Principality of Albania (medieval)

The Principality of Albania (Albanian: Principata e Arbërisë) was an Albanian principality ruled by the Albanian dynasty of Thopia. One of the first notable rulers was Tanusio Thopia, who was Count of Mat since 1328. The principality changed hands between the Thopia dynasty and the Balsha dynasty, twice before 1392, when Durrës was annexed by the Republic of Venice.

Principality of Albania
Principata e Arbërisë (Albanian)
Domains of the Thopia, between 1385–1392
Domains of the Thopia, between 1385–1392
Common languagesAlbanian
Roman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
• 1328-1338
Tanusio Thopia (first)
• 1338-1343
Andrea I Thopia
• 1358-1388
Karl Thopia
• 1388-1392
George Thopia
• 1392-1394
Niketa Thopia
• 1394-1402
Konstantin Balšić
• 1402-1403
Helena Thopia
• 1403-1415
Niketa Thopia (last)
Historical eraMedieval
• Established
• Fall under Serbian Empire
• Regained control
• The capture of Durrës by Karl Thopia
• Ottoman conquest
ISO 3166 codeAL
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Albania
Sanjak of Albania
Today part ofAlbania

History Edit

One of the first notable rulers of the Thopia family was Tanusio Thopia; he was mentioned in 1329 as one of the counts of Albania.[1] In an act of Robert, King of Naples,[2] dated 15 April 1338,[3] Tanusio was mentioned as Count of Matia (conte di Matia).[4] This reconfirmed Thopia's relations to the Angevins from the time of Philip I.[3] By 1340 the Thopia controlled much of the territory between the rivers Mati and Shkumbin rivers. Together with the Muzaka family, they agreed to recognize Angevin suzerainty after rebelling against the Serbs. However except for Andrea Muzaka who defeated the Serbs in a battle in the Peristeri mountains, no action was taken to realize the treaty with the Angevins.[5]

By 1343, Serbian King Stefan Dušan had conquered almost all of Albania, except for Durazzo which had been defended[when?] under the command of Tanusio.[6]

After Stefan Dusan's death in 1355 Thopia family regained its domains and ruled most of central Albania. In 1358, Karlo rose against the rule of the Anjou and could drive them out up to Durrës from Epirus and Albania. It prevailed from 1358 to 1368 over far parts of central Albania and called themselves Princeps Albaniae.

Since 1362, Karlo sought himself to set Durrës, which was in the possession of the Duchess Johanna of Anjou, also into the possession of the city. The first, certainly still unsuccessful siege lasted from April 1362 until May 1363. Then, Thopia had to withdraw his troops, who were weakened by an epidemic disease. Only in 1367 could Karlo conquer Durrës, who had attained in the meantime the tacit agreement of the Venetians for his project and make important port his residence.

Karlo gained control of Durrës in 1368, which was where the Angevins held out due to their Kingdom becoming smaller in size. This event caused the Kingdom of Albania to end.

Balša II made a fourth attempt to conquer Durrës, an important commercial and strategetic center, which was ruled by rival, Karl Thopia. In 1382, Balša II began a war and seized Durrës. In 1385, the defeated Karl Thopia, appealed to Murad I for support against his rivals, the House of Balšić of the Principality of Zeta. This was the equivalent of inviting the Ottoman Empire into Albania in order to help him defeat his rivals of the Balšić family.

This attempt caused an Ottoman force, led by Hayreddin Pasha, to quickly march into Albania along the Via Egnatia. The Ottoman force routed the Balšas by inflicting heavy defeats on Balša II's forces. Balša II himself was killed in a big battle on Saurian Field (Serbian: Saurijsko Polje) near Lushnje (Battle of Savra) in 1385, ending the Balša family's rule over Durrës. In 1392 the Durazzo fell under the Republic of Venice.

