Zog I, born Ahmed Muhtar bey Zogolli, taking the name Ahmet Zogu in 1922, was the leader of Albania from 1922 to 1939. He first served as Albanian prime minister, then as president, and finally as king.
Born to a beylik family in Ottoman Albania, Zog was active in Albanian politics from a young age and fought on the side of Austria-Hungary during the First World War. He held various ministerial posts in the Albanian government before being driven into exile in June 1924, but returned later in the year with Yugoslav and White Russian military support and was subsequently elected prime minister. Zog was elected president in January 1925 and vested with dictatorial powers, with which he enacted major domestic reforms, suppressed civil liberties, and struck an alliance with Benito Mussolini's Italy. In September 1928, Albania was proclaimed a monarchy and he acceded to the throne as Zog I, King of the Albanians. He married Geraldine Apponyi de Nagy-Appony in 1938; their only child Leka was born a year later.
Albania fell further under Italian influence during Zog's reign, and by the end of the 1930s the country had become almost fully dependent on Italy despite Zog's resistance.