in Tetovo and Gostivar. In 1952, on the night of Eid al-Adha, the local Tetovo political leader Mehmet Riza Gega distributed flyers imploring Albanian parents from sending their children to Turkish speaking schools. In Gostivar the nationalist activist Myrtezan Bajraktari was detained and interrogated by the Yugoslav secret police (UDBA). During his interrogation he stated he openly opposed the Turkish schools, and that he does so "just so Albanians can feel like patriots and not allow themselves to be Turkified."[47]

Albanians from Štirovica, Gostivar in 1907

In the late 1980s when the autonomy of the province of Kosovo was revoked, and the repression of the Albanian population significantly increased, these developments also took place in the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Albanian was removed from public sight, Albanian families were prohibited from naming their children with Albanian names on the ground that it caused divisions with the other communities in the republic, and finally, to lower the significantly high birth rate of the Albanian population, Albanian families were prohibited from having more than two children.[48] This assimilative campaign can be clearly seen by the fact that in 1990 the amended Constitution redefined the state from "a state of the Macedonian people and the Albanian and Turkish nationalities" to a "national state of the Macedonian people".[49]

Contemporary

In 1994 the US Department of State's Report on Human Rights in Macedonia reported that the following forms of discrimination against ethnic Albanians existed in Macedonia: limited access to Albanian-language media and education; poor representation in public sector jobs; poor representation in the police corps; poor representation in the military officer corps; denial of citizenship to many long-time ethnic Albanian residents of Macedonia as well as discrimination in the process of citizenship applications; and unfair drawing of voting districts which dilutes their voting strength.[50]

In the September 2002 elections, an SDSM-led pre-election coalition won half of the 120 seats in parliament. Branko Crvenkovski was elected Prime Minister in coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party and the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).[further explanation needed]

On 26 November 2019, an earthquake struck Albania. Albanians from North Macedonia responded in large numbers to the Albanian government's appeal for financial assistance through donations to various humanitarian organisations and special bank accounts fundraising for aid.[51][52]

Demography

According to the 1903 Austrian consular reports on ethnic composition of the kazas of the Sanjak of Skopje in 1903, the kaza of Kočani was populated by a total of 39,406 inhabitants, of whom 16,524 (41.93%) were Bulgarian Exarchists, 11,600 (29.44%) Ottoman Muslim, 7,800 (19.79%) Albanians, 1,680 (4.26%) Aromanians, 1,090 (2.77%) Patriarchists and 712 (1.8%) Romanis.[53]

In the 1953 census, large portions of Albanians declared themselves as ethnic Turks:[54]

Of the 203,087 Turks in Macedonia in 1953, 27,086 or 13.28% gave Albanian as their mothertongue.[55]

Since the end of World War II, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia's population has grown steadily, with the greatest increases occurring in the ethnic Albanian community. From 1953 through the time of the latest census in 2002 (initial results were released December 2003), the percentage of Albanians living in North Macedonia rose 25.2%.[2] Most of the ethnic Albanians live in the western part of the country. According to the official census data, Albanians made up 19% of the total population in 1953. The population fell to 13% in 1961, but grew again in 1971 to 17%. The group formed 19.7% in 1981 and 21% in 1991.[56] At the last census in 2002, the Albanian population was at 25.2%. Ethnologue in 2002 estimated some 500,000 people speaking Albanian in North Macedonia.[57] In the decade since the republic declared independence from Yugoslavia, some Albanians have claimed to account for 30% of the population and demanded an appropriate share of power. On the other side, ethnic Macedonians said Albanians were barely 20%.[58] However, the widely accepted number of Albanians in North Macedonia is according to the internationally monitored[59] 2002 census. The census data estimated that Albanians account for about 25.2% of the total population. The 2012 census was not held and boycotted by the Albanian political parties. In the 2008 Macedonian parliamentary elections, Albanian political parties received 22.61% of the total vote, receiving 29 of 120 seats.[60]

Albanian is co-official at a state level (excluding defense and monetary policy) and in local self-government units where speakers of the population are 20% or more. The change in status occurred in 2019 as use of Albanian became no longer geographically limited.[61][62][63] The new law extended the official use of Albanian over the entire country, easing communication in Albanian with the institutions. Under the new legislation, Macedonian continues to be the primary official language, while Albanian may be used now as a second one, including at a national level in official matters. The legislation stipulates also all public institutions in the country will provide Albanian translations in their everyday work.[64][65]

