EXPULSIONS OF ALBANIANS AND COLONISATION OF KOSOVA Jul 31, 2008 6:39:13 GMT -5
Post by engers on Jul 31, 2008 6:39:13 GMT -5
IMPLEMENTATION OF SERBIAN PROJECTS ON EXPULSIONS OF ALBANIANS IN NINETEENTH CENTURY
1. Albanian Ethnic Territories in Nineteenth Century
To the majority of the peoples in the Balkans the nineteenth century presented a period of endeavours and struggles for national freedom, independence and emancipation. However, in that time, in the minds of some of these peoples greater state aspirations began to be born and were manifested to the detriment of the being and territories of their neighbours. The Albanians and the land where they lived were the target of such invading intentions for quite a long period. These aspirations became stronger particularly during and after the Eastern Crisis (1875-1878) through propagandistic campaigns, and later through occupations and ethnic cleansing of these territories. This is witnessed by historical sources of the time, various ethno-graphic documents and special historiography documents.
The very important geostrategic position, abundant in natural resources, fertile soil and other favourable climate conditions of the Albanian land made them an object of permanent interests of Serbian and Greek circles.
The Albanian coast, one of the most attractive in this region, that was about 500 kilometres long, had many isles, ports and cities with developed crafts and economy.
In addition to it, the continental part of the Albanian land had fertile soil in Dukagjin and Kosova, and the regions of Toplica, Kosanica, Presheva, Kumanova, Shkup (Skopje), Tetova, Kërçova, Arta and Janina.1
According to the facts presented by Lord Broughton (1809), the Albanian land extended between 39 and 43 (geographical parallels) and between 17 and 20 (geographi-cal meridians), covering in this way a surface of 62,500 square kilometres.2 By some students of Balkan questions, the extension of the Albanians was witnessed to have been up to Niš, Leskovac and Vranje in the north; to Kumanova, Përlep and Manastir in the east; to Konitza, Janina and Preveza in the south.3 This region, according to Sami Frashëri, embraced a surface of 70,000 km2, and according to an Italian study it was 80,000 square kilometres.4 Within this space (in the vilayets of Shkodra, Kosova, Manastir and Janina), the population, consisting of the Albanians in the greatest majority, lived under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, that had a character of an ethnically compact territory, and was fairly called Albania (Arnavutluk) by many authors writing about their travels, and by some scholars and diplomats of the time. That Albania, although without any special political or administrative character, maintained its simple Albanian and compact physiognomy and opposed to the Slavonic and Greek intentions and threats. However, the space of the Albanian land was not threatened by the Slavonic and Greek aspirations only. After the Eastern Crisis, the Ottoman Empire experienced its natural collapse. Facing its multiple internal contradictions and pressures exerted by big powers from outside, it made its efforts in vain to avoid its decomposition by various new administrative reforms. In this way, many forms of military, political and administrative organisation took place on the Albanian land. Administrative divisions and revisions, undoubtedly harmed the interests of the Albanian people heavily, since the political and ethnic unit of Albania was denied in that way.5
On the whole, from the ethnic viewpoint, the Albanian historical territory was divided into two large zones: the ethnic trunk, where the Albanians constituted the absolute majority of population, and the side belt, where the Albanians did not constitute its majority.6
In order to create a possibly most real picture of the regions of ethnic Albanians in twentieth century, we bring some data from geographic maps, various ethnographic publications and documents, statistical evidence on the proportion of the Albanian population in comparison to the alien elements that have settled on the land of the latter.
