Kara Mahmud Bushati

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Kara Mahmud Bushati (also Kara Mahmud Bushatlliu; died 1796) was a noble of the Bushati family in Ottoman Albania near the city of Shkodër. He was the 3rd Head vizier of the Albanian Pashalik of Scutari In the 1780s his rebellious character brought him into conflict with the Ottomans. This conflict is regarded in Albanian historiography as a bid to create an independent principality. However, the immediate cause of the conflict with the Ottomans was his clash with the Tosk Pashas of Southern Albania, namely Ali Pasha and Kurd Ahmet Pasha. His major quarrels were with Montenegro, which he attacked in 1785. During his attacks in Montenegro he even burned Cetinje.

During his conflict with the Southern Albanian Pashas he was approached by the Austrians and Russians who wanted to use him against the Ottomans. They offered to convert Bushati to Christianity, thus recognizing him as king of Albania. Bushati accepted this proposal. However, upon learning that they wanted to hand his lands to Montenegro, he rejected their offers in 1788, and beheaded the delegation instead, sending their heads as trophies to the Ottoman Sultan who pardoned him for his quarrels with the local Pashas.

Bushati continued to quarrel with the Ottoman Empire, however, by annexing Kosovo and large parts of Montenegro and by instituting military and political reforms in his state without permission from the Porte. Through these efforts, he hoped to create an independent Muslim pashalik free from Ottoman control. To prevent these efforts, the Ottomans sent an expedition into Bushati's realm and besieged Shkodër, which was garrisoned by Bushati's most faithful men. The siege was lifted and the Ottoman expedition retreated. The Ottomans sent another expedition into Albania, besieging Shkodër, but again failed to subdue it.

Kara Mahmud Pasha was defeated in his attempt to subdue again Montenegro in 1796. He was defeated by the Montenegrin clans of Piperi and Bjelopavlići in the Battle of Krusi and was decapitated by Bogdan Vukov from village Zalaz. His skull is still on display in Cetinjski manastir. His brother Ibrahim Bushati continued to work with the Ottoman Empire until his death in 1810. Ibrahim served as Beylerbey of Rumelia and played an important role on crushing the Serbian revolt of Karađorđe.

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Preceded by
Mustafa Pasha Bushati
Pasha of Scutari
1778–1796
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Bushati