This lack of political influence changed in the 1400s when the Ottoman Turks arrived
and took over the region. Despite resistance efforts, the people were taken over
and slowly adopted many cultural aspects found in Turkey. The greatest of these
influences came in the form of religion as the Albanians widely adopted Islam and
converted in large numbers. This conversion also put the Albanians at odds with
most of their neighbors, who maintained their Christian faiths.
The withdrawal of the Turks from the peninsula led to a stronger Albanian identity
and a legitimate argument for independence from neighboring countries. The Albanian
people had formed a distinct culture in many ways, from language and foods to religion
and architecture. This gave Albania independence, but many ethnic Albanians fell
outside their modern borders, including in Kosovo, which has led to strained relations
with many of their neighbors.
Today Albania continues on its own path with its own political agenda, its own culture,
and its own lifestyle based on the mountains, but greatly affected by modern technology.
These differences have led to a unique culture and lifestyle, but also economic
and political struggles as the country seems stagnant at many times. None-the-less,
the country is finding ways to move forward and tourists are only beginning to find
their beautiful coasts and all they have to offer.