This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
THE ALBANIAN QUESTION.
we have reached the end
of the terrible
for over four years has drenched humanity with blood. Begun, as it was, by lust for territorial and commercial
Had conquest, it will finish by the triumph of justice. not Imperial Russia collapsed, she would have extended
her bear's paws, crushing the weak and threatening even her But Russia's collapse permitted Germany to carry out
her programme, and in either case the safety of nationality
Europe, the enemy of all innovation, clinging to her old diplomacy, was unable to change her system. America has
fortunately saved the situation by coming forward on the side of the Entente, which preached democracy without
President Wilson has believing in its triumph. entered the arena and has begun slowly but firmly to calm
The complete debacle
the material force of the
President Wilson's principles have gone straight to the hearts of the peoples as a ray of consolation and hope, in the lands not only of the Entente but of the Central
true that the problems to be solved in
But one thing
Europe are and that is
that no lasting peace can be made unless the solution of these problems is based upon the principles of nationality.
the duty of the Governments of the Great Powers to study the problems of race attentively and impartially before attending the Peace Conference. One of these questions one indeed which ought to com
It is therefore
the serious consideration not only of statesmen but of all those who have any influence upon the redrawing of maps and the destinies of peoples is the Albanian Question,
a question which is little understood, and which appears to be small, but which is nevertheless of the greatest importance.
It is big
with consequences, and
those whose duty
consider it persist, as in the past, in regarding it from the standpoint of foreign aspirations, and not from the point of view of the Albanian people and public interest, those
consequences may prove disastrous. It is in order to facilitate the study of our national question that we present the following short account of our history,
our position, and our national aspirations, and we ask only that they may be considered impartially and carefully before
any judgment be formed.
The Albanian population may be reckoned at about two and a-half million souls, the large majority of whom inhabit the south-western portion of the Balkan Peninsula.
The Albanians belong The Mahomedans exceed
Orthodox put together.
Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church,
number both the Catholics and
of these three faiths all live together, but
the Catholics are more numerous in the North and the
Orthodox in the South. The Mahomedans are found everywhere, but form compact masses in the centre of the country. Among the many falsehoods which have been circulated
with the object of proving that the Albanians cannot form an independent State, are the statements that they are divided by religious differences, and that they do not all speak the
Religion having always and everywhere exercised a great influence on the mind of man, and being even to-day a frequent cause of division in West Europe, the
which have been spread about the religious differences of the Albanians have, not unnaturally, been widely credited. Nevertheless, Albania is perhaps the only country in
produced no dissensions among
the inhabitants, who have remained united at every period of their national history.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
in her celebrated letters,
writing in 1717, describes vividly the Albanian guard which
escorted her on her journey across Turkey. If it be true to say : is that the Catholics are sincerely attached to their religion. One and the same language is spoken by the Albanians from one end of the country to the other. in large numbers. That in this wide area dialectical differences are to be found which puzzle the stranger. in spite of the fact that Mahomedans are common respective religions. It is thanks to their indomitable vigour that in spite of the frequent ' beyond all else. it none the less true that for them. the privileges which they have enjoyed from the earliest times. in the they are contrary to the Christians and Moslems may be found are same family. in 1880." The Greeks. Serbs and Bulgars who. dwelling amicably under one roof. There Christian chiefs to Mahomedan clans. . They are Albanian before everything. the French Commissioner at the Eastern Roumelian Commission on the affairs of Turkey. almost intact. is but natural. The Language question is even simpler. Monsieur Aubaret. these mountaineers have succeeded in preserving. as well as for their Mahomedan compatriots. love for their land and respect for their ancient customs take the first place spirit of dignity and independence Albanians. from Mitrovitza and the northern mountains to the Gulf of Arta and eastward through Macedonia. and mentions as a unique fact that the Albanians make no distinction between Christians and Moslems. have renounced their nationality and have indeed out-Turked the Turks. have been converted to Islam. and vice versa- Impartial observers have in fact written much that is true upon this fact. Marriages between Christians and in Albania. The Albanians have remained Albanians throughout. It will suffice to quote one official document. THE LANGUAGE QUESTION. national sentiment. The > possessed alike by all endeavours of the Sublime Porte. presented the following memorandum on the Sandjak of " Scutari The people live together in perfect harmony. is strengthened among them by their markedly warlike characteristics. which destroys the legend of religious dissension.
" " and we Albanians interpret it as land of the freedom. formerly known as Emathia. designated them groups formed by these clans were known as Macedonia. was inhabited by the Epirotes. hear of our ancestors from classical authors who and give the names of many of the independent clans who inhabited the Balkan Peninsula when its history dawns." " also place-names." : says J. that we now know negro and as well as as Bosnia. so Strabo Illyria and Epirus. B. "The difficulty. In old days Illyria and Epirus together extended from the neighbourhood of Trieste to the Gulf of Arta. informs us. It is. all Thus. The language it (in the South) present no difficulties at one and the same." free. and our people have clung opposition. was comprised in Illyria. modern Albania. liria in Albanian means (the great). as Strabo particularly informs us. moreover. to even the if he knows English well. HISTORY. the eminent historian. " experienced by ." derives in all probability from the Albanian word E-madhia " " As for Illyria. Montea large part of Serbia. The inhabitants of all three." The main Greeks. To us Albanians the is dialect of the Gheg (in the North) and the Tosk all. Bury. Ipland the Illyrian and Epirote land spread widely. first We describe The very name of Macedonia. in fact.A foreigner. one of the oldest languages in Europe. The inhabitants of the Dalmatian coast harried the Roman shipping and thus brought about war with Rome struggles which lasted indeed some two centuries. All authorities agree that they are not Greek. spoke the same tongue and had similar customs. The " barbarians. Strabo gives specimens of the language in his day. this to tenaciously in the face of short sketch of our A much enemy history will make abundantly clear. the Herzegovina. and the south by Greeks. the north side of which. popular speech of is equally unable understand Northumberland or Somerset. and and their strong resemblance to modern justifies Albanian of direct descendant of that us in believing our language to be the spoken by Alexander the Great Macedon and of King Pyrrhus of Epirus.
