The Albanians are apparently the most ancient race in southeastern Europe.
While the heroism of the Montenegrins has been lauded by writers of all countries, the Albanians - if we except Byron's eulogy of the Suloits - still remain unsung.
The Albanians in Greece and Italy, though separated for six centuries from the parent stock, have not yet been absorbed by the surrounding populations.
The Albanians, both Ghegs and Tosks, call themselves Shkiipetar, and their land Shkiipenia or Shkiiperia, the former being the Gheg, the latter the Tosk form of the word.
The Albanians in Greece, whose settlements extend over Attica, Boeotia, the district of ï¿½ Corinth and the Argolid peninsula, as well as southern Euboea and the islands of Hydra, Spetzae, Poros and Salamis, descend from Tosk immigrants in the 14th century.
The Italian and Sicilian Albanians are of Tosk descent, and many of them still speak a variation of the Tosk dialect.
In general the attitude of the Albanians in the north-eastern districts towards the Slavonic peasantry may be compared with that of the Kurds towards the Armenians.
Of the Albanians in Sicily the great majority (4479 1) remain faithful to the Greek Church; in Italy 116,482 follow the Latin ritual, and 38,192 the Greek.
All the Albanians in Greece belong to the Orthodox Church.
In the absence of literary culture the Albanian dialects, as might be expected, are widely divergent; the limits of the two principal dialects correspond with the racial boundaries of the Ghegs and Tosks, who understand each other with difficulty; the Albanians in Greece and Italy have also separate dialects.
The native folklore and poetry of the Albanians can hardly compare with that of the neighbouring nations in originality and beauty.
In recent years attempts have been made by Albanians resident abroad to propagate the national idea among their compatriots at home; committees have been formed at Brussels, Bucharest, Athens and elsewhere, and books, pamphlets and newspapers are surreptitiously sent into the country.
Unity of aim and effort, however, seems foreign to the Albanians, except in defence of local or tribal privileges.
The Albanians of the southern provinces still employ the Greek rite and the Greek language in their public worship, and their priests, like those of the Greek Church, are allowed to marry.
The sultan then invoked the assistance of Mehemet Ali, pasha of Egypt, who despatched 7000 Albanians to the island.
At Kossovo he was reinforced by 20,000 Albanians, led by the rebel Mustapha Pasha; and within a few weeks the united armies occupied the whole of Bulgaria, and a large part of Macedonia.
The rout of the Albanians at Prilipe and the capture of Mustapha at Scutari were followed by an invasion of Bosnia.
Haji Loja, the native leader, was supported by a body of Albanians and mutinous Turkish troops, while the whole Moslem population bitterly resented the proposed change.
Of the Aryan races the Slavs - Serbs, Bulgarians, Pomaks and Cossacks - and the Greeks predominate, the other representatives being chiefly Albanians and Kurds.
The Bulgarians, Bosnians and Servians had at different periods invaded and conquered the territories inhabited by them; the Albanians, original natives of their land, were governed by princes of their own.
Mustafa, delivered up by treachery, was hanged (1424); but Murad remained in Asia, restoring order in the provinces, while his lieutenants continued the war against the Greeks, Albanians and Walachians.
In Albania serious discontent, resulting in an insurrection (May-September 1909), was caused by the political rivalry between Greeks and Albanians and the unwillingness of the Moslem tribesmen to pay taxes or to keep the peace with their neighbours, the Macedonian Serbs.
About threefourths of the inhabitants are Christian Serbs, and the remainder are chiefly Moslem Albanians, with a few gipsies, Turkish officials and about 3000 Austro-Hungarian soldiers.
Other races, wh i ch are not numerous, are Armenians, Greeks, Bulgars, Albanians and Italians.
Pop. (1905) about 32,000, consisting chiefly of Slays (Serbs and Bulgars), Turks, Albanians and a few gipsies.
The city is the headquarters of an army corps, and the see of an Orthodox Greek archbishop, of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Albanians and of a Bulgarian bishop. Its principal buildings are the citadel, the palace of the vali or provincial governor, the Greek and Bulgarian schools, numerous churches and mosques and a Roman aqueduct.
Strengthened by a considerable number of Christian Albanians, they rendered good service in defending Greece, and to some extent repressed the ravages of the Klephts; but their power and independence were disliked by the Turks.
Their privileges were restricted, Mahommedan Albanians were introduced into the armatoliks, and towards the end of the 18th century their numbers were seriously reduced.
Nearly one-half of the population are Cossacks, the other ethnological groups being (1897) 2 7, 2 34 Armenians, 2255 Greeks, 1267 Albanians, 16,000 Jews and some 30,000 Kalmuck Tatars, who are Lamaists in religion.
Non-Turkish ethnical elements - Albanians, Macedonians, Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Kurds, Druses - were to be moulded as far as possible into uniformity with the dominant Turkish element.
