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Approximate geographical outline of Chameria.[1][2]

Chameria (Albanian: Çamëria, Greek: Τσαμουριά Tsamouriá) is a term used today mostly by Albanians for parts of the coastal region of Epirus in southern Albania and northwestern Greece traditionally associated with an Albanian speaking population called Chams.[1][2] Apart from geographical usages, in contemporary times within Albania the toponym has also acquired irredentist connotations.[3][4] During the interwar period, the toponym was in common use[5] and the official name of the area above the Acheron river in all Greek state documents.[6] Today it is obsolete in Greek,[7] surviving in some old folk songs. Most of what is called Chameria is divided between the Greek regional units of Thesprotia and Preveza, the southern extremity of Albania's Sarandë District and some villages in eastern Ioannina regional unit. As the Greek toponyms Epirus and Thesprotia have been established for the region since antiquity, and given the negative sentiments towards Albanian irredentism, the term is not used by the locals on the Greek side of the border.

Name and definition[edit]


Chameria was mostly used as a term for the region of modern Thesprotia, during the Ottoman rule.[8][9] It is of uncertain etymology. It possibly derives from the ancient Greek name of the Thyamis river, which in the Albanian language is called Cham (Çam), through the unattested Slavic *čamь or *čama rendering the older Slavic *tjama.[10]

Geography and Boundaries[edit]

The region of Chameria overlaps to a high degree with the ancient and modern region of Thesprotia and the medieval region known as Vagenetia, lying north of Ambracian Gulf and west of the Pindus mountains.[11] The northern boundary of the region is not precisely defined: in Antiquity, the northern boundary of Thesprotia was the Thyamis river,[11] but in the Middle Ages, the presumed borders were pushed to the north. Vagenetia included today's Sarandë District and Delvinë District of Southern Albania, bordering with the Llogara and Muzina mountains in the north and northeast.

In modern times, the region of Chameria was reduced to the dialectological territory of the Chams, stretching between the mouth of the Acheron river in the south, the area of Butrint in the north, and the Pindus in the east.[12] After the permanent demarcation of the Greco-Albanian border, only two small municipalities were left in southern Albania (Markat and Konispol), while the remainder of the territory fell under the Greek prefectures of Thesprotia (a name revived by the Metaxas Regime in 1936) and Preveza, with a few villages in Ioannina Prefecture.[citation needed]

The early 19th c. Greek author Perraivos, notable for his works on Souli and Epirus, notes that the Albanian Chams inhabit the area between the Bistrica river in the north and the Souli area south.[13] In the early 1800s British colonel William Martin Leake while in the area described Chameria as stretching from the boundaries of Butrint and Delvinë until the Fanari and Paramythia areas consisting of two main sub-districts, Daghawi or Dai and Parakalamos.[14] During the 19th century, the novelista and poet Nikolaos Konemenos, an Arvanite from the area placed his home district of Lakka (Λάκκας)[15] within the bounds of Tsamouria (Τσαμουριά) or Chameria.[16] In the early 1880s, British diplomat Valentine Chirol who spent time in the area during the Eastern Crisis defined Chameria along linguistic lines in geographic terms where Albanian speakers were found during that time.[17] Chirol states that the Thiamis river basin, the Souli mountains, the Louros river valley up until the Preveza peninsula formed part of the district called "Tchamouria" which referred to the "southernmost Albanian settlements in Epirus".[17] Chirol also noted that due to the spread of the Chams in the area, the toponym also applied to the centre of the region where they held "undivided sway".[17] Sami Frashëri, a noted Ottoman intellectual of Albanian origin who compiled the first Ottoman dictionary Kamus al-a’lam (Universal Dictionary of History and Geography) wrote in various article entries pertaining to the region that Chameria consisted of the towns of Paramythia, Filiates and Preveza.[18] While the Ottoman administrative units or kazas of Paramythia, Filiates and Preveza formed the area of Chameria.[18]

During the interwar period of the twentieth century British historian Nicholas Hammond traversed the region and described Chameria as consisting of main settlements like Paramythia and Margariti.[5] He also described the Chameria region as pertaining to the Thiamis river basin, covering the Margariti district and heading all the way down to coastal villages like Loutsa of the Acheron plain in the south which contained Albanian speaking settlements.[5] Pre-War Greek sources say that the coast of Chameria extended from the Acheron River to Butrint and the inland reaches east till the slopes of Mount Olytsikas (or Tomaros).[19] The center of Chameria was considered to be Paramythia and other areas were Filiates, Parga and Margariti.[19] In various Greek sources of the interwar era they also at times include the Greek speaking area to the east of Filiates within Chameria, while excluding the Albanian speaking area of Fanari known also as Prevezaniko.[6] Throughout the interwar period, Chameria in official Greek government documents related to the area north of the Acheron river.[6] Current day scholarship gives diverging descriptions of Chameria. Lambros Baltsiotis states that it includes a small part of Albanian territory, and consisted of the western part of Thesprotia prefecture stretching all the way to the northern part and western area known as Fanari of Preveza prefecture.[1] While Robert Elsie states that Chameria corresponds to Thesprotia and Preveza prefectures and including a small area around Konispol town in Albania.[2] Elsie describes Chameria as containing the river basins of the Thiamis and Acheron rivers and Ionian coastline all the way down to Preveza while excluding Corfu island, the Epirote interior and the city of Ioannina.[2]


Mycenean Period[edit]

Late Mycenean sites have been found in the following areas of Chameria:[20]

Iron Age to Roman period[edit]

There are numerous archeological sites from Iron Age (10th to 7th centuries) onwards. In Thesprotia, which can be considered the centre of Chameria, excavations have brought to light finds of this period in the Kokytos valley.[21] The Nekromanteion of Acheron is probably the most important site of the area in antiquity, mentioned already in Homer. Archaeological findinds indicate that a sancturary existed there by 7th century BC. It seems that it ceased to function as an oracle in Roman period.[22] Other important settlements are Ephyra, Buthrotum, the Cheimerion (5 km west of Ephyra), Photike (some identify it with Paramythia), the port of Sybota, the city of Thesprotia, the port city of Elea (in the region of Thesprotia) which is believed to be a Corinthian colony, Pandosia, a colony of Elis, Tarone, near the mouth of river Thyamis, and others, depending on the definition of Chameria.[23]

