Country name: Republic of Albania (local: Republika e Shqiperise).
Government type: Parliamentary republic. A constitution was adopted by popular referendum on 28 November 1998.
Independence: 28 November 1912, from Ottoman Empire.
Administrative divisions: 12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Qarku i Beratit, Qarku i Dibres, Qarku i Durresit, Qarku i Elbasanit, Qarku i Fierit, Qarku i Gjirokastres, Qarku i Korces, Qarku i Kukesit, Qarku i Lezhes, Qarku i Shkodres, Qarku i Tiranes, Qarku i Vlores.
Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast.
Total area: 28,748 km˛.
Coastline: 362 km.
Highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,753 m.
Climate: mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter.
Ports and harbors: Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore.
Population: 3.1 million (2018).
Religions: Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2%. Note: percentages are estimates; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice.
Ethnic groups: Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Romani, Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5%.
Language: Albanian 98.8% (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Romani, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1%.
Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks with links to high government officials, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged parliamentary elections in 2001 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies. Some of these were addressed through reforms in the Albanian electoral code prior to the nationwide municipal elections in 2003. Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy