Albanian Uprising, First (1910–1912)PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Albania vs. Ottoman Empire
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Albania and Macedonia
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Albanians sought self government.
OUTCOME: The Ottomans crushed an Albanian bid for independence.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:Albanian rebels, 20,000; Ottoman army, 40,000
Long oppressed by the corrupt Ottoman Empire, Albania sought independence from Turkish domination. To this end, the Albanian independence movement aided the Young Turk movement in its effort to overthrow the old Ottoman regime and radically reform Turkish government. In return for this aid, the Albanians understood that they would be granted a significant measure of self-government and relief from Ottoman taxation. After achieving control of the Ottoman government in 1908, however, the Young Turks reneged on the promise made to the Albanians. Worse, the new Turkish government levied even more burdensome taxes on Albania. This prompted an organized, militant rebellion on the part of some 8,000 northern Albanians. Beginning in March 1910, the uprising 20 Albanian Uprising, First spread rapidly southward, to Korçë, Albania, and even into parts of Macedonia. The first revolt broke out north of the Kosovo
province in March 1910. Initially, the Turks could field no more than 16,000 men against some 20,000 rebels. By May 1910 reinforcements swelled the Turkish units to 40,000, and the rebellion was put down. Nevertheless, emboldened by the growing independence movement, Albanian leaders convened in Montenegro to draw up a demand for self-government, which they submitted to the Turks. In response the Turkish government dispatched a large army force, which quickly and savagely put down the rebellion during June 1910. The brutally established peace was short lived. In March 1911 some 4,000 rebels struck again in the north. Rebellion pushed southward until the Turks restored peace by making modest concessions
to Albanian autonomy. The next year, however, more than 3,000 Albanians staged an uprising in May. Before the year was out rebel strength had reached about 20,000, and the Albanians took the city of Prisˇtina. At this point, however, the rebellion was swallowed up in the larger FIRST BALKAN WAR.
Further reading: Kristo Frashëri, The History of Albania:
A Brief Survey (Tirana, Albania: N. Pub., 1964).