Published by PLATO, Beograd 1992.
     Translated to English by Dragana Vulicevic

     Ethnic Strife and the Communist Rule
     The CPY as a section  of the Comintern and the realizer of its  concept
in dealing with the ethnic question
     The CPY's ethnic  policy  in its  struggle for power in  the civil  war
     Settling accounts with Serbia and the instrumentalization of Kosovo and
     Centralism in Yugoslavia and  the role  of the secret  police in Kosovo
and Metohia
     Kosovo and Metohia in the transition from the centralist to the federal
     The  epilogue  of the  communist  solution to  the  ethnic question  in
Yugoslavia: the example of Kosovo
     Continuity and discontinuity

     The Age of Ascent
     The Age of Tribulation
     The Age of Migrations
     The Age of Oppression
     The Age of Restoration
     The Age of Communism

     The Serbian Insurrection and Pasha-Outlaws
     Time of Reforms in Turkey
     Pogroms in Metohia
     Political Action of Serbia
     Restoration of Religious and Cultural Life
     The Economy

     Eastern Crisis and the Serbian-Turkish Wars
     The Albanian League
     Court-Martial in Pristina
     Albanians Under the Sultan's Protection
     Activities of the Serbian Government
     Flaring of Anarchy
     Religious, Educational and Economic Conditions
     The Decline in Population

     Serbia's Diplomatic Actions
     Austria-Hungary and the Expansion of Anarchy
     Failure of Reforms
     Young Turk Regime

     Albanian Incursions into Serbia
     In World War One

     Otoman Vilayets
     Serbia 1804-1913
     Comunist Yugoslavia: Federal Organization
     Settling of Albanian Tribes

     AUTHOR:  Dusan  T. Batakovic (born 1957)  is  one of the  distinguished
Serbian historians. He works in Historical  Institute of Serbian Academy  of
Sciences and Arts as Research  Fellow.  Among dozens of articles  on Serbian
and Balkan history, he had published several  books:  Savremenici o Kosovu i
Metohiji  1852-1912  (Contemporaries   on  Kosovo  and  Metohia  1852-1912),
Belgrade  1988;  Kolubarska  bitka  (Battle  of  Kolubara),  Belgrade  1989;
Decansko pitanje (The Decani Question), Belgrade 1989;  Kosovo i Metohija  u
srpskoj  istoriji (Kosovo and  Metohia  in  Serbian  History), Belgrade 1989
(co-author); Kosovo  i  Metohija  u srpsko-arbanaskim  odnosima (Kosovo  and
Metohia in Serbo-Albanian  Relations), Belgrade 1991; and edited Memoirs  of
Gen. P. Draskic, Belgrade 1990 and Portraits by V. Corovic, Belgrade 1990.
     This book is the collection of his articles on major topics of  history
of Kosovo and Metohia and its recent political consequences.

     Izdavac: Knjizara Plato, Beograd, Cika Ljubina 18-20
     Za izdavaca Branislav Gojkovic
     Urednik Ivan Colovic
     Recenzenti: Prof. dr Radovan Samardzic i dr Milan St. Protic
     Beograd, 1992.
     QP- Katalogizacija u publikaciji Narodna biblioteka Srbije, Beograd
     949.711.5 BATAKOVIC, Dusan T.
     [Kosovo Chronicles] The Kosovo Chronicles / Dusan T. Batakovic; prevela
na engleski Dragana Vulicevic.
     -Beograd: Knjizara Plato, 1992 | (Beograd: Vojna stamparija).
     - 218 Str.; 20 cm.
     - (Biblioteka Na tragu)
     Tiraz 1000 - Registar. ISBN86-447-0006-5
     a) Kosovo i Metohija - Istorija 4986380

     The modern history of  Serbia  is  indeed  pregnant  with controversial
questions. Probably the most  complex one  is  the history  of -- Kosovo and
Metohia.  It was  only in the last few years that several  historiographical
works on Kosovo and Metohia had  been  written and published. The pioneer in
this field which  deals with a  particularly important  segment  of Serbia's
past and present is undoubtedly the author of this book.
     This is trully  the first  serious  attempt to cover two  centuries  of
history  of  Kosovo  and  Metohia  and to  present  its  complex  historical
development in its  full.  In a series  of  articles  dealing  with  various
problems of Kosovo and  Metohia  throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the
author  definitely  succeeded  to  make  a  complete picture  of Kosovo  and
Metohia's  troubled  history. It  seems  appropriate, therefore, to name his
book -- The Kosovo Chronicles.
     The diversity of various topics which form the collection  most clearly
shows that the author is the master of  the subject he chose to write about.
Mr. Batakovic presented himself as a mature  historian of the Balkan history
as a whole as much as the sharp analyst of one specific aspect of it.
     One cannot but  to welcome this book.  For two major reasons at  least.
First,  for  its wide-angle approach to  the problem. And  second,  for  its
attempt to avoid typical black and white stereotypes.
     Kosovo  and Metohia undoubtedly  belong  to the corpus  of  the Serbian
history. No question about  that. It was the cradle and the  center  of  the
medieval Serbian state, it was the region  won by the Serbian army  from the
Turks  in the First Balkan War (1912), it was  incorporated  in  the Serbian
state territory and thus had entered into Yugoslavia in  1918.  It was  only
after  the  victory  of  the  Communist  Revolution in  Yugoslavia  that the
question of Kosovo emerged as a  separate  problem outside  and even against
Serbia.  That was the  moment in  which the political position of Kosovo and
Metohia  moved away from  Serbia and became a  problem  of Albanian national
rights in the eyes of very many foreign and Yugoslav observers. That crucial
borderline was rightfully pointed out by the author of this volume.
     From  the standpoint  of form, this  book  represents  a collection  of
articles.  It is  comprised  of two major parts. The  first  entitled, named
History  and  Ideology, treats the problem of Kosovo and Metohia, within the
framework of the Yugoslav unified  state, during the World War Two  and  the
Communist  rule since 1945. The second  Theocracy,  Nationalism, Imperialism
deals with the different aspects of  the 19th  century history of Kosovo and
Metohia until the Yugoslav unification of Yugoslavia.
     The second part of Mr. Batakovic's book covers the period in which this
particular area belonged to  the state territory of  the Ottoman  Empire, in
which the ethnic Serbs were subjects of constant pressures and abuses by the
Ottoman administrators  and,  much more, by ethnic Albanians who, under  the
Turkish protection, conducted  a real terror  over the Serbs. The difference
between the Christian Serbs fighting for their national emancipation against
the oriental Islamic and  oppressive regime of the Ottomans. As the  Ottoman
system crumbled  within  itself, its  peripheral  provinces became  areas of
abuse  rule  of the local population.  The local Albanians, also Muslims for
the  most  part,  found  the  best way  to  suppress the  Serbs  by  putting
themselves in the service of the Turkish  authorities. The author's archival
findings clearly proved what was  really  happening  in  Kosovo and  Metohia
during the 19th century and what were the true origins of ethnic clashes  in
that particular area.
     This   part   of   Mr.  Batakovic's  volume  represents,   in  fact,  a
comprehensive  history  of  Kosovo  and Metohia  during  the  19th  century,
starting from the First Serbian Insurrection against the Turks (1804) to the
First Balkan War  (1912) when, after  the victory of  the Serbian army,  the
region  of Kosovo and Metohia  had  been  incorporated  in  the bulk  of the
Serbian state. It is  essentially a  historical analysis of complex  ethnic,
religious  and  political  relations in  the triangle  Serbs-Turks-Albanians
based on a rather deep archival and documentary research. The author managed
to trace down the  roots of these conflicts,  their nature  and development.
Parallel  to  this, he gave  the historical background for the events  which
occurred in the 20th century, when the problem of Kosovo and Metohia reached
its peak in both, crisis  and international  attention. This segment of book
should  serve as a textbook of Kosovo and Metohia's  history to everyone who
is interested in this particular field.
     Mr. Batakovic's  collection  of articles contains  several  synthetical
pieces written on the subject of  the  history  of Kosovo and  Metohia. This
region of  constant  clashes  needed  to  be defined  in  terms  of  general
categories. In an attempt to discover the real nature of those conflicts the
author searched for the answer to the  following questions: what really lays
in  the  bottom  of  centuries long  clashes  in the  history of Kosovo  and
Metohia,  is  that the conflict  of religions, nations or civilizations? One
will  find the author's answers  both  original and inspiring. Contradictory
problems need  to be thought  about. And that  is exactly what Mr. Batakovic
has done.
