Oso Kuka

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Oso Kuka (c. 1820-1862) was an Albanian military commander and an early proponent of the Albanian National Awakening. Surrounded by Montenegrin soldiers in a tower in the island of Vranina, he blew it up killing himself and many of the enemy soldiers. In the following decades he became a rallying figure of the Albanian independence movement and a much celebrated character of important works in Albanian literature.

Life[edit]

Born around 1820 in Shkodër Oso Kuka was a border guard on the Ottoman-Montenegrin border. At the outbreak of the Ottoman-Montenegrin hostilities of 1861-2 the area was in a state of general turmoil as a result of the popular revolts against the centralization policies of the Ottoman governor Abdi Pasha. Oso Kuka himself had formed a 24-man band (çetë) that was active in the city.[1] At the head of a small group, Oso Kuka arrived on the battlefields where 8,000 Montenegrin soldiers had been besieging the fort of Vranina. Kuka and his groups were defending a secondary tower in front of the main tower. When it was surrounded, instead of surrendering, Kuka planted explosives in the tower, which he activated when the Montenegrins stormed the tower and killed many enemy soldiers along with his group.[2]

Legacy[edit]

Oso Kuka over the decades became a major rallying figure of the Albanian national awakening. One of the most important representations of Oso Kuka in literature is that in Gjergj Fishta's epic Lahuta e Malcis. Oso Kuka's involvement in the war and his death comprise the first five cantos also known as the "cycle of Oso Kuka".[3] Ndre Zadeja also wrote a melodrama titled Oso Kuka, based on his life.[4]

His residence in Shkodër houses the city's historical museum, while his second house in Vranjina is a local landmark known as the "house of Oso Kuka".[2]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "Oso Kuka, hero me vulën e popullit, jo të qeverisë". Gazeta Shqip. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Elsie, Robert (2012-12-24). A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. I.B.Tauris. p. 263. ISBN 9781780764313. 
  3. ^ Elsie, Robert (2006-01-08). Albanian Literature: A Short History. I.B.Tauris. p. 123. ISBN 9781845110314. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Banham, Martin (1995-09-21). The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780521434379. Retrieved 28 January 2013.