Velika attacks (1879)

During the implementation of the Congress of Berlin, when the Principality of Montenegro had received Plav and Gusinje (along with other places), the surrounding Albanian populace under the guise of the Ottomans attacked the Montenegrin forces in Velika at two occasions, on October 9 and November 22, 1879. The Montenegrins achieved a victory in the first attack while the League of Prizren achieved a victory in the second attack.[1]

Battle of Velika
Part of Battles for Plav and Gusinje
DateOctober 9 — November 22, 1879
Location42°39′52″N 19°57′22″E / 42.6644°N 19.9561°E / 42.6644; 19.9561
Result Montenegrin victory at the First Attack in Velika.
League of Prizren victory at the second Attack of Velika
 Principality of Montenegro League of Prizren
aid by:
 Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
  • Albanian irregulars
  • Ottoman regulars
Velika attacks (1879) is located in Montenegro
Velika attacks (1879)
Location within modern-day Montenegro


According to the decisions of Berlin Congress the territories of Plav and Gusinje (then Scutari Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire) were awarded to Montenegro. Still, the Ottomans did not provide conditions for Montenegro to take over Plav and Gusinje. Officially, they intended to respect the decisions of the congress, but in reality the Ottomans supported the League of Prizren they established, also to avoid fulfilment of the obligations they undertook at the Berlin Congress.[2][3] The Ottoman governor of Scutari sent ammunition to the local Muslim population of Gusinje in order for them to resist Montenegro.[4]


Until October 1879, Montenegrin forces were able to march into Gusinje without resistance. When Montenegro prepared forces for such expedition, the Ottomans intervened at the Great Powers to stop it, under the excuse of avoiding eventual conflicts. The Ottoman military officer Muhtar Pasha arrived at Prizren in November 1879, where he had 15 battalions. The Ottomans informed Montenegro that those forces would only be used to provide the peaceful transfer of Plav and Gusinje to Montenegro, which demobilized some of its forces based on this information. In the meantime around 15,000 Albanian irregulars gathered in Gusinje.[5] The British Ambassador at Istanbul A. H. Layard informed his government that the Porte did nothing to prevent the influx of armed bands into the Gusinje region and emphasized that the Porte would be held responsible for the consequences.[6]

Milovan Đilas emphasized that the northern Albanian tribes had territorial aspirations toward the fertile plain along the river Lim in Plav and Gusinje. After the Berlin Congress, their aim was to descend into the valley before the official institutions of Montenegro grasped firm control over it.[7]


Battle of NovšićeEdit

Battle of MurinoEdit

The battle at Murino occurred about a month later after the battle of Novšiće (December 4, 1879) as the Ottoman high command was preparing to send troops from Monastir under Ahmed Muhtar Pasha in order to pacify local resistance to the annexation. The Montenegrin forces moved from Pepići against the positions in Metej, near Plava when they were intercepted by the League of Prizren. After the skirmish, the Montenegrin forces withdrew to Sutjeska, near Andrijevica and Albanian irregulars burned down the Vasojevići settlements, Velika, Ržanica and Pepići. Both sides after the battle claimed victory.


  1. ^ Despot, Igor (2012). The Balkan Wars in the Eyes of the Warring Parties: Perceptions and Interpretations. iUniverse. ISBN 978-1-4759-4703-8.
  2. ^ Glasnik Cetinjskih Muzeja. Bulletin des Musées de Cétigné. 1968. p. 170. ... Албанаца, постре- кавана је рд турских власти на отпор ради избјегавања уступаља Црнрј Гори одређених територија, лрије свега Плава и Гуеиња. Било је оружаних еукоба црногорске војске са Албанцима, кар на Новшићима ...
  3. ^ Medunarodni naucni skup povodom 100-godisnijce ustanaka u bosni i hercegovini, drugim balkanskim zemjama i istonoj krizi 1875-1878. Akademija naukа. 1977. p. 297.
  4. ^ Istorijski časopis. Institut. 1961. p. 151. ... све да област Гусиња не припадне Црној Гори. Скадарски валија Хусеин-паша упу- ћивао је муницију у Гусиње да се раздијели становништву. .
  5. ^ Vuković, Gavro; Tomović, Slobodan (1996). Memoari vojvode Gavra Vukovića. Obod. ISBN 978-86-305-0260-6.
  6. ^ Office, Great Britain. Foreign (1879). Further Correspondence Respecting the Affairs of Turkey. p. 103. for Gusinje, and that the Turkish authorities were taking no steps to prevent the departure of these bands. I at once directed Sir A. Sandison to communicate this information to Sawas Pasha, and to speak very strongly to his Excellency on the subject, pointing out that, if anything should happen in consequence of these proceedings, the Porte will be held responsible.
  7. ^ Djilas, Milovan (1994). Izgubljene bitke. Prosveta. p. 513.