Middle Ages[edit]

Population movements in Epirus during the 14th century

In Medieval Ages the region was under the jurisdiction of the Roman and later Byzantine Empire. In 1205, Michael Komnenos Doukas, a cousin of the Byzantine emperors Isaac II Angelos and Alexios III Angelos, founded the Despotate of Epiros, which ruled the region until the 15th century. Vagenetia as the whole of Epirus soon became the new home of many Greek refugees from Constantinople, Thessaly, and the Peloponnese, and Michael was described as a second Noah, rescuing men from the Latin flood. During this time, the earliest mention of Albanians within the region of Epirus is recorded in a Venetian document of 1210 as inhabiting the area opposite the island of Corfu.[24] The first appearance of Albanians in sizable numbers within the Despotate of Epirus is not recorded before 1337 in which Byzantine sources present them as nomads.[25]

In the 1340s, taking advantage of a Byzantine civil war, the Serbian King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan conquered Epirus and incorporated it in his Serbian Empire.[26] During this time, two Albanian states were formed in the region. In the summer of 1358, Nikephoros II Orsini, the last despot of Epirus of the Orsini dynasty, was defeated in battle against Albanian chieftains. Following the approval of the Serbian Tsar, these chieftains established two new states in the region, the Despotate of Arta and Principality of Gjirokastër.[27] Internal dissension and successive conflicts with their neighbours, including the rising power of the Ottoman Turks, led to the downfall of these Albanian principalities to the Tocco family. The Tocco in turn gradually gave way to the Ottomans, who took Ioannina in 1430, Arta in 1449, Angelokastron in 1460, and finally Vonitsa in 1479.[28]

Ottoman rule[edit]

During the Ottoman rule, the region was under the Vilayet of Ioannina, and later under the Pashalik of Yanina. During this time, the region was known as Chameria (also spelled Tsamouria, Tzamouria) and became a district in the Vilayet of Yanina.[8][29] The wars of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries between Russia and the Ottoman Empire negatively impacted upon the region.[30] Increased conversions to Islam followed, often forced, such as those of 25 villages in 1739 which are located in current day Thesprotia prefecture.[30]

In the 18th century, as the power of the Ottomans declined, the region came under the semi-independent state of Ali Pasha Tepelena, an Albanian brigand who became the provincial governor of Ioannina in 1788. Ali Pasha started campaigns to subjugate the confederation of the Souli settlements in this region. His forces met fierce resistance by the Souliotes warriors. After numerous failed attempts to defeat the Souliotes, his troops succeeded in conquering the area in 1803.[31]

After the fall of the Pashalik, the region remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire, while Greece and Albania declared that their goal was to include in their states the whole region of Epirus, including Thesprotia or Chameria.[32] With the rise of the Albanian national movement in the late 19th century, the local Orthodox Albanian speaking population did not share the national ideas of their Muslim Albanian speaking neighbours.[33] Instead they remained Greek-oriented and identified themselves as Greeks.[33] Finally, following the Balkan Wars, Epirus was divided in 1913, in the London Peace Conference, and the region came under the control of Kingdom of Greece, with only a small portion being integrated into the newly formed State of Albania.[32]

During the Ottoman era, Chameria had a feudal system of administration. The most important and older feudal clan was that of Pronjo of Paramythia (Drandakis).

Modern history[edit]

Albanian school of Filiates in 1942–44

When the region came under Greek control in 1913, its population included speakers of Greek, Albanian, Aromanian and Romani.

Muslim Chams were counted as a religious minority, and some of them were transferred to Turkey, during the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey,[34] while their property was alienated by the Greek government as part of the relevant agreement between Greece and Turkey.[35]Orthodox Cham Albanians were counted as Greeks, and their language and Albanian heritage were under pressure of assimilation.[36] The region was then temporarily settled by Greek refugees from Asia Minor which most of whom were later moved to other areas in the country after Greece decided not to send Muslim Albanian Chams to Turkey.[37]

In 1930s the population was approximately 70,000, the Muslim Albanian speakers estimated around 18,000–20,000. All the population, independently of religion of ethnicity, were called Chams [38] (According to the 1928 census the total Muslim population in Greece was 126.017[39]).

During the interwar period, the toponym Chameria was in common use within the region[5] and the official name for the area above the Acheron river used in all government documents by the Greek state.[6] In 1936, the Greek state created a new prefecture called Thesprotia, from parts of Ioannina and Preveza prefectures, as to exercise better control over the Muslim Albanian Cham minority.[40] Cham Albanians were given religious, but no ethnic minority status and there was little evidence of direct state persecution at this time.[41]

During the Axis occupation of Greece (1941–1944), small parts of the Muslim Cham community collaborated with the Italian and German forces committing a number of war crimes.[42] At the end of World War II, nearly all Muslim Chams in Greece were expelled to Albania, because of that activity.[43] However, another part of Muslim Chams provided military support to the resistance forces of the Greek People's Liberation Army, while the rest were civilians uninvolved in the war. Led by Zervas' former officer, Col. Zotos, a loose paramilitary grouping of former guerrillas and local men went on a rampage. In the worst massacre, in the town of Filiates on 13 March, some sixty to seventy Chams were killed.[44]


Since the Medieval Ages, the population of the region of Chameria was of mixed and complex ethnicity, with a blurring of group identities such as Albanian and Greek, along with many other ethnic groups. Information on the ethnic composition of the region over several centuries is almost entirely absent, with the strong likelihood that they did not fit into standard "national" patterns, as the 19th-century revolutionary nationalist movements wanted.