The Albanian population in the country is largely rural with ethnic Albanians forming a majority or plurality in only 3 of the country's 34 cities.[66]

Around 35% of the newborns in North Macedonia belong to the Albanian ethnic minority. In 2017, 21,754 children were born in Macedonia. The ethnic affiliation of these newborns was: 11,260 (51.76%) Macedonian; 7,404 (34.03%) Albanians; 940 (4.32%) Turkish; 1,276 (5.87%) Roma; 40 (0.18%) Vlach; 129 (0.59%) Serbian; 213 (0.98%) Bosniaks; 492 (2,26%) other ethnic affiliation and unknown.[67]

Newborns in North Macedonia according to ethnic group of the mother
Ethnic group 1994[68] 2002[69] 2012[70] 2021[71]
Macedonians 16,704 49.88 13,639 49.13 11,995 50.89 9,338 50.08
Albanians 12,010 35.86 10,118 36.45 8,035 34.09 6,663 35.73
Turks 1,616 4.83 1,202 4.33 1,092 4.63 835 4.48
Romani 1,378 4.11 1,678 6.04 1,552 6.59 1,267 6.79
Serbs 403 1.20 168 0.61 125 0.53 123 0.66
Bosniaks 251 1.06 177 0.95
Vlach (Aromanians) 25 0.07 23 0.08 37 0.16 17 0.09
other / unspecified 1,351 4.03 933 3.36 481 2.04 228 1.22
Total 33,487 27,761 23,568 18,648

Municipalities

According to the 2021 census, of the 80 municipalities in the country Albanians were the dominant resident ethnic group in 17 municipalities, with 15 having a resident ethnic Albanian majority and 2 a resident ethnic Albanian plurality. When accounting the total population, including self-enumerated diaspora, Albanians make up the majority in 16 municipalities and the plurality in 2.

Emblem Municipality Population Enumerated population
Includes residents plus citizens who have been abroad for more than 12 consecutive months who opted to participate in the 2021 census as diaspora
Total % Total %
Aračinovo
Haraçinë
12,353 97.45% 14,329 97.54%
Bogovinje
Bogovinë
20,475 89.39% 28,878 91.70%
Brvenica
Bërvenicë
7,377 54.06% 11,812 64.48%
Butel
Butel
14,095 37.12% 15,678 38.60%
Čair
Çair
42,180 67.40% 47,460 68.81%
Čaška
Çashkë
4,032 50.77% 4,367 51.83%
Debar
Dibër
8,438 54.75% 11,720 59.24%
Dolneni
Dollnen
4,442 33.84% 5,205 35.75%
Gazi Baba
Gazi Babë
14,146 20.32% 16,271 22.07%
Gostivar
Gostivar
33,076 55.34% 64,703 68.87%
Jegunovce
Jegunoc
3,482 39.15% 5,070 47.32%
Kičevo
Kërçovë
16,373 41.27% 31,610 55.72%
Kruševo
Krushevë
2,464 29.39% 2,809 31.20%
Kumanovo
Kumanovë
25,493 25.99% 36,984 32.80%
Lipkovo
Likovë
21,560 96.65% 30,872 97.38%
Saraj
Saraj
34,586 90.07% 39,936 90.66%
Struga
Strugë
25,785 50.58% 41,863 59.72%
Studeničani
Studeniçan
14,982 68.19% 16,192 68.82%
Sopište
Sopisht
1,693 25.22% 1,901 27.20%
Šuto Orizari
Shuto Orizari
8,828 34.32% 9,784 35.31%
Tearce
Tearcë
14,704 83.10% 22,319 87.05%
Tetovo
Tetovë
60,460 71.32% 78,860 75.46%
Vrapčište
Vrapçisht
15,109 76.15% 25,308 81.30%
Želino
Zhelinë
18,191 95.80% 27,439 96.68%
Source: Census 2021 - first dataset State Statistical Office of North Macedonia

Politics

See also: Albanian nationalism in North Macedonia

Parties

North Macedonia has a few Albanian parties. As of 2020 election The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Alliance for Albanians are the two largest Albanian political parties in the country. In the 2008 Macedonian parliamentary elections, DUI won 11.3% of the total vote, while DPA got 10.1%.[60] However, due to pre-election fights between the two main Albanian political parties, some Albanian areas of the country have revoted.