     A special attention  should be paid to the article entitled "The Kosovo
And Metohia  Question  - ethnic strife and communist rule". It stands as the
pivotal piece among all  other articles in this book. It is at the same time
the most important and the most  complex attempt to analyze the situation in
Kosovo in Metohia in the last fifty years, since the communists took over in
     This is  the  first  time  in Serbian  and Yugoslav historiography that
someone  tried  to  look  on the Kosovo and  Metohia  question  outside  the
framework of political and ideological clichs. The article of Mr. Batakovic
represents a pioneer work in a noncommunist approach to contemporary history
of Kosovo and Metohia. Trying to see the problem in  the realm  of communist
regime  and  its  policies  in Yugoslavia,  and  in Serbia specifically, the
author found a  whole new  field  of  research and  reasoning.  With  strong
foundations in his knowledge of Kosovo and Metohia's  history,  both distant
and  recent,  Mr.  Batakovic  made a successful  synthesis of Serbo-Albanian
misunderstandings  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia,   finding  a  balance   between
contemporary politics and traditional differences between ethnicities living
in  this region.  His final conclusion  that the  Titoist politics had  been
detrimental   to  the  positive  solution  of  this  serious  problem  seems
persuasive and largely acceptable.
     One should  appreciate the  courage  of  the author  to  tackle such  a
complicated question of history  and politics which touches the very essence
of the  present  day Serbia and Yugoslavia. Mr.  Batakovic's writing  should
contribute in clarifying many problems which had been heavily misinterpreted
in recent years, both in Yugoslavia  and abroad.  Escaping numerous traps of
Marxist historiography and reasoning, the author leads us on the road of new
and  modern  way of thinking about nationalism and  statehood.  By combining
historical  analysis and  archival research  with  original  synthesis,  the
author left us with  a  lot  of  vastly  unknown factography  and even  more
conclusions and assertations which inspire further work and thoughts.
     The author of  this volume  belongs  to the new  generation of  Serbian
historians.  To the generation whose  intellectual and professional maturity
presently  shows itself in full  intensity. It is a general hope  that these
young  people  will  drive Serbia  out of Marxist dogmas  not  only in their
intellectual work but also in everyday politics. The book we  have before us
is one of  those important steps in the direction of modern, non-ideological
view of our past and present.

     In the  20th-century history of the two  southern regions of Serbia  --
Kosovo and Metohia  -- there are two periods that  are clearly  separated by
ideological  borders.  In the  first period (1912-1941),  in the Kingdom  of
Serbia  and  the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, ethnic issues were mainly dealt with
in keeping with the civic standards of inter-war Europe, notwithstanding the
suffering  endured during the war and latent political instability. Compared
to ethnic  minorities  in other  countries, the ethnic  Albanian minority in
Kosovo and Metohia, despite its open antagonism towards  the state, was  not
in  an  particularly unfavorable position.  By  Saint-Germain Treaty  (1919)
minorities on Serbian territory within borders of 1913 (including Kosovo and
Metohia), were formally excluded  from international protection  but it  was
not  particularly   used   against   interests   of   ethnic  Albanians   in
     In the second period, commencing with the war (1941-1945) and concluded
after  the establishment of  communism in Yugoslavia (1945), the question of
Kosovo  and Metohia  was dealt with in  keeping with the Party  leadership's
ideological  stands  regarding  the ethnic question.  Precisely during  this
period  solutions  were  found providing  strong  impetus to the  old ethnic
conflict  between  Serbs  and Albanians, causing  deep  rifts  difficult  to
surmount  today.  Ethnic  tension  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia  thus  offers  a
paradigmatic example  of the  ability  of  the communist  rule to completely
change  the  demographic  picture  of an area by instrumentalizing  existing
ethnic differences.
     Kosovo and Metohia, and entire Yugoslavia for that  matter, depended on
the rule of the communist leadership, which cunningly  used the manipulation
of ethnic differences to consolidate and maintain power. The national policy
of the  Yugoslav communists was an ideological  and national negation of the
establishment of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which the Serbs saw as their own
-  the heir to the  political traditions and democratic institutions  of the
Kingdom  of Serbia.  The  Serbs  posed  the  greatest  threat  for  Yugoslav
communists in number and political  affiliation:  to them,  communism  was a
foreign  ideology  viewed slightingly,  as a  vogue of  the  small-in-number
deluded  youth;  but  recognized during  the  war as the  gravest  threat to
independence and freedom. The communists regarded the Serbs as a nation with
strong   politically  constructive  traditions  and  a  pronounced  national
conscience who, spread through the length and breadth of Yugoslav territory,
had learned to conduct foreign policy on their own, without tangible foreign
support, a nation united by  a single Orthodox Church  -  the bearer  of  an
anti-Soviet mood  in the  country. The Communist Party of  Yugoslavia  (CPY)
drafted its followers among the  Serbs chiefly from  the lower social strata
(especially  patriarchal communities in Montenegro, Herzegovina, Bosnia  and
Vojna  Krajina)  unestablished  in Serbian  state and  political traditions,
people   who  in  the  name   of   idealistic  Yugoslavism  and  proletarian
internationalism rejected Serbian interests and blindly obeyed the orders of
the Titoist leadership.
     The Albanians, a people whose national integration fell a whole century
behind those of the other Balkan  nations, remained  in communist Yugoslavia
against their will, but found a  common  interest with the ruling  communist
party in an anti-Serbian policy via which to achieve  their  national goals.
Time was to pass for the  backward ethnic Albanian milieu to  admit its  new
authorities  and for  the CPY  to  come to terms with representatives of the
ethnic  Albanian minority. The question of Kosovo and Metohia was thus dealt
with in the inter-relation  of three gravity centers of political forces -1.
the CPY leadership as the leading  factor  of might  in the country;  2. the
ethnic Albanian national  movement which had  evident continuity despite the
ideological affiliation of  its  bearers; 3. Serbian  communists who, though
numerically  superior in  the  army, party and  politics,  as  Yugoslavs and
internationalists consistently implemented the Titoist policy. The origin of
this relation  can  be seen in the chronological sequence of developments of
the CPY's  national  policy  under  different  political  and  international
     1 R.  Rajovic,  Autonomija Kosova.  Politicko-pravna  studija,  Beograd
1985, pp. 100-105.
     The CPY as a section of the Comintern and the  realizer of its  concept
in dealing with the ethnic question
     There  is evident  continuity in the CPY's  policy in  dealing with the
position  of  ethnic  minorities  which  shows  that,   despite   individual
aberrations due to the position  of communist  Yugoslavia in foreign policy,
basic  political principles, outlined in party  programs  and resolutions in
the inter-war period, were consistently implemented. The CPY coordinated its
program of solutions to the ethnic question in the multi-ethnic  Kingdom  of
Yugoslavia with  the general stands of the Third International  (Comintern),
within the framework  of which it acted as a  separate section, as its  work
was prohibited in the country.
     The  Comintern was an important  lever of  Soviet  foreign policy.  The
Comintern's attitude towards the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was determined by the
Soviet policy  towards  the  "Versailles system"  of  states  created  under
imperialistic peace accords"  after World War  I,  in  which enemies of  the
Bolshevik regime -  Great  Britain  and France  -  were dominant.  The Fifth
Congress of the  Comintern  (1924)  abandoned  the  principle of  a  federal
restructuring  of  states,  created  as a  cordon  sanitaire primarily  as a
defense  against  the "proletariat  revolution" and  a struggle against  the
Soviet  Union,  with   the  explanation  that  "western  imperialists"  were
preparing an  assault on the "first country of socialism". The new political
platform's starting point was to break up the cordon  surrounding the Soviet
Union by  singling out and rendering independent the oppressed nations among
those states in the enemy  camp,  including the Kingdom of Yugoslavia  - the
right of Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia to separation was emphasized, and a
special resolution stressed the  need to aid the movements of  the oppressed
nations  for  the  formation  of  their  independent  states  and  "for  the
liberation  of the Albanians". The  policy  of the  Yugoslav authorities had
some  effect  on  the  Comintern's  stand   towards  Yugoslavia:  the  royal
authorities  had failed  to recognize  the  new  Soviet  state and  provided
shelter to  a large  number of  Russian emigrants and White  Guard  military
units in the  20s, including the troops  of  General Vrangel,  while Russian
societies  frequently greeted their  patron,  King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic
(related  to  the  Romanov  dynasty  through  his  sister  Jelena  and   his
Montenegrin aunts), as the new Slavic tsar.
