Kara Mahmud Pasha

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Kara Mahmud Pasha
Prikaz Mahmut-paše Bušatlije.jpg
Governor of Scutari
June 1775–September 1796
PredecessorMehmed Pasha
SuccessorIbrahim Pasha
BornSanjak of Scutari, Ottoman Empire
Died22 September 1796
Krusi, Montenegro
FatherMehmed Pasha

Kara Mahmud Pasha (Turkish: Kara Mahmud Paşa, fl. 1749–22 September 1796) was a hereditary Ottoman governor (mutasarrıf) of the Sanjak of Scutari (known in historiography as Pashalik of Scutari), belonging to the Ottoman Albanian Bushati family (Buşatlı).


Mahmud was the son of Mehmed Pasha Bushati, the governor of the sanjak of Scutari.[1] When Mehmed Pasha died in June 1775, the Sultan's rule was not returned to northern Albania; he was succeeded by his young son, Mahmud Pasha.[2]

In the 1780s his rebellious character brought him into conflict with the Ottomans. This conflict is regarded in Albanian historiography as a bid to create an independent principality. However, the immediate cause of the conflict with the Ottomans was his clash with the Tosk Pashas of Southern Albania, namely Ali Pasha and Ahmet Kurt Pasha. His major quarrels were with Montenegro, which he attacked in 1785. During his attacks in Montenegro he even burned Cetinje and plundered region, including the library and treasury of the Reževići Monastery.[3]

During his conflict with the southern Albanian Pashas he was approached by the Austrians and Russians who wanted to use him against the Ottomans. They offered to convert Kara Mahmud Pasha to Christianity, thus recognizing him as king of Albania. He accepted the proposal, however, upon learning that they wanted to hand his lands to Montenegro, he rejected their offers in 1788, and beheaded the delegation, sending their heads as trophies to the Ottoman Sultan who pardoned him for his quarrels with the local Pashas.

Kara Mahmud Pasha continued to quarrel with the Ottoman Empire, however, by annexing the Sanjak of Prizren and large parts of Montenegro and by instituting military and political reforms in his state without permission from the Porte. Through these efforts, he hoped to create an independent state free from Ottoman control. To prevent these efforts, the Ottomans sent an expedition into his realm and besieged Scutari, which was garrisoned by his most faithful men. The siege was lifted and the Ottoman expedition retreated, then returned but failed to complete the siege.

When guvernadur Jovan Radonjić saw Mahmud Pasha's army across Bjelica, he set his own house on fire and fled to Venetian territory.[4] Mahmud Pasha went to burn down the Njeguši tribe, but the Nikšići asked him to preserve it, because they had trading relations with them.[4] Mahmud Pasha settled the promised war gift; he gave Milić and knez Martinović two flasks filled with Ottoman copper coins, and 10 ducats each for the service they had done for him.[4] Mahmud Pasha then crossed with his army through Paštrovići to return to Scutari.[4] When he crossed Paštrovići at the Kašćela height near the church, Rade Andrović and his two friends approached and failed to assassinate him.[4]

Kara Mahmud Pasha launched an offensive on Montenegro in 1796, following its proclaimed unification with Ottoman-ruled Brda region. His army suffered an initial defeat in July in the Battle of Martinići, but continued military operations until September, when Montenegrin tribes of Piperi and Bjelopavlići defeated his army in the Battle of Krusi, in which he was decapitated by the chieftain Bogdan Nikolić. His skull is still on display in the Cetinje monastery.


His brother Ibrahim Pasha continued to rule Scutari under the Ottoman sultan until his death in 1810. Ibrahim served as Beylerbey of Rumelia and played an important role on crushing the First Serbian Uprising led by Karađorđe.


  • A northern Albanian folkloric song dealing with Mahmud Pasha's conflict with the Montenegrins is Kanga e Kara Mahmud Pashes Kundra Malazezve (The Song of Kara Mahmud Pasha against the Montenegrins).[5]


  • In Albanian he is known as Kara Mahmud Pashë Bushati. In Serbian, he is known as Mahmut-paša Bušatlija (Махмут-паша Бушатлија), or simply Kara-Mahmut (Кара-Махмут). Robert Elsie calls him by the Albanian neologism "Kara Mahmud Pasha Bushatlliu".


  1. ^ Stanojević & Vasić 1975, p. 398.
  2. ^ Istorijski zapisi. 9–10. Istorijski institut SR Crne Gore. 1956. p. 54. Јуна 1775 умро је Мехмед-паша Бушатлија. То султану није вратило власт над северном Албанијом: очево место заузео је млади .Махмуд-паша
  3. ^ Dušan J. Martinović; Centralna narodna biblioteka Republike Crne Gore "Đurđe Crnojević" (Cetinje). (2002). 160 years of the National Library of Montenegro. Crnogorska akademija nauka i umjetnosti. p. 37. Retrieved 2 August 2013. Манастир Режевићи са библиотеком и ризницом страдао је у познатој Махмут-пашиној похари
  4. ^ a b c d e Rade Turov Plamenac; Jovan R. Bojović (1997). Memoari. CID. p. 537. Гувернадур Јоко, чим опази турску војску преко Бјелица, он из- гори своју кућу и утече у Млетачку државу. Кара-Махмут паша хо- ћаше опалит племе Његуше, него су га измолили Никшићи да се са- чувају, јер са њима држе везу трговине. Кара-паша подмири обећани дар вој. Милићу и кнезу Мартиновићу са пуне двије боце „башлика" (турских бакарних новаца) и повр њих у грла од боца напуни по десет дуката за њихову услугу коју су му учињели, па се онда преко Паштровића врати с војском у Скадар. Кад је прелазијо преко Паштровића почине више Кашћела бли- зу цркве; онда поп Раде Андровић нови Обилић узме два
  5. ^ Memoirs of the American Folk-lore Society. American Folk-lore Society. 1954. p. 94.


Preceded by
Mehmed Pasha
Pasha of Scutari
June 1775 – September 1796
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Pasha