Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania, is a southeastern European state bordering Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece, which together form part of the Balkan region. The territory now known as Albania was part of the Ottoman empire from the mid-1400s until it declared independence in 1912 after the First Balkan War. However, Albanian independence was short-lived and offered little political stability to the Albanian people. The borders of the state as drawn by the European powers after the war neglected the demographic realities of the time, leaving large swaths of ethnic Albanians (estimated at as much as 40%) stranded inside the borders of other countries, and leaving many Greeks and Serbs isolated from their respective homelands. This reality contributed to increased tension and violence in the Balkan region for the next 80 years, and quickly proved the downfall of the newly independent Albania. The Albanian monarchy was unable to quell ethnic and religious tensions successfully, and quickly abdicated. In the absence of a powerful central government, various countries invaded Albania through World War I and World War II. At the end of the war Albania officially became a communist state under the direction of Enver Hoxha, whose 40 year reign was marked by a rejection of the west in favour of deepening relations with the Soviet Union. Albania’s economy and social development benefitted greatly from ties with the USSR, but human rights and freedoms were grossly suppressed. In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and mounting pressure from within and without, Albania held its first democratic elections and started to normalize relations with the rest of the world. However, financial mismanagement led to a bloody rebellion in 1997, during which the UN sent in peacekeeping forces until law and order could be restored later that year. The political and economic situations of Albania have since stabilized and foreign investment has helped the country become one of the most promising in Eastern Europe.