In Greek censuses, only Muslims of the region were counted as Albanians. According to the 1913 Greek census, 25,000 Muslims were living at the time in the Chameria region[36] who had Albanian as their mother tongue, from a total population of about 60,000, while in 1923 there were 20,319 Muslim Chams. In the Greek census of 1928, there were 17,008 Muslims who had it as their mother tongue. During the interwar period, the numbers of Albanian speakers in official Greek censuses varied and fluctuated, due to political motives and manipulation.[45]

The main census that counted Orthodox communities of Albanian ethnicity was undertaken by Italian occupational forces and conducted during World War II (1941). This census found that in the region lived 54,000 Albanians, of whom 26,000 Orthodox and 28,000 Muslim and 20,000 Greeks.[35] After the war, according to Greek censuses where ethno-linguistic groups were counted, Muslim Chams were 113 in 1947 and 127 in 1951. In the same Greek census of 1951, 7,357 Orthodox Albanian-speakers were counted within the whole of Epirus.[46]

Chams in Thesprotia Greece (1908–1951)
Year Muslim Albanians
Orthodox Albanian speakers
Total number
of Albanian speakers
1908 34,406 11,662[47] 46,068 74,844 Statistics by Amadori Virgili, presented by the pro-Greek "Pan-Epirotic Union of America" for the Paris peace conference.[48] Note that the area represented here does not necessarily exactly match up to the modern provincial boundaries of Thesprotia.
1913 25,000 --- Unknown 59,000 Greek census[36]
1923 20,319 --- Unknown 58,780 Greek census[35]
1925 25,000 22,000 47,000 58,000 Albanian government[35][49]
1928 17,008 --- Unknown 68,200 Greek census[35]
1938 17,311 --- Unknown 71,000 Greek government[35]
1940 21,000–22,000 --- Unknown 72,000 Estimation on Greek census[35]
1941 28,000 26,000 54, 000 Italian census (undertaken by Axis occupational forces during World War Two)[35]
1947 113 --- Unknown Greek census[35]
1951 127 --- Unknown Greek census.[35] 7,357 Orthodox Albanian-speakers were also counted within the whole of Epirus.[46]


With the exception of the part of Chameria lying in Albania, Chameria is nowadays inhabited mostly by Greeks as a result of the Cham exodus following World War II and subsequent assimilation of remaining Chams. The number of ethnic Albanians still residing in the Chameria region is uncertain, since the Greek government does not include ethnic and linguistic categories in any official census.


The Greek census of 1951 counted a total of 127 Muslim Albanian Chams in Epirus.[50] In more recent years (1986) 44 members of this community are found in Thesprotia, located in the settlements of Sybota, Kodra and Polyneri (previously Koutsi).[51] Moreover, until recently the Muslim community in Polyneri was the only one in Epirus to have an imam.[52] The village mosque was the last within the area before being blown up by a local Christian in 1972.[52] The number of Muslim Chams remaining in the area after World War II included also people who converted to Orthodoxy and were assimilated into the local population in order to preserve their properties and themselves.[53][54][55]

Christian Orthodox[edit]

According to a study by the Euromosaic project of the European Union, Albanian speaking communities live along the border with Albania in Thesprotia prefecture, the northern part of the Preveza prefecture in the region called Thesprotiko, and a few villages in Ioannina regional unit.[56] The Arvanite dialect is still spoken by a minority of inhabitants in Igoumenitsa.[57] In northern Preveza prefecture, those communities also include the region of Fanari,[58] in villages such as Ammoudia[59] and Agia.[60] In 1978, some of the older inhabitants in these communities were Albanian monolinguals.[61] The language is spoken by young people too, because when the local working-age population migrate seeking a job in Athens, or abroad, the children are left with their grandparents, thus creating a continuity of speakers.[61]

