The ethnic name Albanian was used by Byzantine and Latin sources in the forms arb-and alb-since at least the 2nd century A.D, and eventually in Old Albanian texts as an endonym. It was later replaced in Albania proper by the term Shqiptar, a change most likely trigged by the Ottoman conquests of the Balkans during the 15th century.
The words Shqipëri and Shqiptar are attested from 14th century onward,  but it was only at the end of 17th and beginning of the early 18th centuries that the placename Shqipëria and the ethnic demonym Shqiptarë gradually replaced Arbëria and Arbëreshë amongst Albanian speakers.
Prior to roughly the 17th and 18th centuries, Albanians called themselves ‘ Arbër ' or variations of it. The word ‘ Albanoi ' itself, which has become the Albanian exonym we all know, is derived from a Latin corruption of the name of an Illyrian tribe in Roman-era Albania - they possibly call
Albania, country in southern Europe, located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula on the Strait of Otranto, the southern entrance to the Adriatic Sea. The capital city is Tirana (Tiranë). Albanians refer to themselves as shqiptarë—often taken to mean “sons of eagles,” though it may well refer to “those associated with the shqip (i.e., Albanian) language”—and to their ...
Since the 16th century, however, Albanians themselves have called their language Shqipe, their country Shqiperia and themselves Shqiptare. Albanian scholars believe that these names are derived...
Answer (1 of 16): Hmmmmm… let me apply same criteria.. If the Italians are the ancient Romans, when did they change their name to Italians? If the French are the ancient Gaul's, when did they change their name to French ?
Post-17th century, Albanians began to call themselves Shqiptarë, the language shqip, and the country Shqipëria. The point is, even though we don’t have enough information on Albanians, even though we cannot connect them with an ancient Balkan group of people with certanity, we still have enough to say they have been a distinct group of people for as long as we can tell.