The Albanians (ælˈbɛɪniənz; Shqiptarët ʃcipˈtaɾət) are an ethnic group native to the Balkan Peninsula who share a common Albanian ancestry, culture, history and language. They primarily live in Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as in Croatia, Greece, Italy and Turkey. They also constitute a large diaspora with several communities established across Europe, the Americas and Oceania.
Albanians have Paleo-Balkanic origins. Exclusively attributing these origins to the Illyrians, Thracians or other Paleo-Balkan people is still a matter of debate among historians and ethnologists.
The first mention of the ethnonym Albanoi occurred in the 2nd century AD by Ptolemy describing an Illyrian tribe who lived around present-day central Albania. The first certain reference to Albanians as an ethnic group comes from 11th century chronicler Michael Attaleiates who describes them as living in the theme of Dyrrhachium.
The Shkumbin River roughly demarcates the Albanian la