In the 2011 Macedonian parliamentary elections, Albanian parties received 20.96% of the total popular vote. DUI received 10.2% of the vote, giving it 15 seats. This is a loss of 3 seats from the previous elections. DPA received 5.9% of the vote, winning 8 seats which is also a drop of 3 seats from the 2008 election. The third Albanian party to receive seats in parliament is the National Democratic Revival party which received two seats with 2.7% of the vote.[72]

In the 2014 elections, three Albanian parties, DUI, DPA, and NDP won 19 seats, seven seats, and one seat, respectively, out of the 123 total seats. Ethnic Albanians parties received just under 21% of the total popular vote.[73]

Discrimination

Anti-Albanian inscription written in Macedonian on a mosque, meaning "Death for Shiptars"

Ethnic tensions have simmered in North Macedonia since the end of an armed conflict in 2001, where in July 2001, former NLA fighters created the Albanian National Army (ANA, AKSh),[74] and announced itself on 3 August 2001.[75] The group participated in attacks against Macedonian forces alongside the NLA.[76][77] After the NLA disbanded, the ANA began to operate in the Preševo Valley.[78]

The Macedonian Academy for Science and Art was accused of Albanophobia in 2009 after it published its first encyclopaedia in which it was claimed that Shqiptar, the Albanian endonym that is primarily used by other Balkan peoples to describe Albanians, is considered derogatory by the Albanian community if used in South Slavic languages. The encyclopaedia also claimed that the Albanians settled the region in the 16th century.[79][80][81] Distribution of the encyclopaedia was ceased after a series of public protests.

On 12 April 2012, five ethnic Macedonian civilians were shot dead – allegedly by ethnic Albanians – in an attack known as the Smilkovci lake killings. On 16 April 2012, a protest against these attacks and demanding justice was held in Skopje. Some of the participants in the protests were chanting anti-Albanian slogans.[82]

On 1 March 2013 in Skopje, a mob of ethnic Macedonians protested against the decision to appoint Talat Xhaferi, an ethnic Albanian politician, as Minister of Defence.[83] The protest turned violent when the mob started hurling stones and also attacking Albanian bystanders and police officers alike. The police reports 3 injured civilians, five injured police officers and much damage to private property. Although the city hospital reported treating five heavily injured Albanian men, two of which are on intensive care unit. During this protest part of the mob burned the Albanian flag. A mob of Macedonian nationalists also stormed the Macedonian Parliament on 27 April 2017 in reaction to the election of Talat Xhaferi as Speaker of the Assembly, numerous were injured during the riot.

On the 108th anniversary of the Congress of Manastir, the museum of the Albanian alphabet in Bitola was vandalized, the windows and doors were broken. A poster with the words "Death to Albanians" and with the drawing of a lion cutting the heads of the Albanian double-headed eagle was placed on the front doors of the museum.[84] One week after this incident, on the day of the Albanian Declaration of Independence, graffiti with the same messages, as those of the previous week, were placed on the directorate of Pelister National Park.[85]

Current issues

See also: Human rights in North Macedonia

Amongst the unemployed, Albanians are highly overrepresented. In public institutions as well as many private sectors they are underrepresented. They also face discrimination by public officials and employers.[86] According to the United States' Country Report on Human Rights 2012 for Macedonia, "certain ministries declined to share information about ethnic makeup of employees". The same report also added:

"...ethnic Albanians and other national minorities, with the exception of ethnic Serbs and Vlachs, were underrepresented in the civil service and other state institutions, including the military, the police force, and the intelligence services, as well as the courts, the national bank, customs, and public enterprises, in spite of efforts to recruit qualified candidates from these communities. Ethnic Albanians constituted 18 percent of army personnel, while minority communities as a whole accounted for 25 percent of the population according to statistics provided by the government."[87]

As of 2019, the Albanian language is a co-official language in the country.

Religion

Nikollë Bojaxhiu, a Kosovo Albanian Catholic who later lived in Skopje, where his daughter Mother Teresa was born

The main religion among Albanians in North Macedonia is Islam, though there are some who are Roman Catholic, with the most prominent member Agnes (Anjeza) Bojaxhiu, also known as Mother Teresa. Another prominent figure is the composer Lorenc Antoni.