Today, these Orthodox Albanian speaking communities refer to themselves as Arvanites in the Greek language and self-identify as Greeks, like the Arvanite communities in southern Greece.[62] They refer to their language in Greek as Arvanitika and when conversing in Albanian as Shqip.[63][64] In contrast with the Arvanites, some have retained a distinct linguistic [65] and ethnic identity, but also an Albanian national identity.[66][dubious ] In the presence of foreigners there is a stronger reluctance amongst Orthodox Albanian speakers to speak Albanian, compared to the Arvanites in other parts of Greece.[67] A reluctance has been also noticed for those who still see themselves as Chams to declare themselves as such.[68] Researchers like Tom Winnifirth on short stays in the area have hence found it difficult to find Albanian speakers in urban areas[69] and concluded in later years that Albanian is not longer spoken at all in the region.[70] According to Ethnologue, the Albanian speaking population of Greek Epirus and Greek Western Macedonia number 10, 000.[71] According to the pro-Albanian[72][73] author Miranda Vickers, Orthodox Chams today are approximately 40,000.[74] Amongst some Orthodox Albanian speakers like those in the village of Kastri near Igoumentisa, there has been a revival in folklore, in particular in the performance of "Arvanitic wedding".[75]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Baltsiotis, Lambros (2011). The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece: The grounds for the expulsion of a "non-existent" minority community. European Journal of Turkish Studies.  "During the beginning of the 20th Century, the northwestern part of the Greek region of Epirus was mostly populated by an Albanian-speaking population, known under the ethnonyme "Chams" [Çamë, Çam (singular)in Albanian, Τσ(ι)άμηδες, Τσ(ι)άμης in Greek]. The Chams are a distinct ethno-cultural group which consisted of two integral religious groups: Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims. This group lived in a geographically wide area, expanding to the north of what is today the Preveza prefecture, the western part of which is known as Fanari [Frar in Albanian], covering the western part of what is today the prefecture of Thesprotia, and including a relatively small part of the region which today constitutes Albanian territory. These Albanian speaking areas were known under the name Chamouria [Çamëri in Albanian, Τσ(ι)αμουριά or Τσ(ι)άμικο in Greek]."
  2. ^ a b c d Elsie, Robert and Bejtullah D. Destani (2012). The Cham Albanians of Greece: A Documentary History. IB Tauris. ISBN 978-1-780760-00-1. p. XXIX. "Chameria is a mountainous region of the southwestern Balkan Peninsula that now straddles the Greek-Albanian border. Most of Chameria is in the Greek Province of Epirus, corresponding largely to the prefectures of Thesprotia and Preveza, but it also includes the southern-most part of Albania, the area around Konispol. It is approximately 10,000 square kilometres in size and has a current, mostly Greek-speaking population of about 150,000. As an historical region, Chameria, also spelled Chamuria, Chamouria or Tsiamouria, is sometimes confused with Epirus which is in fact a much larger area that includes more inland territory in northwestern Greece, for example, the town of Janina/loannina, and also much of southern Albania. Geographically speaking, Chameria begins to the north at the rivers Pavlle and Shalës in the southern part of Albania. It stretches southwards along the Ionian coastline in Greece down to Preveza and the Gulf of Arta, which in the nineteenth century formed the border between Albania and Greece. It does not include the island of Corfu or the region of Janina to the east. The core or central region of Chameria, known in Greek as Thesprotia, could be said to be the basins of the Kalamas and Acheron Rivers. It was the Kalamas River, known in ancient times as the ‘Thyamis, that gave Chameria its name."
  3. ^ Kretsi, Georgia.The Secret Past of the Greek-Albanian Borderlands. Cham Muslim Albanians: Perspectives on a Conflict over Historical Accountability and Current Rights in Ethnologica Balkanica, Vol. 6, p. 172.
  4. ^ Jahrbücher für Geschichte und Kultur Südosteuropas: JGKS, Volumes 4–5 Slavica Verlag, 2002.
  5. ^ a b c d Hammond, Nicholas (1967). Epirus: the Geography, the Ancient Remains, the History and Topography of Epirus and Adjacent Areas. Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780198142539. p.27. "The present distribution of the Albanian-speaking villages bears little relation to the frontier which was drawn between Greece and Albania after the First World War. In Map 2 I have shown most of the Greek speaking villages in Albanian Epirus and some of the Albanian-speaking villages in Greek Epirus. The map is based on observations made by Clarke and myself during our travels between 1922 and 1939."; p.27. "This wave extended further down the coast into the low-lying area of the Kalamas, the Tsamouria."; p. 28. "Tsamouria is a word which..... Clarke and I were both familiar with it, and it was in common use."; p.50. "Loutsa lies on a saddle of the ridge, which forms the watershed between the Acheron plain and the streams running south-west into the sea, and it is the most southerly of the villages of Tsamouria, the Albanian speaking area of which Margariti and Paramythia are centres."; p.76. "The canton of Margariti. This canton forms the heart of the Tsamouria, the region of Albanian-speaking villages."
  6. ^ a b c d Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "In certain sources Chamouria includes the Greek-speaking area to the east of the city of Filiati and does not include the Albanian speaking area of Fanari, named alternatively "Prevezaniko". The official name of the area north of the Acheron river is Chamouria in all Greek state documents for the whole Interwar period."
  7. ^ The Greek encyclopedia "Papyrus-Larousse" (Πάπυρος-Λαρούς), c.1965 defines "Tsamouria" (article "Τσαμουριά") ας "The older name ... of the modern area of Thesprotia" and directs to article "Thesprotia" (Θεσπρωτία).
  8. ^ a b Balkan Studies By Hetaireia Makedonikōn Spoudōn. Hidryma Meletōn Cheresonēsou tou Haimou. Published by Institute for Balkan Studies, Society for Macedonian Studies., 1976
  9. ^ NGL Hammond, Epirus: The Geography, the Ancient Remains, the History and Topography of Epirus and Adjacent Areas, Published by Clarendon P., 1967, p. 31
  10. ^ Orel Vladimir, Albanian etymological dictionary, Brill, 1998, pp 49, 50.
  11. ^ a b An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis: An Investigation Conducted by the Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation By Thomas Heine Nielsen, Københavns universitet Polis, Danish National Research Foundation Published by Oxford University Press, 2004 ISBN 978-0-19-814099-3
