Albanian Revolt of 1911

Albanian Revolt of 1911
Terenzio Tocci proclaimed independence of Albania on April 26, 1911

The Albanian Revolt of 1911[1] or the Malissori Uprising of 1911[2] was one of many Albanian revolts in the Ottoman Empire and lasted from March 24, 1911 until August 4, 1911 in the region of Malësia.[3]



Nicholas I of Montenegro supported the rebellion

Kingdom of Montenegro and King Nikola Petrović supported the rebellion. The main headquarters of the rebels were in Podgorica and King Nikola provided weapons for the insurgents.[4] Although both king Nikola and prince Danilo were assuring Ottoman ambassador that they are observing "the strictest neutrality" it was obvious that Kingdom of Montenegro was involved in this revolt. General Vukotić organized passing out the weapon to the rebels..[5]

During Albanian Revolt of 1910 many Albanian refugees found shelter in Montenegro. At the end of March 1911 Kingdom of Montenegro forced them to return to Kosovo Vilayet.[6] Thousands of refugees together with the Albanian Catholic tribes staged the Albanian Revolt of 1911.[7]

The Albanian National Committee was founded in Podgorica in February 1911.[8] On the meeting of the Committee held in Podgorica in period 2—4 February 1911 under leadership of Nikolla bey Ivanaj and Sokol Baci Ivezaj it was decided to organize Albanian uprising.[9]

Revolt in Malësia


Troops of Montenegro supported the revolt and captured 12 Ottoman soldiers and imprisoned them in Podgorica.[10]

The first serious attempt of the Ottoman government to suppress the revolt resulted with the Battle of Deçiq. Terenzio Tocci gathered the Mirdite chieftains on April 26, 1911 in Orosh, proclaimed the independence of Albania and established the provisional government.[11] Shefqet Turgut Pasha wanted to meet this threat and returned to the region with 8.000 soldiers. As soon as he reached Shkodër on May 11, he issued a general proclamation which declared martial law and offered an amnesty for all rebels (except for Malisori chieftains) if they immediately return to their homes.[12] After Ottoman troops entered the area Tozzi fled the empire abandoning his activities.[13]

On May 14th, three days after his poclamation, Shefqet Turgut Pasha gave order to his troops to seize Dečić, hill that overlooked Tuzi.[14] Sixty Albanian chieftains rejected Turgut Pasha's proclamation on their meeting in Podgorica on May 18th.[15] After almost a month of intense fightings rebels were trapped and their only choices were either to die fighting, to surrender or to flee to Montenegro.[16] Most of the rebels chose to flee to Montenegro which became a basis for large number of rebels determined to attack the Ottoman Empire.[17]

On June 12th Porte prematurely proclaimed that revolt has ended.[18]

Gerče Memorandum

Leaders of the revolt organized a meeting in a village in Montenegro (Gerče) on June 23rd. Ismail Qemali, joined them and together they draw up "Gerče Memorandum" (sometimes referred to as "Red Book" because of the color of its covers[19] ) which addressed their requests both to Ottoman Empire and Europe (in particular to the Great Britain).[20] This memorandum was signed by 22 Albanian chieftains, four from each tribe of Hoti, Grude and Skrel, five from Kastrati, three from Klementi and two from Shale.[21]

Requests of memorandum included[22]:

  1. general amnesty for all participants in the revolt
  2. demand for recognition of the Albanian ethnicity
  3. election of the deputies of Albanian ethnicity for the Ottoman Parliament according to the proportional system
  4. schools on Albanian language
  5. governor and other appointed high officials have to know Albanian language and all other positions in the administration have to be reserved only for people of Albanian ethnicity
  6. men who are ethnic Albanians to serve army only in Albania during the peacetime
  7. confiscated arms to be returned
  8. all Albanian property damaged by Ottoman troops to be compensated

Activities of the Great Powers

von Aehrenthal sent the warning note to the Porte

At the end of May 1911 Russia protested against military moves of Ottoman army near the border of Montenegro and sent a note to the Ottoman foreign minister.[23] Russian Empire was very willing to participate in efforts to resolve the crisis because it was afraid that Austria-Hungary might increase its influence in Montenegro and use the crisis to invade and annex Albania.[24] Serbia and Italy also believed that Austria-Hungary was responsible for the revolt in Albania and suspected that Austria had plans to intervene in Albania.[25][26] British ambassador in Vienna rejected the possibility that Austria-Hungary caused the revolt.[27]