The Illyrians were. districts till . and after them came the Slavs. intelligence which the rulers. The Romans. The Slavs. as well as other Emperors of lesser note. Diocletian and Justinian." The Albanians claim him as the first missionary among them. They settled first in some districts depopulated by the Avars. have I fully preached the Gospel Illyria. they drove Roman civilisation to the coast of the Adriatic. among the first to manufacture and export iron." says of Christ. against all comers. and by the seventh century were widely spread in the Peninsula. Rome at Illyria formed part of the Patriarchate of an early date. But the native population seem to have retained local autonomy under their well these brave tribes That the own chiefs. Of the native Illyrian population. " St. where it has never completely died out. The clansmen. taking possession of the rich plains for their flocks. Nor were they 'as a whole the ninth century. century. founded colonies. The Avars devastated wide tracts. the ancestors of the Serbs. The Roman Empire in the East was repeatedly invaded f barbarians from beyond the Danube. as usual. Paul. and. Montenegrins and Bosniaks^ by hordes of swarmed in in overpowering numbers. swept away Christianity in the converted from they occupied. These. were of native blood. They were a tribal and a pastoral people. and there they preserved their language and customs uninterruptedly up to the present day. moreover. selves in the mountains of modern Albania. it appears." had already reached a considerable Illyrians pitch of civilisation is proved by the numerous weapons and ornaments found in the pre Roman graves throughout Bosnia. being a pagan people. The conquered became Constantine the Great. that of the North But southwards the Illyrians defended themdisappeared. and a large number of the North Albanians (Ghegs) are faithful to Rome to this day. and then by missionaries When the final seoaration between the Salonika. displayed the keen is their birthright. " Round about Christianity arrived early in Illyria.5 the Romans in subduing and incorporating into the Empire is known. Serbia and Albania. Scutari and Antivari have been bishoprics since the fourth. built towns and made roads traces of which still exist.
known by of the the name of Rashians even into the eighteenth century. The Christians of North Albania. They subdued the Serbs and even threatened Byzantium. line of Nemanya princes.Eastern and Western Churches took place in 1054. and included all Albania as far as Durazzo in his Empire. BULGAR AND SERB PERIODS. A tribal people. Simeon. conqueror that made them. in the tenth ruled an Empire which included most of Serbia and century a large part of Albania. They spread Each . The Serbs were. after some wavering due to Slav pressure- have. it Rashia and extended fact. Nemanya kings extended his realm by conquest. the only foe with which Albania had Following swift on the coming of the Serbs. Rashia. ruled from the Black Sea to the Adriatic. led by their king. they had been weak before the united Bulgar force. though Tsar Asen II. means It is possible.Albanian enmity dates from the arrival of the But the Serbs were not Serbs' ancestors into the Peninsula. suffered. over North Albania and seized Scutari. it would appear. therefore. a warrior people. in Illyrian name of the plains of Kosovo. Not till the fall of the second Bulgar Empire did the Serbs play an important part in Balkan affairs. In the twelfth century. the Slavs threw in their lot with Byzantium. Scutari. The history of the Balkans is one of many warring races. The Serbo. But all the mediaeval Balkan Empires The great Bulgar Tsar They were compounded of many inimical and broke to pieces soon after the death of the elements. they united under the rule of the remarkable and established the Kingdom of rapidly. too. Big Bulgaria was broken up in the eleventh century. The Greco-Bulgar hatred dates from the days when the history of Byzantium was a long and bloody struggle between Greek and Bulgar. Albania. in Albanian. that Rashia was the original plain. The South came more and more under the influence of the Eastern Orthodox Church and adopted it. remained faithful to Rome throughout. in early days to contend. came the Bulgars. Nor did the second great Bulgar Empire were short-lived. of the thirteenth century leave any permanent mark in Albania save a few place-names.
These laws doubtless served to further exasperate the hatred between Serb and Albanian. "It is inhabited. as are also Latin priests be converted who attempt to convert anyone to the Latin faith.. in Europe." he says. The name of Scutari was given to it by the Venetians in the thirteenth century. And so forth.C.7 the capital of North Albania. lie and Dushan was planning to seize Byzantium when died suddenly (1356). foreign foe the Turks. lordship of the Slavs. T. for to the bitterness of conquest was added religious persecution. Serbia was indeed great. Both these peoples are oppressed under the very hard servitude of the most hateful and abominable of Latin. the Albanians and the Latins. to respect their religious rights. . And as Shkodra it is known still to all Albanians." That the friar did not exaggerate is shown by the extremely severe laws enacted against the Catholics by the great Tsar Stefan Dushan in 1349 ms celebrated canon. In 1321 they appealed to Charles of Anjou and to Filippo of Taranto to force the Serb King Milutin friar. The Albanians have a language quite other than . . by two peoples.. when conquered by the Serbs. we soon find the Albanians fighting against Marko Kralyevitch. great Serbia rapidly fell Albania was among the first districts to break loose. . On his decease. to pieces. the popular hero of the Serbs. Nor was great Serbia ever again The Balkan Peninsula was invaded by a reconstructed. Here we m find that those of the Latin heresy who refuse to are punishable by death. who both belong to the Church In 1332 the French Rome. That the Albanians were. which he had recently taken from the Albanian chief. It is first is one of the oldest capitals mentioned under its native name of Scodra in 604 B.hey have four Bishops under the Archbishop of Antivari. is evident from contemporary accounts. describes the land " and people. Pere Brochard. During the twenty years of Stefan Dushan's reign. . Led by local chiefs. Andrea Musaki. It included almost the whole Balkan Peninsula. and taking from him not only the towns of Ochrida and Kastoria. but also Ipek and Prizren. Catholic.
