Hoti (tribe)

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For other uses, see Hoti (disambiguation).
Albanian bayraks as of 1918. Hoti and Gruda on the far left side.

Hoti is a Northern Albanian tribe and a historical tribal region of Malësia, located in northern Albania and southern Montenegro.[1]


The earliest known historical reference to the Hoti tribe was recorded in 1330, while in 1474 their region was mentioned in Latin sources as montanea ottanorum (English: Mountain of the Hotis).[2]

Before 1421, much of the Malësia area was incorporated into the Lordship of Zeta which was ruled by the powerful Balša family. The Balšići utilized the Montenegrin highlands as a sanctum for Serbian nobles seeking political asylum (as well as other Balkans who were outlawed or persecuted by the Ottoman conquerors). Sometime between 1356 and 1362 (during the reign of Balša I, and after the Balšić invasion of Shkodra) most of the indigenous people of Hoti abandoned the Malësia area and settled in the areas of Plav and Limaj (near Peć, in Kosovo). After this migration, the residual Hoti population only amounted to about seven houses.[citation needed]

According to the region's oral history, in 1412-3, the Hoti tribe was engaged in a major dispute over the possession of grazing lands with the neighboring Mataguži tribe. Balša III, the contemporary leader of the House of Balšić, was called to mediate the dispute. When he decided in favour of the Mataguzi, the Hoti tribe attacked the Mataguži tribe and took over the dipsuted areas. Shortly thereafter, a Mataguzi counter-attack claimed the lives of four Hoti clansmen.

After a long history of conflict with both the Ottomans and their (sometime) Venetian allies, the Balšić dynasty went extinct in 1421, after which time a new dynasty was founded in the area by Stefan Crnojević who fixed his capital at Žabljak on the north-eastern side of Lake Scutari and joined with his relative, the famous Scanderbeg, in many campaigns against the Turks.

In the latter half of the fifteenth century (during the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans), Serbs of Bosnia were pushed ever southward by the Turkish armies, eventually being pushed to Herzegovina by 1463. After the Turkish conquest of Herzegovina in 1476, of Albania in 1478, and the surrender of Shkodër by the Venetians in 1479, according to legend, a man named Keq Preka and his four sons moved southward from the Herzegovinan highlands to escape the mass migration of Slavs. They and many of the other Albanian-speaking peoples in the Herzegovina area kept moving until they found an area where they found a population that spoke the same language as theirs (most likely a form of Gheg Albanian).

At the outset of the northern Albanian resistance against Ottoman rule, the tribe of Hoti was credited with being the first of the northern Albanian clans to initiate the war for Albanian Independence. Of particular renown was the commander of the Albanian guerilla campaign against Turkish occupying forces, Ded Gjo Luli, perhaps Hoti's most distinguished hero. At the victorious Battle of Deçiq, Ded Gjo Luli was able to raise the Albanian standard in symbolic defiance of Ottoman rule (the Albanian standard had not been raised since the late fifteenth century, during the military campaigns of Scanderbeg). Because of its instrumental role in the resistance, Hoti is commonly held as the head the Albanian tribes of Malësia, and members of the tribe are routinely given places of honor at feasts even to this day.

The nearby Triesh tribe is considered by locals as the "younger brother" of Hoti, as the tribes share Keq Preka as a common ancestor.[citation needed] Hoti does not consider nearby {Triesh} as a "younger brother" they do not share Keq Preka since Hoti does not marry within Hot.


The majority of the Hoti are followers of the Roman Catholic faith and celebrate St. John the Baptist (Albanian: Shën Gjoni or Shnjoni) as their "feast" day. The day (August 29) commemorates the martyrdom (beheading) of Saint John the Baptist. There is also a significant minority in the region that follow Islam.


Hoti is divided into two subdivisions: Traboin and Rrapshë.[3] Rrapshë is divided into two, with one part belonging to Montenegro, and the other to Albania.