Eastern Orthodox

In statistics gathered by Vasil Kanchov in 1900, the city of Skopje was inhabited by 31900 people, of whom 150 were Christian Albanians.[88]

Orthodox Christian Albanian villages located in Upper Reka, as well as historic communities in Ohrid, Malesia, Resen, Kruševo, Prilep, Kumanovo (in particular the nearby abandoned village of Dumanovce) as well as Bitola city and certain surrounding villages (Trnovo, Nižepole and Magarevo). These communities largely assimilated into the Slavic corpus.[89][37][38][90]

During the Ottoman period, besides the ethnic Turks and the majority Slavic population, Prilep was also home to both a Sunni Muslim and Orthodox Christian Albanian community, which lived alongside . Serbian historiographer Jovan Hadži-Vasiljević writes that:[91]

"Between Turks and Muslim Albanians who have lived in the city (Prilep), it is very difficult to distinguish, especially between the old families of the city. The Mohammedan Albanian families, as soon as they arrived in the city, merged with the Turks, just as the Christian Albanian families merged with the Slavs or the Greeks"

Bulgarian researcher, Georgi Traichev, wrote that:[92]

"In the city of Prilep, there were no pure Greeks, but there are several (dozens) of Grecomans supported by schismatic Vlachs and Albanian Christians."

The newspaper Прилепу преди 100 години ("Prilep 100 years ago". Sofia, 1938) reports that after the arrival of Orthodox Albanians in the city around the 18th-19th century, the Christian Vlach and Albanian elements have assimilated under the influence of Bulgarian population, and that there are no longer any traces of them. Information is also given for Albanians of both denominations. Of the Orthodox Albanians, a part has been Bulgarianized, while others have been Hellenised. In the newspaper there is also a report about the Orthodox Albanian entitled Ico Kishari, whose family, along with the Tilevci, Georgimajkovci and Ladcovci, were Orthodox Albanian refugees from Moscopole who had settled in the beginning of the 19th century.[93]

Two dozen Orthodox Albanians were recorded as living in the villages of Konopište and Mrežičko near Kavadarci in 1900.[94] In 1905, Dimitar Mishev Brancoff gathered statistics about the Christian population of Macedonia, in which the population of Veles appears as consisting of, among others, 12 Albanians.[95] The researcher Dimitar Gađanov wrote in 1916 that Gostivar was populated by, among others, 100 Orthodox Albanians.[96]

Culture

Albanians of North Macedonia often use the Flag of Albania

The spoken dialects of Albanian are Gheg, by majority, and Tosk in parts of the south.[57] Education in Albanian is provided in all levels, including university levels, such as State University of Tetovo,[97] South East European University,[98] also in Tetovo.

Pjetër Bogdani (c. 1630–1689), known in Italian as Pietro Bogdano, is the most original writer of early literature in Albania. He is author of the Cuneus Prophetarum (The Band of the Prophets), 1685, the first prose work of substance written originally in Albania. Born in Gur i Hasit, Has, near Kukës district, Albania about 1630, Bogdani was educated in the traditions of the Catholic Church to which he devoted all his energy. His uncle, Andrea Bogdani (c. 1600–1683), was Archbishop of Skopje and author of a Latin-Albanian grammar, now lost.

Notable people

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Albanians in North Macedonia.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d State Statistical Office
  2. ^ a b "2002 Census results" (PDF).
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  6. ^ Katičić 1976, p. 186. "On the other hand Niš from Ναϊσσός, Štip from Ἄστιβος, Šar from Scardus, and Ohrid from Lychnidus presuppose the sound development characteristic for Albanian."
  7. ^ Matzinger, Joachim (2006). Der altalbanische Text Mbsuame e krështerë (Dottrina cristiana) des Lekë Matrënga von 1592 : eine Einführung in die albanische Sprachwissenschaft [The old Albanian text Mbsuame e kreshtere (Dottrina Cristiana) by Leke Matrenga from 1592: An introduction to Albanian linguistics] (in German). Dettelbach: J.H. Röll. p. 23. ISBN 3-89754-117-3. OCLC 65166691.
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  12. ^ Katičić, Radoslav (1976). Ancient Languages of the Balkans. Mouton. p. 186. ISBN 9789027933157. On the other hand Niš from Ναϊσσός, Štip from Ἄστιβος, Šar from Scardus, and Ohrid from Lychnidus presuppose the sound development characteristic for Albanian.
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Sources

Notes

  1. ^ Number does not include people with Albanian ancestry who are not citizens of North Macedonia and citizens in the diaspora who did not choose to self-enumerate in the census
  2. ^ Macedonian citizens of Albanian descent who have not resided in North Macedonia for at least one year but chose to self-enumerate in the census

Further reading