  12. ^ Miranda Vickers, The Albanians: A Modern History, I.B.Tauris, 1999, ISBN 978-1-86064-541-9, p. 113
  13. ^ Christoforos Perraivos, "War Memoirs", (Χριστόφορος Περραιβός, "Απομνημονεύματα πολεμικά"), 1836, vol. 1, p. 124, down.
  14. ^ William Martin Leake (1835). Travels in Northern Greece. volume IV. J. Rodwell. pp. 71-72. The plain near the mouth of the Kalamá, is called Rai, and the river forms the line of separation between the two subdivisions of Tjámi (Græcè, Τζαμουριά), named Dághawi, or Dai, and Parakálamo. Dághawi comprehends the country from the Kalamá southward as far as the bounds of Paramythía, and Fanári; Parakálamo, that in the opposite direction to the boundaries of Vutzintró and Délvino. In Dághawi are Griko-khóri, Gomenítza, and Nista, situated in that order from south to north on the hills above the bay of Gomenítza: Gravá, in the plain near the mouth of the Kalamá. Between Gomenítza and Menína, which stands on the left bank of the Kalamá, in the road from Paramythía to Filiátes, are several Musulman villages, of which the principal are Súliasi, Varfaniús, and Rizaniús: to these belongs the plain of the Lower Kalamá to the left of the river. A high cliff at Zuliána, in a line between Paramythía and Fillátes, forms a very conspicuous object from Corfú."
  15. ^ Kokolakis, Mihalis (2003). Το ύστερο Γιαννιώτικο Πασαλίκι: χώρος, διοίκηση και πληθυσμός στην τουρκοκρατούμενη Ηπειρο (1820-1913) [The late Pashalik of Ioannina: Space, administration and population in Ottoman Epirus (1820-1913). EIE-ΚΝΕ. p.373.
  16. ^ Elias G Skoulidas (22 February 2011). Identities, Locality and Otherness in Epirus during the Late Ottoman period.(doc). European Society of Modern Greek studies. p. 7. Retrieved 27 October 2015. "Nikolaos Konemenos takes a different approach, by not denying his Albanian identity, although he participated in Greek public life. He accepts this identity and embodies it, without excluding the other identity: κι εγώ είμαι φυσικός Αρβανίτης, επειδή κατάγομαι από τα' χωριά της Λάκκας (Τσαμουριά) και είμαι απόγονος ενός καπετάν Γιώργη Κονεμένου ’λ που εμίλειε τα’ αρβανίτικα κι όπου ταις αρχαίς του προπερασμένου αιώνος... είχε καταιβεί κι είχε αποκατασταθεί στην Πρέβεζα...[I too am a natural Albanian, because I originate from the villages of Lakka (Tsamouria) and I’m a descendant of a kapetan Giorgis Konemenos, who spoke Albanian and who at the beginning of the last century... had come down and had settled in Preveza]. The spelling mistakes in this passage are a good indicator of what is happening."
  17. ^ a b c Chirol, Valentine (1881). Twixt Greek and Turk. W Blackwood & sons. pp. 231-232. "The limits of the Albanian-speaking districts of Epirus south of the Kalamas may be roughly defined as follows: Starting from the Kalamas near the sharp bend which that river takes to the north at the foot of Mount Lubinitza, they follow the crest of the amphitheatrical range of Suli as far as the gorge of the Acheron. In that neighbourhood, probably owing to the influence which the Suliote tribe at one time enjoyed, they drop over to the east into the valley of the Luro, and follow its basin as far as the peninsula on which Prevesa, is situated, where the Greek element resumes its preponderancy. Within these outer limits of the Albanian tongue the Greek element is not unrepresented, and in some places, as about Paramythia, for instance, it predominates; but, on the whole, the above- defined region may be looked upon as essentially Albanian. In this, again, there is an inner triangle which is purely Albanian—viz., that which lies between the sea and the Kalamas on the one hand and the waters of the Vuvo on the other. With the exception of Parga and one or two small hamlets along the shore, and a few Greek chifligis on Albanian estates, the inhabitants of this country are pure Tchamis—a name which, notwithstanding Von Hahn’s more elaborate interpretation. I am inclined to derive simply from the ancient appellation of the Kalamas, the Thyamis, on both banks of which stream the Albanian tribe of the Tchamis, itself a subdivision of the Tosks, has been settled from times immemorial. From the mountain fastnesses which enclose this inner triangle, the Tchamis spread out and extended their influence east and south; and the name of Tchamouria, which is especially applied to the southernmost Albanian settlements in Epirus, was probably given to that district by themselves as an emphatic monument of their supremacy; but it cannot belong less rightfully to the centre, where they hold undivided sway."
  18. ^ a b Frashëri, Sami. "Description of Chameria". Retrieved 27 October 2015. "This town is also known as Paramythia. It is a kasaba and the capital of a kaza in the Vilayet and Sandjak of Janina that is situated in Chameria, the southeastern part of Albania… Filati.This is a kasaba and the capital of a kaza in the territory of Albanian Chameria… Parga.This is a kasaba and the capital of a nahiye on the southern coast of Albania, in the Vilayet of Janina, Sandjak of Preveza and the kaza of Margëlliç. Although ships cannot dock here, it is the chief port of Chameria, with sailing ships coming and going to Corfu and Trieste and conducting much trade. The nahiye of Parga includes the central part of the plain of Chameria and belongs to the kaza of Margëlliç… Preveza.This is a kasaba in southern Albania, to the west of Arta. It is situated in the Vilayet of Janina and is a sandjak of the same name and a centre of Chameria… Sandjak of Preveza.This is the smallest of the sandjaks in the Vilayet of Janina. It is situated in the southern corner of Albania and forms the southern half of Chameria. It borders to the north on the Sandjak of Janina, to the east on Greece, to the south on Arta and the channel of Preveza, and to the west and southwest on the Greek Sea."
  19. ^ a b Drandakis Pavlos (editor), Great Greek Encyclopedia, vol. 23, article Tsamouria. Editions "Pyrsos", 1936–1934, in Greek language.
  20. ^ Papadopoulos Thanasis J. (1987) Tombs and burial customs in Late Bronze Ages Epirus, pp 137–143, in Thanatos. Plate (map) XXXIV. (2011-01-11). Retrieved on 2014-02-01.
  21. ^ The Thesprotia Expedition, A Regional, Interdisciplinary Survey Project in Northwestern Greece.
  22. ^ Nekromanteion of Acheron. (2012-11-24). Retrieved on 2014-02-01.
  23. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen (2004). An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis. OUP Oxford. pp. 502–. ISBN 978-0-19-814099-3. 
  24. ^ Giakoumis, Konstantinos (2003), Fourteenth-century Albanian migration and the ‘relative autochthony’ of the Albanians in Epeiros. The case of Gjirokastër." Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. 27. (1), p. 176: "The presence of Albanians in the Epeirote lands from the beginning of the thirteenth century is also attested by two documentary sources: the first is a Venetian document of 1210, which states that the continent facing the island of Corfu is inhabited by Albanians; and the second is letters of the Metropolitan of Naupaktos John Apokaukos to a certain George Dysipati, who was considered to be an ancestor of the famous Shpata family."
