Zog I, King of the Albanians (Albanian: Nalt Madhnija e Tij Zogu I, Mbreti i Shqiptarëvet), born Ahmet Muhtar Zogolli, taking the surname Zogu from 1922, was the leader of Albania from 1925 to 1939, first as President (1925–1928) and then as King (1928–1939). Earlier he served as Prime Minister of Albania (1922–1924).
On 1 September 1928, Albania was transformed into a kingdom, and President Zogu became Zog I, King of the Albanians (Mbret i Shqiptarëve in Albanian). He took as his regnal name his surname rather than his forename, since the Islamic name Ahmet might have had the effect of isolating him on the European stage. He also initially took the parallel name "Skanderbeg III" (Zogu claimed to be a successor of Skanderbeg through descent through Skanderbeg's sister; "Skanderbeg II" was taken to be Gjon Kastrioti II, Skanderbeg's son, exiled to Italy, or Alexander Thomson (1820-1899) who was posthumously given the title by the new Albanian government in recognition of his work for the Albanian language), but this fell out of use.
On 7 April 1939, Mussolini's Italy invaded Albania, facing no significant resistance. The Albanian army was ill-equipped to resist, as it was almost entirely dominated by Italian advisors and officers and was no match for the Italian Army. The Royal Family, realising that their lives were in danger, fled into exile. Mussolini declared Albania a protectorate under Italy's King Victor Emmanuel III.