who was Tsar of a very small Serbia. and the Topias ruled all Central and Southern of the northern mountains. The other boys are reported to have been poisoned. SKENDERBEG. with all his men. greatest leader. offered a long and stubborn resistance. where the Dushmani clan still dwells. and they were thus an easy prey. Gropa ruled at Dibra. George. But the Albanians Venice aided them. The Dukagini ruled over a large part which still bear their name. is Albania. The Balkan the Serbs. son-in-law. For some time the Venetians had been creeping down the Adriatic coast and founding trading ports. The Dushmani family ruled in the Pulati mountains. and intermarriage of noble families took place. and he and his brothers w ere carried off as hostages. the against Peninsula was a struggling mass of rival races in which none was supreme. we should not of the Greeks forget. Together the Albanians and Venetians fought the Turks. and one of them the Tsar's own Vuk Brankovitch deserted. came first as the allies arrival. On their peoples were so occupied by their did not realise the Turkish danger own till differences that they too late. He was one of the great warriors of it Then was that Albania's The Turks who invaded South Albania reached history. Albanians and Bosniaks (Bosnia was now an independent kingdom). and attacked his father's town of Kroya. the Turks. called Skenderbeg. In the mountains at this time there were many notable Albanian chieftains. r . The Turks. Rival Serb chieftains were at this time struggling for supremacy. and established the Turk in Europe until to-day. The Serbs accepted Turkish suzerainty and were ruled for some time by descendants of the traitor Brankovitch. to This gave the victory to the Sultan. summoned a large army of Serbs. Lek famed as the author of the Code of Mountain Law Dukagin which still exists. appeared as the champion of our nation and of Christendom. and met the Turks on the field of Kosovo. George Kastriot. George was then a child. In 1389 Lazar. Their relations with the Albanians were good.THE TURKS.
he struggled on with his valiant men and remained unconquered till he died of fever The Sultan. where he recruited some followers. Though weak and the old Pope enthusiastically declared that he himself would accompany the army." says Deep was the mouining for him. But the Powers of Europe not were torn by jealousy. assembled every eighth day in the principal qities and sang hymns in praise of the departed hero. and Pope Paul assisted him with money and supplies. who was remarkable and put himself at the head of the Albanian His courage and skill were amazing. and rode away to Ochrida." The nation resisted the overpowering force of the Turk for yet another ten years. . on hearing of his at Alessio in 1467.: "Asia and Europe are mine at She has lost her sword and Woe to Christendom last. Pope Pius II. Two successive Sultans sent huge armies against him in vain. in 1913. Thence he reached Kroya. was given by the Powers to the Serbs. troops. But no army came to reinforce him. for the first or last time He went to Ancona to await the arrival of the and there he died. though surrounded by the din of battle. one of Skenderbeg's towns. But on his father's death he up as seized an early opportunity to throw off both the Turks and their religion. summoned the Princes of Europe to a crusade which should combine its forces with those of Skenderbeg under the command of the latter ill. But the enemy pressed upon Skenderbeg with increasing grief of all was the force. aged 63. As an old man. " Crowds of maidens. and drive the Turk from Europe. It was that the eviction of the Turk would most benefit opined Venice. Scutari. cried triumphantly. ! shield " ! There was no chieftain capable of replacing Skenderbeg. he again appealed to Rome. and Ochrida and Dibra too were his towns. Dibra. He went to Rome to beg help. His realm extended into Macedonia. death. forces. For twenty-four years he kept the Turks at bay. Nevertheless. christian. Bitter Albanians when. bravely defended by the Albanians and Venetians. No help came to Skenderbeg.for courage and intelligence. " Sabellicus. was brought a soldier and a Moslem. where he was joyfully hailed as king. and many were reluctant to fight for the aggrandisement The Pope in vain urged that this view was unof Venice.
where they were given land in the Banat by the Emperor. A practically independent Prince and a skilled diplomat. rights and it language. as above stated. and sent no it assistance. and Numbers many appeals thither. and brooked but little Turkish interference. And the Turks then soon overran the whole land. No they retained their strong sense of sooner did the Moslem Albanian chiefs rise to power than they began to work for independence. both Moslem and Christian. The Albanians. Christian and Moslem united to preserve and maintain their customs. Europe the Serbs of Kosovo. service. when Mahomedanised nationality. by the Turks. speedily resettled the vacated lands. unlike the other Balkan peoples. Eastward they spread The Albanians as far as Monastir. 104 Albanian-speaking villages exist to this day. was hard hit There was nothing for From the beginning the but to accept Turkish rule. But. occupythe whole of the Kosovo district as far as Mitrovitza and ing north-east as far as Nish and Uskub. in 1740. In the seventeenth century many began to go over to Islam. too. mountain chiefs long hoped for help from Venice. led by the Patriarch of Ipek. Albanians had contrived to retain local autonomy. he had representatives in foreign lands and entered . decided to emigrate and moved in vast masses into Austria. and oppressed on the other by the Turkish Government. and the greater part of the Moslem villages of Macedonia are Albanian. rapidly gained followers and popularity. descended from the mountains and began a struggle to retake the plains from which their forefathers had been driven by the conquering Bit by bit they regained territory and settled upon it. and oppressed also by the Greek Church which strove ever to replace the Serb and Bulgar Churches by Greek ones throughout Turkey in Serbs.fell in 1479. where The sent of Albanians fled to Italy. they thus retook a great part of their ancient Illyria and Macedonia. began his career in Turkish of Janina. Nor was Ali Pasha. In truth. Attacked by the Albanians on the one side. after a terrible siege. But Venice. who was born Made Governor long before the Albanians struck for liberty. he extended his rule by degrees. and made himself ruler of the whole of South Albania as far as Preveza and Arta.
