100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

The Albanian Revolt Ends

The Ottoman Empire is called “The Sick Man Of Europe”. It increasingly falls under the financial control of Europeans and has lost European territory in a series of disastrous wars. Nationalism has swept through many of its territories and the Ottoman government itself had struggled with attempts at a more Western constitutional style government as it had in 1876. The Second Constitutional Era began after the Young Turk Revolution in July 1908 with the restoration of the 1876 constitution and the reconvening of the Ottoman Parliament. Ottoman politics is now dominated by the Committee of Union and Progress and the reform movement known as the Young Turks. This begins the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The aging Sultan Mehmed V is put on the throne in April 1909 but he is largely a figurehead with no real political power.

In Albania the Ottoman Empire put pressure on Ottoman Europe’s provinces by increasing taxes, forcing conscription in the Ottoman army and the disarming of civilian populations. After a suppressed uprising in Albania in June 1910, the Sultan visited Pristina and in June 1911 declared an amnesty. A number of concessions were suggested including establishment of Albanian schools, military service to be restricted to Albania, suspension of all conscription and taxes for 2 years and appointment of government officials who speak the Albanian language. By the end of 1911 Albanian members of Ottoman parliament requested additional rights for Albanians in cultural and administrative spheres. The next election in the Ottoman parliament was rigged and hardly any Albanian opposition members were seated in the new Chamber in Constantinople. Open rebellion against Ottoman authority began in Albania.

In January 1912 the Albanian Revolt was declared in Montenegro. Albanian soldiers and officers deserted the Ottoman military service and joined the insurgents. They were supported by neighboring countries and the rebels took over most of the area around Kosovo, capturing the city of Skopje. They demanded a number of actions from Turkey which were printed in newspapers Bulgaria in March 1912. By August 1912 the demands had solidified and the rebel position had strengthened.

On September 4, 1912 the Ottoman government ended the Albanian Revolt by accepting all demands except the court martial of Ottoman officers who had fought against the rebels. The terms only covered Montenegro. This shows the weakness of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and encourages other Balkan states such as Thrace, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece to resist the Ottomans. But it also threatens the Christian minorities under Ottoman dominion who are not protected by these demands.

Skopje after being captured by Albanian revolutionaries – 1912

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