Albanian Revolt of 1912

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Skopje after being captured by Albanian revolutionaries

The Albanian Revolt of 1912 was the final Albanian revolt in the Ottoman Empire and lasted from January until August 1912. After a series of successes, Albanian rebels managed to capture the city of Skopje, the administrative centre of Kosovo vilayet within the Ottoman rule.[1][2][3] The revolt ended when the Ottoman government agreed to fulfill the rebels' demands on September 4, 1912.

Prelude[edit]

Hasan Prishtina

The main reasons for all these revolts were changes for Albanians introduced by Young Turks, including tax increases, conscription for Albanians in the Ottoman army, and the disarming of the Albanian civil population.[4]

Albanians were not the only ones to start a rebellion against the Young Turks government. There were insurgencies in Syria and on the Arab peninsula.[5]

The first major Albanian revolt in 1910 led by Isa Boletini and Idriz Seferi was supported by Bulgaria and Montenegro.[6] After two weeks of fierce fighting the Albanian rebels withdrew to the Drenicë region and the rebellion was suppressed. Sultan Mehmed V visited Priština in June 1911 and declared an amnesty for all of those who had participated in the revolt, except for the ones who had committed murder.[7] In order to calm the situation the sultan introduced a number of concessions, including:[8]

  1. establishment of Albanian schools
  2. military service to be restricted to the territory of Kosovo vilayet
  3. suspension of all conscription and taxes for two years and
  4. appointment of government officials who speak the Albanian language.

At the end of 1911 a group of Albanian members of Ottoman parliament, led by Ismail Qemali, started a debate in parliament. They requested additional rights for Albanians in cultural and administrative spheres.[9]

In January 1912, Hasan Prishtina, Albanian deputy in Ottoman parliament, publicly warned members of parliament that the policy of Young Turks government was leading to a revolution in Albania.[9] After that speech Ismail Qemali proposed a meeting to Hasan Prishtina. They met at the same evening in house of Hasan Prishtina and agreed to organize an Albanian uprising.[10] The following day they met in Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul with Mufid Bey Libohova, Essad Pasha Toptani, Aziz Pasha Vrioni and Syreja Bey Vlora. They agreed to join their organizations and lead the Albanian uprising. Subsequently they took an oath on this promise at a meeting in Syreja Bey's house in Taxim.[11]

Events[edit]

Since the participation of the Kosovo played a central role in the uprising, it was decided that Ismail Qemali should organize delivery of 15.000 Mauser rifles to Kosovo via Montenegro.[12] Hassan Prishtina attempted to get support of Bulgaria by proposing creation of Albanian—Macedonian state to Pavlof, the Bulgarian deputy, who met him in British Consulate in Skopje.[13] British Consul from Skopje promised that United Kingdom will provide strong support to Albanians.[14]

The revolt started in the western part of Kosovo vilayet[15] and was led by Hasan Pristina, Nexhip Draga, Bajram Curri, Riza bej Gjakova and others.[16] Hasan Prishtina who was in the Kosovo vilayet during the revolt, and Ismail Qemali who was in Europe gathering weapons and money and attempting to win over European public opinion to the cause of the uprising, maintained communication through the British Consulate in Skopje.[17] Essad Pasha Toptani obliged himself to organize the uprising in Central Albania and Mirdita.[18]

Albanian soldiers and officers deserted the Ottoman military service and joined the insurgents.[9] Until August 1912 rebels managed to gain control over whole Kosovo vilayet (including Novi Pazar, Sjenica, Priština and even Skopje), part of Scutari Vilayet (including Elbasan, Përmet, Leskovik and Konitsa in Janina Vilayet and Debar in Monastir Vilayet).[19] One of important events that helped the Albanians rebels succeed was Italo-Turkish War that triggered revolts of Ottoman officers and soldiers who were reluctant to fight against predominantly Muslim Albanian rebels who were considered brothers in religion.[20]

List of demands[edit]

The Albanian rebels in Kosovo vilayet demanded a number of actions from the Young Turk administration. These demands were printed in emigrant newspapers published in the Kingdom of Bulgaria in the middle of March 1912, including the appointment of Albanian officers in government administration, the establishment of schools where Albanian was the medium of instruction, and the restriction of Albanians' conscription to the Ottoman Army, and to the territory of the Kosovo vilayet.[21]

Albanian rebels were divided; some supported the Young Turks government, others supported the Liberal Union, and some even wished to return to Abdul Hamid's autocracy.[22]

On August 9, 1912 Albanian rebels presented a new list of demands (the so-called list of Fourteen Points), related to the Albanian vilayet, that can be summarized as follows:[22]

