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After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, following the Balkan Wars, Albania declared its independence in 1912 and was recognized the following year.The Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, before becoming a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic with the capital in Tirana, the country's largest city and main economic and commercial centre, followed by Durrës and Vlorë.It is located in the south-western part of the Balkan peninsula, bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast.Beyond the plateau are the Saharan Atlas Mountains, which form the boundary of the Algerian Sahara desert.Despite efforts by the government to contain the desert by planting rows of pine trees, it continues to expand northward. The largest of these are the Kabyles, who live in the Kabylia Mountains east of Algiers.

According to the opinion of most ethnologists and linguists, the Illyrians formed the core of pre-Hellenic, Tyrrhenopelasgian population, which inhabited the southern portion of the Peninsula and extended its limits to Thrace and Italy.Inland from the coast is the High Plateau region, with an elevation of 1,300 to 4,300 feet (396 to 1,311 meters).This is mostly rocky and dry, dotted with vegetation on which cattle, sheep, and goats graze.The existence of another Albania in the Caucasus, the mystery in which the derivation of the name "Albania" is enshrouded, and which name, on the other hand, is unknown to her people, and the fact that history and legend afford no record of the arrival of the Albanians in the Balkan Peninsula, have rendered the question of their origin a particularly difficult one.But, however that may be, it is generally recognized today that the Albanians are the most ancient race in southesatern Europe.

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The country has a coastline on the northern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the southwest where the Albanian Riviera begins.