The League of Prizren 1878

Dimitrije Bogdanovic is a Serbian historian who was active in the mid-20th century. He wrote one of most comprehensible works on the League of Prizren, using a wide range of sources from the period of the inception of the League.

Dimitrije Bogdanovic, Book on Kosovo (Knjiga o Kosovu), Belgrade, 198

The League was established during preparations for the Berlin Congress. The Treaty of San Stefano opened the process of division of European Turkey, where the lands inhabited by Serbian and Albanian populations were covered through division between Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria. It is worth pointing out that the war programme of Serbia and Montenegro from 1876/77 can’t be seen as expansionism and taking of national territories of others, because this was about liberation of their own lands that were flooded with violence committed by a foreign element. The war programme of Serbia and Montenegro had aspired towards liquidation of the status of centuries of occupation, aiming to establish their own national sovereignty, to protect and liberate Serbian people, which was suffering a systemic genocide. Albanian people in Old Serbia was not a neutral factor nor were they in a position of an occupied people without rights. For Serbian and Macedonian peoples, the Albanian Muslim was quite simply a servant of the occupier, and the occupier, the most ruthless oppressor, symbol of foreign rule and atrocity. The liberation fight against Turkey was fought, consequently, against Islamic Albanians too…

The Prizren League, regardless of all the behind-the-curtain actions of the Turkish authorities and foreign agents, represents the first serious programmatic and action gathering of Albanians, the first organisation of Albanian nationalism. It was established as a reaction to the realisation of the programme of national liberation by Balkan Christians, especially the Serbs. It was placed on the foundations of the idea of Greater Albania, by ignoring the rights of Serbian people and other Slavic Balkan peoples and Greeks to live in their own land protected by law. The clash was inevitable, and the aggressive anti-Serbian and generally anti-Slavic concept of the League continually burdened relations between these two peoples. At the same time, the League’s concept of Greater Albania was an offering to some European powers as a tool for their own penetration into Balkans.

From: Dimitrije Bogdanovic, Book on Kosovo, Belgrade, 1986, p.115

 

Slaviša Nedeljković THE LEAGUE OF PRIZREN (1878–1881) BETWEEN MYTH AND REALITY Summary (Original text)

Тhe Great Eastern crisis that rushed Balkan Peninsula from 1875 to 1878 drew a new political map of Europe. The consequences of its actions were far-reaching and traced the fate of the Balkan nations for a long time. One of them was the League of Prizren, which… represented one of the most important events in the modern history of Albanians. By the creation of the League of Prizren, Albanians issue become one of the most pressing problems and a source of new crises and destabilization in the Balkan region for a long period. Since that time, the Albanians national consciousness began to emerge and the idea of what was Albania and which territory it should include. Political activities of the League of Prizren were guided by Albanian officers who with their position and faith were deeply connected with the Turkish state and its ideology. In the national program of the League of Prizren there was no place for non-Albanian population which had no legal and economic protection. Aggressive anti-Serbian character of the League was further strained relations between Serbs and Albanians. Crimes against the Serbian population had more spontaneous than planned character from the outbreak of the uprising in Herzegovina (1875) but from the establishment of the League of Prizren they were a part of designed policy whose main objective was to clean the Serbian population in Old Serbia. In many works of Albanian historians pointed out that the League of Prizren was created from tendency of Albanian people to release of the centuries of Ottoman rule and that struggle to gain freedom conducted against neighboring Balkan countries, Ottoman Porte and Albanian reactionary forces. The only fight that occurred was against the Serbian people. The conflict with the Ottoman Porte come at the end, when Constantinople wouldn’t came out to meet the expectations of the League. Reactionary forces in the leadership of the League were not eliminated, so that the League had entirely Muslim character. Although the League of Prizren ended at 1881, its legacy of creating a Great Albania remained and lasts to this day. Key words: Albanians, League of Prizren, the Serbian people, Old Serbia, Turkey

The Sanjak of Shkodra delegation in the League of Prizren
Reconstructed site of the League of Prizren