Hoti (tribe)

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Albanian bayraks as of 1918. Hoti and Gruda on the far left side.

Hoti is a historical Albanian tribe and region in Malësia, a divided region located in northern Albania and southern Montenegro.


The Hoti region lays at the Albania–Montenegro border, with the main settlements of Hot and Rapshë-Starje in Albania and Arza, Helmes and Trabojna in Montenegro.[1]


The earliest known historical reference to Hoti was recorded in 1474 when the region was mentioned in Latin sources as montanea ottanorum ("mountain of the Hoti").[1]

In Mariano Bolizza's 1614 report and description of the Sanjak of Scutari, Hoti (Hotti) had 212 households and 600 men-in-arms, commanded by Marash Papa (Maras Pappa).[2]

In 1658, the seven tribes of Kuči, Vasojevići, Bratonožići, Piperi, Kelmendi, Hoti and Gruda allied themselves with the Republic of Venice, establishing the so-called "Seven-fold barjak" or "alaj-barjak", against the Ottomans.[3]

During the Great Eastern Crisis and subsequent border negotiations Italy suggested in April 1880 for the Ottoman Empire to give Montenegro the Tuz district that contained mainly Catholic Gruda and Hoti populations which would have left the tribes split between both countries.[4] With Hoti this would have left an additional problem of tensions and instability due to the tribe having precedence by tradition over the other four tribes during peace and war.[4] The tribes affected by the negotiations swore a besa (pledge) to resist any reduction of their lands and sent telegrams to surrounding regions for military assistance.[4]

After the Young Turk Revolution (1908) and subsequent restoration of the Ottoman constitution, the Hoti tribe made a besa (pledge) to support the document and to stop blood feuding with other tribes until November 6.[5]

At the outset of the northern Albanian resistance against Ottoman rule, the tribe of Hoti was credited with being the first of the northern Albanian tribes to initiate an uprising for Albanian self determination in 1911.[citation needed] Of particular renown was commander Ded Gjo Luli. At the victorious Battle of Deçiq (6 April 1911), Ded Gjo Luli was able to raise the Albanian standard in symbolic defiance of Ottoman rule (the Albanian standard had not been raised since the late 15th century, during the military campaigns of Scanderbeg). On 23 June 1911 Albanian tribesmen and other revolutionaries gathered in Montenegro and drafted the Greçë Memorandum demanding Albanian sociopolitical and linguistic rights with four of the signatories being from Hoti.[6] In later negotiations with the Ottomans, an amnesty was granted to the tribesmen with promises by the government to build one to two primary schools in the nahiye of Hoti and pay the wages of teachers allocated to them.[6]

Because of its instrumental role in the resistance, Hoti is commonly held as the head the Albanian tribes of Malësia, and members of the tribe are routinely given places of honor at feasts even to this day.


In the late Ottoman period, the tribe of Hoti consisted of 500 Catholic households and 23 Muslim that included the family of the bajraktar (chieftain).[7] In the modern era the majority of the Hoti are followers of the Roman Catholic faith and celebrate St. John the Baptist (Albanian: Shën Gjoni or Shnjoni) as their "feast" day. The day (August 29) commemorates the martyrdom (beheading) of Saint John the Baptist. There is also a significant minority in the region that follow Islam.


Hoti is traditionally divided into two main subdivisions: Trabojin and Rapša/Rrapshë.[8] The village of Rrapshë is divided into two, with one part belonging to Montenegro (Rapša), and the other to Albania (Rrapshë).


There are two main branches of Hoti: Traboina and Rapsha.[9][8] According to oral tradition, the ancestor of the Hoti was Keq Preka who migrated from Bosnia.[10] Legends claim ancestral family ties with other northern Albanian and also Montenegrin tribes.[10] According to tradition collected by Edith Durham (1908), the Hoti tribe traced their origin from Bosnia, and their ancestor was a "Gheg Lazar", who arrived thirteen generations prior (est. c. 1528), fleeing the Ottomans.[11] It was said the Gruda tribe predated them.[11] The tribe was Albanophone and Roman Catholic,[11] one of five tribes of Maltsia e madhe.[12] The tribe, which was one barjak ("flag"), was made up of 500 houses, have out of which only three, those of the barjaktar, were Muslim (converted seven generations prior).[11] During times of war and mobilisation of troops, the bajraktar (chieftain) of Hoti was recognised by the Ottoman government as leader of all forces of the Maltsia e madhe tribes of Kelmendi, Shkreli, Kastrati, Gruda and three smaller tribes.[7] Twelve houses descended from the Anas ("indigenous"), who the Hoti could marry.[11] Intermarriage was mostly done with the Kastrati.[12] The closest relations were held with the Kastrati, whom the Hoti traditionally married, while close relations were also held with the Triepshi and Gruda tribes.[13]