On June 8, von Aehrenthal, the foreign minister of Austria-Hungary, issued semi-official note to the Ottoman Empire[28] and informed Porte that Ottoman repression of the Catholic tribes will not be ignored and in case it is continued Austria-Hungary will take an action.[29] Austrian intervention to support the rebels was urged by Catholic journals in Vienna too.[30]

Failed attempts to organize revolt in the north and south Albania

The Albanian revolts in the period before the First Balkan War were organized mostly in the region of Malësia. Isa Boletini, one of the leaders of the Albanian insurgents in Kosovo vilayet, wrote a proclamation on March 23, 1911 to the Albanians in the south to join Albanians from the Kosovo vilayet in their uprising. He sent his emissaries on April 15, 1911 to pass his proclamation to the southern insurgents.[31] One of the main tasks of the Black Society for Salvation was to organize uprisings in the southern territories.[32] The members of the society organized a meeting in Kolonjë. The meeting was attended by the emissaries from the Kosovo vilayet who brought the proclamation of Isa Boletini.[33] The leaders of the society decided in that meeting to organize groups of armed rebels and to launch the uprising in the south in early June 1911.[34] The society managed to establish committees in several towns including Korçë, Elbasan, Debar and Ohrid, but it failed to maintain control over them because each committee acted on its own direction.[35]

Suppression of the revolt

After the Battle of Deçiq Ottoman government decided for peaceful means of suppression of the revolt because frequent clashes with Albanians attracted attention of the European Great Powers.[36]

On June 11th sultan Mehmed V visited Skopje where he was greeted enthusiastically by the local population together with two Albanian chieftains who swore their allegiance to the Ottoman sultan.[37] On June 15, the date of the Battle of Kosovo, he visited the site of the historical battle greeted by 100.000 people. During his visit to Kosovo vilayet he signed a general amnesty for all participants of the Albanian revolts of 1910 and 1911.[38]

Ottoman representatives managed to deal with the leaders of Albanian rebels in Kosovo Vilayet and Scutari Vilayet separately, because they were not united and lacked central control.[39] The Ottoman Empire first managed to pacify the northern Albanian malësorë (highlanders) from Scutari Vilayet reaching a compromise during a meeting in Podgorica. In order to resolve the problems in the south, the Ottoman representatives invited Albanian southern leaders to a meeting in Tepelenë on August 18, 1911. They promised to meet most of their demands, like general amnesty, the opening of Albanian language schools, and the restriction that military service was to be performed only in the territory of the vilayets with substantial Albanian population. Other demands included requiring administrative officers to learn the Albanian language, and that the possession of weapons would be permitted.[40]


The Albanian Revolt of 1911 stimulated Turkish nationalism because it proved that it was impossible to maintain the unity of the population of the Ottoman Empire even in case of Muslim community.[41]

See also

History of Albania
Gjergj Kastrioti.jpg
This box: view · talk · edit
  • Albanian Revolt of 1910
  • Tringe Smajl Martini
  • Albanian Revolt of 1912