Waiting their opportunity. But quiet was there none. THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. took both him and his sons prisoners. Turkish hands. too. and sent their heads to Constantinople in 1821. Albania and leaders and large Turkish army fell upon North ravaged it. likewise rose to power. extended their Pashalik to the Turks. He had many dealings with England. All Albania thus fell under Turkish rule though the mountain clans retained their autonomy throughout. Contemporary travellers note the order that he established. and were in truth aiming only at territorial gains. A large force successfully besieged him in his palace on the Lake of Janina. which still further incensed the Turks. attained autonomy. In 1829 the Russians attacked Turkey. and his organising capacity. Serbia rose first and.into negotiations. had greatly weakened Turkish power and roused. who^each pretended they were animated by a desire to free the Christians from Turkish rule. the hopes of the subject peoples. they fell upon Ali Pasha when he was a very old man. Greece . and strove to gain her support. largely by conquest. nately the Russian General mistook the Pasha's object and believed him to be coming to reinforce the Sultan. the hereditary Pashas of Scutari. At the same time the Bushatli family. Repeated attacks by the Russians and Austrians. South Albania then fell entirely into The Bushatli Pashas ruled yet awhile in the North. A governors were appointed everywhere. He therefore concluded a hasty and unexpected peace which left the Turks free to throw the whole of their forces against the rebellious Pasha. and the Pasha of Scutari seized the moment when the Russian Army was approaching UnfortuConstantinople to march also against the Turks. The beginning of the nineteenth century was a time of great stress and struggle in the Balkan Peninsula. and were soon a menace The Sultan objected strongly to this threatened rise of Albania. with the aid of both Austria and Russia. killing or sending into exile all the Turkish exiling the Bushatlis to Asia Minor. beheaded them all. and Turkish garrisons placed in the larger towns. A Turkish force was sent against the Bushatlis and was defeated.
but this we cannot do so long as these neighbours strive and intrigue to annex Albanian territory.given over to Serbia. Much as Albania detested Turkish rule. for. she found herself forced to fight on the side of the Turks in order to save her own lands from Slavonic aggression. of whose valour Lord Byron tells. it is true but large tracts of Albanianinhabited lands were. were beaten. by the Albanians of the South. In 1876-77 came the supreme Pan-Slav effort. " Treaty of Albania's Burial. she has supported every Slav claim to territorial aggrandisement at Albania's expense. been called the . in which more than one Turkish General the Albanians lost his life. in fact. The Greeks were greatly helped. Greece has had but from aiding one object. were by this treaty allotted to Bulgaria. Nevertheless.rose shortly afterwards and. when Far their time came. It has. too. The Treaty of San Stefano was overthrown by the Powers. Russia's terms were hard. Large tracts of it. By order of the Powers. but the Treaty of Berlin which replaced it was but little better. their resistance was crushed by the Turkish Army. including the wholly Albanian town of Koritza. too. The hatred of the Albanian for the Greek is therefore as intense as his hatred for the Serb. and that is to obtain more and more of Albanian this help territory. however. Albanians wish only to dwell in peace with our neighbours. The Albanians seized their arms and formed the Albanian League. Imperial Russia has been Albania's 'worst foe. . managed to save much territory in the North. whose centre was at Prizren. also with European help. The Turks. We THE SUPREME PAN-SLAV EFFORT. aiming always at hegemony in the Balkans. In return for they hoped that Greece would aid them. But Greece has known no gratitude. The Treaty of San Stefano did not even recognise the existence of Albania. obtained her freedom. but not without severe fighting. spread throughout the land. Montenegro and It was monstrously unjust. Albania to gain freedom." Koritza was saved. but whose branches Greece.
Albania's rising was by no means in retaining all her fruitless. a wholly Albanian town. In 1880 an International Commission. Among other places. after careful examination. Having caused enquiries of 'the various vilayets. he made strong repre- sentations on the subject. was. unfortunately resulted disastrously for Albania. 1880. THE EASTERN ROUMELIAN COMMISSION. and recommended the immediate formation of a large and autonomous Albania. The iormation. who recognised the important fact that peace were to be permanent in the Balkans the rights of each nationality must be considered.13 Their seaport of Dulcigno. Lord Goschen. Surely the most disgraceful example of how a powerful armed gang can bully a small nation.M. called the Eastern of Turkey. She succeeded Southern territory and also in attracting the attention of some impartial judges. who at once proceeded to forcibly evict the . to be made about the population he recommended that the State of Albania should consist of the whole of the vilayets of Scutari larger part of the vilayet of Kosovo. for Europe. nothing was done save to recommend certain reforms to the Turks. that the Albanians treated with great injustice. of an independent Albania did not suit the ambitious plans either of Austria or of Russia. and a In this scheme he was large part of the vilayet of Monastir. that history relates. which should become independent on the break-up of the Turkish Empire in Europe. Though by means of the Albanian League a certain amount of Albanian territory was saved. torn from them by a naval demonstration of the combined Powers. Ambassador at Constantinople.B. Roumelian Commission. however. it gave the town and district of Vranje to the Serbs. however. was appointed to regulate the affairs Great Britain was ably represented by Lord Edmund if Fitzmaurice. the strongly supported by H. and Janina. yet the Treaty of Berlin And. had been Convinced. The Albanian question remained and remains unsolved a menace to future peace.