Hoti are divided into the following families:[14][15][16]

Descend from first son of founder of Hoti (Traboin branch):[17]

  • Dushaj (Dušaj, Duševići) - descend from Dush
  • Gozdjeni - descend from Gozdjen
    • Dedvukaj (Dedvukovići)
    • Camaj (Camovići) - descend from Cam Pepa, grandson of Gozdjen[18]
      • Hasaj / Hasovići[17]
      • Haxhiaj / Hadžići[17]
      • Vuksanlekaj (Vuksanlekići) - descend from Vuksan Leka Camaj[17]
        • Martinaj (Martinovići) - descend from Martin, son of Vuksan Leka Camaj[17]
        • Ujkaj (Ujkovići, Ujkanovići?) - descend from Ujk, son of Vuksan Leka Camaj[17]
      • Zekaj (Zekovići) [17]
    • Gjelaj (Đeljaj, Đeljevići)
    • Nicaj (Nicovići) - descend from Nic, son of Gozdjen[18]
  • Gojçaj (Gojčaj, Gojčevići) - descend from Gojç / Gojič[17][18]
    • Otovići - descend from Keka (Osman) Gojçaj [19]

Descend from second son of founder of Hoti (Rapshë branch):[17]

  • Gjonaj (Đonaj, Đonovići) - descend from Gjon
  • Junçaj (Junčaj, Junčevići) - descend from Junç
    • Haxhaj (Hadžaj, Hadžovići)
    • Lucgjonaj (Ljucđonaj, Ljucđonovići) - descend from Ljuc Gjoni Junçaj[20]
      • Çekaj (Čekaj, Čekovići)
        • Prekolaj (Prekolovići)
      • Çunmulaj (Čunmuljaj, Čunmulići) - descend from Çun Mula Lucgjonaj[20]
    • Vuksaletaj (Vuksaletovići)
  • Lajçaj (Ljajčaj, Ljajčevići) - descend from Lajç

Unknown descent:

  • Bardhaj (Barlovići)
  • Dakaj (Dakići)
  • Drekaj (Drekići)
  • Prelvucaj (Preljvucići)

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b Elsie 2015, p. 47.
  2. ^ Elsie 2015, pp. 47–48.
  3. ^ Mitološki zbornik. Centar za mitološki studije Srbije. 2004. pp. 24, 41–45.
  4. ^ a b c Gawrych 2006, p. 62.
  5. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 159.
  6. ^ a b Gawrych 2006, pp. 186-187.
  7. ^ a b Gawrych, George (2006). The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874–1913. London: IB Tauris. p. 31. ISBN 9781845112875.
  8. ^ a b Jovićević 1923, pp. 24–25
  9. ^ Kenneth Bourne; David Stevenson; Donald Cameron Watt; John F. V. Keiger (1989). British Documents on Foreign Affairs--reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print: Bulgaria, 1907-1914; Montenegro, 1895-1913. University Publications of America. p. 411. Retrieved 25 July 2013. ...the Hoti are divided into two branches, the Traboina and the Rapsha
  10. ^ a b Elsie 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e Durham 1909, ch. III.
  12. ^ a b Durham 1909, ch. II.
  13. ^ Elsie 2015, p. 49.
  14. ^ "Poreklo prezimena, selo Vuksanlekići (Podgorica)". (in Serbian). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  15. ^ "Poreklo prezimena, selo Sukuruć (Podgorica)". (in Serbian). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  16. ^ Jovićević 1923, pp. 23–24
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Poreklo prezimena, selo Vuksanlekići (Podgorica)" (in Serbian). Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Poreklo prezimena, selo Sukuruć (Podgorica)" (in Serbian). Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Poreklo prezimena, selo Vladni (Podgorica)". (in Serbian). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  20. ^ a b "Prezimena u Crnoj Gori" (in Montenegrin). Montenegrin Ethnic Association of Australia. Retrieved 2 August 2014.


Coordinates: 42°20′N 19°23′E / 42.333°N 19.383°E / 42.333; 19.383