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3274 1823

Albania

Gules, a double-headed eagle sable. The eagle goes back to George Castriota, an Albanian Muslim who became a Turkish general in the 15th century under the name of Iskander Bey, or Skanderbeg. He later returned to the Christian faith and led the fight of the Albanians against the Turks in the 1440's.

He used the Byzantine two-headed eagle on his seals, hence the modern flag. The modern flag had at various times a crown or a star above the eagle. The star gules dates from the Communist takeover in 1946 and has recently been removed. George Castriota was not an "Albanian Muslim" but an Albanian (though born in a Christian family). He was taken away as a child by the Turkish army and then, when he grew up, he remembered his origin and religion so he went back to fight with his people for liberty. His Albanian name is Gjergj Kastrioti and "Iskanderbeg" is only the Turkish version.

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