Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country which is called Shqipëri by its inhabitants. In Medieval Greek, the country's name is Albania (Greek: Αλβανία) besides variants Albanitia, Arbanitia.

The name may be derived from the Illyrian tribe of the Albani recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria who drafted a map in 150 AD[11] that shows the city of Albanopolis (located northeast of Durrës).

The name may have a continuation in the name of a medieval settlement called Albanon and Arbanon, although it is not certain this was the same place.[13] In his History written in 1079–1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was the first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium.[14] During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbër or Arbën and referred to themselves as Arbëresh or Arbnesh.

As early as the 16th century, a new name for their home evolved among Albanian people: Shqipëria, popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" or "Land of the Mountain Eagle" hence the two-headed bird on the national flag,[17] though most likely the origin lies in Skanderbeg's use of the Byzantine double-headed eagle on his seals.
Under the Ottoman Empire Albania was referred to officially as Arnavutluk and its inhabitants as Arnauts.