     The  CPY, and the  Comintern, advocated the  stand  that  the  state of
Serbs, Croats  and  Slovenes  was  an  unnatural  creation which  cannot  be
regarded as a homogeneous national state (comprising three tribes which make
up a  nation) with a few  ethnic minorities, but a state  wherein the ruling
class  of one (Serbian) nation  was oppressing the other nations. The thesis
on  a Greater  Serbian bourgeoisie and Greater Serbian hegemony owed much to
the theses of the Austro-Hungarian public opinion prior to and during  World
War I, whereby  the Greater Serbian threat posed  a chief  obstacle  to  the
stabilization of political  conditions in the Balkans. Similar stands,  only
with a more pronounced ideological component, can be found in the  works  of
Austro-Marxists whence such stereotypes were taken and  constructed into the
views  of  the Third International  regarding  the  ethnic  question in  the
     The  policy  to  break up  Kingdom  of  Yugoslavia  culminated  in  the
decisions  of  the CPY's  Fourth Congress,  held  in Dresden  in  1928.  The
statement that about one-third of the Albanian nation had remained under the
rule of the  Greater  Serbian bourgeoisie, which  was  implementing the same
oppressive regime" against it as in Macedonia, was supplemented by the stand
that its liberation and unification with Albania  can be achieved only  in a
joint  struggle with the CPY.  With regard to this, support was  extended to
the  Kosovo Committee, an organization of  ethnic Albanians from Kosovo  and
Metohia who, aided by the Albanian government and Mussolini, raided Yugoslav
territory  with  the  aim of winning the annexation  of  Kosovo, Metohia and
western  Macedonia  to  Albania. Tens  of thousands  of Serbian colonists  -
chiefly volunteers in  World War  I  and indigent families from  Montenegro,
Vojna Krajina and Dalmatia,  were  sealed by the party press as  servants of
the Greater Serbian policy,  although  the  land they  were allotted was not
taken  from ethnic  Albanians. Similar  stands  were reitered at  the Fourth
National Conference of the CPY held in Ljubljana in 1934, which stressed the
assessment that  the Yugoslav  kingdom  was  nothing  but the "occupation of
Croatia,   Dalmatia,    Slovenia,    Montenegro,   Macedonia,   Kosovo   and
Bosnia-Herzegovina  by Serbian  troops" and that  it was  thus imperative to
execute  the  "persecution  of  Serbian  Chetniks  from  Croatia,  Dalmatia,
Slovenia,  Vojvodina, Bosnia, Montenegro,  Macedonia and Kosovo". Renouncing
these  regions  any Serbian character at all, the  CPY believed  that  these
provinces should be organized as separate federal units within the  frame of
a future communist Yugoslavia. The stand to break up Yugoslavia  was changed
in  1935,  when  the Comintern established  a new course  of struggle of the
"national  front" against  the  danger looming from Nazism  and  Fascism  in
Europe.2  The  CPY  abandoned its decision on  the annexation  of
Kosovo and Metohia to Albania in 1940,  at the Fifth National  Conference in
Zagreb, at a time when Albania had been under Italian occupation for a year,
but  even then,  the  "colonialist methods of the  Serbian bourgeoisie" were
condemned and  the  need for the  creation of a separate republic of  Kosovo
emphasized -  "the ethnic problem can be resolved  by  the forming of a free
labor-peasant  republic  of Kosovo  after  the  Greater  Serbian fascist and
imperialist  regime   is  overthrown".3   By  demonizing  Serbian
domination in  Yugoslavia, Yugoslav communists distinguished  less and  less
the bourgeoisie from the people - thus the idea to form a separate party for
Serbia  was abandoned,  although party organizations for  the other Yugoslav
provinces were formed.  Maintaining  such a  stand, the  CPY  received  Nazi
Germany's attack on Yugoslavia in April, 1941.
     1  K. Cavoski, KPJ i kosovsko pitanje,  in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj
istoriji, Beograd 1988,  pp.  361-381.  Cf documents  in:  Istorijski  arhiv
Komunisticke  partije  Jugoslavije,   Beograd  1949,   vol.  I-II,   passim;
Komunisticka internacionala, Gornji Milanovac 1982, vol. VIII, passim.
     2 K, Cavoski, op. cit., pp. 365-369.
     3 V. Djuretic, Kosovo i Metohija u Jugoslaviji, in: Kosovo i Metohija u
srpskoj istoriji, p. 321
     The  CPY's ethnic policy  in its struggle for power  in  the civil  war
     The Kosovo and Metohia question was raised again when the flames of war
spread  on  April  6,1941,  throughout Yugoslavia: its  army  was forced  to
unconditional capitulation  11  days later and its territory  divided  among
Hitler's allies.  Owing to their  loyalty to old  allies  France  and  Great
Britain, and for  fomenting a putsch  on March 27, 1941 (thereby practically
canceling  any agreement with  the Axis powers), the Serbs  were punished as
the Third Reich's chief enemy  in the Balkans  by a division of the  Serbian
territories: most  of Kosovo  along  with  Metohia,  western  Macedonia  and
fringing areas of Montenegro were allotted to  Albania, which had been under
Italian occupation for two years. Bulgaria was given a small part of Kosovo,
while its northern parts entered  the composition of Serbia  where a  German
protectorate  was  established.  Under a decree by King  Vittorio Emmanuele,
dated  August 12,  1941, Greater Albania was founded. An  Albanian voluntary
militia numbering 5,000 men - Vulnetari - was set  up in  Kosovo and Metohia
to assist  the Italian forces  in  maintaining order, but  which carried out
surprise attacks on the Serbian population on its own.
     Ethnic  Albanians in  Kosovo and Metohia, who were declared by  Italian
and  communist propagandas as victims of Greater Serbian hegemony, received,
besides  the right  to hoist  their own flag,  the  right to open schools in
their mother tongue. The patriarchal and  tribal ethnic Albanian  society in
Metohia  and  Kosovo,  accustomed  to  extreme  subordination  and  absolute
submission to the local land holders, received the new order wholeheartedly.
The destruction of the Yugoslav state,  which they never  took as their own,
was  received  with  vindictive  ardor.  In  the  first  few  months  of the
occupation, some ten thousand colonist houses were burned in night raids and
their owners and families expelled. Colonist estates were ploughed afresh in
order that every trace of Serbian presence be eradicated and in the event of
their  return,  to  render  difficult the  recognition of their estates. The
destruction of colonist  villages  according to  a  plan  was to  help  show
international  commissions after the war, when  new borders would  be drawn,
that  Serbs  never  lived  there.  An  ethnic Albanian  leader  from Kosovo,
Ferat-bey Draga, said that the "time  has come to  exterminate the Serbs ...
