Massacre of the Albanian Beys

Massacre of the Albanian Beys
Massacre of the Albanian beys
Location Manastir, Ottoman Empire
Date 26 August 1830
Target Albanian beys
Attack type Mass murder
Death(s) 500 Albanian beys and personal guards
Perpetrator(s) Ottoman forces
History of Albania
Gjergj Kastrioti.jpg
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The Massacre of the Albanian beys occurred on 26 August 1830, when around 500 Albanian leaders (beys) and their personal guards were killed by Ottoman forces in the town of Manastir (present-day Bitola, Republic of Macedonia). The massacre led to the weakening of the power of the beys of southern Albania and also set the basis for the destruction of the powerful northern Albanian Pashalik of Scutari.[1]


Background events

During the era of the Albanian Pashaliks, the influence of the local Albanian beys had weakened. Since they had lost the Pashalik of Yanina, after the Greek War of Independence the situation in southern Albania was in turmoil, with the Albanian mercenaries of the Ottoman Army pillaging the villages of the region.[2] At this moment, the old Albanian Muslim families tried to regain their power. On the other hand, the Ottoman Empire tried to prevent the rise of local beys, which presented a menace to the Ottoman centralised power. In 1830, the Sublime Porte sent an expeditionary force under the command of Reşid Mehmed Pasha to suppress the local Albanian beys. On hearing the news of the Ottoman forces' arrival, the three most powerful local chiefs, Zylyftar Poda, accompanied by the remains of Ali Pasha's faction, Veli Bey (whose power base was around Yannina), and Arslan Bey, along with other less powerful beys, began to prepare their forces to resist a probable Ottoman attack.[2]


Realising the seriousness of the situation and the danger of a general uprising, Reşid Mehmed Pasha invited the Albanian beys to a meeting on the pretext that they would be rewarded for their loyalty to the Porte.[1] Two of the main leaders, Veli and Arslan Bey, accepted the invitation and went together with their followers to meet with Reşid Mehmed Pasha at his headquarter in Monastir. On their arrival there, the Turkish commander led them into an enclosed field when they saw Turkish forces aligned in ceremonial salute parade. In fact, this was an ambush, and upon a sign from the pasha, the soldiers opened fire on the surprised Albanian beys and their personal guards. All the Albanians which had entered the field, some four to five hundred, were killed, while Arslan tried in vain to escape. He was killed by Ottoman forces after a short pursuit.[2]


The massacre of the Albanian beys was a strong blow to the beys' power in Albania. In addition, the Ottomans, after having managed to deprive southern Albania from its leaders, defeated the following year, in 1831, the Pashalik of Scutari, the last remaining Albanian pashalik. Nevertheless this did not end the opposition of the Albanians to the Ottoman regime,[1] which re-emerged with the Albanian Revolt of 1847.

In Literature

The Monastir massacre of 1830 is the main theme of the novel Komisioni i festës[3] (English: The Celebration Commission) by Albanian writer Ismail Kadare.[4] In Kadare's vision, this battle is the battle of two empires: the Albanian Kanun with its code of besa ("honour"), against the Ottoman Empire itself.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Vickers 1999, p. 24.
  2. ^ a b c Tozer 2009, pp. 167–169.
  3. ^ Kadare, Ismail (1980). Komisioni i festës. Prishtinë: Rilindja. 
  4. ^ a b Colafato 1998, p. 82.


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