  • Rrapshë / Rapša (Montenegrin side)
  • Rrapshë (Albanian side)
    • Brigjë
    • Dacaj
    • Dajç
    • Firkuqe
    • Goca
    • Grykë
    • Kolçekaj
    • Lecaj (Lacaj?)
    • Lulashpepaj
    • Lugu i Fikut
    • Mihaj
    • Nikpregaj
    • Peperan
    • Rrapshë
    • Starë
    • Shegzë


There are two main branches of Hoti: Traboina (who are descended from Pjeter Gega) and Rapsha.[4]

Hoti are divided into the following families:[5][6][7]

  • Camaj (Camovići)
  • Dedvukaj (Dedvukovići)
  • Drekaj
  • Dushaj (Dušaj, Duševići)
  • Gjelaj (Đeljaj, Đeljevići)
  • Gjonaj (Đonaj, Đonovići)
  • Gojçaj (Gojčaj, Gojčevići)
  • Junçaj (Junčaj, Junčevići)
    • Lucgjonaj (Ljucđonaj, Ljucđonovići) - descend from Ljuc Gjoni Junçaj[8]
      • Çunmulaj (Čunmuljaj, Čunmulići)- descend from Çun Mula Lucgjonaj[8]
    • Otovići - descend from Keka (Osman) Gojçaj [9]
  • Lajçaj (Ljajčaj, Ljajčevići)
  • Nicaj (Nicovići)
  • Prelvucaj

Notable tribesmen[edit]

  • Ded Gjo Luli (Dedvukaj), Commander of the Malsor army in the Battle of Deçiq
  • Çun Mula (Lucgjonaj / Juncaj; Bajraktar)
  • Lucë Gjoni (Junçaj)
  • Stakë Breci Lucgjonaj
  • Baca Gjeka (Dedvukaj)
  • Vuksan Leka (Camaj)
  • Hasa Nika (Camaj)
  • Dedë Gjon Ujka (Camaj)
  • Nik Preloci (Camaj)
  • Pjetër Uci (Dedvukaj)
  • Luc Nik Preloci (Camaj)
  • Cuba Deli (Gojçaj; Bajraktar of Traboini)
  • Gjon Ujk Miculi (Gojcaj,Vojvode)
  • Luc Gjon Ujka (Gojçaj, Vojvode)
  • Zef Martin Zogu (Dedvukaj)
  • Pjetër Zef Smajli (Gojçaj)
  • Kolë Marash Vata (Gojçaj)
  • Tom Nika i Hotit (Gojçaj)
  • Mark Miri (Dedvukaj)
  • Gjon Pepaj (Gjonaj)
  • Kolë Miri (Dedvukaj)
  • Zef Hoti (Gjonaj)
  • Gjeto Mark Ujka (Junçaj)
  • Marash Uci (Gjonaj)
  • Kol Machi Hoti (Gjonaj)
  • T'Bijte e Calit (Gjonaj)
  • Lulash Zeka (Nicaj)
  • Mul Delia (Çunmuluaj, Junçaj)
  • Gjelosh Luli (Dedvukaj)
  • Gjelosh Frangu (Gjelaj)
  • Palok Traboini( Gojçaj-Sekretar of Ded Gjo Luli)
  • Zef Gjoku (Gjelaj)
  • Nikoll Luca (Dreshaj, Gjonaj)
  • Has Hoti (Gjelaj)
  • Kolë Zef Peri (Dushaj)
  • Pashko Deda (Dushaj)
  • Zef Koleci (Gjelaj)
  • Kolec Gjetja (Gjelaj)
  • Smajl Mustafa (Gojcaj), bajraktar i Traboinit
  • Mark Lushi (Gojcaj)
  • Preke Zeka (Dushaj), i internuar ne Anadolli
  • Rrok Pjeter Gila ( Gojcaj)

Notable People[edit]

  • Emina Cunmulaj (fashion model)


  1. ^ Robert Elsie (19 March 2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania. Scarecrow Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-8108-7380-3. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Elsie, Robert; Mathie-Heck, Janice (2005). The highland lute: (Lahuta e Malcís) : the Albanian national epic. I.B.Tauris. p. 427. ISBN 978-1-84511-118-2. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Jovićević 1923, p. 24-25
  4. ^ Kenneth Bourne; David Stevenson; Donald Cameron Watt; John F. V. Keiger (1989). British Documents on Foreign Affairs--reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print: Bulgaria, 1907-1914; Montenegro, 1895-1913. University Publications of America. p. 411. Retrieved 25 July 2013. ...the Hoti are divided into two branches, the Traboina and the Rapsha 
  5. ^ "Poreklo prezimena, selo Vuksanlekići (Podgorica)". (in Serbian). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Poreklo prezimena, selo Sukuruć (Podgorica)". (in Serbian). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Jovićević 1923, p. 23-24
  8. ^ a b "Prezimena u Crnoj Gori" (in Montenegrin). Montenegrin Ethnic Association of Australia. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Poreklo prezimena, selo Vladni (Podgorica)". (in Serbian). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.