there will be no Serbs under the  Kosovo sun".1 Orthodox churches
were burnt and destroyed  and graveyards desecrated. Ethnic Albanians sought
to eradicate every trace of Serbian presence in these areas. During the war,
some 100,000 colonists and indigenous  Serbs fled for Serbia and  Montenegro
ahead  of Albanian terror, and some  10,000 were  killed.2  Along
with this,  under  a  plan  of the Italian government,  adopted  before  the
occupation  of Yugoslavia,  began an extensive  settlement of Albanians from
Albania  on the estates of the  expelled colonists.  Their number is roughly
estimated at  80,000-100,000;  the  first postwar  estimate put it at  about
     The insurrection against the  occupier in mid-May,  1941, was raised by
Serbian  officers  under  the  command  of  Colonel  Draza  Mihailovic,  who
organized  the  Chetnik  (guerrilla)  movement  throughout  Yugoslavia:  his
troops, organized throughout the country,  were proclaimed by the government
in  exile the Yugoslav  army in  the homeland,  and  he was made general and
minister  of war. Two  weeks after Hitler's  assault  on  the Soviet  Union,
Yugoslav  communists  stirred up  an uprising at Moscow's call, which, under
the  mask of a  people's  liberation struggle, was in fact a movement for  a
revolutionary  shift  of   power.  After  initial  talks  with  Mihailovic's
Chetniks, Tito's Partisans set out on a long and bloody civil  war. Although
there  were  several  collaborationist regimes in  the  country  with strong
military formations, the  Partisans - the military force of the CPY, saw the
Chetniks  as  their  arch-enemy  who  incorporated  the state  and political
continuity of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
     In the civil  war that ensued,  Kosovo and Metohia assumed  a secondary
role.  The Chetnik movement,  organized into two  Kosovo corps  (about 1,500
men),  operated  in mountainous regions  on  the  outskirts  of  Kosovo  and
Metohia.  Cooperation  between  the  occupational  Italian  forces  and  the
Albanian  voluntary  gendarmery  left  no  room for their stronger  military
engagement and protection  of the  Serbian  population. The persecuted Serbs
sought  refuge  in occupied Serbia, where they  were  received  first by the
commissariat administration and then a  special refugees  commissariat under
the regime of General Milan Nedic.4
     Metohia, which was settled by primarily Montenegrin colonists, had many
followers  of the  CPY,  though  at the outbreak of the war  its  membership
comprised a mere 270, including some two dozen ethnic Albanians. Even though
the  CPY  condemned in  numerous declarations prior to  the war the  Greater
Serbian policy  of the bourgeoisie and called  during the war on the  ethnic
Albanian population to rise together with the colonists and Serbian  natives
for the creation of a "new, justice society", the response was negligible. A
party leader, Ali Shukria, tried in 1941 to justify  this reaction by saying
that  the mere  name Yugoslavia provoked  unanimous  indignation  among  the
ethnic Albanians. Clashes between Partisan and Chetnik formations on the one
hand  and  the  ethnic Albanian  gendarmery on the other  showed that ethnic
Albanians saw in both of them only Serbs, their age-old enemies.5
     The number of ethnic Albanians mustered in partisan units in Kosovo and
Metohia was  extremely  low, numbering only several dozen. Individual  units
were named after  prominent ethnic Albanian  communists (Zeinel  Aidmi, Emin
Duraku), and then after distinguished  leaders  of the secessionist movement
against Serbia and Yugoslavia  (Bairam Cum); agitations among the population
constantly stressed that after the war, the ethnic Albanians would win their
rights,  labeling the prewar  policy  as  fascist  and maleficent.  However,
winning over  ethnic  Albanians for  the  restoration of Yugoslavia under  a
communist  leadership was  slow, since among the  ethnic Albanian members of
the  CPY  most  had  hoped  that  Kosovo and  Metohia would  remain  in  the
composition of Albania after the war.
     In the Communist Party  of Albania (CPA), which was formed from various
factions on February 8, 1941, under the supervision of Yugoslav  instructors
(Miladin Popovic and Dusan  Mugosa),  were numerous  followers  of a Greater
Albania  under  communist  rule. Albanian communist leader  Enver Hoxha  had
taken the first step towards an accord for the creation of a Greater Albania
after the war with  a short-lasting  agreement reached on  August 2,1943, in
the village of Mukaj with  representatives  of  the Balli  Kombetar, a  very
active organization  in  Kosovo.6  Miladin Popovic held a similar
stand, proposing  that  ethnic Albanians  from  Kosovo and Metohia be placed
under the command of the  Chief Staff of Albania and that Metohia come under
the organization  of  the CPA.7 Such  aspirations attained  their
fullest expression in a declaration issued on January 2, 1944 in the village
of Bunaj (Bujan), in a conference attended  by 49 political  representatives
of the ethnic Albanian and  Yugoslav partisan units  (43 ethnic Albanians, 1
Moslem and 7 Serbs present):
     "Kosovo and Metohia is  an  area mostly inhabited  by ethnic Albanians,
who have always wished to become united with Albania. We, therefore, feel it
our duty to point to the road that is to be followed  by the ethnic Albanian
people in the realization  of their  wishes. The only way for the Kosovo and
Metohia ethnic Albanians to unite with Albania is  through a common struggle
with the other peoples of Yugoslavia against the invader and his lackeys. It
is the only way of  winning freedom, when all the peoples, including  ethnic
Albanians,  will  be  able  to   make   their  options  with  a   right   to
self-determination,  including  secession.  The  guarantee  for  it  is  the
National  Liberation Army  of Yugoslavia and the National Liberation Army of
Albania, with which it is closely linked."8
     The  decisions  reached  in  Bunaj,  under which the  name  Metohia was
replaced  by  an  Albanian  term  Rrafshe  Dukadjini,  were  contrary  to  a
declaration by a grand  communist assembly  held  in Jajce in late November,
1943  AVNOJ (the National  Antifascist  Liberation  Council of  Yugoslavia -
NALCY)  at which it was  decided that a new, communist Yugoslavia, headed by
Tito as partisan marshal, be established on a federal principle whereby "all
peoples ... will  be fully free and equal", and the ethnic groups guaranteed
all the rights of an ethnic minority.9 In his instructions to the
communist leaders  in Kosovo  and  Montenegro,  Tito  rejected the decisions
reached in Bunaj,  believing that  they raised issues which  should be dealt
with after the war: he  realized only  too well that his movement would have
lost many followers if he had upheld the demands of the ethnic Albanians, as
he  had proclaimed  in  principle the restoration  of  Yugoslavia within its
prewar  borders.  In  conditions when  the  war  was  not  yet over  and the
establishment of a communist system uncertain, the decision not to touch the
borders of Yugoslavia was the only possible solution.
     The  hostility  of ethnic Albanians  towards Yugoslav partisans did not
wane,  despite efforts  by  party activists to win over fresh adherents. The
membership  of  the  ethnic  Albanian  Balli  Kombetar  increased and  their
national solidarity proved to be stronger  than ideological divisions. After
the capitulation of Italy, the German  occupational  authorities  encouraged
aspirations towards the creation of an ethnic Albania, thus on September 19,
1943, the Second Albanian League was founded on the model of its predecessor
-  the  First Albanian  League (1878), advocating fiercer  clashes  with the
Serbs in Kosovo  and Metohia, and a separate SS-Division Scenderbey was  set
up from the local Albanian forces.
     A delegate  of the partisan Supreme Command, Svetozar Vukmanovic Tempo,
sent  in  1943  to  reorganize  the partisan  units  in Kosovo, Metohia  and
Macedonia,  informed of  "powerful  chauvinist  hatred  between  the  ethnic
Albanians  and  Serbs  ... The extent  of the Albanian  chauvinist animosity
towards the Serbs is evident from the fact that one of our [partisan] units,
comprising ethnic Albanians,  was surrounded by 2,000 armed ethnic  Albanian
peasants, and after several hours of fighting the latter recognized that the
unit comprised ethnic Albanians. They dispersed, leaving the Italians in the
lurch".10 Fresh partisan  units, set up in September  and October
1943, operated  outside Kosovo and Metohia, with  not more than  800  men in
five  battalions. The unit was reorganized  in the summer and fall  of 1944,
but the number of ethnic Albanians remained the same.
     A large-scale revolt of the Balli Kombetar followers and Albanian units
mustered into partisan formations (November-December, 1944), which broke out
after  the retreat of the  German  troops and the establishment of communist
rule  (the liberation  of  Kosovo  was  assisted  at Tito's  request by  two
brigades of  ethnic Albanian partisans) was  thus not unexpected. The revolt
was  crushed  when additional troops were brought in,  and military rule was
set  up in Kosovo and Metohia from February  to May, 1945.  A leading ethnic
Albanian communist from Kosovo maintained contact  with  the outlaws. He was
soon  discovered, but  A. Rankovic,  Tito's  closest  associate at the time,
assessed  that his execution  would  stir  up  a  fresh revolt,  thus he was
appointed   minister   in  the  Serbian   governament.11  Initial
concessions heralding a lenient attitude  towards ethnic Albanians in Kosovo
and  Metohia   were  made   immediately   after  the  new  authorities  were
established: the settlement of at  least 75,000 colonists  from  Albania was
tacitly  legalized, and a special decree  issued on March 16,  1945, forbade
about 60,000 Serbs  settled in the  inter-war period from returning to their
     The conflict between the  CPY and the  ethnic Albanians during  the war
was of ideological and state character. The  CPY could not allow the fascist
forces  in Kosovo to create  a Greater Albania  and thus  disrupt the  state
integrality of  the  newly established  communist  Yugoslavia.  Most  ethnic
Albanians continued to support the  Balli Kombetar and  its solution  to the
ethnic  question.  Albanian communists  on  both  sides had hoped  that  the
triumph of communism would bring quicker unification to all Albanians into a
single  state; thus communist Yugoslavia was regarded as the continuation of
the Kingdom.
