The territory of modern Albania was settled in about 100,000 years ago. In the end of the third millennium Indo-European folks settled in this area. As a result of their miscegenation as well as the influence of cultural and language aspects of the Balkan area, Pelazg folk appeared.
Illyrian people (their forefathers were the Albanians) who rose from this ancient folk developed during the first and second millennium before the Christian era. In the 30-ies after Christ Illyria was conquered by the Roman Empire. After fall of the Roman Empire Illyria became a part of the Byzantine Empire.
During 1,000 years Albania stood numerous seizures and migrations up to the 14th century when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. Continuous attempts to gain freedom were successful in 1912 when Albania was declared to be an independent state. After eleven years of monarchy, in 1939 the country was occupied by the troops of Mussolini (Italy), thus, the monarchy period was over. In 1943 the country was seized by the troops of Hitler (Germany). Opposition to the foreign invasion was called National War of Liberation. In November 1944, when the enemy troops were smashed, the communist party headed by Enver Hodzha came to power.
For fifty years Albania was an isolated country with totalitarian regime which led it to poverty which continued till 1991. Isolationism policy typical of this regime caused economic obsolescence due to the absence of external relations, foreign investments and market liberalism. After 1991, the country embarked the important course of development of the market-oriented economy, and it continues its development in this direction now. Albania is also engaged in the important process of becoming a member of the European Union. Thanks to reforms Albania became a member of NATO in April 2009. Since December 15, 2010 citizens of Albania have travelled without visas within the Shengen area. According to the country development strategy, it is going to come out of the developing country group and enter the group of developed countries. Accession to the European Union is to be made till 2017.