Zog (zŭk) [key], 1895–1961, king of Albania. Originally Ahmet Muhtar Bej Zogolliu (later Albanianized to Zogu), he came from a Muslim family and served in the Austrian army in World War I. He became Albanian minister of the interior in 1920, minister of war in 1921, and premier in 1922. A revolution in 1924 led to his flight, but he returned with Yugoslav backing and became (Jan., 1925) president of the Albanian republic. Zog turned to Italy for financial aid. The Treaty of Tirana (1926) gave Italian loans in return for Albanian concessions; a defensive military alliance followed one year later. In 1928, Zog was proclaimed king as Zog I.
Albania's economy advanced during his reign, and a modern legal system was introduced. Zog attempted to avoid further Italian encroachment, but the appearance (1934) of an Italian fleet at Durazzo forced him into submission. In Apr., 1939, Italy invaded and quickly subdued Albania. Zog, who had married the Hungarian-American countess Geraldine Apponyi in 1938, fled with his queen and two-day-old son. Victor Emmanuel III, of Italy, was proclaimed king; he abdicated in 1943, and Communist partisans gained control of Albania (1944) and proclaimed it a people's republic (1946). Zog was in exile in England, Egypt, and France until his death; his remains were reinterred in Albania in 2012. Upon Zog's death, his son (1939–2011) was proclaimed Leka I by Albanian exiles; he eventually returned to Albania and died there.