14 whole Albanian population and confiscate their property. Other Balkan races. the And in teaching and printing of the Albanian language. Albanians trained in foreign schools are order to some of the most enthusiastic nationalists. We failed to pointed out in reply that. under heavy penalties. while they themselves started Turkish schools for the Moslems. received the support and assistance of the Powers. but the Turks. as several centuries have change the language and national sentiments. They therefore forbade. Not only her neighbours. when Greek attempted teachers even told them that it was useless to pray in Albanian would not understand them. A certain Greek admitted to the writer a few years ago the failure of these " We have reared. conspired to crush her nationality and prevent national aspirations. Russia in particular spent lavishly on Slav propaganda. for Christ ! schools. plight. having broken the power of the Albanian Pashas. held the land in an iron grip. when they awakened to the necessity for education. in spite of the efforts of the Greek schools in which Albanian children are forbidden to speak their mother tongue. Wholesale confiscations and evictions took place also in the districts districts given to Montenegro. instead of creating for us have created our worst foes. King Constantine gave the writer an overwhelming proof of the fact -that the Albanians of Greece retain their national . it was mere folly to suppose 4hat a few Greek schools in Albania could possibly influence the national and patriotic feelings of the inhabitants. The results are not those which were anticipated. " serpents The Greek efforts. the development of The Turks." he said. of the Albanians who live in Greece. too." Greek partisans in Albania. Nor can they easily forgive the falsehoods with which it was to poison their minds as children. This had taught the Turks that the formation of national schools was followed by a speedy uprising of the subject peoples. They had to choose between Albania was now in an evil denationalisation or emigration. And in none of the annexed were any of the Albanians who remained allowed schools in their own language. denationalise the Albanians they permitted the Greeks to open schools for the Christians.
opened a Girls' School at Koritza which was protected by the great Republic. In the North education mountains. This was a centre of national enthusiasm." King Constantine would certainly not have this interesting unaware of it. National sentiment proved to be stronger than duty. The Albanians took every advantage of the foreign schbols. But though very grateful for the help afforded by them. in relate it but briefly. Both and Austria. studied their own language from the Here we can Gospels and the Book of Genesis which were published in Albanian by the British and Foreign Bible Society and circulated with great difficulty. the Albanians did -not relax their efforts. to whom -Albania is deeply indebted. in spite of the fact that anyone found in possession of such works was liable to even fifteen years' imprisonment. fact had he suspected that we imparted were -EDUCATION." said the King. "the Greek Navy disembarked marines on the coast of Epiru's for the purpose of attacking the Albanians.15 "During the Balkan War. Schoolmasters found guilty of teaching Albanian were severely punished in some cases the extreme sentence of fifteen years being inflicted. But a large part of the Greek Navy is recruited among the Albanians of feelings. being anxious to obtain influence there. The girls taught their brothers to was better provided for. so soon as brother they found face with their Albanians. opened schools for boys. both Moslem and Christian. Books and papers printed London. And the Abbot of the Mirdites started a school Italy in his write their mother tongue. girls and infants in Scutari and Durazzo. no such -bribes have induced them or will induce them to wish . Greece. Many people. Albania's struggle to obtain national education in the face of difficulties merits a chapter in the history of education. promptly deserted without firing a shot. Brussels and Bucarest were smuggled into the country at great risk and eagerly studied. and two whole battalions themselves face to of marines. But In South Albania the Americans.
16 change their nationality or become the subjects of any foreign Power. gaining autonomy These limits are as follows passing across the negrin frontier. '5litrovitza. Gruda. "on the right are the Arcananians. Albania was at last on the point of within her ethnographical limits. the Turkish opportunities for all races." All the territories lying between these points and the sea The constitute Albania historically and ethnographically. Italian be leckoned as many RECENT EVENTS. The frontier should thence be drawn to the River Arta and follow it to its mouth. or Greek schools. American. and pass near Fiorina and Kastoria. That this was the southern limit of Albania On sailing century is clearly defined by Strabo. customs and traditions. Hoti. after three years of fierce struggle. a tribe of the in the first " Epirotes. inhabitants are identical in language. extending as far as the recesses of the Gulf. : Lake of Scutari along Starting from Dulcigno and the ancient Monteinclude all Albania should the northern mountain dans of Triepshi. Kastrati and Shkreli. Prishtina. Katchanik and the western part of the former Thence vilayet of Monastir. which should include Ochrida. Such was the situation first of revolution took place in 1908. who are Greeks." he says. into the Gulf. believing that meant equa- They were soon undeceived. Government realised that all attempts to forcibly denationalise the Albanians were vain and that they must be granted national recognition. Klementi. Turkish. . they thousands. In 1912. the Albanian-speaking villages. the line should continue south along the side of the Lake Presba. On the left are the Cassipoei. Quillan. The frontier v line should be drawn so as to include Ipek. may French. Pindus district should form part of the Albanian State. The Turks began a policy of forcible Ottomanisation and Young the Albanians rose against it. together with all the Pulati clans. including all For reasons which follow. Albania when the Young Turk To this the Albanians at it lent their hearty support. As for the Albanians who have received their education to oaitside of Albania in English.
