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The New York Times, May 11, 1913:


Prince William of Sweden a Keen Sportsman
Wife Very Beautiful

    LONDON, April 26.—It is rumored that Prince William, second son of the King of Sweden, and his wife, Princess Marie, have been selected by the powers of the Triple Entente as the rulers of the new Kingdom of Albania, which is to be formed on the conclusion of peace between Turkey and the Allies.
    Princess Marie, who is a daughter of a Russian Grand Duke, is one of the wealthiest princesses in Europe. She is dark and very beautiful, while her high spirits and democratic tendencies have made her the idol of Sweden...

The New York Times, May 12, 1913:


    The world trifles with the forces of destiny when it names Theodore Roosevelt King of Albania and quotes the Albanian delegates as saying they would be glad to have him for King, but they find a serious obstacle to his acceptance in his lack of great wealth. From time immemorial the Albanians have been looking for folks with lots of money, and they have generally found them when they have set foot on Albanian soil...

The New York Times, August 26, 1913:


Powers Said to Have Chosen Prince of Wied
Turks to Get Adrianople

    BUCHAREST, August 25.--It is reported here that the powers have selected for the Albanian throne Prince William Frederick Hermann Otto Charles of Wied, the head of the mediatized German Wied family.
    The Prince is a nephew of "Carmen Sylvia," the Queen of Rumania. He is 41 years old and was married to Princess Pauline of Würtemberg in 1898. They have two sons.

The New York Times, December 14, 1913:


Lucien Wolf Fears Prince William of Wied
Will Have a Hard Time Ruling Them


Perhaps Due to the Success of His Wife's Musical Parties,
a French Writer Suggests

    LONDON, December 1.--In an illuminating article in The Graphic, Lucien Wolf gives some information about Albania and its new King...

    An "impenetrable mystery" is Mr. Wolf's description of the powers' selection. He repeats the remark of a witty correspondent of the Temps who suggested that the success of the Princess's musical "At homes" inspired the powers with the idea that she and her husband might well be qualified to introduce a little harmony into the "dissonances Albanaises..."

    "The truth, of course, is that the Prince of Wied has not been selected because he is in any special way adapted to the task of ruling the Albanians, but simply because he is the only personage of princely rank in Europe who is willing to make the effort, and who at the same time does not incur the suspicions of Rome or Vienna, or excite the widely varying antipathies of the other great powers. This may be a proof of discretion and courage, and it is hoped that it is. After all, not much more was known of the Kings of Rumania and Bulgaria when they were chosen for a like career, and so far they have managed to keep their crowns...

    "The Albanians are really not a European people in the ethnic or social sense. They are the Afghans of the Adriatic. They are Afghans, too, in the political sense, for what is required of them is not so much that they shall be a strong and independent people as that they shall serve as a sort of buffer State, barring the Slavs and the Hellenes from the Adriatic, and holding in suspense the rival ambitions of Austria and Italy..."

The New York Times, March 8, 1914:


A Primitive Land That Has So Far Produced
Little More Than Hardships, Dangers, and Troubles.

By Alexander Konta

    Prince William of Wied, the recently chosen King of Albania, has been studying the language and customs of his people under a native tutor at Potsdam. The tutor was sent to him by the now-famous Essad Pasha, the most powerful man in Albania. He began life as a gendarme; he has been commander in chief of his people; he has even dreamed of an Albanian throne for himself. He may go much further...
    Less is known of this little strip of coastland on the Adriatic, with its mountainous hinterland, than of almost all the remote parts of Asia, Africa, or the interior of South America. It is virgin soil Large tracts of it have never yet been explored, because travel there is about just as safe and comfortable as it is in the vastness of New Guinea. Roads there are none; the rivers are not navigable for any length from the coast because they are mountain streams; and as for safety--well, the chief imports of Albania are rifles and ammunition. a haphazard, unorganized way it is the granary of the Dalmation coast. It might export corn in infinitely greater quantities if it possessed even the most elementary means of transportation, but in the natural conditions the produce goes to waste in good harvest years, while in poor ones the population is very often on the verge of starvation.
    They raise sheep and goats in the rugged, inaccessible mountains, and some cattle in the malarial plain of the sea border; some tobacco, also a little wine, and mutton tallow, of course, from which a cheap soap is manufactured. But that is all. There is only one flour mill driven by steam. The country's chief product--which its new-made King, in common with the rest of the world, undoubtedly already knows--is desperate fighting men bent on having their own primitive, semi-savage way.

    But Albania has possiblities...
    The country is rich in coal, in silver, in copper, and even in gold... all these sources of wealth have lain fallow ever since the Turk established his uncertain rule over Albania, and... another asset of the country, its forests, has been devastated in a shocking manner.
    ...The [Austrian] plan, so far as known, includes, first of all, a survey for a railroad between Valona, the capital of the new kingdom, and Scutari, and for highways to connect its harbors at the capital and at Durazzo with the interior, for the facilitation of the export of agricultural products. It is seemingly a plan for exploitation rather than development; for the acquistion, that is, by outright purchase, of whatever promises to pay rich returns...

    Valona, the seat of the Provisional Government of Albania, is not a city in any Western sense of the word. It is a large, straggling, unkempt, Near Eastern village. Situated on the Adriatic, it has one of the best and largest and safest harbors in the world. Battle fleets can manoeuvre in its waters. The population lives in hovels built of wood and straw; there are only a few passably comfortable houses, the "palaces" of the Albanian patricians. The "palace" awaiting the King is the old quarantine station built by the Turks years ago...
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  Albania News

    Republic of Albania: Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978).

    In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997, however, there have been claims of electoral fraud in every one of Albania's post-communist elections.

    In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Albania was invited to join NATO in April 2008 and is a potential candidate for EU accession.
    Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure.
    The CIA World Factbook: Albania

Area of Albania: 28,748 sq km
slightly smaller than Maryland

Population of Albania: 3,619,778
July 2008 estimate

Languages of Albania:
Albanian official, official dialect: Tosk

Albania Capital: Tirana

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  Free Books on Albania (.pdfs)

Albania Past and Present Chekrezi 1919
Albania and the Albanians Woods 1918
Albania: A Narrative of Recent Travel Knight 1880
Travels in Greece & Albania Hughes 1830
Journey Through Albania Hobhouse 1817

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