Albania as described in Historic Encyclopedias

Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Anskjaer 1858-1863, Nordisk Familje-Bok 1876-1899, Meyer 1885-1892, Nordisk Familje-Bok 1904-1926

Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Albanien (excerpts)
Albania, called Arnaut by the Turks, a large landscape in European Turkey bordered by Dalmatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Epirus and the Golfo di Venezia, about 30 miles long and 20 miles wide, a populous and fertile country reputed for its wines. It used to be part of the Kingdom of Macedonia, used to include Epirus (which was called Albania inferior) and the island of Corfu. Presently it is under Turkish rule, divided in three Sanjaks, ruled by a pasha, while the minor part of the population is Muslim, he majority Roman Catholic or Greek Christians, and as descendants of the old Illyrians are skilled in water engineering and measuring. The most notable places are Janina, Scutari, Durazzo. The best characteristic of the inhabitants is their courage; therefore the Arnauts (see there) are an excellent class of soldiers.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Albanien (excerpts)
Albania, called Arnaut by the Turks, a coastal landscape in European Turkey of 700 square miles, covers the entire western slopes of the Pindos Mountains toward the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, in the south bordered by the Gulf of Arta and by Livadia, in the north separated from Bosnia and Serbia by the white Drino River.
This mountainous, forested, and not everywhere cultivated land, as its main mountain range has Monte Negro with the domiciles of the c. 50,000 Montenegrins, who always have been able to defend their independence, and the Chimera; among its rivers are the Black Drino, the Somini and Semeo, and among lakes that of Scutari, into which the Bojana, rich in fish, feeds, and that of Janina are the most important. The country's most beautiful valleys are, in part, rich in wine, cotton, oil, tobacco, grain. The inhabitants' main occupation is livestock breeding. The many ruins of Roman cities prove the once high standard of civilization, which used to actively trade and which presently conducts a transit trade with Italy, Germany and Russia, facilitated by good ports. The population, c. 350,000 consist of a few Turks, of Greeks, numerous in the cities and in the south of the country, of Jews and of indigenous Albanians, in Turkish called Arnauts, which already in earlier times were feared for their raids into adjacent countries. In them the Turks found valiant, energetic and stubborn enemies, who under the leadership of Skanderbeg acquired everlasting fame and who always maintained a degree of autonomy. The Albanian still is daring, desires booty, a born warrior in stature, body language and customs. His clothing is rich and colourful, while the women dress simply. He always has a broad knife with him, or a dagger, in his girdle, and a sabre; his other arms include a long rifle and a pair of pistols. From his early days he is accustomed to the usage of arms; he Albanian is a good soldier; he attacks the enemy in an unorganized rabble, while shouting loudly he throws himself at the enemy, fighting man against man. The Albanians are faithful in part to Greek, in part to Muslim religion; they change heir religion frequently, if they see an advantage in doing so. Their language is a combination of ancient Illyrian, German, Slavic, Roman, Greek and Turkic. The most important cities are the strongly fortified Janina with 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants, Scutari with 15,060 inhabitants and strong trade in timber for shipbuilding, Arta with 8060 inhabitants, a citadel and vibrant trade, the port city of Parga, in the vicinity of which the Suliots live who have gained such fame in the Greek struggle for independence, the fortified Prevesa on Arta Bay, Vonizza and Durazzo, he seat of a Greek archbishop.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Albanien (1)
Albania, in Albanian Skiperi, in Turkish Arnaut, belonging to Turkey, consisting of Eyalet Janina, part of the Eyalet Rumili and the Eyalet Uskub, on the Ionian and Adriatic Sea, 750 square miles, 17 million inhabitants, forested and mountainous coastal land, Mountains : Montenegro, Chimera and others, capes : Linguetta, Bays : Drino, Arlona, Arta, rivers : Drino, Vojussa, Aspro and others, lakes : Scutari, Ohrida, Janina, produces grain, wine, oil, tobacco, cotton, mineral salt. Climate : very nice, similar to that of southern Italy. The inhabitants, Turks, Greeks, Jews and Albanians, trade counry products and are strongly engaged in transit trade. Divisions : the Sanjaks Janina, Scutari, Ilbessan, Avlona, Delvari, perhaps also Ochri, Akhissar, Perserin. Capital