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Albanian Declaration of Independence

Monument of the 100th anniversary of Independence of Albania

in Tirana with the albanian ag and the declaraction of indepen-
The Albanian Declaration of Independence
(Albanian: Shpallja e Pavarsis, or Deklarata e Pavar-
sis) is the declaration of independence of the Albanian
Vilayet from the Ottoman Empire. Independent Albania
was proclaimed in Vlor on 28 November 1912.
1 Background
Further information: Albanian Revolt of 1912, Albanian
Vilayet, First Balkan War and All-Albanian Congress
The success of the Albanian Revolt of 1912 sent a strong
signal to the neighboring countries that the Ottoman Em-
pire was weak.
The Kingdom of Serbia opposed the
plan for an Albanian Vilayet, preferring a partition of
the European territory of the Ottoman Empire among
the four Balkan allies.
Balkan allies planned the par-
tition of the European territory of the Ottoman Empire
among them and in the meantime the territory conquered
during First Balkan War was agreed to have status of the
That was the reason for Ismail Qemali
to organize All-Albanian Congress in Vlora.
2 Assembly of Vlor
Further information: Assembly of Vlor
Under these circumstances, delegates from all over Alba-
nia were gathered in the Assembly of Vlor (Albanian:
Kuvendi i Vlors). Ismail Qemali returned to Albania
with Austro-Hungarian support and, at the head of a
swiftly convened national assembly, declared Albanian
independence in the town of Vlora on 28 November
1912. The declaration was more theoretical than practi-
cal because Vlora was the only town in the whole country
under the delegates controlyet it proved to be eec-
tive in the vacuum of power. Though Albanian indepen-
dence was recognised de facto on 17 December 1912 at
the London Conference of Ambassadors, it was not un-
til 29 July 1913, after the second Balkan War and the
solving of the delicate problem of Shkodra, that the in-
ternational community agreed to recognise Albania as a
neutral, sovereign and hereditary principality. The news-
paper Prlindja of Vlora described it as follows:
The newspaper Prlindja
The National Assembly, composed of del-
egates from all over Albania and convening
here in Vlora, opened today at four in the after-
noon at the house of Xhemil bey. Ismail Ke-
mal bey, as the prime initiator of the gathering,
took the oor and explained to the delegates
the purpose of the assembly, that is, that they
all must strive to do what is necessary to save
Albania from the great perils it is now facing.
The chairman, Ismail Kemal Bey, then
took the oor and, in an ardent, uid and rea-
sonable speech, stated that although they had
always been faithful to the Ottoman Empire,
the Albanians had never forgotten their own
language and nationality, the best proof of this
being the endeavours and uprisings that had
taken place from time to time, in particular
over the last four years, to preserve their rights
and customs. The Ottoman Government had
never taken their interests into consideration
and had never been willing to recompense the
Albanians for the great services they had ren-
dered. It had recently shown some interest in
coming to an understanding with our people,
but had not given proof of good faith and had
not taken all the steps needed to appease and
satisfy the Albanians. War had recently bro-
ken out with four countries in the Balkans that
were seeking change and rights for their peo-
ples, united by their ethnicity and religion.
Later, these countries put aside their ini-
tial objective and, as the war was going well
for them, they agreed to divide the Empire up
among themselves, including Albania. Realiz-
ing that the Turkish army had been defeated
and that the Empire would not survive, the
Albanians, who had played a greater role in
the ghting than the soldiers, hastened to take
requisite steps in their own interests as own-
ers of the country. For this reason, Ismail
Kemal bey departed for Istanbul and, having
come to an understanding with the Albanians
of Bucharest, too, set o for Vienna where he
reached an agreement with the Great Powers
that had vital interests in the Balkans. As there
was no more hope of saving Albania by means
of arms, the only road to salvation was to sep-
arate Albania from Turkey. Ismail Kemal bey
promoted this idea and objective, that was well
received by all the Great Powers, in particu-
lar by Austria and Italy. It was only Russia
that remained somewhat hostile to the idea be-
cause of the Slavs, but it did not deny the exis-
tence of Albania and an Albanian people. To
realise this objective, he invited all Albanians
to gather in Vlora and was delighted today to
see that his call had not been in vain, and that
delegates had been sent from all parts of Al-
bania to reect together on ways to save the
Fatherland. According to Ismail Kemal Bey,
the most urgent measures that the Albanian na-
tion must take today are these: that Albania be
independent under a provisional government;
that a council of elders be elected to assist and
supervise the government; and that a commis-
sion be sent to Europe to defend Albanian in-
terests among the Great Powers.
The delegates unanimously agreed with the
words of Ismail Kemal bey and resolved that
Albania, as of today, should be on her own,
free and independent under a provisional gov-
The meeting was adjourned until the fol-
lowing day and the delegates went out and
greeted the ag that was raised at ve thirty in
the afternoon.
