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League of Prizren

The League of Prizren (Albanian: Lidhja e Prizrenit) was created on June 10, 1878 in Prizren, Kosovo by Albanian leaders in order to achieve an autonomous Albanian state, comprising the four Ottoman vilayets of Shkodėr, Janina, Bitola and Kosovo.

The league was formed after the Treaty of San Stefano, which had given Albanian-populated lands to Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia after the Russo-Turkish war. The League of Prizren was meant as a political and military organization that would help get Albania recognized internationally, initially as an autonomous region. The San Stefano treaty was superseded by the Treaty of Berlin at the insitence of Austria-Hungary and Britain. This latter Treaty, however, still meant that Albanian lands could be split amongst other nations.

In July 1878, the league sent a letter to the Great Powers at the Congress of Berlin, asking for the settling of the Albanian issues resulting from the Turkish War. The memorandum was ingored by the congress, which gave territory that Albanians considered theirs to Serbia and Montenegro. The league feared that Albanians would also lose Epirus to Greece, and organized an armed resistance in Gusinje, Shkodėr, Prizren, and Janina.

The Albanian resistance was successful enough to alter the borders established by the Great Powers and regain some of the lost lands, however some lands were still ceded to Greece by 1881.

The Ottoman Empire sought to suppress the League of Prizren and they dispatched an army that by April 1881 had captured Prizren and crushed the resistance at Ulcinj. The leaders of the league and their families were arrested and deported.

While it was active, the league managed to bring Albanian national interests before the Great Powers and paved the way for an eventual independent Albanian state.

See also