Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia
|Regions with significant populations|
|Albanian (Gheg dialect and Tosk dialect), Macedonian|
Predominantly Sunni Islam,|
minorities of Bektashi Muslims, small minorities of Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholic Christians and the irreligious.
|Related ethnic groups|
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Albanians are the largest ethnic minority in the Republic of Macedonia. Of the 2,022,547 citizens of Macedonia, 509,083, or 25.2%, are Albanian according to the latest national census in 2002. The Albanian minority lives mostly in the north-western part of the country. The largest Albanian communities are in the municipalities of Tetovo (70.3% of the total population), Gostivar (66.7%), Debar (58.1%), Struga (56.8%), Kičevo (54.5%), Kumanovo (25.8%) and Skopje (20.4%).
According to the official census data (held every 10 years), 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. At the last census in 2002, the Albanian population was at 25.2%. Ethnologue in 2002 estimated some 500,000 people speaking the Albanian language in Republic of Macedonia. 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%. However, the widely accepted number of Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia is according to the internationally monitored 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.
Municipalities with an Albanian majority
Of the 80 municipalities in the country, 15 have ethnic Albanian majorities following the 2013 new Macedonian territorial organization. These are:
- Aračinovo municipality - 93.80%
- Bogovinje municipality - 95.23%
- Brvenica municipality - 61.62%
- Čair municipality - 57.00%
- Debar municipality - 58.08%
- Gostivar municipality - 66.68%
- Kičevo municipality - 54.51%
- Lipkovo municipality - 97.42%
- Saraj municipality - 91.53%
- Struga municipality - 56.85%
- Studeničani municipality - 68.38%
- Tearce municipality - 84.40%
- Tetovo municipality - 70.43%
- Vrapčište municipality - 83.07%
- Želino municipality - 99.20%
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.
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.
Since the end of World War II, 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 the Republic of Macedonia rose 25.2%. Most of the ethnic Albanians live in the western part of the country. The net influx in the past 30 years has been close to 100,000 Albanians.
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. The Albanian language 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. 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".
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).
Albanian political parties
The Republic of Macedonia has a few Albanian parties. The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Democratic Party of 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%. 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.
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.
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. 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."
The spoken dialects of the Albanian language are Gheg, by majority, and Tosk in parts of the south. Education in Albanian language is provided in all levels, including university levels, such as State University of Tetovo, South East European University, also in Tetovo.
The main religion among Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia is Islam (see Islam in the Republic of Macedonia), though there are some who are Roman Catholic, with the most prominent member Agnes (Anjeza) Bojaxhiu, also known as Mother Teresa. There are also a few Orthodox Christian Albanian villages located in Gostivar, Reka, and scattered in the southeast. They are remnants of a once larger Albanian Orthodox population in the area, and some fear that they will be "assimilated and forgotten".
Pjetër Bogdani (ca. 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 or Ndre Bogdani (ca. 1600-1683) was Archbishop of Skopje and author of a Latin-Albanian grammar, now lost.
