Albania Independence Day is celebrated on November 28 of every calendar year in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and the Albanian diaspora. It celebrates the day the Albanian Declaration of Independence from the Ottoman Empire was adopted by Ismail Qemali on November 28, 1912, and the rise of the Albanian flag in Vlora, coinciding with the day on which Skanderbeg raised the same flag in Krujë, on November 28, 1443. It is the first day of a two-day holiday period as Albania Independence Day is always followed by Liberation Day on November 29.
History of Albania Independence Day
At the start of the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire was expanding into South-Eastern Europe, invading and controlling numerous lands ruled by local kingdoms. By 1431, they ruled most of modern-day Albania. A local revolt was led by a deserter from the Ottomans called Skanderbeg in 1443. His heroic military campaigns to defend Albania against the might of the Ottoman Empire resulted in him becoming a national hero to the Albanians. It’s said that his stand against the Ottomans may have prevented further expansion of the empire into more western regions of Europe.
After Skanderbeg’s death on January 17, 1468, Albania fell back under Ottoman control in 1479 and it remained a part of the Ottoman Empire until just before the start of the First World War. In the late 19th century, a wave of desire for nationhood had been sweeping across Eastern Europe. While Albania enjoyed a privileged position within the Empire, it eventually joined the various uprisings against the Ottoman Empire. As the Ottomans were weakened by their defeat in the Balkan Wars, an uprising in 1912 led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail Qemali, the leader of the Albanian national movement on November 28, 1912.
In December 1912, a delegation of Albania submitted a memorandum to the London Conference of 1913 insisting on the ethnic rights of Albanians and requested an international recognition of independent Albania composed of Kosovo, and western Macedonia including Skopje and Bitola, and the whole territory of Epirus up to Arta. At the beginning of the London conference in December 1912, the ambassadors of all six Great Powers rejected the plan for establishing an independent Albania, and the treaty was signed, partitioning a major part of the claimed lands between Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro. They met again on July 29, 1913, and decided to constitute a new state as a constitutional monarchy, the Principality of Albania. Finally, with the Treaty of Bucharest signed in August 1913, this newly independent state was established, leaving about 40% of the ethnic Albanian population outside its borders.
Albania Independence Day timeline
The Ottoman Empire expands into South-Eastern Europe, invading and controlling numerous lands ruled by local kingdoms.
Skanderbeg’s bravery prevents the Ottomans from expanding further into the west.
Ismail Qemaly, the leader of the Albanian national movement, proclaims independence after an uprising.
The six Great Powers recognize Albania as an independent constitutional monarchy.
Albania Independence Day FAQs
How old is Albania?
As of 2022, Albania is 110 years old.
How do you say Happy Independence Day in Albanian?
If you wish to congratulate an Albanian on this day you can either say “Happy Dita e Pavaresise” (Independence Day) or “Happy Dita e Flamurit” (Flag Day).
Was Albania part of the U.S.S.R?
No, Albania was never part of the U.S.S.R. nor one of its satellite states.
How to Observe Albania Independence Day
Attend the parade
Whether you’re in Tirana, or Chicago in the U.S., you’ll be able to enjoy a parade in the city. Join in on the fun and learn a lot. Make it an event with friends as you all learn about Albania’s Independence.
Go to a concert
In the center of Tirana, you’ll find concerts with famous Albanian singers and dancers. Take part in the festivities and experience the culture!
Read more Albanian history
We’ve talked a little about how the Principality of Albania was established, but this isn’t the whole story. We suggest reading up on how modern-day Albania was born and its long, storied history.
5 Surprising Facts About Albania
They banned religion in 1967
Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, Albania was proclaimed as the first atheist state in the world, and anyone practicing religion was to be jailed for three to 10 years.
Only three million people live there
More Albanians are now living outside the country than within its territories.
Most Albanians are Muslim
Islam was introduced into the country in the 14th century, but most people adopted the religion during the 17th century.
They have the oldest lake in Europe
Known as Ohrid, the lake has a variety of unique plants and animal species, as well as living fossils.
It’s the world’s largest hydroelectricity producer
Albania produces 90% of the world’s hydroelectricity.
Why Albania Independence Day is Important
It’s very historically important
The day on which Albania becomes independent is probably the single most historically important day for the country. We must remember how much the people in the past have fought for Albanians to be free today.
It’s a day to learn more about Albania
Perhaps it’s part of your heritage and you’ve never been there, or maybe you have nothing to do with Albania and just found this article. Regardless, this is a great day to learn more about Albania’s culture, history, and more.
It’s a day to be proud of being Albanian
It doesn’t matter if you were born in Albania or if it’s your heritage. This is YOUR day, so celebrate it however you like!
Albania Independence Day dates