Among the maps that deserve being taken as a basis are those by the German authors, Kettler and Kiepert (Berlin, 1876), as they present incontestable authorities in the field of ethnography and as such, they offer objective evidence.7 According to those maps, the Albanian land is called the square surface that extends from north on the line from Novi-Pazar to Niš, in the east from Leskovac to Kumanova, Shkup and Veles, in the west from Novi-Pazar to Gucia and the extreme north-western coast of the Lake of Shkodra.8
Another map that shows the compact zones inhabited by the Albanians in 1875 is based on the results of ethnographic research work on Albania. According to it, the Albanian ethnic line starts from Novi-Pazar to the environs of Niš, it comes down to a point in the north-east of Vranje, continuing south to Manastir, and including Presheva, Kumanova, Shkup, Tetova, Gostivar and Kërçova. In the north-west, this line includes Rozhaja, Tutin, Istog, Peja, Plava, Gucia, Podgorica, Hot, Gruda and Ulqin.9 Other later maps are close to these borders, with small changes, that are the results brought about by the changes made in the time.
This space of ethnic Albanians is proved also by the evidence provided by outstanding foreign scholars, some of whom have walked and seen those regions with their own eyes.
The well-known scholar and albanologist, Georg von Hahn, when writing on the natural (geographic and ethnic) border of Albania, claimed that the border extended from Montenegro in the north to the bay of Arta in the south, i.e., from north of Tivar (Bar) to the cape of Preveza, pointing out that the Albanians inhabited the whole central region that extended from the north end of the Lake of Shkodra up to Niš.10 The same author, in a later work of his (1866), underlined that the River of Morava was the one that divided the Albanian land from the Slavonic one, emphasising that the Albanians had an incontestable majority in Fusha e Kosovës and along the river of Vardar in Shkup.11
Gabriel Louis Jaray also admitted that the Albanian element fulfilled a large space in the Vilayet of Manastir, and the whole Vilayet of Kosova, to the bank of Vardar in Shkup. He said of Shkup that “it is one of the vanguard castles of the Albanians and one of their main cities”. According to the facts that he refers to, it comes out that Shkup had 45,000 inhabitants, of whom 25,000 were Muslims, almost all Albanians, 10-15,000 Bulgarians, 3,000 Serbs and 2,000 Jews. Whereas, he qualified Peja, Gjakova and Prizren as fully Albanian cities.12
The Greek consul in Shkodra, Epaminondas Mavro-matis (1879-1881), in his published reports (1884) said that Albania included these parts - regions seen from the ethnographic aspect: 1. South Albania, that extended to Parga; 2. Central Albania, extending between Shkumbin and Mat; 3. Upper Albania, extending between Mat and Montenegro; 4. The north-eastern Part and 5. Western Macedonia.
The north-eastern region extended to the part that was given to Serbia by the Congress of Berlin, as well as to Prizren, Gjakova, Peja, Kalkandelen (Tetova), Luma, Prishtina, Gjilan, Vushtria, Mitrovica, Novi-Pazar, Shkup and Kumonaova. Western Macedonia inhabited by the Albanians included: Prilep, Ohri, Kërçova, Kostur, Follorina, Kolonja and Korça, that had a population of 220,000 inhabitants, of whom 140,000 were of the Islamic and 80,000 of Orthodox religion.13 Serbian administration also confirmed the fact that Albania was the region that extended from Sjenica, Novi-Pazar to Prokuplje and further to the internal part of Turkey, to Shkodra.14 Dr Vasa Cubrilovic wrote also that “the regions of Prokuplje, Kursumlia, Leskovac up to Niš were called ‘Arnavutluk of Toplica'”.15
The administration map of the Ottoman Empire became more or less invariable in the Balkan Peninsula only after the wave of the Eastern Crisis passed (1883). But in this time too, the Albanian land remained partitioned into four vilayets (Shkodra, Kosova, Manastir and Janina). A part of the ethnic trunk (the regions of Ulqin, Podgorica, Shpuza, Vranje, Leskovac and Niš) remained outside the Ottoman Empire, therefore outside the four vilayets of the Albanians.16
According to statistical evidence and approximate calculations, the population that lived in the territories of the four vilayets mentioned above in the time of the Eastern Crisis could be around 1,700,000 inhabitants, the majority Albanians.17 The platform of the Albanian Renaissance was founded on this basis and its representatives requested their inclusion within the future state of the Albanians.