Scutari. The Albanians (in Albanian : Skiptars, meaning mountain dwellers, by the Turks called Arnauts), seemingly more of Slavic than of Greek descent, are handsome and skilled people, courageous but without modern military skills, suited as butchers, water engineers, very loyal, they serve Turkish pashas as body guards for pay, but served the Turks also in regiments of 1000 men. Their habit consists of a green or purple over-vest, an under-vest decorated with strings, a wide sash, a coton shirt reaching down to his knee, hoses with metal leggings, a red cap or turban, a brown woollen embroided coat, in winter a grey or white woollen overcoat. In the belt they wear a long knife. The national dance, Albaniliko, is danced with flying hair in forced positions. Albanians are spread over the entire Orient; the larger part of the population of Athens is formed by the Albanian colony, they are also found in Constantinople and other cities, even in Egypt and Calabria. On their language see "Albanische Sprache". They are divided in Guegnes and Mirtids (on the border to Montenegro), Toxids (the southerners), Japyds (in the northern coast) and Shamids.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Dalmatien (2)
Albania, history. ... They also took up arms against the Turks. Two of their princes, Balza and Spata, fought against them, but the former was defeated at Berat in 1383 by Murad I. Soon after the Greek Emperors granted Albania with the city of Kroja to John Castriota, who took on the title King of Epirus. Murad II. forced him to pay tribute and to hand over his three sons as hostages, whom he forced to convert to Islam. John died in 1432, and the Turks occupied his territory, but in 1441 John's third son, George (Skanderbeg, proper Alexander Beg) used the opportunity by an unsuccessful war Murad II. fought against Hungary, to make himself master of Albania. In 1443 he took Kroja by trickery, assumed the title King of Albania and Epirus, reconverted to Christianity. Murad II. fought against him until his death in 1450; he fel in he fight against Skanderbeg. All Turkish commanders sent against him by Muhammad II. were defeated; finally in 1461 a peace was concluded which left Georg Castriota in the possession of Albania. While he fought in Italy for Ferdinand II., he ar with the Turks renewed, but again, with Venetian and papal aid, George Castriota fended off the attack on Kroja which was lead by Muhammad II. in person. Only his death (1467 in Lissa) brought about the submission of Albania to Turkish rule. The other parts of Albania and Epirus were also subjected to Turkish rule, and all of Albania now shared the fate of the Ottoman Empire, until in 1688, when the Venetians succeeded in conquering Morea, an attempt was made to throw off the Turkish yoke. In order to prevent this, the Turks had Pasha Soliman concentrate troops near Scutari, but with Venetian aid these were defeated by the Albanians, and the country was free for a while, until it was restored to he Sultan in the Treaty of Karlowitx (1699). In more recent times Ali Pasha of Janina attempted to take control of Albania and to establish a state independent of the Porte. But his cruelty and oppression resulted in the people turning away from him, and when Kurshid Pasha in 1822 laid siege to Janina, Albania deserted him and joined in with the Turks. This sped Ali's demise. While Albania was integrated into the Ottoman Empire in 1822, the Porte only recently succeeded in fully submitting the province. Insurrections, expulsion of Turkish officials, refusal of military duty and taxation, robbery, murder and plunder of the inhabitants mostly iof Albanian origin were until 1830 frequent events. The central government, first at war with the Greeks, later with the Russians, could not deal with these matters because of the lack of disposable troops, in part because it depended on the Albanian regimentsfighting for it. But when in 1829 the returning Albanian soldiers refused to obey their officers, when early in 1836 a general rising against Ottoman rule broke out in Albania, when Mustapha Pasha of Scutari spoke out for the revolt, the grand vezir decided on energetic measures to suppress this dangerous movement. Grand Vezir Mehmed Redschid with an army 15,000 strong entered Albania; he had little success using force, he convened an assembly of Albanian chieftains at Bitoglia where he intended to listen to their demands, and he offered to mediate with the Sultan. The Albanian chieftains came and demanded 30,000 bouses as a guarantee for the peaceful intentions of the Porte. The grand vezir, despite Constantinople so short after the war was hardly able to bring up such a sum, finally promised to support this demand. When the chieftains appeared on the second day of negotiations, they suddenly were