But the Great Powers not for the first time called in their history Russia. in a peculiarly difficult They wished to defend their own lands. had no desire to but small supplies. But they were invaded by three of the Balkan armies. protested against the entire dismemberment of Albania. as did also very emphatically we Albanians. during which the Balkan allies The fought one another for the plunder. Carnegie Commission of Enquiry has sufficiently described the horrors and 'atrocities committed by these self-styled " " liberators on the populations they purported to set free. soon followed. 1913. but they The Turks mistrusted them because of their recent revolts. And on January ist. The Albanians found themselves position. each of whom had planned to expense. both having interests in the Adriatic. They decided to remain neutral. the Ambassadors of the Great Powers at the Conference of London decided upon creating Albania a neutral and independent State. The scheme foot for Albanian autonomy was actually set on by the Turkish Government. came under the malign influence who intervened and insisted upon the of Imperial cession of . and would not supply them with either arms or ammunition. But this did not suit the already matured plans of the Balkan States. Greece and Bulgaria threw themselves upon the Turks in order to obtain portions of Albania before she should have time to establish herself. Ostensibly these States rushed to war in order to liberate oppressed nationalities. and hoped. and when on Europe to recognise her independence. each was actuated by the hope of proving stronger than its neighbour and thereby obtain territorial aggrandisement at Albania's securing the lion's share of the plunder. Italy and Austria. The second Balkan War. to obtain European recognition. especially parts of Albania. In truth.with the exception of a small minority of Kutzovlahs and ^ Greeks. and for the most part resisted only their neutrality attacked. and they possessed fight for the Turks. by proclaiming and hoisting the Albanian flag. Montenegro. Serbia.
Thousands of starving refugees crowded to Valona in the last stages of misery. They decided that would aid and guide its first steps. and the Commission looked on and took no steps. Her voice was dominant at the Con- Albania emerged free but badly mutilated. land. Regions populated by compact masses of Albanians. all of whom had previously violated Albania's neutrality and occupied her territory. the Greeks burnt even the standing crops in the fields. but the fought bravely. The Albanians. numbering in all some million and a. already plundered and devastated in the war of 1913. and propaganda. forces Scutari for over a year had been occupied by international under the able command of General G. The Great Powers created Albania as an independent neutral and took it under their protection. were forced to withdraw. the present world-war broke THE VIOLATION OF ALBANIA. while Greek irregular bands and troops armed with artillery burnt and pillaged the villages and massacred the inhabitants. was struggling against Greek aggression and foreign intrigue out. But all they did they was to appoint an International Commission of Control. While Albania. F. had . took no steps. Phillips. too. who had no artillery and were poorly armed. and for a time were victorious Greeks were reinforced by further troops. beyond supplying a little bread. Montenegro and Greece. which did almost nothing and kept none of its promises. Scutari but they. were annexed to the Kingdoms of Serbia. Before Albania had time even to organise gendarmerie.i8 much Albanian ference.half souls. and the Albanians . and to appoint a Prince without giving him any assistance. soon went over into Montenegro. Albania. So soon as the world-war was imminent these forces quitted The French remained rather longer than the others. Between Tepeleni and Koritza three hundred villages were State burnt. But the International Commission. And in order to force the population either to starve or emigrate. the Greeks attacked and occupied a large part of South Albania.
militarily occupied withdrew. again. No protest was made by the Powers for this unprovoked violation of the decision made by them in 1913 when they unanimously declared Scutari to be Albanian territory. and the Albanian population was reduced to great straits. they contented themselves island of Sasseno and then with occupying the Albanian in December. but three-quarters of Albanian territory have been by Austria until the last few weeks. 1914 militarily occupying Valona. General Ferrero at Argyrokastro and on July proclaimed 3rd. poured their troops into defenceless Scutari and remained there. who had not as yet entered into the war. then have protected Albanian neutrality and thereby might but gained the lasting gratitude and friendship of Albania The . They exported the foodstuffs. shortly. and was thus left quite defenceless. The French reached Koritza in December. Italians extended their occupation. and Albania was left to her fate. all the members of which also departed Italians. The Montenegrins. evicting Greek troops and at the request of the inhabitants of the whole district hoisted the Albanian flag at Koritza and proclaimed it an Albanian . The Prince Zu Wied.19 been completely disarmed during the international occupation. Italy had advanced in the South and occupied Tepelen and Argyrokastro. Then came the debacle of the Serbs across the Albanian mountains into Scutari. All members of the Entente The Bulgars departed. the . The Greek troops of King Constantine had poured into South Albania and were using Koritza as a centre through which Austrian and German couriers could pass to or from Athens. Meanwhile. retired on September 3rd. who had been selected by the Powers as ruler of Albania. The Serbs also entered Albania for a short time. The 3917. The Austrian and Bulgarian forces poured into Albania in pursuit of them. 1916. though ostensibly engaged in opposing Austria. Republic. but withdrew and their flight This was fatal for Albania. leaving the government of the country to the International Control "Commission.
who would This is part of Albania . and her people have remained staunch. however. Such is Albania's history. fought each other. ALBANIA OF TO-DAY. like to see another possess it. We must now consider the land itself and present circumstances. about Albanian territory. mineral wealth is as yet unexploited. and good It has more than one harbour. So may it be with Albania ! obviously undesirable to hand over Albania entire to any one Power. - its Small wonder that intrigued to gain possession of it. would And when thieves fall out. which would be fostered and enthe Albanians. The Balkan mediaeval Empires were a mere ripple on the waters of time. Continual and bloody fights would be certain to arise between Albania's masters. In order that the peace of Europe may be maintained. well-forested mountains. but it also Adriatic. and pasture for flocks. Greeks and Montenegrins the Conference of London has but exasperated the hatred by They already existing between Bulgar. men come by their own. Serb and Greek. and Albania remains as a granite crag above the troubled waters. The rule of Rome and of Byzantium have passed. who would seize the opportunities couraged by thus afforded and arise and strike out for their own independence. in fact. Not only is it strategically desirable. new proved by the fact that the division of a large among the Serbs. hpnest It is many Powers have struggled and No Power. The waves of successive Empires have passed over her. it is in the highest degree undesirable. But the partition of Albania between several Powers without consideration of the will of the people and the rights of nations is equally certain to lead to fresh trouble. contains fertile plains. The flood tide of the Turkish Empire has ebbed. What is this land foreigners covet so we Albanians love so much and which much ? It is situated in a valuable and Its port of Valona is one of the keys of the desirable spot. Territory to which they have no right whatever.independence of the whole of Albania under the protection of Italy. that the Albanian coast should fall into the hands of any Great Power.
