|Most historians believe that the Albanian people are descended from a non-Slavic, non-Turkic group of tribes known as Illyrians,who, like other Balkan peoples, were subdivided into tribes and clans.|
Albanians (as one of innumerous Illyrian tribes) were named after their city state Albanopolis near a mountain called Alp 'mountain', Hittite alpa 'white'.However to propagate the connection, the Albanian government in the communist era adopted a policy of artificially naming people with "Illyrian" names. The name Albania is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Arbër, or Arbëresh, and later Albanoi, that lived near Durrës. The kingdom of Illyria grew from the general area of modern-day Albania and eventually controlled much of the eastern Adriatic coastline. Scodra was its capital, just as the city is now the most important urban center of northern Albania. The earliest known king of Illyria was Hyllus (Albanian: Ylli, English translation: "Star") who was recorded to have died in the year 1225 BC. The kingdom, however, reached the zenith of its expansion and development in the 4th century BC, when King Bardhyllus (Albanian: Bardhyli, English translation: "White Star"), one of the most prominent of the Illyrian kings, united the kingdoms of Illyria, Molossia and a good part of Macedon under his control. Its decay began under the same ruler as a result of the attacks made by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.
The Illyrians created and developed their culture and language in the western part of the Balkans, where ancient writers mentioned them in their works. The regions that the Illyrians inhabited were expansive, encompassing the western Balkan peninsula, north to central Europe, and east around the Lyhind Lake (Ohrid Lake). Other Illyrian tribes also migrated and developed in Italy. Among them were the Messapii and Iapyges. The name Illyria is mentioned in works since the 5th century BC.