surrounded by cavalrymen and cut down; s the Albanian forces withdrew without a fight, the rebellion was suppressed in a short time. Turkish soldiers plundered entire cities and villages, threw respected Albanians into jail, murdered or deprived of their entire possessions, which again fed the bitterness against Turkish rule. At the end of January 1831 the rebellion flared up again, with Mustapha Pasha of Scutari at the head. The sign of the Janissaries was raised as the standard of the rebellion; the insurgents took cntrol of Nissa, Scopia, Monastir. Grand Vezir Mehemed Redschid Pasha defeated Mustapha Pasha on April 23rd near Pieleppo, on April 30 near Tikwesch and on May 5 near Korprill. The Albanians were defeated; Mustapha Pasha withdrew into his citadel at Scutari and undertook bloody raids against the Turks who had occupied the city. In November, Mustapha Pasha surrendered, because of the lack of food. Because of the wealth his anestors had accumulated in the past 300 years, he was pardoned, banished to Constantinople; the other chieftains were dealt with according to martial law. In 1833 several nfluential Albanians convened and wrote a petition to the Sultan in which they requested the country to be administrated by indigenous persons, jurisdiction to be done by indigenous persons, that property Ali Pasha of Janina had illegally confiscated to be returned, finally the garrisoning of fortified places in the country to be done with indigenous troops; in return Albania would take on the obligation to pay the tribute which was demanded of it. The petition remained unanswered, and in 1834 Albania again saw an insurrection. In January 1834 a Sultan's commissioner appeared; the demands had been increased, as by now full political independence was demanded. Where Turkish officials had not yet been expelled, they fled, as the tebellion under Tasil-Busi expanded in all directions. Prali became the rallying point of the insurrection. Janina and Pitolia were threatened, finally the citadel of Brat taken. In April 1835 Turkish governor Hafiz Pasha had to withdraw into Scutari citadel and outlast a three month siege, until the Albanians finally were decisively defeated on July 16 by government troops near Schiwa, and so the third insurrection was suppressed. After nearly 3 years of calm Tasil-Busi, who had been pardoned, again took the lead when unrest broke out on the occasion of the drafting of recruits in 1839, which, with interruptions, continued until 1843 and which were of dangerous nature until in March 1844 a new insurrection broke out. Hordes crisscrossed the land, burning, plundering and devastating it. In May he city of Vrania was stormed, this time Kalianderch was the rallying point, soon the pashaliks of Vrania, Totova, Pristina and Scopia were in complete anarchy. On May 15th Turkish troops took Kirschowa, on May 17th Omer Pasha stormed he insurgents' positions near Uskub, chieftains who fell into his hands were executed immediately. On the 22. Pristina was taken, here the center of the insurrection destroyed. New rebellious movement flared up on the Drina, which was suppressed by the end of the year. Scutari go a garrison of 6,000 Turkish soldiers. In the spring of 1847 another insurrection broke out, the approaching Turkish forces were repelled on almost all fronts, only a blockade of the coast and an army of 20,000 men under Darbhor Redschid Pasha and Ismail Pasha could restore order by the end of October.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Albanien
Albanien, in Turkish Arnaut, province in European Turkey, at the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, bordered by Dalmatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Thessaly and Greece. It contains the ancient Illyria and Epirus, area about 700 square miles, the population estimates vary from 300,000 to 1 million. The land is mountanous and traversed by a number of small rivers, with fertile valleys. They produce grain, wine, olives, tobacco and livestock. The land is only little known, it is inhabited by a wild people called the Squiptars, and with their frequent unrestfulness they often have been dangerous for the Turkish Empire. Christianity used to be the dominant religion, but since had to give way to Islam. The leading cities : Janina, Scutari, Durazzo etc.
source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Nordisk Familje-Bok 1876-1899, Article : Albanien (1876)
Albanien, in Albanian Skiperi, in Turkish Arnaut), landscape in European Turkey, contains a part of ancient Illyria with Epirus. It borders in the north on Bosnia, Montenegro and Dalmatia, in the east on Macedonia and Thessaly, in the south on Greece and Arta Bay, in the west on the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. Its area can be stimated as 800 square miles.
