history Eastern_Europe ALBANIA    

 

SKANDERBEG

By Natasha Guidicelli

 

 

Albania is one of the smallest European countries and at the present time one of the weakest. It was not always like this though. In the Fifteenth century there lived a man that became a national hero to Albania. His name was George Castriata Skanderbeg.In the Fifteenth century, while John Castriata, George Castriata's father, held power as a feudal chieftain of Kruja, the Turkish attacked Albania. One of the areas they overtook was Kruja. The Turkish allowed Kruja to keep its independence under Turkish sovereignty as long as John Castriata gave his four sons to Murad II, Sultan of the Ottoman.  The brothers were to live in Turkey and train for the Ottoman service. The Sultan grew to love only the youngest son, George, and had the others poisoned to death.The Sultan appointed George, or as he referred to him Skanderbeg (in Albanian this meant Alexander the Great), to a high military position. Upon the death of John Castriata, one of his sons was to succeed him but the Sultan preferred to retain George in the Turkish service and appointed Sabel Pasha, a Turkish governor, as successor. Skanderbeg did not show his disappointment but vowed to break away from the Sultan when possible.

 

 In 1443, Skanderbeg had the opportunity he was waiting for. He was going to pass through Kruja and he instructed the Sultan's secretary to prepare an imperial order instructing Sabel Pasha to surrender to him the Governership of Kruja. Pasha did this without hesitation and Kruja then belonged to Skanderbeg.
On March 1, 1444 all of the chieftains met and decided to elect Skanderbeg "Chief of the League of the Albanian People". Until his death the Turkish waged war against Skanderbeg to regain Kruja and all of Albania. Under Skanderbeg's power the Turkish were unsuccessful. This was also beneficial to other European countries that the Turkish wanted to conquer. The Turkish concentrated their efforts on Albania and thus had less troops for Italy and Hungary. Albania acted as a strong barrier obstructing the occupation of Europe by the Turkish.After 25 years of the continued struggle for Albania, George Castriata Skanderbeg died in 1468. Four years later, the Turkish regained rule over Albania which lasted until 1912.

George Castriata Skanderbeg is still remembered by the Albanians as a National Hero. He was one of the greatest and most effective leaders in Albanian history. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow has written a poem titled, `Skanderbeg' retelling this period of Albanian history and recapturing George Castriata's wonderful leadership skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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