Essad Pasha Toptani

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For other Esad Pasha, see Esad Pasha.
Essad Pasha Toptani
Essad Pasha Toptani.jpg
3rd Prime Minister of Albania
In office
5 October 1914 – 23 February 1916
Preceded by Turhan Pashë Përmeti
Succeeded by Turhan Pashë Përmeti
Personal details
Born c. 1863
Tirana, Ottoman Empire
Died 13 June 1920
Paris, France
Religion Sufi Islam
Military service
Allegiance  Ottoman Empire
Service/branch  Ottoman Army

Essad Pasha Toptani or Esad Pasha Toptani (Albanian: Esad Pashë Toptani; c.. 1863 – 13 June 1920), primarily known as Essad Pasha, was Ottoman army officer, Albanian deputy in the Ottoman parliament, and politician in the early 20th century in Albania. He was cooperating with the Balkan League after the Balkan Wars[1] and established a state in central Albania, based in Durrës, called the Republic of Central Albania.[2]


Essad Pasha surrendering Shkodra to Montenegrins

Essad Pasha was born in 1863 in Tirana, Ottoman Empire (today Republic of Albania). He belonged to prominent landowning family Toptani which founded contemporary Tirana.[3] He became a supporter of the Young Turks following the assassination of his brother (Gani Bey Toptani) by forces loyal to Sultan Abdul Hamid II.[citation needed] He served as deputy for Albania in the Ottoman parliament and was proclaimed as Albanian king in Absentia for a few days in June 1920, before his assassination.

During the Albanian Revolt of 1912 Essad Pasha Toptani obliged himself to organize the uprising in Central Albania and Mirdita.[4] He was one of the commanders of the Ottoman forces at Scutari, until the city surrendered to Montenegro in 1913 in the First Balkan War. Essad Pasha was allowed in return to leave the town with his army and all their weaponry to become involved in the struggle over power in central Albania.[1] Official Serbia simultaneously helped a number of other small tribal chiefs who resisted Ismail Qemali's government, directing them towards cooperation with Essad Pasha.[1] He was accused of fomenting a Peasant Revolt in Albania against William of Wied.[5] Essad Pasha was exiled to Italy, without trial,[6][7] but returned to Albania following the ouster of William in September by the movement of the Peasant Revolt in Albania. In autumn 1914 he decided to accept invitation of Senate of the Central Albania to return to Albania to take over the power.[8] First, he had to provide financial backing for his government. Therefore he travelled to Niš, Kingdom of Serbia, where he and Serbian prime minister Pašić signed the secret Treaty of Serbian-Albanian Alliance on 17 September 1914.[9] In October 1914 Essad Pasha returned to Albania. With Italian and Serbian financial backing he established armed forces in Dibër and captured interior of Albania and Dures. Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pašić ordered that his followers be aided with money and arms.[1]

Though his rule was not stable because of the First World War. In the end of 1914, Essad secretly agreed with the Greek government to support the annexation of the southern provinces, known to Greeks as Northern Epirus, to the Kingdom of Greece.[10] He also succeeded in controlling much of central Albania until 1916, when he left for Serbia and Greece to help them in their war against Austria-Hungary. After the war, he travelled to France, to represent Albania at the Paris Peace Conference.

For the next two years, Essad Pasha remained in Paris, attempting to organize recognition for Albania from the Great Powers and reject the secret pact of London, which planned the division of Albania. During this time Tirana and much of central Albania was controlled by his Field Commander, Osman Bali.[citation needed]


