Principality of Kastrioti

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Principality of Kastrioti
Principata e Kastriotit

Principality of Kastrioti in the 15th century
Capital Krujë (after November 1443)
Languages Albanian
Religion Catholic
Government Principality
 •  1389-1417 Gjon Kastrioti
 •  1443-1444 George Kastrioti
Historical era Medieval
 •  Established 1389
 •  Fall under Ottoman Empire 1417
 •  Regained control 1443
 •  Disestablished 2 March 1444

Principality of Kastrioti (1389–1444) was one of the most important principalities in Medieval Albania. It was created by Gjon Kastrioti and then ruled by the national hero of Albania, George Kastrioti Skanderbeg.


Gjon Kastrioti had originally only two small villages. In short time John Kastrioti managed to expand its lands so as to become the undisputed lord of Central Albania. He married Voisava Tripalda who bore five daughters - Mara, later wife of Stefan Crnojević of Montenegro; Jela, then wife of Gjin (Gino) Musacchio; Angjelina (Angelina), later wife of Vladan Arianit Comnenus Thopia; Vlajka, later wife of Stefan Maramonte Balšić; Mamica, later wife of Karol Musacchio Thopia - and four sons: Repoš, Staniša (Stanislaus), Kostandin (Constantine) and George Kastrioti. Gjon Kastrioti was among those who opposed[1] the early incursion of Ottoman Bayezid I, however his resistance was ineffectual. The Sultan, having accepted his submissions, obliged him to pay tribute and to ensure the fidelity of local rulers, George Kastrioti and his three brothers were taken by the Sultan to his court as hostages. After his conversion to Islam,[2] the young George Kastrioti attended military school in Edirne and led many battles for the Ottoman Empire to victory. For his military victories, he received the title Arnavutlu İskender Bey, (Albanian: Skënderbe shqiptari, English: Lord Alexander, the Albanian) comparing Kastrioti's military brilliance to that of Alexander the Great.

Restoration of Gjergj Kastrioti[edit]

He was distinguished as one of the best officers in several Ottoman campaigns both in Asia Minor and in Europe, and the Sultan appointed him General. He even fought against Greeks, Serbs and Hungarians, and some sources say that he used to maintain secret links with Ragusa, Venice, Ladislaus V of Hungary, and Alfonso I of Naples.[3] Sultan Murat II gave him the title Vali which made him General Governor. On November 28, 1443, Skanderbeg saw his opportunity to rebel after a battle against the Hungarians led by John Hunyadi in Niš as part of the Crusade of Varna. He switched sides along with 300 other Albanians serving in the Ottoman army. After a long trek to Albania he eventually captured Krujë by forging a letter[1] from the Sultan to the Governor of Krujë, which granted him control of the territory. After capturing the castle, Skanderbeg[4] abjured Islam and proclaimed himself the avenger of his family and country. He raised a flag showing a double-headed eagle, an ancient symbol used by various cultures of Balkans (especially the Byzantine Empire), which later became the Albanian flag. The Governor was killed as he was returning to Edirne, unaware of Skanderbeg's intentions... Skanderbeg allied with George Arianite[5] (born Gjergj Arianit Komneni) and married his daughter Donika (born Marina Donika Arianiti).[6]

League of Lezha[edit]

Following the capture of Krujë, Skanderbeg managed to bring together all the Albanian princes in the town of Lezhë[7] (see League of Lezhë, 1444). Gibbon[4] reports that the "Albanians, a martial race, were unanimous to live and die with their hereditary prince" and that "in the assembly of the states of Epirus, Skanderbeg was elected general of the Turkish war and each of the allies engaged to furnish his respective proportion of men and money". With this support, Skanderbeg built fortresses and organized a mobile defense force that forced the Ottomans to disperse their troops, leaving them vulnerable to the hit-and-run tactics of the Albanians.[8] He managed to create the League of Lezha, a federation of all Albanian Principalities.

See also[edit]


"History of Albanian People" Albanian Academy of Science. ISBN 99927-1-623-1

  1. ^ a b James Emerson Tennent, 1845, The History of Modern Greece, from Its Conquest by the Romans B.C.146, to the Present Time
  2. ^ Rendina, Claudio (2000). La grande enciclopedia di Roma. Rome: Newton Compton. p. 1136. ISBN 88-8289-316-2. 
  3. ^ Noli, Fan S.: George Castrioti Scanderbeg, New York, 1947
  4. ^ a b Edward Gibbon, 1788, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 6, Scanderbeg section
  5. ^ Fine, John V. (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. ISBN 0-472-08260-4. 
  6. ^ Titolo pagina
  7. ^ Minna Skafte Jensen, 2006, A Heroic Tale: Marin Barleti's Scanderbeg between orality and literacy
  8. ^ Stavrianos, L.S. (2000). The Balkans Since 1453. ISBN 1-85065-551-0.