  1. ^ Crampton, R J The hollow detente: Anglo-German relations in the Balkans, 1911-1914 London: Prior p. 36, 50 ISBN 9780391021594 OCLC 16497526 "..."Albanian revolt of 1911"" 
  2. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 74
    The Malissori Uprising of 1911
  3. ^ Gurakuqi, Romeo (php), The Highland Uprising of 1911, Shkodra: University of Shkodra "Luigj Gurakuqi" - Department of History, archived from the original on October 6, 2011,, retrieved October 6, 2011, "The uprising went on from March 24, 1911 to August 4, 1911." 
  4. ^ Vickers 1999, p. 63, 64
    ... Podgorica became the headquarters of the insurgents, due to support the Albanians received from King Nicholas of Montenegro... who ensured they got the weapons...
  5. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 75
    Nicholas assured the Ottoman ambassador that his government was observing "the strictest neutrality" while his eldest son claimed that "we Montenegrins most sincerely desire peace". Despite these denials, it became increasingly clear that Montenegro did have a hand in the new revolt. In particular general Vukotić aided the rebels by passing out weapons, which the Malissori used against Turks.
  6. ^ Akmeşe 2005, p. 99
    ... yet another revolt took place at the end of March 1911, when Kingdom of Montenegro forced the mountain people who had taken refugee there, to return across the frontier
  7. ^ Vickers 1999, p. 63
    In March 1911 the Catholic tribes together with the thousands of refugees from Kosova who had fled to Montenegro, staged a general insurrection
  8. ^ "Historia e Malesisë". Retrieved March 3, 2011. "dhe mbas themelimit të Komitetit Nacional Shqiptarë në Podgoricë në shkurt 1911 në krye të së cilit vëndoset Sokol Baci Ivezaj dhe që drejtohej nga Nikollë Ivanaj..." 
  9. ^ "Historia e Malesisë". Retrieved March 3, 2011. "Në mbledhjen e Podgoricës (2-4 shkurt 1911) do të vëndoset që kryengritja do të fillojë me sigurimin e armës, afer Shën Gjergjit." 
  10. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 75
    Montenegrin troops also captured twelve Turkish soldiers on their own initiative and took them to Podgorica
  11. ^ Elsie, Robert (2004) Historical dictionary of Albania Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press p. 444 ISBN 9780810848726 OCLC 52347600 "Tocci Torenzio....On 26 April 1911 he gathered the chieftains of Mirdita near Orosh and proclaimed independence of Albania, hoisting the Albanian flag for the first time after the death of Skanderbeg" 
  12. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 186
  13. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 186
  14. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 77
    government called upon Shefqet Turgut Pasha...on 11 May he proclaimed martial law...On the third day however, the impatient general ordered his troops to seize the important hill of Dečić overlooking Tuzi.
  15. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 77
    In they Podgorica declarationof 18 May sixty Albanian chiefs rejected Turgut's demands...
  16. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 77
    During the month of intense fighting...By the end of June the Catholic insurgents jointed by the powerful Mirdite clans, were trapped...They had but three choices left to them: to surrender, to die where they were or to flee across the border into Montenegro.
  17. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 77
    Most chose the last option. Once again became a heaven for large body of insurgent forces determined to make war on Ottoman Empire.
  18. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 77
    ... the Turkish government prematurely announced on 12 June, that the revolt was over
  19. ^ Skendi, Stavro (1967). The Albanian national awakening, 1878-1912. Princeton University Press. p. 417. Retrieved 10 October 2011. "The Gerche memorandum, referred to often as "The Red Book" because of the color of its covers" 
  20. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 78
  21. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 187
    Twenty two Albanians signed the memorandum, including four each from the fises of Grude, Hoti and Skrel; five from Kastrati; three from Klement, and two from Shale
  22. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 187
    The demands included a guarantee of immunity from punishment for all Albanians, the recognition of "the national existence of Albanians",... selecting Albanian deputies ...according to the principle of proportional representation...Albanian language in ... schools, ...
  23. ^ Shaw, Albert (1911) Review of reviews and world's work The Review of Reviews Corporation p. 118 
