Albania has been successively part of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. It became independent in 1912 and was a monarchy from 1924 to 1939, when it was invaded by fascist Italy. The Albanian Communist Party, formed in 1941, seized control of the country in 1944, installing one of the harshest communist dictatorships of modern history. Under Enver Hoxha, Albania was declared an atheist nation in 1967, and all religious and traditional beliefs were forbidden. It was a fear-driven regime, clamping down on all who resisted, intellectuals, clergy, and other opponents. Many Orthodox and Catholic bishops and priests were killed or sent to prison. Albania was politically and economically isolated from the rest of the world, including the communist world. In 1990, in the context of the end of the cold war and under internal pressure within the party and by the people, the communist regime collapsed. Since then, Albania has gone through several crises of instability, due in part to the conflicts in the Balkans. The political and economic situation is improving, but slowly. The two largest churches, Orthodox and Catholic, have re-established themselves. Islam has also re-affirmed itself in Albania. There has been a considerable influx of Evangelical, Pentecostal and other Christian faith missions. Relationships between the faith communities are on the whole tolerant. There is no council of churches.