From the time of the Roman Empire and well into the mid-twentieth century, Albania had been a country dominated by foreign control and political turmoil. From 1385 to 1912, excluding a thirty-five year period of revolt led by Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, the Ottomans had ruled Albania. However, progress was made during the eighteenth century when on November 28, 1912, Albania declared its independence and then established its borders a year later. Yet, during World War II, Albania was occupied both by Italy and Germany and was then finally ruled by a Communist leader, Enver Hoxha. Hoxha kept foreigners from invading the country but simultaneously allowed Albanian inhabitants to be subject to “purges, shortages, repression of civil and
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Other present factors included a high level of mistrust and low level of trust in democratization as well as “an explosion of claustrophobia in people who were confined within a small country for forty years” (Campani). This period of chaos led to approximately 300,000 individuals fleeing the country and going to Greece and Italy. Furthermore, official figures show that by the end of 2001 Albanians accounted for 10.5% of the 1.36 million immigrants with residence permits in Italy (Carletto, Davis, Stampini, Zezza). These statistics could be slightly skewed, however, considering that the only time Albanians were received and treated as political refugees in Italy was in July of 1990. This was following the adoption of Martelli Law, while other Albanians came to Italy through less lawful means. It is obvious that Albanians were able to live in Italy, legally or illegally, but they were not treated well, since, it was not easy for them to be acclimated into society or were they immediately ostracized.
Albanians left the coast in tiny boats from Durrës and Valona hoping for a better life across the Adriatic, but were met with dissatisfactory conditions due to the Italian government’s inattention. No jobs or places of shelter were arranged for Albanians and the difficult conditions included worrying about being arrested or expatriated on a daily basis (Kosic, Triandafyllidou). Whereas, other immigrant groups did enjoy these commodities and had