2.1 Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence of Albania - Original document
The assembly of eighty-three leaders meeting in Vlor in
November 1912 declared Albania an independent coun-
try and set up a provisional government. The com-
plete text of the declaration, composed in Albanian and
In Vlora, on the 15th/28th of November.
That time the President was
Ismail Kemal Bey, in which he spoke of the
great perils facing Albania today, the delegates
have all decided unanimously that Albania, as
of today, should be on her own, free and inde-
2.2 Delegates
The 83 Delegates also called Founding fathers of the
Albanian modern state (Albanian: Baballart e kombit)
included the following:
Berat: Sami Bey Vrioni, Ilias Bey Vrioni, Taq Tu-
tulani, Bab Dud Karbunara;
2.3 National symbols 3
Isa Boletini and his men from Kosovo Vilayet in the streets of
Vlor after the Independence was proclaimed
Gumenica: Veli Grra;
Marglli: Jakup Veseli;
Filati: Rexhep Demi;
Paramythia: Azis Tahir Ajdonati;
Delvina: Avni bej Delvina;
Dibra: Myfti Vehbi Dibra, Sherif Lngu;
Durrs: Abaz Efendi elkupa, Mustafa Ag Hanx-
hiu, Jahja Ballhysa, Dom Nikoll Kaorri;
Elbasan: Lef Nosi, Shefqet bej Daiu, Qemal bej
Karaosmani, Dervish bej Biaku;
Gjirokastra: Azis Efendi Gjirokastra, Elmaz Boe,
Veli Harxhi, Myd bej Libohova, Petro Poga, Jani
Papadhopulli, Hysen Hoxha;
Gramsh-Tomorric: Ismail Qemali Gramshi (not to
be confused with Ismail bej Qemal Vlora);
Janina: Kristo Meksi, Aristidh Ruci;
Kora: Pandeli Cale, Thanas Floqi, Spiro Ilo,
Kosova, Rrafshi i Dukagjinit, Plav-Gusinje: Rexhep
Mitrovica, Bedri bej Ipeku, Salih Gjuka, Mit'hat Bey
Frashri, Mehmet Pash Drralla, Isa Boletini, Riza
bej Gjakova, Hajdin bej Draga, Dervish bej Ipeku,
Zenel bej Begolli, Qerim Begolli;
Kruja: Mustafa Merlika-Kruja;
Lushnja: Qemal bej Mullai, Ferit bej Vokopola,
Nebi Efendi Sefa;
Mat: Ahmet bej Zogolli, Riza bej Zogolli, Kurt Ag
Mallakastra: Hajredin bej Cakrani;
Ohri and Struga: Zyhdi bej Ohri, Dr. H. Myrtezai,
Nuri Sojlliu, Hamdi bej Ohri, Mustafa Baruti,
Dervish bej Hima;
Peqin: Mahmud Efendi Kaziu;
Prmet: Veli bej Klcyra, Syrja bej Vlora;
Pogradec: Hajdar Blloshmi;
Shijak: Xhelal Deliallisi, Ymer bej Deliallisi,
Ibrahim Efendiu;
Shkodra: Luigj Gurakuqi;
Skrapar: Xhelal bej Koprencka
Tepelena: Fehim bej Mezhgorani; Kristo Meksi;
Aristidh Ruci;
Tirana: Abdi bej Toptani, Murat bej Toptani;
Vlora: Ismail Qemali, Zihni Abaz Kanina, Zyhdi
Efendi Vlora, Aristidh Ruci, Qazim Kokoshi, Jani
Minga, Eqerem bej Vlora;
Albanian colony of Bucharest: Dhimitr Zogra,
Dhimitr Mborja, Dhimitr Berati, Dhimitr Ilo
The Flag waved in the Assembly
2.3 National symbols
The same day, Ismail Qemali waved the national ag of
Albania, from the balcony of the Assembly of Vlor, in
the presence of hundreds of Albanians. This ag was
sewn after Skanderbeg's principality ag, which had been
used more than 400 years earlier.
2.4 Government
Main article: Provisional Government of Albania
On 4 December 1912, the Assembly of Vlor created
the rst Government of Independent Albania, led by Is-
mail Qemali. It established also a Council of Elders
(Albanian: Pleqsia), which would help the Government
to it duties. The Assembly of Vlora decided that it would
agree to any decision of the Great Powers for the sys-
tem of Government in Albania and that the Provisional
Government would cease to exist after the recognition of
independence of the country and the nomination of the
3 Recognition of Independence
3.1 Diplomatic eorts
Further information: Albanian Congress of Trieste
Just as the overseas communities of Albanians had stim-
ulated the patriotic fervor which gradually led to the in-
dependence of their homeland, so at this critical junc-
ture they once again demonstrated their solidarity. On 1
March 1913, they convened an Albanian Congress of Tri-
este, Austria. There were 119 representatives in all, com-
ing from the United States, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey,
Egypt, Italy, and of course from the new state itself.
