|Albanian revolt of 1912|
Skopje after being freed by Albanian revolutionaries
|Albanian rebels||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
Riza bej Gjakova
Essad Pasha Toptani
|15,000-30,000||up to 50,000|
The Albanian revolt of 1912 (Albanian: Kryengritja e vitit 1912, lit. 'Uprising of 1912' also known as the Albanian War of Independence, in Albanian historiography) was the last revolt against the Ottoman Empire's rule in Albania and lasted from January until August 1912. The revolt ended when the Ottoman government agreed to fulfill the rebels' demands on 4 September 1912. Generally, Muslim Albanians fought against the Ottomans in the incoming Balkan War.
|History of Albania|
The main reasons for all these revolts were changes for Albanians introduced by Young Turks, including tax increases, conscription for Albanians in the Ottoman army, and the disarming of the Albanian civil population.
Albanians were not the only group to start a rebellion against the Young Turks government. There were insurgencies in Syria and on the Arab peninsula.
The first major Albanian revolt in 1910 led by Isa Boletini and Idriz Seferi was supported by Bulgaria and Montenegro. After two weeks of fierce fighting the Albanian rebels withdrew to the Drenicë region and the rebellion was suppressed. Sultan Mehmed V visited Pristina in June 1911 and declared an amnesty for all of those who had participated in the revolt, except for the ones who had committed murder. In order to calm the situation, the sultan introduced a number of concessions, including:
At the end of 1911 a group of Albanian Members, led by Ismail Qemali, started a debate in the Ottoman parliament. They requested additional rights for Albanians in the cultural and administrative spheres.
In January 1912, Hasan Prishtina, an Albanian deputy in the Ottoman parliament, publicly warned Members that the policy of the Young Turks' government would lead to a revolution in Albania. After that speech Ismail Qemali proposed a meeting with Hasan Prishtina. They met the same evening in the house of Hasan Prishtina and agreed to organize an Albanian uprising. The following day they met in the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul with Mufid Bey Libohova, Essad Pasha Toptani, Aziz Pasha Vrioni and Syreja Bey Vlora. They agreed to unite their organizations and lead the Albanian uprising. Subsequently they took an oath on this promise at a meeting in Syreja Bey's house in Taxim.
Since the participation of Kosovo played a central role in the uprising, it was decided that Ismail Qemali should organize the delivery of 15,000 Mauser rifles to Kosovo via the Kingdom of Montenegro. Hassan Prishtina attempted to get the support of Bulgaria by proposing the creation of an Albanian—Macedonian state to Pavlof, the Bulgarian deputy, who met him in the British Consulate in Skopje. The British Consul from Skopje promised that the United Kingdom would provide strong support to the Albanians.
The revolt started in the western part of Kosovo Vilayet and was led by Hasan Pristina, Nexhip Draga, Bajram Curri, Riza bej Gjakova and others. Hasan Prishtina who was in the Kosovo Vilayet during the revolt, and Ismail Qemali who was in Europe gathering weapons and money and attempting to win over European public opinion to the cause of the uprising, maintained communication through the British Consulate in Skopje. Essad Pasha Toptani obliged himself to organize the uprising in Central Albania and Mirdita.
Albanian soldiers and officers deserted the Ottoman military service and joined the insurgents.
The Albanian rebels in Kosovo Vilayet demanded a number of actions from the Young Turk administration. These demands were printed in emigrant newspapers published in Bulgaria in the middle of March 1912, including the appointment of Albanians in government administration, schools with Albanian as the medium of instruction, and the restriction of Albanians' conscription in the Ottoman Army to the Kosovo Vilayet.
Albanian rebels were divided; some supported the Young Turk government, others the Liberal Union, while some even wished to return to Abdul Hamid's autocracy.
On 9 August 1912, Albanian rebels presented a new list of demands (the so-called list of Fourteen Points), related to the Albanian Vilayet, that can be summarized as follows:
The Ottoman government ended the Albanian revolts by accepting all demands (ignoring only the last) on 4 September 1912. Hasan Prishtina was planning to start a new revolt in three or four months, but the First Balkan War broke out soon and destroyed his plans.
