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Albania


Before 1914


FIRST STAMPS: Turkish from 1870

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: 1913


CURRENCY

1913, 40 paras = 1 piastre or grosch

1913, 100 qint = 1 franc

1947, 100 qint = 1 lek

1965, 100 oldler = 1 new lek



Province in European Turkey, formerly part of ancient Epirus. Had been defeated by the Turks in the 14th century, but a national hero, Scanderberg, rose up about 1443 and liberated Albania from Turkish control for a few years. Turkish control was reestablished following the siege of Scutari in 1478.


During the period of Turkish control there were seven POs in Albania and each had its own special hand-stamp. Frequently the handstamps were only used as arrival marks, and stamps were applied at the office of delivery.


In 1902 Italy, as part of its policy of expansion in the Mediterranean opened POs in Albania which used Italian stamps overprinted ALBANIA and in Turkish currency. Offices were opened at Durazzo, Scutari and Valona. First issue was replaced in 1909 by a further issue overprinted for each of the towns.


Albania did not take part in the first Balkan War in 1912-13, but declared its independence on 28 November 1912. This was confirmed by the Treaty of London, which ended the war.


First stamps were issued in October and November 1913 with overprints on various Turkish adhesives. First permanent series was issued in December 1913. However, the new country was to suffer immediate problems. Albania was overrun by troops of Greece, Montenegro and Serbia. Essad Pasha set up his own regime and issued stamps for central Albania. The Greeks also issued stamps in 1914 for Epirus and Northern Epirus, which they had occupied. To try to bring peace, the Dutch were asked to send a detachment of police. These used their own special stamps at their headquarters in Koritza. The Montenegrins had occupied Scutari. Postmarks of SCUTARI-SKADOR are found on the stamps of Montenegro and Albania.


1914-18

During World War I Albania was a battleground and was occupied by different powers in different areas and by conflicting armies. However, some postal service was preserved and the central government continued to issue stamps throughout the period.


1918-39

Italy occupied most of the country as soon as World War I ended and tried to preserve its presence on the Greek side of the Adriatic. In 1920 the Albanians forced the Italians to recognize Albanian sovereignty and moved their capital from Durrazo to Tirane.


Albania was a republic until November 1928 when the president, Ahmed Zogu, declared a kingdom with himself as King Zog I. On 7 April 1939 Italy invaded and occupied Albania. Stamps were issued almost immediately and were overprinted 'Constituent Assembly 12 IV 1939 XVII'. This referred to the body who offered the crown of Albania to the King of Italy. The figure XVII refers to the 17th year of Fascist rule in Italy.


1939-45

Italy did not enter World War II until June 1940; after the fall of France it used Albania as its base for the invasion of Greece on 28 October 1940. The Greeks counterattacked and soon overran almost half of Albania. They issued stamps overprinted for southern Albania on 10 December 1940. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece in April 1941, it returned the control of Albania to Italy. However, when Italy surrendered in September 1943, Germany immediately assumed the occupation of Albania. Stamps were again issued. These were from the Italian occupation overprinted.


In 1944 a guerilla leader, General Hoxha, drove German forces from the country and proclaimed Albania to be a democratic republic on 22 November 1944. In January 1945 definitive stamps from the Italian occupation were further overprinted for the new republic.


1945 onwards

From 1945 to 1991, Albania was a one-party Communist State, but this was relaxed in 1991 when the first multi-party elections took place. Rioting broke out in January 1997 following the collapse of a number of pyramid investment schemes. Anti-Government protests were followed by open rebellion and a State of Emergency was declared in March. The attacks on the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo by the Serbs led to a general move by the refugees into Albania.


Albania became a Socialist Republic on 29 April 1991 with an elected President and a new Constitution.


During the Aerial War against Serbia in 1999, Albania allowed unrestricted access to their territory and air space to the Nato forces.



Saseno


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED: Italy overprinted Saseno April 1923


CURRENCY

1923, as Italy



Island in the Gulf of Valona off the coast of Albania occupied by Italy on 30 October 1914. Remained an Italian possession until 1943 when it was occupied by the Germans. Returned to Albania by the Treaty of Paris in 1947.


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