Ali Pasha of Gusinje

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Ali Pasha of Gusinje
Ali pasha i Prizrenska liga (1).jpg
Picture of Ali Pasha (sitting, first from the left) with Haxhi Zeka (sitting in the middle) and some other members of Prizren League
Birth name Ali Hasan Shabanagaj
Born 1828
Gusinje, Ottoman Empire
Died 5 March 1888
Peć, Ottoman Empire (now Kosovo)
Buried at Peć, Kosovo
Allegiance  Ottoman Empire
League of Prizren (1878-1881)
Years of service 1845—1889
Battles/wars Battle of Novšiće

Ali Pasha Shabanagaj (1828–1888) (Serbian: Али-паша Шабанагић, Ali-paša Šabanagić), was an Albanian military commander and one of the leaders of the League of Prizren.[1] He governed, as an Ottoman kaymakam (sub-governor), an area in what is today eastern Montenegro around Plav and Gusinje. He was commonly known as Ali Pasha of Gusinje (Albanian: Ali Pashë Gucia, Serbian: Али-паша Гусињски, Ali-paša Gusinjski).[2] He was the leader of the Albanian irregular troops of the League of Prizren against the Principality of Montenegro at the Battle of Novšiće.


Ali was born in 1828 in Gusinje, to landowner Hasan-bey Šabanagić.[3] He finished Turkish-language school in medresa in Peć and military school in Istanbul. In 1845 Ali was appointed as kaymakam (sub-governor) of Gusinje, succeeding his father on this position.[3][4][5] In the 1860s he supported the uprising of northern Albanian Muslim tribes against Tanzimat reforms which reduced their privileged status.[3]

The League of Prizren was established with Ottoman support in 1878, after the Congress of Berlin decided to cede the towns of Plav and Gusinje, which were notably Muslim Albanian-inhabited, to the Principality of Montenegro. Ali Pasha was one of its founders and military commanders in the region of Plav and Gusinje. He was one of the commanders of irregulars mobilized by the League against the Montenegrin forces in the Battle of Novšiće and later against the forces of Ottoman Empire. In the early phases of the attack against Mehmed Ali Pasha he commanded the volunteer troops that blocked the routes from Đakovica to the Ottoman-Montenegrin border. He was also the leader of the Albanian troops of the League of Prizren against the Principality of Montenegro at the Battle of Novšiće.[6]

After the irregulars of the League of Prizren were crushed by the Ottomans in 1881, Ali Pasha of Gusinje was arrested.[7] He was released after the Sultan gave general amnesty and appointed on the position of mutesarrif of the Ottoman Sanjak of İpek because he did not object the Ottoman rule and maintained a close connection with the Porte throughout the conflict being more concerned to prevent Montenegro to capture Plav and Gusinje. In 1881, during his visit to Istanbul, he was promoted to the rank of beylerbey.[8]


An attemption to assassinate Ali Pasha was undertaken in the Rugova Canyon on 29 November 1887, organized by Albanian nationalist Haxhi Zeka, which he survived but died on 5 March 1888. The assassination was carried out by Adem Guska.[3][9]

Lahuta e Malcis[edit]

In the Albanian national epic poem Lahuta e Malcis (English: Highland Lute) Ali Pasha of Gusinje is presented as a blazing hero and is the central figure of the 8th canto and one of the important figures of the 9th canto.[10]


  1. ^ Ekrem Vlora (1973). Lebenserinnerungen: 1912 bis 1925. Oldenbourg Verlag. pp. 288–. ISBN 978-3-486-47571-5. 
  2. ^ Mihailo Maletić; Anton Berisha (1973). Kosovo nekad i danas. Borba-Radna jedinica ekonomiska politika. 
  3. ^ a b c d Robert Elsie (2012-12-24). A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. I.B.Tauris. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-78076-431-3. born into the Shabanagic family 
  4. ^ Чупић, Никола (1898). Годишњица Николе Чупића. Штампа Државне штампарије Краљевине Југославије. p. 132. 
  5. ^ Folklore macédonien. Institut za folklor. 1980. p. 65. Али-паша Гусињски (Гусиња), понапрежен кајмакам и земјопосед- ник во Гусиње, а во ... 
  6. ^ Zeitschrift für Balkanologie. R. Trofenik. 1983. p. 140. 
  7. ^ Appletons' Annual Cyclopædia and Register of Important Events of the Year ... 9. D. Appleton & Company. 1885. pp. 764–. 
  8. ^ Mikić, Đorđe (1988). Društvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih srba u XIX i početkom XX veka. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. p. 25. Тако је вођ скадароког крила Лигиних снага Али-паша Гусињски, боравећи V Царнгр^лу 1881. годнне, добио чин беглербега 
  9. ^ Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, Politisches Archiv XXXVIII, Karton 263, Prizren report from 5th of December 1887, p 4-5, also HHStA, PA XXXVIII, Karton 270, Prizren report from 5th of March 1888, p 7, and report from 16th of March 1888, p 5.
  10. ^ Fishta, Gjergj; Robert Elsie; Janice Mathie-Heck (2005). The highland lute: (Lahuta e malcís) : the Albanian national epic. Centre for Albanian Studies (London, England). I.B.Tauris. pp. 65–73. ISBN 1-84511-118-4.