Further information: First Balkan War
The success of the Albanian Revolt and news from the Italo-Turkish War sent a strong signal to the neighboring countries that the Ottoman Empire was weak. The members of the Balkan League decided that they could not waste such a golden opportunity to strike at a weakened Ottoman state. Demonstration of the weakness of the Ottoman Empire and promises of Albanian autonomy threatened Serbian ambitions for the incorporation of these territories into its domain. The Kingdom of Serbia opposed the plan for this rather large Albanian state (whose territories are now considered to be the concept of Greater Albania), preferring a partition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among the four Balkan allies.
An Albanian uprising in Kosovo for independent schools in May 1912 led to capture of Skopje by rebels in August
The Albanians once more raise against Ottoman Empire in May 1912 and took Macedonian capitol of Skopje by August
It was provoked by the laws passed by the new regime that claimed to loyally implement the old fiscal policy on the extremely impoverished population, impose new heavy taxes upon people, forcefully recruit Albanians for the Turkish army, continue the process of the entire population disarmament, extend its absolute power all over Albania, even over those regions that had always enjoyed certain privileges.
The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 ... confronted insurgencies in Syria, Albania, and Arabia (i.e., the Arabian Peninsula).
Taj ustanak pomagale su donekle Bugarska i Crna Gora,
and proclaimed amnesty for those who participated in 1910 uprising
In June 1911 the sultan himself visited Kosova to calm the situation, signing decree of amnesty and introducing many concessions, including Albanians schools, military service to be performed only in the province, suspension of all conscriptions and taxes for two years, and the use of the officials conversant in Albanian.
In December 1911, a group of Albanian members of the Ottoman parliament, guided by Ismail Qemal, started a parliamentary debate in order to make Constantinople grant the Albanians national rights in the cultural and administrative spheres.
Ismail Kemal Bey ... proposed that we meet for dinner at my house... We discussed ... and finally decided to put an end to Turkish outrages with an uprising.
on the next day at the Pera Palace Hotel... meeting with the following men: Mufid Bey Libohova, Essad Pasha Toptani, Aziz Pasha Vrioni and Syreja Bey Vlora.... we realised that they held the same views as we did, we decided to hold a meeting at the home of Syreja Bey, in Taksim... we all swear an oath... decided to organise an uprising
Kosovo was to play a central role in the matter. For this reason, it was decided to find and send fifteen thousand Mauser rifles into Kosovo, through Montenegro.
I went to meet Mr Pavlof, one-time deputy for Skopje ... for the rights of the Albanians and Bulgarians... I believe that the time has come to ... joint uprising with a view to creating an autonomous Albanian-Macedonian state.
... providing strong support for an Albania taking up arms for the cause of freedom.
1912 spring: beginning of uprising in many parts of western Kosova
Ismail Kemal was ... staying in Europe to help gather weapons and money and to win over European public opinion ... agreed to keep in contact through the British Consulate in Skopje.
Essad Pasha assured us that he could manage things in Central Albania and Mirdita.
... ustanici su uspeli da ... ovladaju celim kosovskim vilajetom do polovine avgusta 1912, što znači da su tada imali u svojim rukama Prištinu, Novi Pazar, Sjenicu pa čak i Skoplje... U srednjoj i južnoj Albaniji ustanici su držali Permet, Leskoviku, Konicu, Elbasan, a u Makedoniji Debar...
... već sredinom marta 1912. u jednom emigrantskom listu koji je izlazio u Bugarskoj objavljen zahtev albanskih ustanika: imenovanje Albanaca za činovnike u vilajetu, otvaranje albanskih škola, vojna služba za Albance samo u granicama vilajeta....
The Albanians themselves were divided, some supporting the CUP and others Liberal Union, with some even wishing to return to Abdulahmid's autocracy.
Therefore, with only the final point being ignored, on September 4, 1912, the government accepted proposals and the Albanian revolt was over
I told the honoured gentlemen that we would organise another uprising in three or four months’ time and would then declare independence ... the Balkan War soon broke out, which destroyed all of our plans.
At the same time the rebellion sent strong signal to Kosovo neighbors that the Ottoman Empire was weak.