. Let us now consider upon what foundations the claims of Albania's neighbours are based.make of the Adriatic a closed lake naval base and consequently a which would be a constant menace to the Mediterranean. who reckoned on keeping this district for herself. of H." . which politically comprises the greater part of the vilayet of Kosovo and part of that of Monastir and the whole of Old or Turkish Serbia. Alvarez. . Consulate at Constantinople.. in Serbian possession. are the Albanian and the Serb. That the numerical superiority of the Albanians was and is from the following Report on the Population of North. .East Albania made by Mr. as the reports of many travellers testify. . The claims of the Serbs are based only on ancient conquest. prior to the late war. which. element in the Kosovo vilayet has recently been further increased by the accession of many thousands of refugees from districts now. in virtue of the Treaty of Berlin. the Albanians. . has been intensified by the expulsion of Ghegs (North Albanians) in large numbers from the territory lately acquired by fact. August 27th. the Albanians are The Albanian numerically far superior to the Serbians. The natural hatred existing between the Arnaouts (Albanians) and the Serbians of the principality. Since that time a certain number of Serbs have filtered back into the region.M. THE CLAIMS OF ALBANIA'S NEIGHBOURS. have seen that towards the end of the seventeenth cen- We tury the Serbs emigrated en masse from Kosovo vilayet and left it to its original inhabitants. . To-daysad to relate even this minority has almost disappeared under the occupation of Austria. " The races which inhabit this district. Serbia. . tanned by the late war. Of the two. an accepted we may see . 1880. They were in truth rulers in Albania for only a part of the Middle Ages. who at once reoccupied it. but they have always formed a very small minority. were exclusively inhabited by the descendants of twelve Gheg tribes which at a remote period emigrated from Upper Albania.
As for Greek claims. which was ready at any moment to revolt against the Serbian yoke. requesting that the frontier not be drawn along the left bank of the Truava. if reports be true. 1913. Jovanovitch. Ever . which is simply South Albania." Vranje was on the ancient Serb frontier prior to the wars of 1912-1913. they are not even based on historical conquest. they base their . as it should " would offer to the neighbour State a view of Vranje. form the Who entire population. population and who to-day. the Macedonians. feared sudden invasion were these Albanians from whom Colonel Jovanovitch ? They were the Albanians of Kosovo who then formed the overwhelming majority of the vilayet.The Serbs themselves recognised that the Albanians formed The Serbian delegate. They are based only on the fact that the Bulgars invaded Albania in the tenth and thirteenth centuries and were forced to retire from it. That the Serbian Government recognised in 1913 that these is amply proved by the fact that. proves only too clearly that Serbia was dealing with a completely foreign population. When they demand Epirus.claim entirely upon religion and upon the schools which. conquered by Albania's ancestors. They were. " Le Reglement sur la Securite Publique. and signed by King Peter." published on lands were not Serbian September 2ist. as we" have above described. the Turkish Government permitted them to open in the district. which would continually be threatened by a surprise attack. 1878. an frontiers impossible defence and a sudden invasion of the Albanians. Great trouble has arisen in the Balkans from the fact that at the time of the Turkish conquest the Turks recognised the Greek Patriarch as Head of all their Orthodox subjects. for the Greeks have never conquered any part of Albania in the old days. in order to subjugate a million Albanians and perhaps also a million Bulgars. Colonel the bulk of the population. Bulgaria's claims on Albania are yet more fragile. on the contrary. wrote a letter to the Commission delimiting the on November 4th. they drew up a series of laws for the annexed districts which are almost unequalled for severity.
which the Conference of London presented to Greece. Here the Greeks have endeavoured to sow discord between the Christian and Moslem Albanians. they claimed the whole of Macedonia. their own interest which causes them to choose . the Greeks know very well they have subjects. The Kutzovlahs gain their living by They pass the summer in the Pindus mountheir flocks in winter to the pasturages on For them.23 since that fatal day the Greeks have claimed all members of "Greek. starting from Cape Stiles. that is to say from the Albanian frontier as drawn by the Conference of London. In South Epirus. The Pope might with equal justice claim all French and English Catholics as Italians. which was recognised as Albanian by the Conference of London. In Greek eyes. They displaced all the Bulgar and Serbian bishops. Albanian. the case also in the Pindus. which is exclusively inhabited by the Kutzovlahs." In former days. They continue to demand this district because they hope by so doing to shut the mouths of us Albanians and to prevent us from demanding the restitution of South Epirus. be separated from Albania without being doomed to economic death. cattle -raising. In North Epirus. as the Orthodox Church who were Turkish nothing to hope for. the capital of South Albania. and even destroyed Slavonic books in the monasteries. on these grounds. regardless of the nationality of the inhabitants. which is inhabited by a solid Albanian population. there are some Greek villages consisting either of Greeks who have settled there for commercial reasons or of Grecised Kutzovlahs. who are neither Greek nor and go with it is the Albanian coast. and thus to stifle a national movement. all Orthodox are Greek. as a whole. as far as Preveza. But they form a minority when compared to South Epirus Even in Janina. the whole coast to a depth of about forty kilometres forms the province of Tchameria. where the Greeks for over a century have concentrated their strongest propaganda. the descendants of the ancient This is Roman tains colonists. the Albanian and Jewish elements Neither preponderate over the Greeks and Kutzovlahs. to the east of Tchameria. Janina nor the above-mentioned Greek villages can. In South Epirus.
