Himara Revolt

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Himara Revolt
Part of the Long War
DateJuly–August 1596
LocationHimara, Ottoman Empire (now Albania)
Result Ottoman victory
Himariotes  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Archbishop Athanasius

The Himara Revolt of 1596 was an uprising organized by archbishop Athanasius I of Ohrid in the region of Himara against the Ottoman Empire. It was part of a range of anti-Ottoman movements in the Western Balkans at the end of the 16th century during the Long Turkish War in the Balkans.


Conspiracy plans to overthrow Ottoman rule in the northern region of Epirus were organized in the 1570s by local Greek nobles, Manthos Papagiannis and Panos Stolikos,[1] Nevertheless revolutionary actions began after Papagiannis' death in 1596.[2]

Spanish conspirators, with instructions from Naples, led an action to spark revolt in southern Albania.[3] They decided to invite archbishop Athanasius I of Ohrid in their plans.[3] He was described as "discrete and intelligent".[4] In the beginning, Athanasius was uninvolved, until the beginning of 1596 when he offered his cooperation to the Venetian official in Corfu.[3]

Athanasius sent a letter to the provveditore and captain of Corfu, Angelo Basadonna, in January 1596, about wanting to meet up and discuss "very important things".[5] The two had a meeting on 26 January 1596, during which Athanasius spoke of the "miserable state of Christians" and asked for help for a general uprising.[5] Rejected by Venice, he openly joined the Spanish conspirators, who contacted the Napolitan deputy about this.[3] Athanasius sent his minister to Naples to ask for weapons and 2,000 soldiers from Spain, and to establish the whole plan of the uprising.[3] The Napolitan vice-king sent one of his captains to oversee events and to get to know the real intents of the people.[3] While the Napolitan captain was in Albania, the Himariotes south of Valona immediately rose up.[3]

The Himara revolt was part of a range of anti-Ottoman movements in the Western Balkans at the end of the 16th century during the Long Turkish War in areas that extended from Epirus up north to the area of Šibenik (in Croatia).[6]


Athanasius had returned to Albania by the summer of 1596 and stayed in Himara. A contemporary source stated that there were 10,000 fighters in red costumes in Himara.[7][dubious ] The revolt was active in July and August,[8] with initial success, the rebels managing to control the coastal towns.[4] The rebel force being reinforced by a small unit of Spaniards attacked the nearby Ottoman fort of Cerna.[9] The fort was simultaneously attacked from three directions by 1,300 men, of whom only 300 were equipped with arquebuses.[10] Initially a group of 100 Spaniards managed to capture part of the fort raising their flag, killing 80 Ottoman soldiers among whom the commander of the fort.[10] However the Himariotes being confused about this turn of the battle withdrew from the battlefield.[10] This gave the opportunity to the Ottomans to launch a successful counterattack.[10] The revolt was easily suppressed after the Venetians convinced some of the chieftains not to join the rebellion,[11] and the fact that the rebel army was undisciplined.[3]


After the unsuccessful operation Athanasius returned to Himara for the preparations of another rebellion.[12] The remaining Spaniards left the region,[13] but Athanasius awaited this time an aid of 3–4,000 soldiers from the Spanish king.[8] On August 23, 1596 he met with Albanian captains Michael Bua, Giovanni Golemi and Michael Papada.[14] They each received a monthly pay of 50 ducats.[14] They then went to Lecce to arm the Himariotes with 1,000 arquebuses, powder, lead, four drums and four royal banners (insegne del Re).[14] Athanasius then moved to Rome and had an audience with the Pope. The following 20 years he continued to visit various western European leaders to trigger their intervention against the Ottomans, but without success.[10] On the other hand, Venetian Cypriot Hieronimo Combi discouraged Michael Bua and his companions.[15]

In the Sanjak of Herzegovina and Montenegro Vilayet, the Serbs rose up in 1596–97, but without foreign support the rebels were forced to capitulate.[16] In 1600, a rebellion broke out in Thessaly.[17]


  1. ^ Cini, Giorgio (1974). Il Mediterraneo Nella Seconda Metà Del '500 Alla Luce Di Lepanto (in Italian). Leo S. Olschki. p. 238. Delusi rimasero pure i ribelli dell'Epiro del Nord, dove si erano sollevati i notabili greci di Argirocastron Manthos Papagiannis e Panos Kestolicos. Questi notabili si erano accordati con l'arcivescovo di Ochrida Ioachim ed anche con alcuni metropolis della Macedonia occidentale e dell'Epiro, si erano assicurati promesse di Don Juan per un sostegno armato... [Disappointed were also the rebels of Northern Epirus, where they had raised the Greek notables of Argirocastron Manthos Papagiannis and Panos Kestolicos. These chiefs had agreed with the Archbishop of Ochrida Ioachim and also with some metropolitans of western Macedonia and Epirus, and had secured promises of Don Juan for armed support...]
  2. ^ Korre, Katerina (2013). "History of the Greek People in 16th century Northern Epirus: The case of Matthaios Papagiannis". History-Scholars: Epirus and Ioannina from 1430 to 1912 (in Greek): 165-166.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h SANU 1932, p. 131.
  4. ^ a b Randa 1964, p. 130.
  5. ^ a b Filološki fakultet 1979, p. 157.
  6. ^ Studii: revistă de istorie. 24. Editura Academiei Republicii Populare Romîne. 1971. p. 419. Andrei Pippidi a arătat că rascoala albanczilor din Himara (1596-1597) face parte dintr-o serie de mişcări de eliberare care se intind din Epir pină ia Sibenik, fiind conduse de arhiepiscopii de Ohrida, Ioachim, Gavriil şi Atanasie I. Rolul unui ...
  7. ^ Andromaqi Gjergji (2004). Albanian Costumes Through the Centuries: Origin, Types, Evolution. Acad. of Sciences of Albania, Inst. of Folc Culture. p. 21. ISBN 978-99943-614-4-1.
  8. ^ a b Matkovski 1983, p. 228.
  9. ^ Kontali 2011, p. 126.
  10. ^ a b c d e Kontali 2011, p. 127.
  11. ^ Marović, Miodrag (1995). Balkanski Džoker: Albanija i Albanci : istorijska hronika nastajanja i razvoja albanskog pitanja. Kulturni centar. p. 54.
  12. ^ Kontali 2011.
  13. ^ Kontali 2011, p. 167.
  14. ^ a b c Bartl 1974, p. 126.
  15. ^ Bartl 1974, p. 128.
  16. ^ Trevor W. Harrison; Slobodan Drakulic (2011). Against Orthodoxy: Studies in Nationalism. UBC Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-7748-2096-7.
  17. ^ Sakellariou 1997, p. 246.