In the west an army of Mussulman and Catholic Albanians, under Mustai Pasha, advanced southwards.
The Greeks had in all some 7000 men, Suliotes, Albanians, armatoli from Rumelia, and some irregular Bulgarian and Vlach cavalry.
The Albanians of the Caucasus were also converted in the age of Gregory, early in the 4th century, and were loyal to the Armenians in the great struggle against Mazdaism in the 5th; but broke away for a time towards 600, and chose a patriarch without sending him to Armenia for ordination.
Pop. (1905), 6500, of whom about four-fifths are Christian Albanians or Greeks, and onefifth Moslems. The town is surrounded by dense olive groves, and most of its houses stand in their own gardens.
Pop. (1905), about 30,000, chiefly Mahommedan Albanians, with a minority of Roman Catholic Albanians, Serbs and Greeks.
Pop. (1905) about I i,000, including Albanians, Turks, Greeks and Sla y s.
In 1530 the Sicilian island of Malta became the shelter of the Knights of Saint John driven by the Turk from Rhodes, and Sicily has received several colonies of Christian Albanians, who have replaced Greek and Arabic by yet another tongue.
These were composed of Turks, Albanians, Circassians and some Sudanese.
The sirdar made an attempt to raise a battaliQn of Albanians, but the few men obtained mutinied when ordered to proceed to the Sudan, and it was deemed advisable, after the ringleaders had been executed, to abandon the idea, and rely on blacks to stiffen the fellahin.
Thir, the commander of the Albanians, then repaired to the citadel, gained admittance through an embrasure, and, having obtained possession of it, began to cannonade the pasha over the roofs of the intervening houses, and then descended with guns to the Ezbekia and laid close siege to the palace.
This revolt marks the beginning in Egypt of the breach between the Albanians and Turks, which ultimately led to the expulsion of the latter, and of the rise to power of the Albanian Mehemet All (q.v.), who was destined to rule the country for nearly forty years and be the cause of serious European complications.
He refused the appear- pay of certain of the Turkish troops, and was immediance of ately assassinated A desperate conflict ensued between Mehemet the Albanians and Turks; and the palace was set on fire and plundered.
A certain Ahmed Pasha, who was about to proceed to a province in Arabia, of which he had been appointed governor, was raised to the important post of pasha of Egypt, through the influence of the Turks and the favor of the sheiks; but Mehemet Ali, who with his Albanians held the citadel, refused to assent to their choice; the Mamelukes moved over from El-Giza, whither they had been invited by Thir Pasha, and Ahmed Paslia betook himself to the mosque of al-Zflhir, which the French had converted into a fortress.
He was compelled to surrender by the Albanians; the two chiefs of the Turks who killed Tahir Pasha were taken with him and put to death, and he himself was detained a prisoner.
In consequence of the alliance between Mehemet All and a]-BardIsI, the Albanians gave the citadel over to the Mamelukes; and soon after, these allies marched against Khosrev Pasha, who.having been joined by a considerable body of Turks, and being in possession of Damietta, was enabled to offer an obstinate resistance.
To this the beys assented, but with considerable misgivings; for they had intercepted letters from Au to the Albanians, endeavouring to alienate them from their side to his own.
The forces lukes and of the beys, with the Albanians, encamped near him All Pasha.
Was assassinated by emissaries of al-Bardisi, and Mehemet Au, with his Albanians, gained possession of Giza, which was, as usual, given over to the troops to pillage.
In the meanwhile al-Alfi the Great embarked at Rosetta, and not apprehending opposition, was on his way to Cairo, when a little south of the town of Manfif he encountered a party of Albanians, and with difficulty made his escape.
Order to satisfy the demands of the Albanians for their pay, gave orders to levy heavy contributions from the citizens of Cairo; and this new oppression.
The Albanians, alarmed for their safety, assured the populace that they would not allow the order to be executed; and Mehemet Ali himself caused a proclamation to be made to that effect.
Thus the Albanians became the favorites of the people, and took advantage of their opportunity.
The Mamelukes in the citadel directed a fire of shot and shell on the houses of the Albanians which were situated in the Ezbekia; but, on hearing of the flight of their chiefs, they evacuated the place; and Mehemet Au, on gaining possession of it, once more proclaimed Mahommed Khosrev pasha of Egypt.
For one day and a half he enjoyed the title; the friends of the late Thir Pasha then accomplished his second degradation,i and Cairo was again the scene of terrible enormities, the Albanians revelling in the houses of the Mameluk chiefs, whose hareems met with no mercy at their hands.
The Albanians now invited Ahmed Pasha Khorshid to assume the reins of government, and he without delay proceeded from Alexandria to Cairo.
Two chiefs of the Albanians joined his party, but many of his soldiers deserted.