Albacete (Al-ba-thay'teh), capital of a Spanish province, 140 miles SE. of Madrid by rail, in a fertile but treeless plain. It has great cattle-fairs. Pop. 20,671. - The province is partly formed from the former kingdom of Murcia, and partly from New Castile. It is generally hilly, in some parts attaining 5000 feet. The mineral wealth is considerable. Area, 5972 sq. m.; pop. 233,000.
Albania forms the south-western portion of the remaining immediate possessions of European Turkey, and extends along the western shore of the Balkan Peninsula, from the river Bojana to the Gulf of Arta. To the north it is bounded, since 1878-80, by the newly-won Montenegrin territory, and by Bosnia; on the south it is separated, since 1881, from Greece by the river Arta. The eastern boundary is a mountain-range, which to the north attains an altitude of 7990 feet. Westward of this range lie parallel chains, enclosing long elevated valleys, sinking to level strips along the coast, which mostly consist of unhealthy swamps and lagoons. The highlands advance to the sea, forming steep rocky coasts. One promontory, the Acroceraunian, projecting in Cape Linguetta far into the sea, reaches a height of 6642 feet.
A fine climate and a favourable soil would seem to invite the inhabitants to agriculture, but for the most part in vain. In the north, little is cultivated but maize, with some rice and barley, in the valleys; whilst the mountain terraces are used as pastures for numerous herds of cattle and sheep. In the south the slopes of the lower valleys are covered with olives, fruit, and mulberry trees, intermixed with patches of vines and maize, while the densely wooded mountain-ridges furnish valuable supplies of timber. The plateau of Janina yields abundance of grain; and in the valleys opening to the south, the finer fruits are produced, along with maize, rice, and wheat.
Upper or Northern Albania formed part of the Illyria of the Romans; Lower or Southern Albania corresponds to ancient Epirus. The inhabitants form a peculiar people, the Albanians, called by the Turks Arnauts, and by themselves Skipetars. According to Lord Strangford, 'the true Albanian part of their language, after precipitation of the foreign elements, is distinctly Indo-European, and is more closely connected with Greek than with any other Indo-European language existing or recorded (Letters on Philological Subjects, 1878). The Albanians are half-civilised mountaineers, frank to a friend, vindictive to an enemy. They are constantly under arms, and are more devoted to robbery than to cattle-rearing and agriculture. They live in perpetual anarchy, every village being at war with its neighbour. Many of them serve as mercenaries in other countries, and they form the best soldiers of the Turkish army. At one time the Albanians were all Christians; but after the death of their last chief, the hero Scanderbeg, in 1467, and their subjugation by the Turks, a large part became Mohammedans. The Albanians are by most writers divided tribally into Gheghs, Tosks, Ljaps, etc.; but again, to quote Lord Strangford, ' the true and intelligible division is that of religious denomination. The typical region of the Mussulmans is in the centre; that of the Latins is in the northern district; and that of the Albanians in communion with the Greek Church, corresponding fairly to Epirus, is in the south, with Janina for its capital.' Of the 1,400,000 Albanians of the Ottoman empire, it is estimated that 1,000,000 are Mohammedans, 280,000 members of the Greek Church, and 120,000 Roman Catholics. There are, besides, some 250,000 Albanians in Greece; and 100,000 in Italy (Sicily mostly), whither they emigrated towards the close of the 15th century. By the treaty concluded then, in 1478, between the Turks and the Venetians, Albania became a Turkish province, which almost gained independence under Ali Pasha, but which, during the insurrection of Greece (1821-8), returned to at least nominal allegiance to the Porte. Ten rebellions have since broken out - one in 1883.
See Von Hahn's Albanesische Studien (1854), and his Reise in Jahr 1863 (1870); Herguard's Haute Albanie (1858); Knight's Travel in Albania (1880); and other works cited in the full bibliography of Meyer's Albanische Studien (1883).