     1  H.  Bajrami,  Izvestaj  Konstantina Plavsica  Tasi Dinicu,  ministru
unutrasnjih poslova u  Nedicevoj  vladi oktobra 1943, o kosovsko-mitrovackom
srezu, Godisnjak arhiva Kosova XIV-XV (1978-1979), p. 313
     2  S.  Milosevic,  Izbeglice  i  preseljenici na  teritoriji  okupirane
Jugoslavije 1941-1945, Beograd 1981, p.56-104.
     3 V. Djuretic, op. cit., p. 323-325
     4  Documents  published in R. V.  Petrovic, Zavera protiv Srba, Beograd
1990, pp. 137-175, 353-358.
     5  Dj.  Slijepcevic,  Srpsko-arbanaski odnosi kroz vekove  sa  posebnim
osvrtom na novije vreme, Himelstir 19832, pp. 307-336, 3437-455.
     6 The  agreement  with the CPA was  short-lived and  the Balli Kombetar
(set up  in 1942)  entered  into cooperation  with  the  German occupational
forces after the capitulation of Italy (1943)
     7   Zbornik  dokumenata   i  podataka  o   narodnooslobodilackom   ratu
jugoslovenskih naroda, vol. VII, t. 1, Belgrade 1952, pp. 338-339.
     8  A. N.  Dragnich  and  S.  Todorovich,  The Saga of Kosovo.  Focus on
Serbian-Albanian Relations, Boulder Colorado 1984, pp. 143.
     9 Prvo i drugo zasedanje AVNOJ-a, Beograd 1953, pp. 227-228.
     10 Zbornik dokumenata, vol. X, t. 2, p. 153.
     11 S. Djakovic, Sukobi na Kosovu, Beograd 1986, pp. 227-228.
     12 V. Djuretic, op. cit. p.
     Settling accounts with Serbia and the instrumentalization of Kosovo and
     However, the ethnic Albanians, both nationalists and communists, failed
to properly assess the CPY's intentions. The question of Kosovo  and Metohia
was an important point of support in the CPY's plan to square  accounts with
Serbia. The squaring of accounts, outlined  in party programs,  could  start
only  with the achievement  of  full  communist domination. Serbia's conduct
during the war provided additional strength to the party's stands: a country
with  bourgeois  traditions  and  small  peasant  landholders,   devoted  to
politically constructive institutions and  the dynasty, leaned  towards  the
Chetnik movement  of  Draza Mihailovic. After failing in Serbia in 1941, the
small-in-number  communists transferred  the  weight  of their operations to
Bosnia, Herzegovina,  Montenegro  and  the  Military Frontier  (Krajina)  in
Croatia, where the entire Serbian population rose against large-scale terror
wrought  by the  Ustashas (the  authorities of  fascist Croatia).  Cunningly
manipulating  the indigent Serbian hilly  population  who, void of developed
state and political traditions, cherished a devotion  to the cult of "mother
Russia"  and patriarchal egalitarianism, the communists managed - by calling
on the  authority of Moscow  - to win over  many of them who  had fallen  in
numerous Chetnik formations after the capitulation of Italy.
     The communists won the  bloody civil war, in which ethnic and religious
divisions were the chief instigators of massacres, owing to crucial aid from
the  Soviet troops which,  in agreement with Tito, crossed  over to Yugoslav
territory in the fall of 1944, and  helped bring the communists to power and
defeat the Yugoslav army  in  the homeland - the Chetnik  movement of  Draza
Mihailovic. The  first  to be punished then was Serbia:  its bourgeoisie and
peasants were exterminated in the "second stage  of the revolution", i.e. in
the  "squaring  of  accounts  with the  class  enemy" -without  trial and by
summary procedure, while  its youth -  conscripted into partisan  units, was
decimated at the Sremski  Front when it was forced to continually  storm the
well-fortified  German  positions  without sufficient weaponry  and military
training. With the destruction of its potential classes for resistance - the
bourgeoisie, the wealthy peasant  layer  and  the town youth - Serbia's back
was  broken:  most  of  its  bourgeoisie  and  intelligentsia  were   abroad
(officers,  politicians  and diplomats),  while  those  who remained in  the
country  were permanently  marginated.  The  raison d'etre  of the communist
Yugoslavia  was  a  carefully  set  balance of power among  the peoples  and
minorities of Yugoslavia over a potential  threat from Serbian predominance.
The importance which the communist authorities attached to the political and
ethnic affirmation of the  ethnic Albanian minority could not be  understood
if viewed otherwise.
     The numerous Serbs in the party, army and police  of Tito's regime were
carefully selected by the criterion of blind obedience and complete devotion
to the leader, and by their readiness to fully subject Serbian interests  to
the  interests of the  CPY. Most  of  them, through  a negative selection of
cadres,  were  recruited  from   patriarchal  Serbian  milieus  in  Croatia,
Herzegovina and Montenegro or lower classes in Serbia, as lacking commitment
to the national  and state traditions of Serbia. Their major task during the
entire period of Tito's reign was to fight against "Serbian  nationalism and
chauvinism"  which,  considering  the  Serbs  were the  predominant  nation,
constituted the gravest  threat to the regime.  These Serbs thus mercilessly
destroyed everything even  resembling  the  traditions  of  the  Kingdom  of
Yugoslavia  and  the  Kingdom  of  Serbia.  They  were  forerunners  in  the
persecution  of dignitaries  and the clergy of the Serbian Orthodox  Church.
Under  such circumstances, the communist authorities in Yugoslavia were able
to  deal with  the ethnic  question  in  keeping with their  designs without
fearing for their rule.
     The predominance of Serbs  in the military units of the new authorities
demanded, for the sake of  precaution, that  the question  of  the status of
Kosovo and Metohia be  brought up  prudently,  as the party  there  - due to
stubborn ethnic-Albanian resistance -  had no other followers but Serbs  and
Montenegrins (i.e.  Serbs who accepted the CPY's ideological precept on  the
existence  of  a separate Montenegrin nation). The decision  that Kosovo and
Metohia  be annexed to Serbia  was made after the abolition of military rule
on  July  10,1945, perhaps  under  the  influence of  a  large-scale  ethnic
Albanian resistance  towards  the new authorities.  There  is evidence  that
owing to mistakes  made  in the ethnic Albanian  uprising in December, 1944,
the Regional Committee of  Kosovo and Metohia  was  replaced after the First
Congress  of the CP of Serbia in  May  1945, and  placed  under  the  direct
subordination of the headquarters in Belgrade, though  the decision was soon
repealed after a protest voiced by the ethnic Albanian communists. Under the
1946  Constitution,  the  Autonomous  Region  of  Kosovo-Metohia within  the
composition  of  Serbia was  established,  though the  communists of  Kosovo
worked directly under  the instructions of the state  leadership. Fearing an
outbreak  of fresh revolts,  the CPY ordered  that the  officials  in Kosovo
suppress  the  followers  of  a  unification with Albania. Enver  Hoxha  was
dissatisfied  with  the  attitude of  Miladin Popovic, a CPY  instructor  in
Albania who, upon returning to Kosovo, reneged on his promise that after the
war Kosovo  and Metohia would be annexed to Albania. He  was assassinated by
followers  of the  Balli Kombetar in  March, 1945,  and the assassin  -  who
committed  suicide  immediately upon executing  the task  - had with  him  a
standard with the inscription "Kosovo united with Albania".1
     The  reasons  for deep discontent  were not ideological but national in
nature:  in  the  new,  communist  Yugoslavia,  their  aspirations  for  the
annexation  of  Kosovo,  Metohia  and  western  Macedonia  to  Albania  were
betrayed.  Nevertheless,  international  political  ambitions  called for  a
special  relationship  towards  the  ethnic  Albanian  population:  the  CPY
displayed  an open  intent to establish  domination in  Albania. Beyond that
aspiration lay plans for a Balkan federation. Tito  nurtured grandiose plans
- to set up a three-member Balkan federation with support from the Bulgarian
leader Georgi  Dimitrov, wherein Albania would be one of the  three  federal
units, with the possibility of Greece entering, if  the communist guerrillas
should win there.