  24. ^ Bridge 1972, p. 332
    ...Russians so anxious to keep in touch... they were afraid that Austrians, if left to themselves might assume the role of sole protectors of Montenegro , or even exploit the crisis to invade and annex Albania.
  25. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 75
    Serbia still blamed Aehrenthal for the "Albanian troubles" and Italy doubted the sincerity of the foreign ministers pledges of nonintervention in Albanian imbroglio.
  26. ^ Todorov, Kosta (1938) Politička istorija savremene Bugarske Belgrade: Štamparija "Sloga" D.G. Popoviča p. 187 OCLC 17609156 ""Ове устанке изазивала је Аустрија у циљу да изненади балканске државе интервенцијом у Албанији" [Revolts were caused by Austria with aim to surprise Balkan countries with its military intervention in Albania]" 
  27. ^ Treadway 1983, p. 76
    The British ambassador in Vienna, however, rightly discounted the possibility of Austrian government's having encouraged the rebellion in any way...
  28. ^ Bridge 1972, p. 332
    ...on 8 June the semi-official Fremdenblatt carried a summons to the Young Turks to put their house in order.
  29. ^ Vickers 1999, p. 64
    Eventually, Austria Hungary,..., let the Porte know that she could no longer ignore the savage repression of the Catholic tribes and would have to take action if this continued.
  30. ^ The Independent 70 The Independent Publications, incorporated 1911 p. 1037 "The Catholic papers of Vienna are vehemently urging Austrian intervention in favor of the Malissori Christian tribes" 
  31. ^ Gazmend Shpuza (1984). "Rilindja Kombëtare Shqiptare". Retrieved February 21, 2011. "Më 15 prill 1911 përfaqësues të Kosovës çuan në viset jugore thirrjen që Isa Boletini e kishte lëshuar disa kohë më parë (më 23 mars) nga malet e Shqipërisë, në të cilën thuhej: “" 
  32. ^ "Përgatitja e kryengritjes [Preparation of the uprising]" (in Albanian) archived from the original on February 18, 2011 Retrieved February 18, 2011 "Këtu u vendos të shpejtohej organizimi i çetave dhe në fillim të qershorit të niste kryengritja edhe në jug të vendit." 
  33. ^ Gazmend Shpuza (1984). "Rilindja Kombëtare Shqiptare". Retrieved February 21, 2011. "Në Kolonjë u mbajt një mbledhje e udhëheqësve të lëvizjes, ku morën pjesë edhe emisarët kosovarë që sollën letrën e Isa Boletinit." 
  34. ^ Gazmend Shpuza (1984). "Rilindja Kombëtare Shqiptare". Retrieved February 21, 2011. "Këtu u vendos të shpejtohej organizimi i çetave dhe në fillim të qershorit të niste kryengritja edhe në jug të vendit." 
  35. ^ Ermenji, Abas (1968). "VENDI QË ZË SKËNDERBEU NË HISTORINË E SHQIPERISË". Retrieved February 22, 2011. "Me këtë qëllim u formua në jugë një organizatë e fshehtë, e quajtur "Shoqëria e Zezë për Shpëtim", e cila desh të merrte drejtimin e lëvizjes, dhe krijoi disa degë aty-këtu, por nuk arriti dot t'a bashkonte as t'a kumandonte vepërimin e shpërndarë të çetavet" 
  36. ^ Akmeşe 2005, p. 99
    As perpetual clashes between Albanians and Ottoman government were attracting European attention, the Ottoman government turned to peaceful means.
  37. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 189
  38. ^ Gawrych 2006, p. 189
  39. ^ Ermenji, Abas (1968). "VENDI QË ZË SKËNDERBEU NË HISTORINË E SHQIPERISË". Retrieved February 22, 2011. "Turqit të bënin marrëveshje krahinore të veçanta me kryengritësit si në vitin 1911." 
  40. ^ Ermenji, Abas (1968). "VENDI QË ZË SKËNDERBEU NË HISTORINË E SHQIPERISË". Retrieved February 22, 2011. "Por n'atë kohë u muarën vesh propozimet e reja që po iu bënte qeveria turke malësorëvet të Mbishkodrës t'arratisur në Podgoricë...Premtimet ishin pak më të gjera nga ato që iu qenë bërë malësorëvet të Mbishkodrës, sepse parashikohej një falje e përgjithshme, hapja e shkollave shqipe me ndihmën financiare të shtetit dhe mësimi i shqipes në shkollat turqishte. Taksat do të caktohëshin sipas gjendjes së popullit, shërbimi ushtarak do të kryhej në vilajetet shqiptare, nëpunësit e administratës duhej të dinin gjuhën dhe zakonet e vendit, armët mund të mbahëshin me lejë." 
  41. ^ Akmeşe 2005, p. 99


Further reading

  • Gurakuqi, Romeo (php) The Highland Uprising of 1911 Shkodra: University of Shkodra "Luigj Gurakuqi" - Department of History archived from the original on October 6, 2011 Retrieved October 6, 2011 
  • Živojinović, Dragan (1967) "Устанак Малисора 1911. године и америчка помоћ Црној Гори [The Malissori uprising of 1911 and American aid to Montenegro]" Istorijski Zapisi [Historical abstracts] XXIV Titograd, Yugoslavia: Društvo istoričara SR Crne Gore p. 323-338 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.