According to the new Turkish administrative division in Eyalets, he province is divided in the Eyalets of Jania (Janina) and Prisren (Prisrendi). The entire country, especially its southern part, or Epirus, is uncommonly wild, partially inaccessible mountain country, a land of mountain ridges incised by minor rivulets, containing the western extensions of the Pindos Mountains, which form the natural border with Thessaly and Macedonia. Minor plateaus are found here and there, for instance the one around Janina in southern Albania, or Epirus, with an average elevayion of 1200 to 1500 feet above the sea. The most prominent rivers are Arta, Vijuzza and Drino. Among the lakes those of Janina, Ohrid and Scutari deserve being mentioned. The climate is comparatively severe, especially in the northern tracts. Main occupations are livestock keeping and agriculture, the latter producing grain, and in the more fertile and sunnier valleys tobacco, livestock, wine and olives. The inhabitants, who are in many aspects a peculiar tribe, are called Albanians (in Turkish Arnauts, they call themselves Sqiptars, mountain inhabitants) are the descendants of the ancient Illyrians.' Their population is given at about 1.5 million. They are found outside of Albania in other areas of Turkey and Greece. They are especially strong, courageous and warlike, and oherwise known for their greed for gold, their faithlessness and their cruel wildness toward their enemies. The country's tribes live in nearly uninterrupted feud with each other. Public safety is poorly maintained. Every Albanian, so to say, was born to be a soldier, loves military service and gladly serves in the armies of he Orient. By religion the population is predominantly Muslim, especially in the country's south. Furthr there are about 200,000 to 300,000 Christians, which partially belong to the Greek, partially to the Roman Catholic Church. The Albanian language is a separate one, but little known, a connection with the Graeco-Italian branch of the Indo-European languages is probable, but not proven yet. The latest complete, but from scientific perspective poor work on grammar is Rossi's Regole grammaticale della lingua Albanese, Rome1866. Of the cities, Scutari and Janina stand out, located on the lakes by the same name, Prisren (Alban. Prisrendi), at the foot of the enormous Tsjar-Dag, and Durazzo, the ancient Epidamnus or Dyrrhachium, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The country's history containd in ancient timesKing Pyrrhus of Epirus, in the 1400s Prince Georg Kastriota, by the Turks called Skanderbeg, and in our century the fierce and forceful Ali Pasha of Janina. With the memory of the later has merged with that of the Suliots, an Epirot freedom-loving mountain people who stood out in the Greek struggle for independence.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1885-1892, Article : Albanien
Albania, more an ethnographic than a geographic term, which refers to the land inhabited, or mainly inhabited by Albanians (see there), i.e. the Turkish Vilayets Scutari, Janina and parts of Kossovo and Salonica. Albanians live in he north up to the borders of Montenegro, up to Novibazar and Nisch, southward up to the 40th degree northern latitude (intermingled with Greeks along the coast up to 39 degrees 12 minutes), from the coast of the Adriatic Sea eastward until Bitolia, Üsküb and Leskowatz. Further one is accustomed, to count the Greek south and east of Epirus to Albania. In regard to physical geography of urkish Albania see the article on the Turkish Empire, with map.