     Though not always a  reliable memoirist,  Enver Hoxha  claimed  that in
summer, 1946, Tito had accepted  in  principle his  proposal  for Kosovo and
Metohia  to be annexed to Albania, with the qualification  that the time was
not  yet ripe, "as the Serbs would not understand us" and  that,  within the
context of the plan for a  Balkan federation, Tito had said, "We have agreed
on the creation of a Balkan federation. The new  Yugoslavia can  serve as an
example and experience towards that aim. I am referring to this since we are
discussing Kosovo. With the creation of a Balkan federation, the question of
Kosovo's   annexation  to  Albania  would  be  easily  resolved  within  its
framework."2 The  fact that plans for  the  ceding  of Kosovo and
Metohia  to  Albania  truly  existed  is evident  from  the  report of talks
conducted  in  Moscow,  1947,  between E. Kardelj, Tito's chief  advisor for
constitutional  and  ideological  questions,  and  Stalin,  when  the former
explicitly   stated   that   once   the   Yugoslav-Albanian   community  was
consolidated,  Kosovo  would be ceded  to Albania.3 Owing to  the
plans for a Balkan federation and fears that a revolution might break out in
Albania - that power may  be seized by a  faction inclined towards  life  in
union with Yugoslavia,  the  settlement  of  Albanian  immigrants in Kosovo,
Metohia and  western  Macedonia was not stopped after relations  were broken
off  with the CPA, thus an additional 40,000 Albanians established permanent
residence there from 1948-1956.4
     Tito abandoned the idea of a  Balkan federation because Stalin objected
to it. The Information Bureau of the Cominform adopted a resolution in July,
1948, which marked a radical break with the  Soviet Union and its satellites
and the  commencement  of  Tito's  independent course,  tightly  girdled  by
pro-Soviet  regimes.  The  centralization   of   power  in  Yugoslavia   was
conditional  on  the threat  of  a Soviet invasion, thus support  was sought
again  among  Serbian   communist  cadres.  When  the  threat  of  a  Soviet
intervention  was waning, Tito set out on an extensive reconstruction of the
country's  social  and  state  organization,  wherein  the strengthening  of
federal units  (the autonomy  of Kosovo and  Metohia was enlarged  under the
1963 Constitution) was vital in order for him to maintain power.
     In  order to  comprehend Tito's  political  stands on a solution to the
ethnic questions in the  Balkans and Yugoslavia, it is important to learn of
his   basic  ideological  and   national  commitments.   Shaped  during  the
Austro-Hungarian period, he viewed the  Serbian issue with the  typical bias
of  the Austro-Hungarian  press on the Greater Serbian threat, which  was in
the interwar period  supplemented by Croatia's view  of the struggle against
Greater  Serbian  hegemony.  As  far  as  Tito  was  concerned,  "Versailles
Yugoslavia was born in Corfu,  London  and Paris... the most typical country
of  national  oppression  in Europe"  in  which  the  "Croats, Slovenes  and
Montenegrins  were subordinate, and the  Macedonians,  Albanians and  others
enslaved  and without  any  rights".5  He  spoke  of  the  prewar
authorities disparagingly,  "A  handful  of petty  hegemonic  Greater Serbs,
headed by  a king, ruled Yugoslavia for 22 years  in their greed for wealth,
setting  up  a  regime of  gendarmes and prisons,  a  regime  of social  and
national  enslavement".6 The  federalization  of  Yugoslavia,  in
which  only  Serbia  had  two provinces  (Vojvodina and  Kosovo and Metohia)
showed that the breaking up  of Serbian territory was the ultimate objective
of  Yugoslavia's communist leadership, inner Serbia  (without the provinces)
was  slightly bigger  than the Serbia set up by Hitler's  Germany  after its
occupation of  Yugoslavia. The CPY provided the state  and ideological bases
for  the  creation of new  nations (first the  Montenegrin  nation  from  an
ethnically  pure  Serbian  population, the  Macedonian nation -  where  some
200,000 Serbs in  western and northern Macedonia  were forcibly assimilated,
and  the  Moslem nation  - on  a religious basis  - from  a  mainly  Serbian
population,  who  declared  themselves  as  Serbs in the first  few censuses
conducted  after  the  war),  in  order  to  lay  the  foundations  for  the
constitution  of Kosovo and  Metohia  into another  Albanian  state  in  the
Balkans  as   the  final  decision  to   the  constitutional   decisions  of
     Ideologically shaped as a supporter of the Comintern, Tito remained all
his life a  victim  to the stand that Yugoslavia could  survive  only if the
threat  of  the Greater  Serbian  hegemony in the new social  and  communist
system was decisively and  forever dispelled.  His fierce  struggle with the
Chetniks, the defenders  of the old regime who advocated a reorganization of
Yugoslavia wherein a large federal Serbian unit would be created, could only
further consolidate his commitments. The model of Austria-Hungary, which was
bound together  by the Habsburg dynasty,  and strong suspicions of the Serbs
as the disorderly factor in the Balkans, were transplanted in a new shape to
Yugoslavia, where the state was based on a  communist regime. An observation
by a British historian, A. J. P. Taylor, on the occasion of  Tito's death in
1980, that the "last Habsburg" had  passed  away, has proved far-sighted and
historiographically justified.
     1 Ibid.
     2 E. Hoxha, Titistt:  Shnime  historike,  Tirane 1982, p. 260-261. In
the book Shminet mbi Kinen, Tiran 1981, Hoxha gave a different  version of
Tito's reply: the Greater Serbian reaction could not comprehend a demand for
the  annexation of Kosovo and other parts of Yugoslavia to Albania"  (Zri i
popullit,  17.  05.  1981.  The official interpreter  of  these talks  Josip
Gjerdja  claimed that there was talk of a Balkan federation, in which Greece
would be included in the event of the victory of the communist movement, but
said  that the annexation of  Kosovo to  Albania  was not discussed. (Danas,
March 3,1987)
     3 V.  Djuretic, Kosovo u  Jugoslaviji,  pp.; Further  documentation in:
Kosovo. Past and Present. Belgrade 1989, passim.
     4 Cf. P.  Zivancevic, Emigranti.  Naseljavanje  Kosova  i  Metohije  iz
Albanije, Beograd 1989, passim.
     5 J. B. Tito, Nacionalno pitanje u svetlosti NOB, Zagreb 1945, p. 5.
     6 J. B. Tito, Temelji demokratije novog tipa, Beograd 1948, p. 28.
     7  S.  K.  Pavlowitch,  The  Improbable  Survivor.  Yugoslavia and  its
Problems,  London  1988, pp. 34-47. Cf.  N. Beloff,  Tito's  Flawed  Legacy,
London 1980; K. Cavoski, Tito - tehnologija vlasti, Beograd 1990.