  • autonomous system of administration and justice of four vilayets populated with Albanians (Albanian vilayet)
  • Albanians to perform military service only in territory of four vilayets populated with Albanians, except in time of war
  • employing officials who know local language and customs, but not necessarily Albanians,
  • establishment of new licees and agricultural schools in the bigger districts
  • reorganization and modernization of the religious schools and use of Albanian language in secular schools
  • freedom to establish private schools and societies
  • the development of trade, agriculture and public works
  • general amnesty for all Albanians involved in revolt
  • court martial for those Ottoman officers who attempted to suppress the revolt

The Ottoman government ended the Albanian revolts by accepting all demands (ignoring only the last one) on September 4, 1912.[23] Hasan Prishtina was planning to start a new revolt in three or four months, but the First Balkan War broke out soon and destroyed his plans.[24]

Aftermath[edit]

Further information: First Balkan War

The success of the Albanian Revolt and news from the Italo-Turkish War sent a strong signal to the neighboring countries that the Ottoman Empire was weak.[25] Demonstration of the weakness of the Ottoman Empire and promises of Albanian autonomy on the territory that covered the four vilayets of Macedonia and Old Serbia constituted a direct extermination threat to the Christian nationalities.[26] Such demonstration of weakness of the Ottoman Empire and the threatened existence of Christian nationalities were two out of three main causes for the First Balkan War.[26] The Kingdom of Serbia opposed the plan for a Greater Albania, preferring a partition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among the four Balkan allies.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liotta, P. H.; Jebb, Cindy R. (2004). Mapping Macedonia: Idea and Identity. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-275-98247-8. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Phillips, John (2004). "The rise of Albanian nationalism". Macedonia: warlords and rebels in the Balkans. London: I.B. Tauris. p. 29. ISBN 1-86064-841-X. "An Albanian uprising in Kosovo for independent schools in May 1912 led to capture of Skopje by rebels in August" 
  3. ^ Taru Bahl; M.H. Syed (2003). "The Balkan Wars and creation of Independent Albania". Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World. New Delhi: Anmol publications PVT. Ltd. p. 53. ISBN 81-261-1419-3. "The Albanians once more raise against Ottoman Empire in May 1912 and took Macedonian capitol of Skopje by August" 
  4. ^ Gurakuqi, Romeo (November 2007). "The Highland Uprising of 1911" (php). Shoqata Dedë Gjo' Luli Association. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "It was provoked by the laws passed by the new regime that claimed to loyally implement the old fiscal policy on the extremely impoverished population, impose new heavy taxes upon people, forcefully recruit Albanians for the Turkish army, continue the process of the entire population disarmament, extend its absolute power all over Albania, even over those regions that had always enjoyed certain privileges." 
  5. ^ Kayalı, Hasan (1997). "Arabs and the Young Turks, Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908–1918". University of California Press. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 ... confronted insurgencies in Syria, Albania, and Arabia (i.e., the Arabian Peninsula)." 
  6. ^ Ćorović, Vladimir (November 2001) [1997]. "Balkanski ratovi". Istorija srpskog naroda (in Serbian). Belgrade: Ars Libri. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "Taj ustanak pomagale su donekle Bugarska i Crna Gora," 
  7. ^ Elsie, Robert (2004). Historical dictionary of Kosova. United States of America: Scarecrow Press Inc. p. xxx. ISBN 0-8108-5309-4. "and proclaimed amnesty for those who participated in 1910 uprising" 
  8. ^ Stanford J. Shaw; Ezel Kural Shaw (2002) [1977]. "Clearing the Decks: Ending the Tripolitanian War and the Albanian Revolt". History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey 2. United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge. p. 288. ISBN 0-521-29166-6. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "In June 1911 the sultan himself visited Kosova to calm the situation, signing decree of amnesty and introducing many concessions, including Albanians schools, military service to be performed only in the province, suspension of all conscriptions and taxes for two years, and the use of the officials conversant in Albanian." 
  9. ^ a b c Zhelyazkova, Antonina (2000). "Albania and Albanian Identities". International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "In December 1911, a group of Albanian members of the Ottoman parliament, guided by Ismail Qemal, started a parliamentary debate in order to make Constantinople grant the Albanians national rights in the cultural and administrative spheres." 
  10. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "Ismail Kemal Bey ... proposed that we meet for dinner at my house... We discussed ... and finally decided to put an end to Turkish outrages with an uprising." 
  11. ^ Hasan Prishtina. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "on the next day at the Pera Palace Hotel... meeting with the following men: Mufid Bey Libohova, Essad Pasha Toptani, Aziz Pasha Vrioni and Syreja Bey Vlora.... we realised that they held the same views as we did, we decided to hold a meeting at the home of Syreja Bey, in Taksim... we all swear an oath... decided to organise an uprising" 
