Sanjak of Delvina

The Sanjak of Delvina (Turkish: Delvine Sancağı, Albanian: Sanxhaku i Delvinës) was one of the sanjaks of the Ottoman Empire which county town was Delvinë but during the 18th century became Gjirokastër, Albania. It was created in the mid-16th century,[1] came under the control of the Pashalik of Yanina during 1785−1822, and was disestablished after the Balkan Wars in 1913. It was divided between Albania Albania and Greece in 1913.

Sanjak of Delvina
Sanjak of Ottoman Empire
16th century–1913
Coat of arms of Sanjak of Delvina
Coat of arms
Sanjak of Delvina (c.1900).svg
CapitalDelvinë, Ergiri
• Established
16th century
March 3, 1913 1913
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sanjak of Avlona
Independent Albania
Kingdom of Greece
Today part ofAlbania


The Sanjak took its name from the Albanian toponym Delvinë (definite form: Delvina). During the 18th century the local pasha moved the seat of the sanjak from Delvinë to Gjirokastër. Its official name did not change; however, it was also referred to as Sanjak of Gjirokastër.[2]


Before the Sanjak of Delvina was established in the mid-16th century, Delvina was a seat of the kaza which belonged to the Sanjak of Avlona.[3] Sanjak of Delvina had the lowest income of 21 sanjaks in Eyalet Rumelia.[4]

The Ottoman defter of 1582 for the Sanjak of Delvina provides numerous insights into the socio-demographic character of 16th-century Delvinë and the surrounding settlements. The region appears to have a larger and more homogeneous or stabilised population structure in comparison to other surveyed regions of Albania, with the vast majority of individuals recorded in the register being attested with their personal name first and then with a patronym which served as their surname – sons being noted after their fathers, clearly displaying kinship ties. For example, in the village of Kakodhiq, a certain Lekë Gjoka is recorded and is followed by his sons Jani, Gjin, and Strati Leka. The demographic stability of the Sanjak of Delvina is further suggested by the minor influx of incomers into the region; however, a handful of internal migrations are attested, examples including Gjin Meksi who was originally from Pandalejmon but had settled in Sopik, and Komnin Dhimo from Vagalat who had settled in Dhivër. A significant portion of the anthroponyms recorded in the register belonged to the Albanian onomastic sphere, including personal names such as Bos, Dedë, Dodë, Gjergj, Gjin, Gjokë, Gjon, Lalë, Lekë, Muzhak, and others. However, more ambiguous or general Christian anthroponyms that were historically used by both Albanian and non-Albanian groups are also attested. The proportion of recorded individuals bearing either an Albanian personal name or patronym by village appear as follows: in Finiq 1/4 bore purely Albanian anthroponyms; in Nivicë over 3/4; in Kakodhiq, Dragopezde, Ufnë, and Izmenicë 1/3; 1/2 in Vagalat; over 1/3 in Livinë; 3/5 in Sopik; around half in Zishtë and Pandalejmon; 4/5 in Pecë; 1/3 in Lefterhor; and 3/4 in Lëkurs. These figures, however, do not take into account kinship ties shared between individuals bearing typical Albanian anthroponymy and those bearing more ambiguous names, and also does not include those bearing names that can be etymologically explained through Albanian (e.g., Bardhi, Buzmiri, Buzuku). As such the ethnic Albanian element must have represented a larger proportion. The register also provides insights into the presence of Islam in the region as a number of local Muslims are recorded. In the villages of Zishtë and Pandalejmon, for example, 19 Muslims are attested. On top of this, some are recorded with typical Christian names albeit are noted as recent converts to Islam.[5]

In 1713 the sanjak-bey of Delvina was Selim Pasha.[6] In 1744 the sanjak-bey of the Sanjak of Delvina was Veli Beg.[7] In 1785 Veli Beg's son, Ali Pasha, became a governor of Delvina, while in the following years the sanjak was part of the Pashalik of Yanina.[8] By 1804 the sanjakbey of Delvina was Ali's son, Veli, who was also a Beylerbey of Rumelia.[9] In 1834 Mahmood Hamdi pasha was appointed to govern the Sanjak of Delvina, Yanina and Avlona.[10]

