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Ledia Dushku, PhD
Institute of History, Academy of Science

Tirana, Republic of Albania

 

FROM OTTOMANS TO ALBANIANS: THE FIRST BALKAN WAR AND THE PROCLAMATION OF ALBANIAN INDEPENDENCE (OCTOBER–NOVEMBER 1912)

Vol. XLII, 1/2024, pp. 1-18
https://doi.org/10.29362/ist20veka.2024.1.dus.1-18

 

ABSTRACT/RESUME:

The First Balkan War separated Albania from the Ottoman Empire. In this historical context, the Albanian political elite’s separatist action must be viewed as a territorial defensive act. This is a consequence of Balkan developments. In the absence of a defensive capability of the Ottoman army, independence was declared in reaction to the military occupation of Ottoman territories inhabited by Albanians, from the Balkan Allies. In circumstances where independence and the establishment of a sovereign Albanian ethnicity were considered a crucial issue for the Adriatic Powers, Albanian nationalist activists visited Vienna and Budapest. They sought support within the context of ongoing Balkan developments. At the beginning of November, when Ottoman sovereignty in the Balkans weakened, Ismail Qemali an Albanian nationalist and scion of the Vlora family, held significant meetings with high-ranking Austria-Hungarian diplomatic and military officials. On the Ottoman side, the final reaction of the Albanian political elite to separation did not appear to be a decision agreed upon by the Ottoman Porte. Questioning the preservation of Ottoman sovereignty in the Balkans diminished cooperation between the Albanian periphery and the Ottoman center. This gave a separatist nature to the Albanian political elite’s action, accomplished in the National Assembly of Vlora. The latter’s decision-making carried a national and supra-religious character, fundamentally challenging the Ottoman model of state and social organization and opening the way for an alternative philosophy in the Albanian state organization.

 

KEYWORDS: First Balkan War, Albania, independence, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, Ottoman Empire, Adriatic Powers, self-governing institutions, supra-religious character

 

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