All-Albanian Congress

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Ismail Qemali, the prime initiator of the Congress.

The All-Albanian Congress[1] or Albanian National Congress [2] or Albanian Independence Congress[3] was a held in Vlorë (then Ottoman Empire, today Republic of Albania) on November 28, 1912.[4] Congress participants constituted the Assembly of Vlorë which established Albanian Provisional Government and elected Ismail Qemali as its President.[5]

Background[edit]

The success of the Albanian Revolt of 1912 sent a strong signal to the neighboring countries that the Ottoman Empire was weak.[6] The Kingdom of Serbia opposed the plan for an Albanian Vilayet, preferring a partition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among the four Balkan allies.[7] Balkan allies planned the partition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among them and in the meantime the conquered territory was agreed to have status of the Condominium.[8]

The combined armies of the Balkan allies overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies, and achieved rapid success. As a result of their success, almost all remaining European territories of the Ottoman Empire were captured by Balkan allies, which destroyed the plans for Albanian autonomy and independence.[9] About two weeks before the congress was held, Albanian leaders appealed to Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria-Hungary, explaining the difficult situation in their country divided into four vilayets occupied by Balkan allies.[10] Austria-Hungary and Italy strongly opposed the arrival of Serbian army on the Adriatic Sea because they perceived it as treat to their domination of the Adriatic and feared that Serbian Adriatic port could become a Russian base.[11]

The sitting of the congress[edit]

Ismail Qemali and his cabinet during the celebration of the first anniversary of independence in Vlorë on 28 November 1913.

When Ismail Qemali came to Albania in third week of November 1912, he discussed the future of the Albanian people with present participants of the congress. Although there was consensus for complete independence, they were also for friendly relation with the Ottoman Empire. Therefore they sent telegrams to the Ottoman Western army, Vardar army and to Ioannina fortress pledging continued support for the war against the Christian states.[12]

On November 28, 1912 the congress' first sitting was held in the house of Xhemil bey in Vlorë. Qemali invited Albanians from all four vilayets (Kosovo, Scutari, Monastir and Janina) within projected Albanian Vilayet to attend the congress. At the beginning of the session, Ismail Qemali took the floor and, referring to the threats to the rights Albanians had gained through successful revolts since 1908, proclaimed to the delegates that they should do anything necessary to save Albania.[13]

Present participants of the congress[edit]

After Qemali's speech they began by reviewing delegates' credentials. The delegates were as follows:[14]

Missing participants of the congress[edit]

Isa Boletini and his men from Kosovo Vilayet in the streets of Vlorë after the Independence was already proclaimed.

Albanians from several provinces had not yet reached Vlora when it was decided to start the first session of the congress.[15] Ismail Qemali refused to wait for Isa Boletini and other Albanians from Kosovo Vilayet and hastily made the Albanian declaration of independence.[16] The southern elite wanted to prevent Boletini's plans to assert himself as a key political figure and used him to suit their military needs.[17]

Since Korça, Shkodra, Përmet, Ohrid and Struga were surrounded by the armies that prevented some Albanians from those provinces to come to Vlorë, another Albanians from those towns were recognised as representatives of those towns. Their names are:[18]

Rest of the missing participants of the congress that were late to attend its session and were not replaced by other Albanians are:

Constitution of the Assembly of Vlorë[edit]

After the documents were checked, Ismail Qemali again took the floor and held a speech stating that he believes that the only way to prevent division of the territory of Albanian Vilayet between the Balkan allies is to separate it from Ottoman Empire.[19] Qemali's proposal was unanimously accepted and it was decided to constitute the Assembly of Vlorë (Albanian: Kuvendi i Vlorës) and to sign the declaration of independence of Albania. By signing the declaration of Albanian independence the present deputies of the Assembly of Vlorë rejected the autonomy granted by the Ottoman Empire to the Albanian Vilayet, projected a couple of months earlier.[20] The consensus was made for the complete independenc].[21]

The sitting was then suspended and members of newly constituted National Assembly went to the house of Ismail Qemali and raised the flag of Skanderbeg on the balcony of his house, in front of the gathered people.[22]

Aftermath[edit]