  25. ^ Giakoumis, Konstantinos (2003), p. 177
  26. ^ John Van Antwerp Fine (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5. 
  27. ^ John Van Antwerp Fine (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. pp. 349–350. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5. 
  28. ^ John Van Antwerp Fine (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. pp. 350–357, 544, 563. ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5. 
  29. ^ Survey of International Affairs, By Arnold Joseph Toynbee, Veronica Marjorie Toynbee, Royal Institute of International Affairs. Published by Oxford University Press, 1958
  30. ^ a b Giakoumis, Konstantinos (2010). "The Orthodox Church in Albania Under the Ottoman Rule 15th-19th Century." In Oliver Jens Schmitt (ed.). Religion und Kultur im albanischsprachigen Südosteuropa. Peter Lang. p. 85. "In the 18th century Islamization increased and a large number of inhabitants of Labëri, Filiates, Pogon and Kurvelesh converted."; p. 86. "In 1739, twenty five villages in Thesprotia were forced to convert to Islam en masse. It has also been noted that conversions intensified after the wars of Russia with the Porte (1710-1711, 1768-1774, 1787-1792, 1806-1812)."
  31. ^ Fleming, Katherine Elizabeth. The Muslim Bonaparte: Diplomacy and Orientalism in Ali Pasha's Greece. Princeton University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-691-00194-4, p. 59.
  32. ^ a b Barbara Jelavich. History of the Balkans: Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Cambridge University Press, 1983. ISBN 978-0-521-27458-6
  33. ^ a b Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "The Albanian-speaking, Orthodox population did not share the national ideas of their Muslim neighbors and remained Greek-oriented, identifying themselves as Greeks."
  34. ^ Kristin Fabbe. "Defining Minorities and Identities – Religious Categorization and State-Making Strategies in Greece and Turkey". Presentation at: The Graduate Student Pre-Conference in Turkish and Turkic Studies, University of Washington, October 18, 2007.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ktistakis, Yiorgos. "Τσάμηδες – Τσαμουριά. Η ιστορία και τα εγκλήματα τους" [Chams – Chameria. Their History and Crimes], Paramythia Online.
  36. ^ a b c Dimitri Pentzopoulos, The Balkan Exchange of Minorities and Its Impact on Greece, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2002, ISBN 978-1-85065-674-6, p. 128
  37. ^ Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "Two years earlier, Greek refugees from Asia Minor had been settled in the area. These newcomers were used as a tool for applying more pressure against Muslims for them to decide to leave Greece. The newcomers took advantage of the land expropriations, and settled in the houses of Muslims. These actions were in accordance with legal provisions applicable to the whole territory of Greece. It is highly probable, therefore, that some Muslims, pressed by the legislation relating to expropriation and the presence of refugees who presented a threat to them, sold their estates and remained landless…. The great majority of the refugees were resettled when it was decided that the Muslim population would not be exchanged."
  38. ^ Drandakis Pavlos (editor), Great Greek Encyclopedia, vol. 23, article Tsamouria. Editions "Pyrsos", 1936–1934, in Greek language, p. 405
  39. ^ Great Greek Encyclopedia, vol. 10, p. 236. Retrieved on 2014-02-01.
  40. ^ Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "Finally, so as to exercise better control over the minority, the Greek state created in late 1936 a new prefecture, that of Thesprotia, consisting of areas that previously belonged to the Prefectures of Ioannina (Yanina) and Preveza, embodying all the Muslim population…. According to the suggestion of the General Administration of Epirus to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (24 October 1936), the presence of Albanian Muslims and the difficulties in "administrating" them from a far away capital calls for the creation of a new prefecture (HAMFA, 1937, A4/9)."
  41. ^ Roudometof, Victor (2002). Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-97648-4.
  42. ^ Meyer, Hermann Frank (2008) (in German). Blutiges Edelweiß: Die 1. Gebirgs-division im zweiten Weltkrieg [Bloodstained Edelweiss. The 1st Mountain-Division in WWII]. Ch. Links Verlag. ISBN 978-3-86153-447-1. pp. 152, 204, 464, 705.
  43. ^ Victor Roudometof, Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN 978-0-275-97648-4, p. 182 "also the Cham collaboration with Germans is a fact, not an accusation.
  44. ^ Mazower, Mark. After The War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation and State in Greece, 1943–1960. Princeton University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-691-05842-3, pp. 25–26.
  45. ^ Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "In the official censuses of the Greek State in the Interwar period there is major manipulation involving the numbers of the Albanian speakers in the whole of the Greek territory.... The issue here is not the underestimation of the numbers of speakers as such, but the vanishing and reappearing of linguistic groups according to political motives, the crucial one being the "stabilization" of the total number of Albanian speakers in Greece."
  46. ^ a b Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "The Orthodox Albanian-speakers’ "return" to Southern Greece and Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace also present at this time, at the 1951 census (7,357 are counted in Epirus)."
  47. ^ More recent historians have criticized these statistics and noted that they may have undercounted drastically the number of non-Grecophone Christians in the region. Lambros A. Psomas, for example, notes in his 2008 Ethnographic Synthesis of the Population of Southern Albania (Northern Epirus) In the Beginning of the 20th Century that according to the same statistics, not a single Vlach appears in Metsovo, which is known to be a major center of Vlach population
  48. ^ Cassavetes, Nicholas J. The question of North Epirus at the Peace conference. The Pan-Epirotic Union of America. Oxford University Press, American Branch: New York, 1919. Page 77. For Thesprotia, the figures for Margariti, Filiates and Paramythia are here combined. The paper can be accessed here:
  49. ^ Anamali, Skënder and Prifti, Kristaq. Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime. Botimet Toena, 2002, ISBN 99927-1-622-3.
  50. ^ Ktistakis, 1992: p. 8
  51. ^ Ktistakis, 1992: p. 9 (citing Krapsitis V., 1986: Οι Μουσουλμάνοι Τσάμηδες της Θεσπρωτίας (The Muslim Chams of Thesprotia), Athens, 1986, p. 181.