In 1912 Delvina had 40,000 inhabitants, of which 30,000 were Muslim and 10,000 Christian. 30,000 inhabitants were Albanian speakers, while 5,000 were bilingual in Albanian and Greek.[11] During the Balkan Wars and the subsequent Ottoman defeat, the Greek Army entered the city on March 3, 1913.[12] In June 1914 the town hosted the constituent assembly of the representatives of Northern Epirus that discussed and finally approved the Protocol of Corfu on July 26, 1914.[13] Delvina then became part of the short-lived Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.


  1. ^ Delvina, Sherif (2006). Low Albania (Epirus) and Cham issue. Eurorilindja. Afterwards, when the sandjak of Delvina has been created (about the middle of XVI century),
  2. ^ Mikropoulos, 2008: 330-331
  3. ^ Todorov, Nikolai (1998). Society, the city and industry in the Balkans, 15th-19th centuries. Ashgate. p. 238. ISBN 9780860786597. Retrieved 12 September 2011. the sandzak of Vlora included the regions Muzeqeja, Laberia (with Belgrad), Berat, Gjirokastra and Delvina.
  4. ^ Kemal Çiçek; Ercüment Kuran; Nejat Göyünç; İlber Ortaylı (2000). The Great Ottoman-Turkish Civilisation. Yeni Türkiye. ISBN 978-975-6782-19-4. Retrieved 24 July 2013. Among 21 sanjaks of the Rumelia Beylerbeyiligi, the Morean sanjakbeyi the highest income with 507.760 ak^e while the Delvine sanjak had the lowest income with 157.032 akp.
  5. ^ Gjergji, Andromaqi (1987). "Disa të dhëna per popullsinë e zones së delvinës në shek. XVI". Kultura Popullore (1): 195–7.
  6. ^ Orhan Kılıç (1997). 18. yüzyılın ilk yarısında Osmanlı Devleti'nin idari taksimatı. Eyalet ve sancak tevcihatı. Şark Pazarlama. p. 91. ISBN 978-975-96309-0-4. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  7. ^ Društvo istoričara Srbije (1969). Iz istorije Albanaca (From the history of Albanians) (in Serbian). Zavod za izdavanje udžbenika SR Srbije. p. 78. Retrieved 14 September 2011. родио се 1744. године у околини Тепелене, од оца Вели-бега, госпо- дара Тепелене, односно управљача делвинског санџака. (He was born in 1744 and his father was lord of Tepelene and lord of the Sanjak of Delvina)
  8. ^ Mikropoulos, 2008: 334, 337
  9. ^ Michalis N. Michael; Matthias Kappler; Eftihios Gavriel (2009). Archivum Ottomanicum. Mouton. p. 175. Retrieved 25 July 2013. When Veli Pasa was the governor of the sub-province of Delvine and derbender basbugu in 1804, he was honored with the title of Rumeli Beglerbeyi.
  10. ^ sir Grenville Temple Temple (10th bart.) (1836). Excursions in the Mediterranean. p. 277. Retrieved 23 July 2013. Mahmood Hamdi pasha confirmed to the sanjaks of Yanina, Delvina, and Avlonia
  11. ^ Malltezi 2013, p. 21
  12. ^ Veremis, John S. Koliopoulos & Thanos M. (2010). Modern Greece : a history since 1821 (1. publ. ed.). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4051-8681-0.
  13. ^ Kondis Basil. Greece and Albania, 1908-1914. Institute for Balkan Studies, 1976, p. 132: "Throughout the period of the constituent assembly which convoked at Delvino to discuss the Corfu agreement... the constituent assembly approved the agreement on July 26, 1914."