Albania's independence was proclaimed in 1913. the opposition of the whole population and was forced to retire without fulfilling its purpose. Austria completely changed. and that no aliens shall be temporarily imported for the purpose of falsifying facts. Albania must seek a . which lies between the town of Arta and the river Kalamas. will see arising in her place a large Slav State which is frankly existence impossible to her. ITALY.24 between the two. To guard against possible danger. And in consequence of this popular resistance the Greek frontier had to be drawn at Arta. when the time comes. To-day the situation is has broken hostile to her. We must now consider the question of Italy with regard to Albania. and on the frontier Albania up completely. which on the spot after due measures have enquiries been taken to ensure that the said populations may freely express their feelings and wishes. itself But the Commission found The population of Epirus rose like one man and opposed the cession of this Albanian district to Greece. the decision of a Commission nominated by President Wilson or by the shall make British Government. An International Commission went at this time to Preveza in order to effect the transfer of the district to His Hellenic confronted by Majesty. As for those Albanian territories which are disputed by their neighbours. in feeling. But before she had time to organise or establish herself she was at once caught up by the whirlwind of opposing interests those of Not only did the two currents paralyse but they encouraged the neighbour States to make Albania. the Albanians are quite prepared to accept. in fact. The Treaty of Berlin awarded a part of Epirus to Greece the territory. Italy and Austria. offered ? Which did they choose when the occasion The Greeks pretend that the inhabitants of Epirus are Greek Facts are worth more than words. which cuts Tchameria in two.
the Albanians are ready to assure Italy of their sincerity by more concrete guarantees. It is to Italy's interest that there should be a non-Slavonic buffer State which is therefore insist upon the reconstitution She should sincerely devoted to her. but only in so far as it A does not affect her national sovereignty and independence. Anything imposed from without. Albania needs the support of Italy. but States do not base their future upon sentiments. Italy seized the first opportunity to denounce that portion which refers to the possible dismemberment of Albania. all which should include within its frontiers districts. For to Italy this State is of Albanian-inhabited vital importance. *Italy is in the right when she wishes to assure for herself the friendship and fidelity of Albania. which constitutes the only guarantee for a lasting friendship. when she proclaimed the whole of Albania independent under her protection on June 3rd. This may be assured But her by Albania's political and geographical position. desire to impose upon Albania a protectorate. Far from safeguarding and harmonising the interests of the two nations.support. too. of the Albanian State. even if it be salutary. would be an unpardonable political blunder. provided that these guarantees inflict no injury on Albania's national sovereignty. assumes an oppressive form in the eyes of the people and provokes hatred. and this time she will have no difficulty of But if Albania needs the support of Italy. We do not believe that such is the intention of Italy. . The new Yugo-Slav State will be animated with friendly sentiments for the Kingdom of Italy. or a protection that borders upon a protectorate. Italy. choice. The Secret Treaty signed in for Italy herself as for Albania London in 1915 and as fatal would appear to have been imposed by Russia. it would have the contrary effect. but upon community of interests. And they are also bound to provide for all eventualities. needs the support of Albania. 1917.
All followed political events in the past that the policy of non-interference and the recognise lack of interest displayed by British diplomacy in the who have Balkans and in the Near East in the last few decades have been among the direct causes that unchained the world-war. to German establish influence itself. everyone is aware that America has come to save the situation. As we stated at the beginning of this brochure. There are persons who either cannot or will not see clearly persons for whom Albania does not exist. swayed by the various Balkan propaganda and intrigue. and who plan : every description of combination and arrangement. she might have been the directing force of their policy and the undisputed arbitrator of their differences. is It is in the interests of peace that Albania be reconstituted within her ethnographical limits and that she should be neutral and independent. had she so desired. This would have benefited all the world. The prestige and influence of' Great Britain were such throughout these lands. but that she is the key to the Balkan problem.CONCLUSION. powerless would have been and all dreams of in that direction German expansion and domination must again have fall perforce will vanished. They will certainly take advantage of this dearly-bought occasion by giving a just solution to the Balkan problems and at the same time restoring the prestige to Great Britain in the Balkans and the Near East. or permit to be 2. The past them bitter experiences not allow British statesmen to into such errors. To such I would point out : 1. After it all the reasons we have given and the facts stated easy to understand not only that Albania cannot be dismembered. that. of the Everyone recognises the huge sacrifices United States and honours them proper- .
The Albanian its spirit r^ce. so did the language of President Wilson become clearer and more imperative when speaking of justice and jthe rights of nations. both came have entered into the war in order to free the world from slavery and to do justice to humanity." have no doubt that President Wilson will so act. which has had the strength to its resist the storms of centuries and preserve physical vigour and submit of independence. Whether the Albanian question be regarded from the point of view of justice or from the political point of view for the sake of the peace of the Balkans. there can be but one solution THE RESTORATION OF THE ALBANIAN STATE WITHIN ITS ETHNOGRAPHICAL We LIMITS. and therefore of Europe. in the twentieth century. the Albanians have never despaired of its ultimate triumph. To those aims " great and small. tionately.27 But the plotters and schemers appear to America's war aims. to live in slavery. Strong in the righteousness of their cause. cannot now. President Wilson's declarations may be summarised thus : We we shall adhere. to decide their own lot. into the field. . not because he possesses the strength to do so. but because he has right on his side and the will of the peoples behind him. still less to disappear. or not to take them forget In proportion as the forces of America seriously.
Printers. Street.. LTD. & Co. 2.C. LEA Clifton House.WILLIAMS.. Worship . B.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.