Gjin Bua Spata

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Gjin Bua Spata (1310-1399), also known as John Bua Spata, was an Albanian ruler of the Despotate of Arta.[1] He was part of the noble Shpata family.[2] He was also despot of Angelokastro and Acheloos (1358–1399), Lord of Arta 1375, Lord of Lepanto, Despot of Arta and Lepanto.[3]

Ruler and Despot of Arta[edit]

In the summer of 1358, Nikephoros II Doukas, the last despot of Epirus that belonged to the Orsini dynasty, fought against the Albanian forces in the Battle of Achelous (1359) near the river Acheloos, Acarnania. The Albanians won the war and managed to create two new states in the Southern Despotate of Epirus.

After the fall of the Orsini dynasty of the Despotate of Epirus, the Serbian lords of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, divided the territory between them and the Albanian rulers that supported the Serbian campaign.

The first of the two Albanian lead states had its capital in Arta and was under the Albanian nobleman Peter Losha. The second, centered in Angelokastron, was ruled by Gjin Bua Shpata. After the death of Peter Losha in 1374, the Albanian despotates of Arta and Angelocastron were united under the rule of Despot Gjin Bua Shpata. The territory of this Despotate was from the Corinth Gulf to Acheron River in the North. The Despotate of Epirus, just north of the Despotate of Arta, managed to control in this period only the eastern part of Epirus, together with Vagenetia (Thesprotia). Its capital was Ioannina.

North of the Despotate of Epirus was another Albanian state, the Principality of John Zenevisi.

During this period the Despotate of Epirus was ruled by Thomas II Preljubović, who was in an open conflict with Gjin. In 1375, Gjin started an offensive in Ioannina, but he couldn't invade the city. Although Spata married Thomas'sister Helena, their war did not stop. In 1380 and 1382 Thomas allied with the Ottomans against Gjin.[4]

In the same period Spata started a war against Leonardo I Tocco, who was the ruler of Cefalonia and Leucada. Spata died on 29 October 1399, under the continuous pressure of Preljubović and Tocco, whose son would become the next despot of Epirus.[5]

Shpata family[edit]

Gjin was part of the noble Albanian Spata and Bua families. Bua family were descendants of Meksi noble family.[6][verification needed] His father Pietro Bua Spata was lord of Gjirokastër and Delvina.[7]
His genealogical tree is not well documented. It was first outlined by Karl Hopf in his Chroniques Greco-Romanes (p. 531) and by K. Sathas in the 19th century but a newer study finds that those works have many mistakes and gaps.[8] An anonymous source, based mainly on Hopf's work, gives this family tree

[verification needed]]]

G. Schiró studied the genealogy of Spata based on the original sources, i.e. the "Chronicle of Ioannina" and the "Chronicle of Tocco", but also on the Venetian archives. He proposed a family tree quiet different from that of Hopf. For example, Pietro Bua had not only three sons but four. Gjin Bua Spata had not any son but only daughters. His daughter Irene married three times. He believes that the family was extinct with the death of Yaqub in 1416. Other people, mainly condottieri, with the name "Bua" are not blood relatives of this family but this name was used by many as first name since it became famous.[9]


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica "He (Stefan Dusan) was able to assert Serbian control over northern Epirus and fought with the Albanian lords of Arta (Ghin Bua Spata and Peter Ljoša) in the south, eventually defeating them with Ottoman help"
  2. ^ The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present. Edwin E. Jacques. P. 166 ISBN 0-89950-932-0
  3. ^ a b Marek, Miroslav. "Bua Spatas family". Retrieved 15 July 2010. [self-published source][better source needed]
  4. ^ Johnson, Raphael (2000). TBR. TBR 6. TBR Co. p. 41. 
  5. ^ "History of Albanian People" Albanian Academy of Science. ISBN 99927-1-623-1
  6. ^ http://books.google.al/books?id=P5quHAAACAAJ&dq=thoma+noti&hl=en&output=html_text&sa=X&ei=_3b4U5uZBbPR4QSfn4DoBg&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAw. (Meksi family appeared around X century and they were the initial branch of Bua noble family)
  7. ^ Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici, Volumes 5-9 Author Università di Roma. Istituto di studi bizantini e neoellenici, 1968 Original from the University of Virginia
  8. ^ Schiró Giuseppe, La genealogia degli Spata tra il XIV e XV sec. e due Bua sconosciouti, Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici, Universita di Roma, Roma, 1971-1972, pp. 67-85.
  9. ^ Schiró G. p. 81
Preceded by
Post created
Despot of Angelokastron and Lepanto
Succeeded by
Post abolished
Preceded by
Peter Losha
Despot of Arta
Succeeded by
Muriq Shpata