The Arbëreshë are scattered throughout southern Italy and Sicily, and in small numbers also in other parts of Italy.They are in great numbers in North and Latin America, especially in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Canada.Between the 11th and 18th centuries, sizeable numbers of Albanians migrated from the area of contemporary Albania to escape either various sociopolitical difficulties or the Ottoman conquest.One population which became the Arvanites settled down in southern Greece who starting from the 16th century though mainly during the 19th century onwards assimilated and today self identify as Greeks.However approximately 500,000 people are reported to profess an Albanian identity.Of those with full or partial Albanian ancestry and others who have adopted Turkish language, culture and identity their number is estimated at 1,300,000–5,000,000 many whom do not speak Albanian., western Macedonia, southern Serbia, southeastern Montenegro and northwestern Greece, who share a common ancestry, culture and language.The most common native ethnonym is "Shqiptar", plural "Shqiptarë"; the name "Albanians" (Byzantine Greek: Albanoi/Arbanitai/Arbanites; Latin: Albanenses/Arbanenses) was used in medieval documents, that gradually entered European languages from which other similar derivative names emerged.The term for a people located in the area of Albania is first encountered in the works of Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates.
Albanians are not recognized as a minority in Turkey.
He referred to them as "Albanoi" having taken part in a revolt against the Byzantine Empire in 1043 and to the "Arbanitai" as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium (modern Durrës).
While the exonym Albania for the general region inhabited by the Albanians does have connotations to Classical Antiquity, the Albanian language employs a different ethnonym, with modern Albanians referring to themselves as Shqip(ë)tarë and to their country as Shqipëria.
The Arbëreshë constitute one of the largest minorities in Italy.
The majority of Albanians in Italy arrived in 1991 and have since surpassed the older populations of Arbëreshë.