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History

Distribution of the Albanian language

The Albanian language, an own branch in the Indo-European family of languages, is thought to derive directly from the ancient Illyrian language, which also derives from the Pelasgian language, and is therefore considered to be the oldest language in Europe, and among the oldest ones in the world.
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In the Balkans, the largest use of the Albanian language clearly defines a certain territory, that of which is often referred to as Ethnic Albania.

In Greece, despite the Albanian language being widely used in Greece in the past, and the native language of more than 90 % of the Heroes of the 1821 Greek War for independence – it is now only used within certain limited areas, preserved by the Arvanite community.

In Italy the Albanian language is widely used in most of the southern villages of Italy, in Calabria, Sicily etc where Albanians (descendants of Illyrians) have been living since antiquity.

In Croatia, the use of Albanian language is mostly concentrated around the Dalmatian coast, where Albanian catholics settled after fleeing the Ottoman invasion of Albania in the 14th century:

In Turkey however there are about five million citizens of full or partial Albanian descent, and most of them still feel a connection to Albania. The languge is still preserved by some 500 000 Albanians.
Most of them belongs to families that were deported out of Greece and Serbia by force, in co-operation with Turkey, as a result of the colonization process of Albanian territories:

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