Bishop Fan Noli of Boston was one of the featured speak-
The congress recognized the provisional government of
Ismail Kemal, pledged its faithful support, discussed the
ethnic boundaries of the new state and sent strong resolu-
tions to the European capitals and to the London Confer-
ence of Ambassadors then in session, appealing for their
recognition of Albanian independence and for the lifting
of the Greek blockade.
3.2 Treaty of London and recognition of
See also: Treaty of London (1913) and Albania during
the Balkan Wars
On December 1912 the Great Powers met in London to
deal with territorial adjustments arising out of the con-
clusion of the First Balkan War.
After months of wrangling and compromise under the
constant threat of a general war, the conference an-
nounced its formal decisions on 17 May 1913. The ques-
tion of Albanian independence that had prompted the
Conference of Ambassadors at London came up for dis-
cussion at their rst session. According to article II of the
treaty, the six ambassadors decided that Albania would be
recognized as an autonomous state under the sovereignty
of the Ottoman sultan.
After the breakout of the Balkan Wars, on 29 July, the
ambassadors decided to recognize the total independence
and sovereignty of Albania. They provided that it be gov-
erned by a European prince to be elected by the powers.
Albanian neutrality would be jointly guaranteed by the
six great powers. They also appointed an International
Commission of Control for Albania, to be composed of
one representative from each of the six powers and one
Albanian. This commission would supervise the Alba-
nian governments organization, nances and administra-
tion for a 10-year period. Dutch ocers would organize
the gendarmerie.
Soon after the Declaration of Independence Albania was
occupied by the Balkan League member states (Serbia,
Montenegro, and Greece). The Occupation of Albania
(19121913) took place during the Balkan Wars.
4 Commemoration in Albanian
The faade of the building where the independence was
proclaimed is depicted on the reverses of the Albanian
200 lek banknote of 19921996,
and of the 500 lek
banknote issued since 1996.
5 See also
League of Prizren
Provisional Government of Albania
6 References
[1] Warrander, Gail; Verena Knaus (November 2007).
Kosovo. United States: The Globe Pequot Press. p. 12.
ISBN 1-84162-199-4. At the same time the rebellion
sent strong signal to Kosovo neighbors that the Ottoman
Empire was weak.
[2] Redlich, Josef; d'Estournelles, Baron; Godart, M. Justin;
Shucking, Walter; Hirst, Francis W.; Brailsford, H. N.;
Milioukov, Paul; Dutton, Samuel T. (1914). Report of
the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes
and the Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Washington, D.C.:
Carnegie Endowment for International Piece. p. 47. Re-
trieved 10 January 2011. The Servians hastened to op-
pose the plan of a Greater Albania by their plan for par-
tition of Turkey in Europe among the Balkan States into
four spheres of inuence.
[3] Redlich, Josef; d'Estournelles, Baron; Godart, M. Justin;
Shucking, Walter; Hirst, Francis W.; Brailsford, H. N.;
Milioukov, Paul; Dutton, Samuel T. (1914). Report of
the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes
and the Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Washington D.C.:
Carnegie Endowment for International Piece. p. 49. Re-
trieved 10 January 2011. In a fewweeks the territories of
Turkey in Europe .. by the Balkan their hands
as condominium
[4] Zhelyazkova, Antonina (2000). Albania and Albanian
Identities. International Center for Minority Studies and
Intercultural Relations. Archived from the original on 10
January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011. calling to-
gether an all-Albanian congress. On 28 November 1912,
delegates from all over the country gathered in Vlora
[5] Pollo, Stefanaq; Selami Pulaha (1978). 175. Akte t
rilindjes kombtare shqiptare 1878-1912 (Memorandume,
vendime, protesta, thirrje). Tirana: Akademia e Shken-
cave t RPS t Shqipris. p. 261. Vendimi sht har-
tuar shqip dhe turqisht ...
[6] Schmidt-Neke, Michael (1987). Entstehung und Ausbau
der Knigsdiktatur in Albanien, 19121939. Oldenbourg
Verlag. p. 320. ISBN 3-486-54321-0.
[7] Gae, Bardhosh. extquotedblAta q shpalln pavarsin
kombtare extquotedbl [ extquotedblThose who declared
national independence extquotedbl]. Tirana: Toena,
[8] Mowat, R.B. (1916). Select Treaties and Documents
18151916. Oxford Clarendon Press. pp. 120121.
[9] Bank of Albania. Currency: Banknotes withdrawn from
circulation. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
[10] Bank of Albania. Currency: Banknotes in circulation.
Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
7 Sources
Albanian Academy of Science. History of Albanian
People. Tirana: Botimet Toena, 2007. ISBN 978-
Robert Elsie. The Declaration of Albanian Indepen-
Lef Nosi. Dokumenta historike pr t'i shrbye his-
toris tone kombtare. Tirana: Instituti i Historis,
2007. ISBN 978-99956-10-04-3. (in Albanian)
Edith Pierpont Stickney, Southern Albania 1912
8 External links
Albanian Declaration of Independence movie-clip
on YouTube (Albanian)
9 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses
9.1 Text
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