A revolution in 1924 led to his flight, but he returned with Yugoslav backing and became (Jan., 1925) president of the Albanian republic. Zog turned to Italy for financial aid.
The Treaty of Tirana (1926) gave Italian loans in return for Albanian concessions; a defensive military alliance followed one year later. In 1928, Zog was proclaimed king as Zog I. Albania's economy advanced during his reign, and a modern legal system was introduced.
Zog attempted to avoid further Italian encroachment, but the appearance (1934) of an Italian fleet at Durazzo forced him into submission. In Apr., 1939, Italy invaded and quickly subdued Albania. Zog, who had married the Hungarian-American countess Geraldine Apponyi in 1938, fled with his queen and two-day-old son. Victor Emmanuel III, of Italy, was proclaimed king; he abdicated in 1943, and a Communist government gained control of Albania and proclaimed it (1946) a people's republic. Zog remained in exile in Egypt and in France until his death.