  52. ^ a b Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011
  53. ^ Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011. "A few hundred Muslims stayed behind. 127 of them were counted in the 1951 census, while the rest, whose number remains unknown and in need of research, converted to Christianity and intermarried with Greeks..... Except for two small communities that mostly avoided conversion, namely Kodra and Koutsi (actual Polyneri), the majority of others were baptized. Isolated family members that stayed behind were included in the Greek society, and joined the towns of the area or left for other parts of Greece (author’s field research in the area, 1996-2008)."
  54. ^ Sarah Green (2005). Notes from the Balkans: Locating Marginality and Ambiguity on the Greek-Albanian border. Princeton University Press. pp. 74-75. "Over time, and with some difficulty, I began to understand that the particular part of Thesprotia being referred to was the borderland area, and that the ‘terrible people’ were not all the peoples associated with Thesprotia but more specifically peoples known as the Tsamides –though they were rarely explicitly named as such in the Pogoni area. One of the few people who did explicitly refer to them was Spiros, the man from Despotiko on the southern Kasidiaris (next to the Thesprotia border) who had willingly fought with the communists during the civil war. He blamed widespread negative attitudes toward the Tsamides on two things: first, that in the past they were perceived to be ‘Turks’ in the same way as Albanian speaking Muslims had been perceived to be ‘Turks’; and second, there had been particularly intense propaganda against them during the two wars –propaganda that had led to large numbers of Tsamides’ being summarily killed by EDES forces under General Zervas. Zervas believed they had helped the Italian and later German forces when they invaded Greece, and thus ordered a campaign against them in retribution. Spiros went on to recall that two young men from Despotiko had rescued one endangered Tsamis boy after they came across him when they were in Thesprotia to buy oil. They brought him back to the village with them, and Spiros had baptized him in a barrel (many Tsamides were Muslim) in the local monastery. In the end, the boy had grown up, married in the village, and stayed there."
  55. ^ Georgia Kretsi (2002). "The Secret Past of the Greek-Albanian Borderlands. Cham Muslim Albanians: Perspectives on a Conflict over Historical Accountability and Current Rights". Ethnologia Balkanica.(6): 186. "In the census of 1951 there were only 127 Muslims left of a minority that once had 20,000 members. A few of them could merge into the Greek population by converting to Christianity and changing their names and marital practices. After the expulsion, two families of Lopësi found shelter in Sagiáda and some of their descendants still live there today under new names and being Christians. Another inhabitant of Lopësi, then a child, is living in nearby Asproklissi..... The eye-witness Arhimandritēs (n. d.: 93) writes about a gendarmerie officer and member of the EDES named Siaperas who married a very prosperous Muslim widow whose children had converted to Christianity. One interviewee, an Albanian Cham woman, told me that her uncle stayed in Greece, "he married a Christian, he changed his name, he took the name Spiro. Because it is like that, he changed it, and is still there in loannina, with his children". A Greek man from Sagiáda also stated that at this time many people married and in saving the women also were able to take over their lands."
  56. ^ Euromosaic project (2006). "L'arvanite/albanais en Grèce" (in French). Brussels: European Commission. Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  57. ^ Vickers, Miranda and Petiffer, James. The Albanian Question. I.B. Tauris, 2007, ISBN 1-86064-974-2, p. 238.
  58. ^ Οδηγός Περιφέρειας Ηπείρου (10 December 2007). "Πρόσφυγες, Σαρακατσάνοι, Αρβανίτες". cultureportalweb. Retrieved 18-4-2015.
  59. ^ Georgoulas, Sokratis D.(1964). Λαογραφική Μελέτη Αμμουδιάς Πρεβέζης. Κέντρων Ερεύνης της Ελληνικής Λαογραφίας. pp. 2, 15.
  60. ^ Tsitsipis, Lukas (1981). Language change and language death in Albanian speech communities in Greece: A sociolinguistic study. (Thesis). University of Wisconsin. Ann Arbor. 124. "The Epirus Albanian speaking villages use a dialect of Tosk Albanian, and they are among the most isolated areas in Greece. In the Epiriotic village of Aghiá I was able to spot even a few monolingual Albanian speakers."
  61. ^ a b Foss, Arthur (1978). Epirus. Botston, United States of America: Faber. p. 224. ISBN 9780571104888.  "There are still many Greek Orthodox villagers in Threspotia who speak Albanian among themselves. They are scattered north from Paramithia to the Kalamas River and beyond, and westward to the Margariti Plain. Some of the older people can only speak Albanian, nor is the language dying out. As more and more couples in early married life travel away to Athens or Germany for work, their children remain at home and are brought up by their Albania-speaking grandparents. It is still sometimes possible to distinguish between Greek- and Albanian-speaking peasant women. Nearly all of them wear traditional black clothes with a black scarf round their neck heads. Greek-speaking women tie their scarves at the back of their necks, while those who speak primarily Albanian wear their scarves in a distinctive style fastened at the side of the head."
  62. ^ Hart, Laurie Kain (1999). "Culture, Civilization, and Demarcation at the Northwest Borders of Greece". American Ethnologist 26: 196. doi:10.1525/ae.1999.26.1.196. Speaking Albanian, for example, is not a predictor with respect to other matters of identity .. There are also long standing Christian Albanian (or Arvanitika speaking) communities both in Epirus and the Florina district of Macedonia with unquestioned identification with the Greek nation. .. The Tschamides were both Christians and Muslims by the late 18th century [in the 20th century, Cham applies to Muslim only] 
  63. ^ Moraitis, Thanassis. "publications as a researcher". thanassis moraitis: official website. Retrieved 18-4-2015. "Οι Αρβανίτες αυτοί είναι σε εδαφική συνέχεια με την Αλβανία, με την παρεμβολή του ελληνόφωνου Βούρκου (Vurg) εντός της Αλβανίας, και η Αλβανική που μιλιέται εκεί ακόμα, η Τσάμικη, είναι η νοτιότερη υποδιάλεκτος του κεντρικού κορμού της Αλβανικής, αλλά έμεινε ουσιαστικά εκτός του εθνικού χώρου όπου κωδικοποιήθηκε η Αλβανική ως επίσημη γλώσσα του κράτους..... Οι αλβανόφωνοι χριστιανοί θεωρούν τους εαυτούς τους Έλληνες. Στα Ελληνικά αποκαλούν τη γλώσσα τους «Αρβανίτικα», όπως εξ άλλου όλοι οι Αρβανίτες της Ελλάδας, στα Αρβανίτικα όμως την ονομάζουν «Σκιπ»"..... "The Albanian idiom still spoken there, Çamërisht, is the southernmost sub-dialect of the main body of the Albanian language, but has remained outside the national space where standard Albanian has been standardized as official language of the state..... Ethnic Albanophone Christians perceive themselves as national Greeks. When speaking Greek, members of this group call their idiom Arvanitic, just as all other Arvanites of Greece; yet, when conversing in their own idiom, they call it "Shqip"."
