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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

VII: The Ottoman Turks and the Crusades, 1329-1451,   pp. 222-275 PDF (24.1 MB)

Page 265

the Italian archives for this period,'28 and to the recently discovered Ottoman
surveys of the country,'29 we are now able to evaluate the Italian involvement
as well as internal conditions of the Albanian insurrections from 1432 on.
Following their conquest of Thessalonica and lanina the Ottomans made a survey
of Albania in 143 1-1432. The Ottoman survey book of 1432, which includes
additional entries down to the mid-fifteenth century, shows that several
Albanian seigneurial families were deprived of part of their lands, which
were given to the Ottoman timar-holders, and Albanian clans in general resented
being subjected to Ottoman taxation and the control of a centralist administration.
Since the Ottomans could not establish complete control of the seacoast,
and since Venetians gave refuge and aid to the rebels, rebellion became endemic
in Albania in this period. But the actual situation was much more complex
because Albanian lords shifted their loyalty between Venice and the Ottomans
according to circumstances. Moreover, as was the case in the Morea, Serbia,
and Bosnia, the Ottoman frontier begs in Albania acted as local lords, and
achieved a kind of political equilibrium in the region. 
 During the Thessalonica war the northern Albanian lord John Castriota, father
of Scanderbeg, had accepted Venetian protection, but after the fall of Thessalonica
the Ottomans forced him to recognize the sultan's overlordship. The rebellion
in southern Albania, apparently a direct outcome of the Ottoman survey of
1432, proved to be much more serious.'30 Under the leadership of local lords
Thopia Zenevisi and George Araniti, whose lands had been given to Ottoman
soldiers, a series of insurrections broke out in the coastal and mountainous
areas, and Ottoman timar-holding sipahis were massacred. Despite several
repressions at the hands of the Ottoman frontier begs, Albanian rebellion
simmered until 1443, when Scanderbeg turned against the Ottomans and took
on the leadership of the Albanian resistance.'31 
 Emerging at a time when Christian Europe was ardently preparing for a crusade
to drive out the Ottomans from the Balkans, Scanderbeg was destined to become
the symbol of the crusade (once a Moslem, he had returned to Christianity),
and later, after his successful guerrilla warfare against the Ottomans, and
defeating four armies under the sultans in 1448, 1450, 1466, and 1467, he
would be acclaimed 
 128. See Valentini, Acta albanica veneta, vols. XV-XX. 
 129. The Ottoman survey of Albania dated 1432 is printed in Sdret-i defter-i
sancak-i Arvanid, ed. Inalcik. 
 130. See Inalcik, "Arnavutluk'ta Osmanli Hakimiyetinin yerle~mesi ye Iskender
Bey Isyaninin Men~ei," Fdtih ye Istanbul, 1-2 (1953), 152—175. 
 131. For Scanderbeg see Inalcik, "Iskender Beg," pp. 138—140. 

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