     Centralism  in Yugoslavia and  the  role of the secret police in Kosovo
and Metohia
     In  the  centralist  stage of  communist  Yugoslavia  (1945-1966),  for
purposes of  consolidating and maintaining power, the new regime implemented
a particular policy of internal  repression which was  stepped up after ties
with Moscow were broken in 1948. The structure of the  CPY remained the same
as well as its policy in dealing with the ethnic question.  The  affirmation
of the Albanian  minority group remained a major task of the party in Kosovo
and   Metohia.   A.  Rankovic  informed  in  1949,  that  there  were   many
discrepancies and  mistakes  in  the party's work, though he  set  out  that
"ethnic  Albanians in the Autonomous  Region of Kosovo-Metohia, who had been
oppressed in the old Yugoslavia,  have now been completely guaranteed a free
political and cultural life  and development  and  an equal participation in
all  the bodies  of  the  popular  authorities. After  the liberation,  they
acquired their first primary schools  - 453 primary schools, 29 high schools
and 3 advanced schools. Studying from textbooks in their native tongue, some
64,000 ethnic Albanian children have so far  received an education and about
106,000  ethnic  Albanian adults in Kosovo and Metohia  have learned to read
and write".1
     The international  political threat, ideological  disintegration within
the country  and the infiltration of demolition teams stepped up the work of
the State  Security Service (SSS), which  supervised  ideological  orthodoxy
throughout the country, including Kosovo and Metohia. Fearing the enemies of
socialism,  the secret  police  brutally settled  accounts with  ideological
adversaries among the  Serbs, Croats and Slovenes alike. The large number of
Serbs  who declared themselves  for  the  1948  Informburo  Resolution (they
upheld Stalin's call to  overthrow Tito's regime) were convicted to years in
prison in  the  island  of Goli Otok (the Yugoslav GULAG),  which  serves to
prove   that  the  SSS,  headed  by  Aleksandar  Rankovic,  operated  as  an
ideological police and not a service that advanced from Serbian positions as
might be deduced by the number of Serbian cadres in it: until 1966, Serbs in
the  state security comprised 58.3% of the cadres, 60.8%  in the militia and
23.5%  in the total population; Montenegrins made up  28.3% of the cadres in
the security service, 7.9% in  the militia and 3.9% of the total population;
ethnic Albanians comprised 13.3% in the state security, 31.3% in the militia
and  64.9%  in  the total  population.2 Absolute  loyalty to  the
security  service, Tito and the party leadership  was  never questioned, and
its chief Rankovic remained loyal to Tito even after his replacement in 1966
(contemporaries testified that Rankovic believed a mistake had been made and
that the  great leader would realize this one day; he awaited rehabilitation
his entire life).
     In  Kosovo and Metohia and the neighboring areas,  the secret police on
several  occasions  discovered  that  ethnic Albanian officials  were making
contact  with  the leadership of communist  Albania,  but  they  were  never
arrested or convicted because the party leadership believed this would repel
the  small-in-number  ethnic Albanian  communists from  the  CPY.  Thus,  as
generally  proposed by  Rankovic,  instead of being put to trial, they  were
awarded ministerial posts  in  the Serbian or federal government: from these
posts contact with Albania was impossible and  the  precious ethnic Albanian
cadres remained intact. The SSS in Kosovo and Metohia persecuted remnants of
Ballist  formations and infiltrated agents from  Albania for  years,  not as
Albanians  but dangerous ideological enemies who  were working  in team with
Enver Hoxha's Albania and  the headquarters in Moscow. The armed  resistance
of outlaws and their aides proved that large quantities of war material were
in private  possession,  thus an extensive  operation for the collection  of
these weapons  was  carried out in winter  1955/56.  Both  Serbs and  ethnic
Albanians suffered equally, though larger quantities of  weaponry were found
with the ethnic Albanians. The fact that the persecution was not carried out
on  a  national  basis (the SSS did not implement it in  Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Croatia  and  Montenegro) is  evident  from numerous  complaints  lodged  by
dignitaries of  the Serbian Orthodox Church about the abuses  of  the secret
police. The SSS kept arresting and  harassing Serbian monks and priests, and
with its knowledge a monumental Orthodox church was demolished in  Djakovica
in 1950, in  order that a monument to the partisans of  Kosovo be erected in
its place.
     Since the SSS operatives in Kosovo were recruited mainly from the ranks
of  Serbs  and Montenegrins,  special care  was taken  to  include a certain
number of  ethnic Albanians in every operative unit, and wherever they  were
in the minority, ethnic Albanian cadres were  entrusted with the  management
of  these  units. At  the Prizren Trial  (1956), agents of a spy  demolition
team, linked with the  emigrants and secret Albanian police (Sigurimi), were
forbidden from revealing  the high-ranking ethnic Albanians from  Kosovo and
Metohia  who were  involved in the organization  of  these  teams,  although
conclusive evidence had been unearthed.3
     The freezing of ethnic strife  in  the centralist period was the effect
of  the purely  ideological character of the  SSS as the  system's defender.
Therefore,  no large-scale  demographic  or political changes took place  in
Kosovo and  Metohia.  The birth-rate remained  high with both the Serbs  and
ethnic   Albanians.  The  ethnic  Albanian  milieu  took  advantage  of  the
20-year-long respite to entrust the leadership of  its national movement, in
keeping  with  the  new  circumstances,  to  the  ethnic  Albanian communist
power-holders rather  than to  organizations of  fascist inclination. It  is
important to  note that the character of  the still backward ethnic Albanian
community essentially remained the same: its adjustment to communism was not
reflected  in social  stratification but in a  new  patron of their national
     1 A. Rankovic, Izabrani govori i clanci, Beograd 1951, pp. 184-185.
     2 Intervju, 04. 09. 1978. Cf. Kosovski cvor. Dresiti ili seci? Izvestaj
nezavisne komisije, Beograd 1990, pp. 18-19.
     3 V. Djuretic, Der politisch-historische Hintergrund Der Tragœdie
der  Serben  aus  Kosovo  und  Metohija  in der  periode  nach  dem  Zweiten
Weltkrieg, in: Kosovska bitka  1389. godine i njene posledice, Beograd 1991,
pp. 413-433; Cf. Lj. Bulatovic, Prizrenski proces, Beograd 1988.
     Kosovo and Metohia in the transition from the centralist to the federal
     The  inter-party squaring of accounts, which ended with the replacement
of A. Rankovic and  his associates  at the Fourth Plenum  held in the Brioni
islands (1966), marked a fresh consolidation of Tito's personal power  which
had been threatened  by the  omnipotent State Security  Service. Tito purged
the  SSS of cadres  loyal  to Rankovic and  initiated the  country's further
decentralization.  By  rousing  national differences  and strengthening  the
federal  authority of each republic, Tito reestablished his sacrosanct rule.
In those  aspirations,  ethnic Albanian communists  from  Kosovo emerged  as
important allies,  blazing the trail with their  criticism of the abuses  of
the secret police. The assembly of Kosmet reached the decision that owing to
the  SSS's  manipulation with the  conclusive evidence  against high-ranking
ethnic  Albanian officials  (the so called Djakovica  Group,  lead by  Fadil
Hoxha and Xhavid Nimani, made up of communists from Kosovo and Albania which
in the postwar development lead the party's organization in Kosovo) all acts
pertaining to the  Prizren Trial be destroyed; the proceedings were stopped,
and an emigrant from Albania was appointed chief of police in Kosovo.
     In discussions  on the constitutional  changes, stress was laid  on the
enlargement of the  autonomy of Kosovo:  the demands of the  ethnic Albanian
communists ranged more  or  less  openly  from  the demand for the status of
republic  to the  right  to  sovereignty and  self-determination,  including
secession.  Kosovo  was not granted  the status  of a  separate federal unit
owing to the balance of forces in the party, but  the Albanian minority  was
granted extensive concessions: the name Metohia was removed from the name of
the  province  owing  to  its  Serbo-Orthodox  connotation, and  the  ethnic
Albanians were allowed to freely hoist  their flag; the province's  autonomy
was considerably enlarged under the 1968 and 1971 constitutional amendments,
while  most  of  the  federal  funds  for  development  went  to  Kosovo and
     The  new  political  course  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia  emboldened   the
nationalists and advocates  of  a unification  with  Albania.  The  fall  of
Rankovic was interpreted as the defeat of the Greater Serbian  forces within
the party.  The demonstrations of the  ethnic  Albanian students in Pristina
and  several  other towns in late November, 1968, in which  Greater Albanian
slogans were  heard,  were hushed up in public, though they heralded a  more
aggressive stand of the ethnic Albanian movement in Kosovo and Metohia. Only
two high-ranking officials in the  Serbian party, the writer  Dobrica  Cosic
and  the  historian  Jovan  Marjanovic,  had  the  courage  to warn  of  the
increasing ethnic Albanian nationalism. Cosic openly warned:
     "We  can no longer ignore the  extent  to which the conviction  of  the
strained relations between  ethnic Albanians and Serbs has spread in Serbia,
the threat felt by  the Serbs and  Montenegrins, the  pressures to move out,
the systematic  removal of Serbs and Montenegrins  from  high positions, the
aspirations of  experts to leave Kosovo, the unequal treatment in courts and
disregard   for   the    law   and   bribery   in   the   name   of   ethnic
affiliation".2  Both  critics  of  the situation  in  Kosovo were
severely reprehended  by both Serbian  and ethnic Albanian  communists,  and
they were replaced from their positions. This was the  first case where,  in
keeping with the new ethnic policy and the decentralization of the communist
party, Albanian  nationalism and Greater Albanian claims  were  deliberately
neglected owing to continual pressure on Serbia, in  keeping with the stands
of a  necessary balance  between  the federal  units in  Yugoslavia. The new
concept of  a decentralized state demanded a change in relations within  the
party. Control  could no longer be exerted over Serbia through a centralized
ideological police but out-voting and  pressure  within  the party's Central
Committee.  The  role  of Kosovo  was  of particular importance  since, as a
militant ethnic group  in the territory of  Serbia, it could be  effectively
used as a means of  state and party pressure on Serbia. Precisely for  these
reasons  further changes in the  state  organization strove to  transfer the
model  of the  federalization of  Yugoslavia onto Serbia - thus the  Serbian
party was federalized. The framework of relations, established in Serbia and
Yugoslavia under  the 1968 and 1971 amendments, testifies to the need of the
highest  priest of Yugoslav politics  for the strongest  and most consistent
political milieu in Yugoslavia - Serbia  - to be controlled, by manipulating
the  deep-rooted fears  inherited from  the Austro-Hungarian  and  inter-war
periods,  and  the  young  and  violent  ethnic  Albanian movement  from the
professed Greater  Serbian threat. Threats of  the professed Greater Serbian
danger were a suitable excuse for turning the  official federal units of the
then centralized Yugoslavia  into  national  and  state  feuds  between  the
communist power-wielders.