The members of the newly constituted National Assembly returned from the balkony of Qemali's house and started the sitting of Assembly. They established the Provisional Government of Albania with Ismail Qemali as President who has the mandate to establish the Cabinet on the session of the Assembly of Vlorë held on December 4, 1912.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zhelyazkova, Antonina (2000). "Albania and Albanian Identities". International Center for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2011. calling together an all-Albanian congress. On 28 November 1912, delegates from all over the country gathered in Vlora 
  2. ^ Qemali, Ismail. "Ismail Kemal bey Vlora: Memoirs". Retrieved January 23, 2011. from all parts of the country to Valona, where a national congress was to be held 
  3. ^ Erickson, Edward J. (2003), "The Macedonian Campaigns, 1912", Defeat in detail: the Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913, Westport: Praeger publishers, p. 197, ISBN 0-275-97888-5, retrieved January 23, 2011, Ismail Kemal Bey convened the Albanian Independence Congress 
  4. ^ Qemali, Ismail. "Ismail Kemal bey Vlora: Memoirs". Retrieved January 23, 2011. ...November 15th-28th, 1912... 
  5. ^ Qemali, Ismail. "Ismail Kemal bey Vlora: Memoirs". Retrieved January 23, 2011. ...On the resumption of the sitting, I was elected President of the Provisional Government, with a mandate to form a Cabinet... 
  6. ^ Warrander, Gail; Verena Knaus (November 2007). Kosovo. United States of America: The Globe Pequot Press. p. 12. ISBN 1-84162-199-4. At the same time the rebellion sent strong signal to Kosovo neighbors that the Ottoman Empire was weak. 
  7. ^ Redlich, Josef; d'Estournelles, Baron; Godart, M. Justin; Shucking, Walter; Hirst, Francis W.; Brailsford, H. N.; Milioukov, Paul; Dutton, Samuel T. (1914). "Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and the Conduct of the Balkan Wars". Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Piece. p. 47. Retrieved January 10, 2011. The Servians hastened to oppose the plan of a "Greater Albania" by their plan for partition of Turkey in Europe among the Balkan States into four spheres of influence. 
  8. ^ Redlich, Josef; d'Estournelles, Baron; Godart, M. Justin; Shucking, Walter; Hirst, Francis W.; Brailsford, H. N.; Milioukov, Paul; Dutton, Samuel T. (1914). "Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and the Conduct of the Balkan Wars". Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Piece. p. 49. Retrieved January 10, 2011. In a few weeks the territories of Turkey in Europe .. by the Balkan allies....in their hands as condominium 
  9. ^ Prishtina, Hasan. Nji shkurtim kujtimesh mbi kryengritjen shqiptare të vjetit 1912. Shkrue prej Hassan Prishtinës [Hasan Bey Prishtina: Brief Memoir on the Albanian Uprising of 1912] (in Albanian). Translated by Robert Elsie. Shkodra: Shtypshkroja Franciskane. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011. I told the honoured gentlemen that we would organise another uprising in three or four months’ time and would then declare independence ... the Balkan War soon broke out, which destroyed all of our plans. 
  10. ^ Pearson, Owen (2004). Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History. Volume I, Albania and King Zog: Independence, republic and monarchy 1908–1939. I.B. Tauris. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-84511-013-0. appealed to the austrian emperor ... difficult situation of their country as parts of the four vilayets were under the occupation of Balkan allies 
  11. ^ Hall, Richard C. (2002) [2000], The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: prelude to the First World War, New York: Routledge, p. 54, ISBN 0-415-22946-4, retrieved March 11, 2011, The arrival of Serbian army on the Adriatic aroused strong diplomatic opposition from Austria-Hungary and Italy. They perceived the Serbs as a treat to their domination of the Adriatic Sea. In addition they feared that a Serbian Adriatic port could become a Russian base. 
  12. ^ Erickson, Edward J. (2003), Defeat in detail: the Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913, Westport: Praeger publishers, p. 197, ISBN 0-275-97888-5, retrieved January 23, 2011, ... in the third week of November 1912...led by Ismail Kemali,... Congress at Avalonya to consider the future of the Albanian people...for complete independence...the congress sent telegrams to Western army, Vardar army and to Yanya fortress pledging continued support for the war against the Christian states 
  13. ^ Nosi, Lef. "Dokumenta historike për t'i shërbye historiës tone kombëtare.". Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. ..Ismail Kemal bey... took the floor and explained... that they all must strive to do what is necessary to save Albania from the great perils it is now facing.... 
  14. ^ Nosi, Lef. "Dokumenta historike për t'i shërbye historiës tone kombëtare.". Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. According to rules and customs, they began by checking the documents of the delegates, whose names are as follows:. 
  15. ^ Farschid, Olaf; Kropp, Manfred; Dähne, Stephan (2003). The First World War as Remembered in the Countries of the Eastern Mediterranean. Germany: German Institute for Oriental Studies Beirut. p. 339. ISBN 3-89913-514-8. Retrieved March 9, 2011. although they had not yet reached representatives of several provinces 
  16. ^ Blumi, Isa (2003), Rethinking the late Ottoman Empire: a comparative social and political history of Albania and Yemen, 1878-1918, Istanbul: The Isis Press, p. 182, ISBN 975-428-242-0, retrieved March 9, 2011, Ismail Kemal Bey hastily made the famous declaration of independence in late November of 1912, refusing to wait for Boletini and "the Kosovars" to reach Vlora. 
  17. ^ Blumi, Isa (2003), Rethinking the late Ottoman Empire: a comparative social and political history of Albania and Yemen, 1878-1918, Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2003, p. 182, ISBN 975-428-242-0, retrieved March 9, 2011, While Boletini had plans to assert himself as a key political figure in this Albanian state building project, the Southern elite made certain that he would be reined in to suit their military needs and not hijack a political process over which they wanted full control. 
  18. ^ Nosi, Lef. "Dokumenta historike për t'i shërbye historiës tone kombëtare.". Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  19. ^ Nosi, Lef. "Dokumenta historike për t'i shërbye historiës tone kombëtare.". Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2011. .. four countries in the Balkans ...agreed to divide the Empire up among themselves, including Albania...only road to salvation was to separate Albania from Turkey.... 
  20. ^ Langer, William Leonard; Ploetz, Karl Julius (1940). Encyclopedia of World History. Houghton Mifflin company. ISBN 0-395-65237-5. Retrieved January 24, 2011. Proclamation of Albanian independence by an assembly at Valona which rejected the grant of autonomy made by Turkish government 
  21. ^ Erickson, Edward J. (2003), "The Macedonian Campaigns, 1912", Defeat in detail: the Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913, Westport: Praeger publishers, p. 197, ISBN 0-275-97888-5, retrieved January 23, 2011, consensus of the congress was for complete independence 
  22. ^ Sherer, Stan (1997). Long life to your children!: a portrait of High Albania. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 20. ISBN 1-55849-097-3. 
  23. ^ Giaro, Tomasz (2007). "The Albanian legal and constitutional system between the World Wars". Modernisierung durch Transfer zwischen den Weltkriegen. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Vittorio Klosterman GmbH. p. 185. ISBN 978-3-465-04017-0. Retrieved January 24, 2011. ... a provisional government, consisting of ten members and led by Vlora, was formed on 4 December. 

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