On 13 June 1920, Avni Rustemi assassinated Essad Pasha in Paris when he left Hotel Continental. Although living in Paris and away from legislative governing of Albania, Essad Pasha claimed to still be the ruler of the state and attempted to represent Albania in the Paris Peace Conference. The governmental delegation didn't permit him to do so as they were going to represent Albania themselves.[11][not in citation given] The assassination was largely seen as a heroic act as it has historically been seen as a signal of a new bourgeois revolution against the feudal traditions of Albania and a crossing bridge in the newly democratic-bourgeois values.[12]
Essad Pasha was buried in the Serbian Military Cemetery in Paris,[13][14] after staying for a long time unburied in the mortuary.[15] He is still remembered between Albanians as one of the most negative historical figures and the symbol of treason.[13][16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Serbian government and Essad Pasha Toptani
  2. ^ Robert Elsie, Essad Pasha Toptani
  3. ^ Pettifer, James. "Ihsan Bey Toptani". The Independent. Retrieved 25 January 2011. "The Toptani family were in many ways the founders of contemporary Tirana" 
  4. ^ 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 10 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011. "Essad Pasha assured us that he could manage things in Central Albania and Mirdita." 
  5. ^ Elsie, Robert. "Albania under prince Wied". Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. "It was obvious to Wied and the Dutch officers that Essad Pasha had his hand in the unrest." 
  6. ^ Heaton-Armstrong, Duncan (2005). "An Uprising in the Six-Month Kingdom". Gervase Belfield and Bejtullah Destani (I.B. Tauris, in association with the Centre for Albanian Studies). Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. "Essad would be sent into exile, without a trial." 
  7. ^ Elsie, Robert. "Albania under prince Wied". Archived from the original on 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. "to exile Essad Pasha to Italy" 
  8. ^ Bataković, Dušan T., "Serbian government and Essad Pasha Toptani", The Kosovo Chronicles, Belgrade, Serbia: Knižara Plato, ISBN 86-447-0006-5, archived from the original on 19 January 2011, retrieved 19 January 2011, "The senate of free towns in central Albania invited Essad Pasha to take over power." 
  9. ^ Bataković, Dušan T., "Serbian government and Essad Pasha Toptani", The Kosovo Chronicles, Belgrade, Serbia: Knižara Plato, ISBN 86-447-0006-5, archived from the original on 19 January 2011, retrieved 19 January 2011, "Essad Pasha signed a secret alliance treaty with Pasic on September 17." 
  10. ^ George B. Leon. Greece and the First World War: from neutrality to intervention, 1917-1918. East European Monographs, 1990, ISBN 978-0-88033-181-4, p358: "In return, Essad reconfirmed a promise he had made in the fall of 1914 to support Greece's annexation of North Epirus. However, while he was willing to come to a secret agreement with the Greek government on this question, he indicated that in order to be able to counterbalance the weight of the common adversary, that "is Italy, and to stabilize his influence in Albania he could not recognize publicly Greece's claim."
  11. ^ Edith Pierpont Stickney (1926), Southern Albania, 1912-1923, Stanford University Press, p. 112, ASIN B0008636AW, OCLC 2438817, retrieved 31.10.13 
  12. ^ Miranda Vickers The Albanians: a modern history IB Tauris (2006) page 96 [1]
  13. ^ a b Firma e Esat Pashës për bashkimin e Shqipërisë me Serbinë [Signature of Essad Pasha for annexation of Albania into Serbia] (in Albanian), Bota Sot, 6.4.13, retrieved 31.10.13 
  14. ^ 1919 Essad Pasha Toptani: Memorandum on Albania, Robert Elsie, retrieved 31.10.13 
  15. ^ ESSAD PASHA'S BODY STILL WAITS BURIAL; Great Albanian, Shot in Paris 14 Months Ago, Lies With Unknowns in the Mortuary., NY Times, 7 August 1921, retrieved 31.10.13 
  16. ^ Puto: Esat Pashë Toptani nuk ka rehabilitim [Puto: There is no rehabilitation for Essad Pasha Toptani] (in Albanian), AMA News, 10.11.2012, retrieved 31.10.13 
  17. ^ Bajram Peci, Ne 100-vjetorin e tradhtareve te atdheut [On the 100th anniversary of the National Traitors] (in Albanian),, retrieved 31.10.13 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Turhan Pashë Përmeti
Prime Minister of Albania
5 October 1914 – 24 February 1916
Succeeded by
Turhan Pashë Përmeti
Essad Pasha Toptani
Born: c. 1863 Died: 13 June 1920
Regnal titles
Preceded by
New title
King of the Albanians
27 April 1913 – 7 March 1914
Succeeded by
Vidi I
Preceded by
King of the Albanians
early June 1920 – 13 June 1920
Succeeded by