The area known as Albania today has been populated since prehistoric times.
In antiquity, much of it was settled by the Illyrians, who are the ancestors of present-day Albanians. It was around the turn of the third millennium B.C. that an Indo-European population settled there. The result of this melding of cultures was the creation of a population incorporating the unique cultural and linguistic characteristics of the whole Balkan Peninsula. Based on this ancient population, the Illyrian people developed through the second millennium and the first century B.C. After its collapse in the year 30 B.C., Illyria came under the control of the Roman Empire. Upon the division of the Roman Empire in 395 A.D., Illyria became a part of the Byzantine Empire. The Greeks arrived in the 5th century B.C. to establish self-governing colonies in Epidamnos (now Durrës), Apollonia, and Butrint, and they established an expansive trading system with the Illyrians, who formed tribal states in the IV century B.C.