The pre-Balkan history of the Albanians
In his book, "The Illyrians", John Wilkes states on pg: 219:
"NOT MUCH RELIANCE SHOULD PERHAPS BE PLACED ON ATTEMPTS TO IDENTIFY AN ILLYRIAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL TYPE AS SHORT AND DARK SKINNED SIMMILAR TO MODERN ALBANIANS."
Wilkes, having published this work in the early 90s ruined the earlier accepted theory that Albanians were the descendants of the Illyrians. Wilkes is the foremost authority on Illyrians in the world today. An anthropologist, archeologist, a published historian and Professor of History whose familiarity with Balkan archeology is first hand, Wilkes' conclusions lead to the conclusion that the modern descendants of the Illyrians may in fact lie in Bosnia, Serbia and Dalmatia. While Albanians do have Illyrian blood, Wilkes leads the reader to conclude that Illyrian blood and culture most definitely to be found to a greater degree than ever thought before, in Serb lands.
Since the origins of the Albanians are not yet known, I presented the following theory of mine on the origins of the Albanians to some history professors at the University of Toronto. They all agreed that my theory was most definitely possible:
In the republic of Georgia, in the Caucasus, on the terriory of the former Caucasian Albania, from where the Avar Khanate once had its capital, there is a village named: "Arnauti
". This is the name by which Serbs, Greeks, Turks, FYR-Macedonians and Montenegrin Serbs refer to Albanians in their respective langauges. There is also village in Georgia named "Bushati" - which is the name of an Albanian tribe ("fis") around Lake Skadar. There are three villages named: "Geguti", "Gegeni" and "Gegi". "Ghegheni" is the name designated to Albanians who live north of the Shkumbi River in Albania proper.
The Albanians call themselves "Shqip-tari
". This name is not Indo-European in origin and contains in it the Ural-Altaic suffix "ar" or "tar". Much like: "Khaz-AR", "Av-AR", "Magy-AR", "Bulg-AR", "Hung-AR", "Ta-TAR" - "Ship-TAR"
. Taken together with the Shqiptar-Albanian toponyms on the territory of the former Caucasian Albania, this theory on the etymology of "Shqipatr" becomes more plausable.
The original URAL-ALTAIC speaking Caucasian Shqiptar-Albanians were part of the AVAR KHANATE which had one of its early capitals in Caucasian Albania (hence Albanian topnyms there, the possible Ural-Altaic etymology of the suffix in the word "Shqip-tar" and the similarities in national costume with Caucasian peoples - the non-Indo-European Georgians, in particular).
The original Shqiptar-Albanian group of AVARS settled in Northern Romania and subjugated the Latin speaking peoples of that area when the Avars entered Europe and conquered most of its Eastern part. Over time they assimilated most of the Latin language of the people they conquered, but imposed their name on their new subjects - just like the Bulg-AR tribe did in Thrace. This explains why modern Albanian has simmilarities to the Romance languages of Romania. This Ship-tar Av-ar tribe, I believe, moved south as far as Epirus from where the Avars are recorded as staging their failed attack on Constantinople.
So, by the time the Avar Khanate was defeated by the armies of Serbs and Croats and Charles the Great in the 7th century, the Avars had reached south as far as EPIRUS from where they based this failed attack on Constantinople!!! In Epirus, this Shqiptar-Avar tribe assimilated the Illyrians and Hellens of Epirus, as they had done to the Latin speakers of Northern Romania more than a century earlier.
While the Avars were driven out of Europe by Charles the Great and killed off by Serbs and Croats in the Balkans in the 7th century, the Serbs NEVER REACHED the south of the Shkumbi until the LATE DARK AGES. The Shqiptar-Avars in Epirus and south of the Shkumbi were left unharmed.
Shqiptars began to spread north of the Shkumbi River quickly through migrations and assimilation into the lands that Serbs had conquered north of the Shkumbi soon after their arrival in the Balkans and their own assimilation of Illyrians. In the early Dark Age this process of assimilation was sped up as the Shqiptars took advantage of the early Serb kingdom's difficult war against the Bulgars. At this time, they took advantage of the distracted Serb state to move northward past the Shkumbi by assimilating the Serbianized Illyrians.
This process was continued until Stefan Dusan the Mighty, in whose time Latin priests at Bar begin to see, for the first time - expulsions of the Catholic Albanians, likely in retribution for their assimilation of Serbs north of the Shkumbi. Assimilation of Serbs and Albanian migrations further north of the Shkumbi continued after the death of Dusan and sped up drastically and by the time of the defeat of prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic on Kosovo Field in 1389, the Albanians had expanded by assimilating the Serb populace in most of what is now Northern Albania. Throughout the Ottoman Era Albanians expanded well into Kosovo, assimilating and driving out Serbs, mostly in the 17th century - when Arsenius Carnojevic led 36 000 ethnically cleansed Serbian families out of Kosovo. This process was a continuation of the ethnic cleansing Albanians had commited against Serbs since the EARLY DARK AGE expansions north of the Shkumbi.