Toptani family

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Coat of arms of the Toptani
Current regionCentral Albania
Place of originKrujë
Estate(s)50,000 hectares between Durres and Tirana
Abedin Toptani's serail in Tirana

The Toptani were a leading noble family in central Albania at the beginning of the 20th century.[1] They belonged to a small number of noble families appointed by the Ottomans who used local chieftains to control Ottoman Albania more easily.[2] Essad Pasha Toptani, a family patriarch, claimed that the family descended from the Thopia family.[3] According to some sources, the name is derived from the word top, which means cannon, as the family owned a cannon at a time when artillery was rare.[4]


The Toptani family initially lived in Krujë before moving to Tirana during the 17th century, when many sipahis moved from rural regions of the Ottoman Empire to cities.[5] Their move from Krujë to Tirana probably contributed to the development of sharecropping in Albania.[6]

The Toptani family possessed around 50,000 hectares near Tirana and Durrës[7] and remained one of the main landowners until the end of the Second World War.[8] The 19th century house of the Toptani family situated in the centre of Tirana was turned into a museum.

Notable members[edit]

Notable members of the family include:


  1. ^ Elsie, Robert (24 December 2012). A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. I.B.Tauris. p. 444. ISBN 978-1-78076-431-3. ... the leading Toptani family of central Albania,...
  2. ^ Gawrych, George (26 December 2006). The Crescent and the Eagle: Ottoman Rule, Islam and the Albanians, 1874-1913. I.B.Tauris. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-84511-287-5.
  3. ^ Durham, M. Edith (22 July 2005). Albania and the Albanians: Selected Articles and Letters, 1903-1944. I.B.Tauris. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-85043-939-4. Essad Bey Toptani, of Tirana, was the head of the Toptani family, who claim descent, though with little proof, from the Chieftain Topias, and are believed to have been exterminated by the Turks when they overthrew Albania.
  4. ^ Price, George Ward (1918). The Story of the Salonica Army. E. J. Clode. p. 310. He comes of an old Albanian family called the Toptani. (Top means cannon; his family once had a gun at a time when artillery was rare.)
  5. ^ Braudel, Fernand (1995). The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. University of California Press. p. 724. ISBN 978-0-520-20330-3.
  6. ^ Stoianovich, Traian (1992). Between East and West: The Balkan and Mediterranean Worlds. A.D. Caratzas. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-89241-501-4.
  7. ^ Roszkowski, Wojciech (1995). Land reforms in East Central Europe after World War One. Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. p. 51.
  8. ^ Oakley-Hill, Dayrell; Smiley, David (2002). An Englishman in Albania: memoirs of a British officer 1929-1955. Centre for Albanian Studies. p. 228. ISBN 978-1-903616-20-8.

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