  12. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "Kosovo was to play a central role in the matter. For this reason, it was decided to find and send fifteen thousand Mauser rifles into Kosovo, through Montenegro." 
  13. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "I went to meet Mr Pavlof, one-time deputy for Skopje ... for the rights of the Albanians and Bulgarians... I believe that the time has come to ... joint uprising with a view to creating an autonomous Albanian-Macedonian state." 
  14. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "... providing strong support for an Albania taking up arms for the cause of freedom." 
  15. ^ Elsie, Robert (2004). Historical dictionary of Kosova. United States of America: Scarecrow Press Inc. p. xxx. ISBN 0-8108-5309-4. "1912 spring: beginning of uprising in many parts of western Kosova" 
  16. ^ Clayer, Nathalie (2007). Aux origines du nationalisme albanais: La naissance d'une nation majoritairement musulmane en Europe. KARTHALA Editions. p. 700. ISBN 978-2-84586-816-8. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  17. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "Ismail Kemal was ... staying in Europe to help gather weapons and money and to win over European public opinion ... agreed to keep in contact through the British Consulate in Skopje." 
  18. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "Essad Pasha assured us that he could manage things in Central Albania and Mirdita." 
  19. ^ Bogdanović, Dimitrije (November 2000) [1984]. "Albanski pokreti 1908-1912.". In Antonije Isaković. Knjiga o Kosovu (in Serbian) 2. Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Archived from the original on 31 January 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "... ustanici su uspeli da ... ovladaju celim kosovskim vilajetom do polovine avgusta 1912, što znači da su tada imali u svojim rukama Prištinu, Novi Pazar, Sjenicu pa čak i Skoplje... U srednjoj i južnoj Albaniji ustanici su držali Permet, Leskoviku, Konicu, Elbasan, a u Makedoniji Debar..." 
  20. ^ Ćorović, Vladimir (2001) [1997]. "Balkanski ratovi". In Zoran Stefanović. Istorija srpskog naroda (in Serbian). Belgrade: Ars Libri. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "Ali glavni plamen na Balkan bacila je Italija ... 16. (29.) septembra, kad je objavila rat Turskoj.... Pod uticajem talijanskog rata javili su se u Turskoj pokreti i prave pobune činovnika i vojnika, koji nisu hteli da protiv Arnauta upotrebljavaju preke mere i oružje. ...Kako je u ustanku učestvovalo i dosta muslimanskih Arbanasa čuli su se i protesti: zašto da pravoverni dižu svoje ruke na jednovernu braću." 
  21. ^ Bogdanović, Dimitrije (November 2000) [1984]. "Albanski pokreti 1908-1912.". In Antonije Isaković. Knjiga o Kosovu [Books about Kosovo] (in Serbian) 2. Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Archived from the original on 31 January 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2011. "... već sredinom marta 1912. u jednom emigrantskom listu koji je izlazio u Bugarskoj objavljen zahtev albanskih ustanika: imenovanje Albanaca za činovnike u vilajetu, otvaranje albanskih škola, vojna služba za Albance samo u granicama vilajeta...." 
  22. ^ a b Shaw, Stanford J.; Ezel Kural Shaw (2002) [1977]. "Clearing the Decks: Ending the Tripolitanian War and the Albanian Revolt". History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey 2. United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge. p. 293. ISBN 0-521-29166-6. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "The Albanians themselves were divided, some supporting the CUP and others Liberal Union, with some even wishing to return to Abdulahmid's autocracy." 
  23. ^ Shaw, Stanford J.; Ezel Kural Shaw (2002) [1977]. "Clearing the Decks: Ending the Tripolitanian War and the Albanian Revolt". History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey 2. United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge. p. 293. ISBN 0-521-29166-6. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "Therefore, with only the final point being ignored, on September 4, 1912 the government accepted proposals and the Albanian revolt was over" 
  24. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian, translated on English by Robert Elsie). Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "I told the honoured gentlemen that we would organise another uprising in three or four months’ time and would then declare independence ... the Balkan War soon broke out, which destroyed all of our plans." 
  25. ^ Warrander, Gail; Verena Knaus (November 2007). Kosovo. United States of America: The Globe Pequot Press. p. 12. ISBN 1-84162-199-4. "At the same time the rebellion sent strong signal to Kosovo neighbors that the Ottoman Empire was weak." 
  26. ^ a b c Josef Redlich; Baron d'Estournelles, M. Justin Godart, Walter Shucking, Francis W. Hirst, H. N. Brailsford, Paul Milioukov, Samuel T. Dutton (1914). "Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and the Conduct of the Balkan Wars". Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Piece. p. 47. Retrieved January 10, 2011. "This demonstration of Turkish weakness encouraged new allies, the more so that the promises of Albanian autonomy, covering the four vilayets of Macedonia and Old Servia, directly threatened the Christian nationalities with extermination." 

Further reading[edit]