  64. ^ Tsitsipis. Language change and language death. 1981. p. 2. "The term Shqip is generally used to refer to the language spoken in Albania. Shqip also appears in the speech of the few monolinguals in certain regions of Greek Epirus, north-western Greece, while the majority of the bilingual population in the Epirotic enclaves use the term Arvanitika to refer to the language when talking in Greek, and Shqip when talking in Albanian (see Çabej 1976:61-69, and Hamp 1972: 1626-1627 for the etymological observations and further references)."
  65. ^ Baltsiotis. The Muslim Chams of Northwestern Greece. 2011 "The Albanian language, and the Christian population who spoke it- and still do- had to be concealed also, since the language was perceived as an additional threat to the Greekness of the land. It could only be used as a proof of their link with the Muslims, thus creating a continuum of non-Greekness."
  66. ^ Banfi, Emanuele (6 June 1994). Minorités linguistiques en Grèce: Langues cachées, idéologie nationale, religion. (in French). Paris: Mercator Program Seminar. p. 27. 
  67. ^ Adrian Ahmedaja (2004). "On the question of methods for studying ethnic minorities' music in the case of Greece's Arvanites and Alvanoi." in Ursula Hemetek (ed.). Manifold Identities: Studies on Music and Minorities. Cambridge Scholars Press. p. 59. "Among the Alvanoi the reluctance to declare themselves as Albanians and to speak to foreigners in Albanian was even stronger than among the Arvanites. I would like to mention just one example. After several attempts we managed to get the permission to record a wedding in Igoumenitsa. The participants were people from Mavrudi, a village near Igoumenitsa. They spoke to us only German or English, but to each other Albanian. There were many songs in Greek which I knew because they are sung on the other side of the border, in Albanian. I should say the same about a great part of the dance music. After a few hours, we heard a very well known bridal song in Albanian. When I asked some wedding guests what this kind of song was, they answered: You know, this is an old song in Albanian. There have been some Albanians in this area, but there aren’t any more, only some old people". Actually it was a young man singing the song, as can he heard in audio example 5.9. The lyrics are about the bride’s dance during the wedding. The bride (swallow" in the song) has to dance slowly — slowly as it can be understood in the title of the song Dallëndushe vogël-o, dale, dale (Small swallow, slow — slow) (CD 12)."
  68. ^ Sarah Green (2005). Notes from the Balkans: Locating Marginality and Ambiguity on the Greek-Albanian border. Princeton University Press. pp. 74-75. "In short, there was a continual production of ambiguity in Epirus about these people, and an assertion that a final conclusion about the Tsamides was impossible. The few people I meet in Thesprotia who agreed that they were Tsamides were singularly reluctant to discuss anything to do with differences between themselves and anyone else. One older man said, ‘Who told you I’m a Tsamis? I’m no different from anyone else.’ That was as far as the conversation went. Another man, Having heard me speaking to some people in a Kafeneio in Thesprotia on the subject, followed me out of the shop as I left, to explain to me why people would not talk about Tsamides; he did not was to speak to me about it in the hearing of others: They had a bad reputation, you see. They were accused of being thieves and armatoloi. But you can see for yourself, there not much to live on around here. If some of them did act that way, it was because they had to, to survive. But there were good people too, you know; in any population, you get good people and bad people. My grandfather and my father after him were barrel makers, they were honest men. They made barrels for oil and tsipouro. I’m sorry that people have not been able to help you do your work. It’s just very difficult; it’s a difficult subject. This man went on to explain that his father was also involved in distilling tsipouro, and he proceeded to draw a still for me in my notebook, to explain the process of making this spirit. But he would not talk about any more about Tsamides and certainly never referred to himself as being Tsamis."
  69. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (1995). "Southern Albania, Northern Epirus: Survey of a Disputed Ethnological Boundary." Farsarotul. Retrieved 18-4-2015. "I tried unsuccessfully in 1994 to find Albanian speakers in Filiates, Paramithia and Margariti. The coastal villages near Igoumenitsa have been turned into tourist resorts. There may be Albanian speakers in villages inland, but as in the case with the Albanian speakers in Attica and Boeotia the language is dying fast. It receives no kind of encouragement. Albanian speakers in Greece would of course be almost entirely Orthodox."
  70. ^ Winnifrith, Tom (2002). Badlands, Borderlands: A History of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania. Duckworth. pp. 25-26, 53. "Some Orthodox speakers remained, but the language was not encouraged or even allowed, and by the end of the twentieth century it had virtually disappeared..... And so with spurious confidence Greek historians insist that the inscriptions prove that the Epirots of 360, given Greek names by their fathers and grandfathers at the turn of the century, prove the continuity of Greek speech in Southern Albania since their grandfathers whose names they might bear would have been living in the time of Thucydides. Try telling the same story to some present-day inhabitants of places like Margariti and Filiates in Southern Epirus. They have impeccable names, they speak only Greek, but their grandparents undoubtedly spoke Albanian."
  71. ^ Raymond G. Gordon, Raymond G. Gordon, Jr., Barbara F. Grimes (2005) Summer Institute of Linguistics, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, SIL International, ISBN 1-55671-159-X.
  72. ^ Brian D. Joseph. When Languages Collide: Perspectives on Language Conflict, Language Competition, and Language Coexistence. Ohio State University Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-8142-0913-4, p. 281
  73. ^ Jewish currents. 2000, p. 34.
  74. ^ Miranda Vickers, The Albanians: A Modern History, I.B.Tauris, 1999, ISBN 978-1-86064-541-9
  75. ^ Σε αρβανιτοχώρι της Θεσπρωτίας αναβίωσαν τον αρβανίτικο γάμο! [In an Arvanite village, Arvanite customs have reappeared !]". Katopsi. Retrieved 18-4-2015.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]