History and politics
- Arianiti family – Albanian noble family, lord of Debar
- Hafëz Jusuf Azemi – World War II collaborator of Balli Kombëtar
- Mustafa Baruti – politician. One of the signatories of the Albanian Declaration of Independence
- Dervish Cara – revolutionary and nationalist. A leader in the Albanian Revolt of 1844
- Alajdin Demiri – politician
- Fuat Dibra – World War II collaborator, member of the High Regency Council of Albania
- Vehbi Dibra – politician and theologist. One of the signatories of the Albanian Declaration of Independence and the first Grand Mufti of Albania
- Fiqri Dine – Prime Minister of Albania and World War II collaborator
- Gajur Deralla – World War II collaborator of Balli Kombëtar
- Mehmet Pashë Dërralla – politician. One of the signatories of the Albanian Declaration of Independence
- Sheikh Mustafa Ruhi Efendi religious (Naqshbandi) and political leader. President of the Central Committee of the League of Prizren
- Hayrullah Fişek - General in the Ottoman army, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of National Defence
- Gropa family – Albanian noble family, lord of Ohrid
- Patrona Halil – was the instigator of a mob uprising in 1730 which replaced Sultan Ahmed III with Mahmud I and ended the Tulip period
- Xhem Hasa – World War II collaborator of Balli Kombëtar
- Dervish Hima – publisher and nationalist. One of the signatories of the Albanian Declaration of Independence
- Ohrili Hüseyin Pasha – Grand Vizier
- Ahmed Izzet Pasha – Grand Vizier
- Rexhep Jusufi – World War II collaborator of Balli Kombëtar
- Mehmed Köprülü – Grand Vizier
- Sherif Lengu – politician. One of the signatories of the Albanian Declaration of Independence
- Ahmed Niyazi Bey – politician
- Kâzım Özalp – politician
- Ali Shefqet Shkupi – first Chief of Supreme Staff of the Albanian Army
- Mefail Shehu – World War II collaborator of Balli Kombëtar
- Nuri Sojliu – politician. One of the signatories of the Albanian Declaration of Independence
- Mother Teresa – nun. Recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize
- Tajar Tetova – revolutionary and nationalist
- Arbën Xhaferi – politician
- Talat Xhaferi - Parliamentary speaker of the Republic of Macedonia
- Branko Manoillovski - Macedonian politician of Albanian Orthodox descent
- Teuta Arifi - Macedonian politician
Science and academia
- Josif Bageri – educator, poet and nationalist figure.
- Mehmet Gega – teacher and Albanian rights activist
- Sehadete Mekuli – physician
- Gjerasim Qiriazi – educator. The founder of the Protestant Church of Albania
- Parashqevi Qiriazi – educator. Chairwoman of the Congress of Manastir
- Sevasti Qiriazi – educator. Pioneer of Albanian female education
- Gjergj Qiriazi – writer. One of the founders of the Albanian printing press Bashkimi i Kombit
- Ibrahim Temo – doctor. One of the founders of the Society for the Publication of Albanian Writings
- Rexhep Voka – scholar and activist of the Albanian national awakening
Arts, music and entertainment
Television and cinema
- Naser Aliji – footballer
- Armend Alimi – footballer
- Ezgjan Alioski – footballer
- Mirjeta Bajramoska – handballer
- Enis Bardhi – footballer
- Ferhan Hasani – footballer
- Agim Ibraimi – footballer
- Enver Idrizi – karateka
- Pajtim Kasami – footballer
- Mirdi Limani – kickboxer
- Admir Mehmedi – footballer
- Valon Ahmedi – footballer
- Orhan Mustafi – footballer
- Shkodran Mustafi – footballer
- Gentjana Rochi – footballer
- Berat Sadik – footballer
- Safer Sali – wrestler. Competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics
- Nuri Seferi – boxer. Former WBO European Cruiserweight Champion
- Sefer Seferi - boxer
- Shaban Sejdiu – wrestler. Olympic and World Championship medalist
- Artim Shaqiri – footballer
- Shaban Tërstena – wrestler. Olympic gold medalist and World Championship medalist
- Blerim Xhemaili – footballer
- Leonard Zhuta – footballer
- "2002 Census results" (PDF).
- Vladimir Ortakovski (2001): Interethnic relations and minorities in the Republic of Macedonia, Sts. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje
- Reuters (2 December 2003). "World Briefing - Europe: Macedonia: Overdue Ethnic Census Is Completed" – via NYTimes.com.
- "Head of UN-created Kosovo Protection Corps arrested - 19:28 - B92" (PDF).
- "B92 - News - Region - Grueski victorious in violence-marred Macedonia polls".
- "Macedonian census, language and religion" (PDF). stat.gov.mk.
- Milosavlevski and Tomovski, 1997:15, 49-105
- Milosavlevski and Tomovski, 1997:205, and Politika ekspres 10-6-1986
- Poulton, 1995:122
- "Conservative Leader Claims 3rd Term In Macedonia". NPR. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
- "Early Parliamentary and Presidential Elections 2014". State Election Commission. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Albanians - Minority Rights Group".
- "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Macedonia". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
- State University - Tetovo Archived 2006-09-02 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Welcome to SEE University Website".
- "Orthodox Albanians, assimilated and forgotten in Macedonia". Retrieved 4 January 2012.