The union of Albania with Italy, which took place in January 1939, favored the progress of knowledge of the country, both for the sending of study missions, including one promoted by the Italian Geographic Society, and for the constitution of a center of studies on Albania at the Academy of Italy, both for the work of public bodies, including a central Bureau of Statistics, and a U í ficio the Land Registry. The Italian Military Geographical Institute has completed the topographic survey at the scale of 1: 50,000; 1: 100,000.
The climate (II, p. 100; App. I, p. 77). – Some meteorological stations have been set up by the Italians; the data processed up to the end of 1941 are particularly interesting as regards rainfall. The presence of two very rainy areas in the north is confirmed, one near the coast, the other in correspondence with the Albanian Alps (above 3 meters) and another less accentuated in Epirus, especially in Mount Acrocerauni (above 2 meters); the presence, on the contrary, of areas of moderate rainfall in the lower coastal Albania (Musacchia) and also in the eastern basins (Corcia, less than 80 cm.), where indeed the scarcity is accentuating towards the lows of the Vardar basin.
Demography (II, p. 102; App. I, p. 77). – In December 1941 a population census was carried out, of which the summary results are known, shown in the following table:
From the data in this table, compared with those on p. 77 of Appendix I which refer to the 1930 census (total population 1,003,097), a very conspicuous increase in the population would be deduced, in sufficient agreement with the data available, but only for a few years, for birth and mortality. There is no reliable data for the migratory movement. The prevalence of males over females is very sensitive.
Economic conditions (II, p. 105; App. I, p. 78). – There are surveys made between 1936 and 1940. From these it appears first of all that the cultivated land would be approximately 12% (arable land 5.9; meadows 0.9; vineyards 0.1; other woody or herbaceous crops 5.1), arable land and productive uncultivated land at 11%, pastures at 30%, woods at 36% (of which, however, only 15% are real tall woods), unproductive areas at 11% (including 5% of waters, ponds; swamps, etc.). It is confirmed that the most extensive crop is that of maize (about 94,000 ha. On average 1934-38); wheat (38,500 ha.) follows, while other cereals (less than 18,000 ha. among all) are of lesser importance. Statistical data of the last few years, somewhat uncertain, would attest to the trend towards an increase in grain farming (44,000 ha. in 1945) and a contraction of that of maize (83,000 ha. in 1945). For wheat, the province of Corcia has a decisive position of primacy with its vast basins and well-exposed hills; the other southern provinces follow, Gjirokaster and Berat; also Musacchia (overall 9/10 of all grain areas).
The consistency of the olive groves is somewhat greater than previously believed: about 1,580,000 trees with an average annual production of 154,000 quintals: the oil mills (about 1325) were mostly of the domestic type (trappeti), just 20 motorized (in 1940). The vineyard, perhaps once more widespread, is now encountered only in the south and southeast (shores of Lake Ochrida, basins of Corcia, Bilihtë, Kolonjë, Leskovik, etc.), that is, in Greek Orthodox Albania. The only industrial crop is tobacco (2000 ha. And perhaps more) spread in small plots with a domestic character.
On the consistency of livestock we have a statistic from 1938, which would give about 391,000 cattle, 1,574,000 sheep, 932,000 goats, 54,000 horses, 45,000 donkeys, 21,000 buffaloes and 15,000 pigs; but these data, in serious disagreement with those of previous surveys (1927 and 1934), appear highly suspect.
The explorations and prospecting of the Albanian subsoil have given very satisfactory results. The production of oil has grown up to reach, in peak years, 200,000 tons, almost exclusively from the Devoll basin; so much so that an 80 km long oil pipeline had been built. up to the port of Valona.
Iron deposits have been reported and studied mainly in the Kuksi and Pogradec regions, but in these same regions and to a greater extent to the northeast, in the area between Tropojë and Krumë near the Yugoslav border, numerous and promising deposits have appeared. of chromite, the use of which was however conditioned to the solution of the problem of transport from such remote regions to the ports of the coast. The same problem arose for many of the copper ore deposits recognized in the Puka region, Rehova, etc.; one of the most notable among them is found in the lower Fani, not far from Alessio.
All the economic news exposed above refer to the years preceding the Second World War. Very little is known for sure about the consequences of this on the current situation of the Albanian economy as well as on the profoundly changed export and import currents.
During the period in which Albania was politically united with Italy, road works continued vigorously: once the Tirana-Durres highway (85 km) was completed, construction of a railway from Durres to Elbasan began. The network of main roads is now about 1600 km long.
On the basis of the division into provinces, maintained almost unchanged, an administrative reorganization had been completed in Albania, during the period of union with Italy, with a division into municipalities and relative determination of the respective borders.
Following the Second World War, Albania ordered itself (see below) to a republican regime.
Finance (App. I, p. 78). Almost all of the country’s economic activity has been nationalized: the state and the cooperatives practically exercise a monopoly on production. On 20 August 1946 the Albanian parliament approved the law on the five-year plan for the development of the economy, the implementation of which is entrusted to a state commission for the planned economy; on December 27, 1946, a treaty was concluded with Yugoslavia, which provided for the economic and customs union between the two countries and the alignment of currencies. This treaty was denounced by Albania in July 1948. The balance sheet, balanced in the pre-war period, showed a considerable deficit for the financial year 1946-47:
During the war the circulation of money had increased from 26 million in 1939 to 406.2 in March 1946. In July 1946, therefore, a first exchange of money was made on the basis of 1 new franc for 5 old ones. In July 1947, also in compliance with the treaty with Yugoslavia (which established that the Albanian circulation should be proportionate to the Yugoslav one) the monetary reform was implemented and a new monetary unit was introduced, the lek, whose exchange with the US dollar was set at 50 lek = 1 $. The francs in circulation were changed at the rate of 1 lek = 9 francs. Wages and prices were adjusted on the basis of the same ratio. All the banks have been nationalized. For Albania defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.com.