History. .... Already around the year 1380 the Albanians, allied with Slavs and Hungarians, strode against Islam. In he bloody battle of Kossova 1389 the core of the Albanian army remained on the field. Many Albanian tribes emigrated into the deserted areas in Attica, Thessaly and the Peloponnese and founded Albanian colonies, which later staunchly resisted the Turks under Bayezid and Murad. The most glorious period of Albanian history is connected with the name Skanderbeg, who through 25 years (1443-1467) fought the Turks with both heroic courage and luck, while his father-in-law, Acantina Topia, covered souhern Albania. Even after Skanderbeg's death the Albanians resisted the Turks for a while; heir defense of Scutari is famous, their last battle of this period. The peace concluded by Venice and the Turks in 1478 left Albania a Turkish province, but the country never was fully placed under Turkish control. Since the middle of the 17th century Islam expanded in hitherto Christian Albania. Albanians served in the Turkish military, where they formed the core force, as the Janissaries had sunken to domestic troops. The most courageous Turkish commanders in most cases were Albanians. They also, with increasing frequency, rose to the highest civilian offices. When in 1770 the Russians instigated a Greek rebellion against the Turks, the Turks dispatched the Albanians against their southern neighbours, who in their age-old hatred against the Greeks murdered without restriction. Ali, the Prince of Tepelen, at this time began his remarkable career. By and by he brought all of Albania under his control, But when he attempted, by the means of murder and treason, to rid himself of his Albanian friends in order to be able to rule as an unrestricted despot, the latter took the side of the Turks, and so his power was broken (1822). Ali's almost uninterrupted 40 year struggle to consolidate his rule had accustomed the people to war to such an extent that, when after the fall of the despot, the Greek rebellion erupted, it used the opportunity for robbery and pillaging. The Muslim Albanians sided with the Turks, he Christian Albanians , notably the Armatols and Klephths dwelling in the southern mountains (namely the Suliots) sided with the Greeks. In this extended struggle with their Muslim brothers the Christian Albanians to the larger part found their ruin. Following the Battle of Navarino and the recognition of Greek independence, the Albanian's wild lust for adventure turned against the Turks. Under Arslan Bey and Mustapha, Pasha of Scutari, they rose in rebellion. The Pasha of Baghdad, Daud, was won as an ally, and Mehemed Ali from Cairo stoked the fire with gold. The Empire should be attackd from all sides. Then Reschid Pasha, after he had concluded peace with ussia, appeared with the entire Turkish force. Treason was employed to achieve his goal; he invited the chieftains of the Albanians to negotiations at Monastir, had promised safe conduct, and those suspecting no harm went into the trap. 400 chieftains came with their entourage, but were cut down during festivities held in their honour, after which the country quickly was submitted. Since 1843 another insurrection had broken out in consequence of the drafting of soldiers. It quicly spread into he mountainous regions of Rumelia, into Bulgaria. Omer Pasha defeated he Albanians near Kaplanly and subjected the province by a victory at Kalkandelen and the conquest of Pristina. A renewed rebellion in 1847 soon was suppressed. In 1879 the northern tribes resisted the cession of northern territories, decided on at the Berlin Congress, to Serbia and Montenegro, and in order o prevent these, even took up arms against the Turkish government, but were forced to submit by Derwisch Pasha in 1880 and 1881.
see Gopcevic Oberalbanien und seine Liga (Leipz. 1881), und die Litteratur bei Albanesen.

source in German, posted by Retro-Bibliothek

Nordisk Familje-Bok 1904-1926, Article : Albanien (1904)
Albanien, in Albanian Sjkiperi, in Turkish Arnaut), landscape in European Turkey, contains a part of ancient Illyria with Epirus. It borders in the north on Bosnia, Montenegro and Dalmatia, in the east on Macedonia and Thessaly, in the south on Greece and Arta Bay, in the west on the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. Its area can be stimated as 29,950 square km. In accordance with the new Turkish administrative division the landscape is divided in the vilayets Janina, Skutari, Kossovo and Monastir. The entire land, and especially its southern part is uncommonly wild and partially inaccessible mountain terrain, traversed by mountain ridges and rivulets, with the western extensions of the Pindos, which forms the natural border with Thessaly and Macedonia. Minor plateaus are found here and there, for instance that around Janina with an average elevation of 500 m. The most prominent rivers are Arta, Viosa and Drin. Among the lakes Janina, Ohrid, Prespa and Skutari Lakes must be listed. The climate is comparatively severe, especially in the northern tracts. Main occupations are livestock keeping and agriculture, the latter producing grain, and in the more fertile and sunnier valleys tobacco, livestock, wine and olives. The population is estimated at about 1 1/2 million. More than 2/3 of them are Albanians (see there), further of Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and Turks. The southern part corresponds to ancient Epirus, the north to half of Illyria. ... Little is reported until the Turkish conquest of the peninsula, when in these mountainous tracts Georg Kastriota (Skanderbeg) in a glorious way resisted the conquerors. Later a large number of Albanians escaped to Italy. (Thus a connection between Italy and Albania was created, which still exists). Albania's Catholic priests are educated in Rome, and in Albania there are great sympathies for Italy. Another episode in Albania's history is that of energetic Ali Pasha of Janina and his rebellion against the Turks. With the memory of the later has merged with that of the Suliots, an Epirot freedom-loving mountain people who stood out in the Greek struggle for independence.
source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg


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First posted on March 5th 2009

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