During the 17th and 18th century, Albanians in large numbers converted to Islam, often to escape higher taxes levied on Christian subjects as well as a plethora of other reasons including ecclesiastical decay, Albania gained its independence in 1912, and from 1945 to 1992 Albanians lived under a communist government.
Albanians within Yugoslavia underwent periods of discrimination and eventual self-determination that concluded with the breakup of that state in the early 1990s culminating with Albanians living in new countries and Kosovo.
Albanians are not recognized as a minority in Turkey.
However approximately 500,000 people are reported to profess an Albanian identity.
Of those with full or partial Albanian ancestry and others who have adopted Turkish language, culture and identity their number is estimated at 1,300,000–5,000,000 many whom do not speak Albanian.) are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania, Kosovo, Western Macedonia, Southern Serbia, Southern Montenegro and Northwestern Greece who share a common culture and ancestry and speak the Albanian language as a native tongue.
The term is also legally used to refer to citizens of the Republic of Albania.
Outside the southwestern Balkans where Albanians have traditionally been located, Albanian populations through the course of history have formed new communities contributing to the cultural, economic, social and political life of their host populations and countries while also at times assimilating too.
Some of these principalities were united in 1444 under the military alliance called League of Lezha.
This fragment of a legend from the time of Tsar Samuel endeavours, in a catechismal 'question and answer' form, to explain the origins of peoples and languages.
It divides the world into seventy-two languages and three religious categories: Orthodox, half-believers (i.e. The Albanians find their place among the nations of half-believers.
The kingdom however held out until 1368, when the city was captured by Karl Thopia.
The presence of the kingdom reinforced the influence of Catholicism and the conversion to its rite, not only in the region of Durrës but in other parts of the country.