Albanian territories were inhabited since 100,000 years ago. Over the centuries the Albanian culture has been influenced by the Romans, Greeks, Turks and Italians. The first inhabitants of the present day Albania were Illyrians tribes, a group of Indo-European people.
Given its strategic location on the Adriatic Sea, Albania has long served as a bridgehead for various nations and empires seeking conquest abroad. In the 2nd century b.c. the Illyrians were conquered by the Romans, and from the end of the 4th century c.e. they were ruled by the Byzantine Empire. Following invasion by Visigoths, Huns, Bulgarians, and Slavs, the Albanians were finally conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Albania was proclaimed independent after almost five centuries of Ottoman rule on 28 November 1912.
During most of Second World War Albania was invaded by Italian and German forces. After World War II, Albania became a Stalinist state and remained isolationist until its transition to democracy after 1990. In difference from other Central and Eastern European Countries that started their liberal social and economic reforms in the 1960s, the Albanian model was based on absolute rule of social property and centralized and planned economy driven by government economic policies.
In December 1990, the political pluralism and an open market economy were installed, marking the start of social and economic reforms.
In April 2009 the Stabilization and Association Agreement of Albania with the European Union entered into force and subsequently the country was granted the candidate status on 24 June 2014.In March 2020, the European Union decided to open accession negotiations with Albania. In April 2023 the first bilateral conferences on pre-screening for Albania and North Macedonia took place but there is no clear date for the first intergovernmental conference set by the EU until the last update of this information. Albania has become a NATO member since 2009.