After Gjergj's death, Niketa Thopia was the next ruler and also the final. After the death of Bayezid (1402), many Albanian lords recognized Venetian suzerainty, such as Niketa, John Kastrioti and Koja Zaharija.[7][[[Gjon Kastrioti#{{{section}}}|contradictory]]] The Venetians were interested in having some buffer zone between them and the advancing Ottoman army.[citation needed]. Niketa continued to be the ruler of Kruje until 1415 when it fell under the Ottoman Empire.

Monarchs Edit

Prince Reign Notes
Tanusio Thopia
Count of Matia
  • was recognized as count of Matia.
  • inherited the county of Mat after Tanusios's death.
  • Andrea had become the son-in-law of the Neapolitan King Robert of Anjou without his consent. It should end up costing him his head. Robert sent his biological daughter Fiametta, whom he had promised to be a wife to a potentate in Morea, via Durres to Greece. In the Albanian port city she met Andrea Thopia, they fell in love and got married. The marriage resulted in two sons, George Thopia and Karl Thopia. However, King Robert did not accept the violation of his will to rule. He invited the couple to Naples on the pretext of wanting to reconcile with them and had them executed there.
  Karl Thopia
princeps Albanese
  • In 1358, Karl rose against the rule of the Anjou and managed to drive them out of Durrës from Epirus and Albania. He ruled most of modern central Albania from 1358 to 1388 and claimed the title of princeps Albaniae.
  • Karl gained control of Durrës in 1368, which was where the Angevins held out due to their Kingdom becoming smaller in size. Karl lost Durrës in 1376, conquered by Louis of Navarre, but recovered it in 1383 when the last mercenaries of the Navarrese Company moved to Greece.
  • Thopia ruled over the regions of Durrës, Kruja, Peqin, Elbasan, Mokra and Gora, that is, along both sides of the Via Egnatia as far east as Lake Ohrid.
  Balsha II
duke of Durazzo
  • was a member of the Balšić family
  • He managed to expand his borders towards the south, defeating the Albanian duke Karl Thopia.
  • was killed at the Battle of Savra
  • with the assistance of Ottomans he managed to defeat his rival Balsha II thus regaining his throne as an Ottoman vassal.
  • after 3 years of further rule died in 1388.
  • son of Karl Thopia. He succeeded his father after his death.
  • During his first reign his ruled lasted 2 years
  • He ruled until his death in 1402 and was succeeded by Helena Thopia
  • After one year Niketa managed to unite his realm with Helena thus succeeding her

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Émile G. Léonard (1932). Histoire de Jeanne 1re, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence (1343-1382): La jeunesse de la reine Jeanne. Imprimerie de Monaco. p. 107.
  2. ^ Gustav Friedrich Hertzberg (1877). Geschichte Griechenlands: Th. Vom lateinischen Kreuzzuge bis zur Vollendung der osmanischen Eroberung (1204-1740). F.A. Perthes. Der albanesische Häuptling Tanussio Thopia war im Jahre 1338 von König Robert von Neapel in dem Besitze der Grafschaft Mat bestätigt worden.
  3. ^ a b Alain Ducellier (1981). La façade maritime de l'Albanie au Moyen âge: Durazzo et Valona du XIe au XVe siècle. Ed. de l&Ècole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. p. 339.
  4. ^ Bollettino della Badia Greca di Grottaferrata. Scuola Tipografica Italo-Orientale "S.Nilo". 1978.
  5. ^ Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1 January 1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. University of Michigan Press. p. 291. ISBN 0472082604.
  6. ^ Rivista di etnografia. Vol. 25. 1971. p. 6.
  7. ^ Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb (1967). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill. p. 654.

Sources Edit

  • Albanian Academy of Science. History of Albanian People. ISBN 99927-1-623-1
  • Stefanaq Pollo Histoire de l'Albanie des origines à nos jours. Roanne: Horvath. 1974. ISBN 2-7171-0025-3
  • Tajar Zavalani: Histori e Shqipnis. Tiranë: Phoenix. 1998. ISBN 99927-607-0-2
  • Georges Castellan: Histoire de l’Albanie et des Albanais. Crozon: Armeline. 2002. ISBN 2-910878-20-1