Did you know that there is a vibrant Albanian community in Spain? While today, most Spaniards are Roman Catholic, over the centuries, different cultures and religions have found a home in this Mediterranean country.
Among those cultures is the Albanian community, which has a history that dates back to the 14th century. Let’s explore this unique part of Spanish culture!
The History of Albanians in Spain
The first waves of Albanian immigrants came to Spain during the 14th century when they were forced to flee their homeland due to political unrest. These immigrants were welcomed by King Alfonso XI of Castile, who granted them land and citizenship. Over time, more Albanians arrived, eventually settling throughout Spain, with the majority living in Barcelona and Madrid.
Albanian people have a long and varied migration history to Spain, beginning with Albanian nationals who sought asylum in the country during the Albanian Civil War in the late 1990s. Despite being warmly welcomed by the Spanish government and granted refugee status, many Albanians were met with animosity and hostility from Spanish police, who perceived them as a threat to national security. Over time, Albanian nationals adapted to life in their new home and gradually formed close-knit communities across Spain. Albanians began marrying non-Albanian Spaniards and raising families, creating mixed heritage households that are now common throughout Spain today.
While many manage to find work, they often face discrimination and social isolation
Albanians in Spain face discrimination daily arising from their Albanian ancestry. A major contributing factor is the large Albanian population throughout Spain, meaning this minority group faces scrutiny from both Spanish citizens and the government alike.
Many Albanians feel pushed to the outskirts of society, often leading to helplessness, exclusion, and even fear. The lack of understanding of Albanian culture only worsens tensions between them and other Spaniards.
Difficulty assimilating into mainstream society due to systemic prejudice thus remains a pressing issue for Albanians in Spain today.
Despite the challenges, they are determined to make a new life in their new home country
Albanian people have been leaving their home country in search of better opportunities in Spain for years, with their families and friends hoping to rebuild their lives in this new place.
Despite the many challenges Albanian nationals face, such as managing language barriers and an unfamiliar culture, they are determined to adapt and make the best out of their new homes.
Albanians must also consider the hard stance shown by Spanish police against illegal immigrants, which makes life especially difficult for Albanians who do not have all the necessary legal documents. Nonetheless, Albanians are boldly forging ahead, embracing the opportunities that await them while maintaining a sense of pride in their culture and origins.
Today’s Albanian Community in Spain
Today, most Albanians who live in Spain live in major cities like Barcelona and Madrid, but there are also smaller communities scattered throughout the country.
In fact, it is not uncommon for small towns to have at least one or two families who identify as having an Albanian heritage. There are also numerous organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting Albania’s culture within their new home of Spain.
The presence of an established Albanian community in Spain speaks volumes about how open this country has been to different cultures throughout its history. Even today, hundreds of thousands of people proudly identify as part of this group while maintaining their unique identities within Spanish society.
Whether you’re looking for a taste of traditional music or cuisine or want to learn more about another culture, visiting a place where ethnic Albanians live can be an unforgettable experience!