     The ethnic  Albanian population in Kosovo,  demographically continually
increasing  (from  1961-1971,  it  rose  by  42%  compared  to  the  Serbian
population which increased by 0.7%, the Montenegrin population which dropped
by 16% and  the  ethnic Turkish one  which  fell  by  53%)  despite  evident
advancement in terms of education  and culture which lead to romantic pathos
and an uncritical approach in the interpretation of history and culture, was
still a backward peasant milieu  where  the  local  dignitaries were  obeyed
without  question.  The  national  and political interests of  the  Albanian
minority coincided with the interests of the party for the first time. Their
alliance was particularly strengthened by an ideological threat  imperilling
Tito,  i.e. the new  reform-oriented communist  leadership in  Serbia  which
introduced certain western standards in the economy, endeavored to establish
control throughout  the republic and to bring the cadre-ruled party  down to
the  masses. The  new  organization of  political  rule in the  country  was
conducive to the  liberalization of the  economy,  thus  decision-making was
gradually shifted from the party  to the  economy. The loss of financial and
economic  power according to  the Serbian  model jeopardized  the  communist
party's power  throughout Yugoslavia. A follower of the Marxist and Leninist
concept  of a  party,  Tito saw his  position  shaken  by  the  re-organized
inter-party  relations,  a  danger perhaps  greater  than  even  the  police
omnipotence  during the period of centralist  rule. By instigating  constant
sources  of instability - national tensions  in Yugoslavia - Tito strove  to
prove  the  unfeasibility  of  Serbia's new  political  course. Tito saw the
ethnic Albanians in  Kosovo  and Metohia  and the nationalist  leadership in
Croatia  as  dealing  the  hardest  blows  in  the  destruction of  the  new
ideological adversaries - the "liberals" in Serbia.
     By  instigating  nationalist movements in  the country,  Tito strove to
create conditions in  which he would again emerge as the supreme arbiter  in
internal conflicts.  His support to the Croatian leadership had  as its goal
to create a counter-weight to the Serbian leadership. The long-term conflict
between the Serbs and  the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo was used as additional
pressure on Serbia.  Fearing Serbia's  economic supremacy, a  coalition  was
created between the  leaderships  of  Kosovo  and  Croatia, and the Croatian
press wrote about  a secret emigration of  ethnic Albanians to  Turkey (from
1953-1956 the emigrants were mainly ethnic Turks while the number  of ethnic
Albanians was negligible). By replacing the Serbian and Croatian leaderships
(for the sake of "symmetry") with  men  who owed their power  solely  to his
grace, Tito again became the indisputable master of the country. In the plan
to re-establish a protectorate over Serbia, the lifetime dictator decisively
upheld the ethnic Albanian communists in  Kosovo and Metohia. Relations with
Albania  (which  was openly  hostile towards  Yugoslavia  since 1948),  were
normalized at the request of Yugoslavia in 1971. One-way cooperation between
Kosovo and Albania  was established,  which,  due  to  the language barrier,
remained  confined  to  the southern Serbian province.  Some  240 university
professors and  teachers from  Albania,  then the  last hard-core  Stalinist
ideological  bastion, indundated  the  University  in  Pristina (founded  in
1970), and  scientific and educational institutions  opened by  the Yugoslav
state  in order to speed  up  the  cultural  emancipation  of  the  Albanian
minority. However, cooperation with Albania was used most for the purpose of
ideological indoctrination  - among the professors  from Albania  were  many
Albanian   secret  service  agents,  and  textbooks   imported  from  Tirana
propagated  the "Greater  Albania" idea, condemned "Titoistic  revisionism",
instigating 19th-century  national romanticism but only  in  the ideological
prism of Enver Hoxha's "Marxism-Leninism". A warning to the local leadership
by  Hasan  Kaleshi,  a  reputable  Orientalist  from  Pristina, that leading
historians in Kosovo were "obviously falsifying history" and had a "directly
negative effect  on young historians, the detrimental  consequences of which
may  not  be  apparent today,  but will  in the future become  more and more
evident", was interpreted as "national treason".3
     The  confederal  Constitution of  1974  legalized the transformation of
Kosovo's autonomy (initiated by the 1968 and 1971 constitutional amendments)
into  virtually  an independent  state  directly  linked  to the  federation
without any ties with Serbia. Consequently, this  rounded  off Tito's vision
of  national  equality  with  careful  supervision  over  Serbia  and  Serbs
throughout   Yugoslavia.  Turning  Yugoslavia  into  a   confederal  country
according to Tito's  model,  whereby the  republican  borders  had become  a
framework for  the creation  of homogeneous  national  states, rendered  the
Serbs  a culturally  isolated and politically  unprotected  minority  group,
especially  in  Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The loose  community of  six
republics and  two provinces was held  together only by Tito's authoritarian
     The new leadership in inner Serbia, entirely dependent on Tito, watched
silently Kosovo's  growing political independence. The atmosphere of neglect
and yielding to the environment's lowest  instincts  completely  neutralized
economic trends  in Serbia,  while  a  small  group  of  opposition-oriented
intellectuals in  Belgrade, which,  owing to its  cosmopolitan  nature, Tito
regarded  as the "hotbed  of  hostility",  tried to bring up  taboos such as
political  relations and  national  strife.  Critical  remarks on  the draft
Constitution of 1974 arrived from Belgrade, particularly from the Faculty of
Law, indicating  that such an  order  would  reduce Serbia to  a subordinate
position and be  a  source for fresh national conflicts. The critics of  the
draft were  severely reprimanded and then  either discharged,  convicted  or
isolated. The ideologists of  Titoism,  Croatian  and Slovenian  communists,
carefully watched every  move in science and culture, never failing to point
out any ideological deviations in Belgrade.4
     Comprehensive  and  systematic  Albanization  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia,
bolstered  by  the  top, gained  fresh  impetus: the University in  Pristina
enrolled  an ever increasing  number  of students in order to produce cadres
capable  of  replacing Serbian  officials in  the administration, judiciary,
schools  and science,  while the  federation's funds for the  development of
Kosovo  were increasing by geometric progression: since the early 70's, some
70% of all  the federation's funds for underdeveloped regions were allocated
to Kosovo (most of the funds were provided by inner Serbia),  attaining  the
figure of around a million dollars a day in the early 80's.  A vast  part of
foreign credits  were  also  targeted towards Kosovo. The  hastily  educated
cadres  proved incapable and inexpert  in  managing the  economy, while  the
local  political  bureaucracy  strove  to  redirect  a  large  part  of  the
federation's  money  to  finance megalomaniac projects that  were  to openly
display  the ethnic  Albanians' national domination  in Kosovo and  Metohia.
Demographic explosion  - the  highest  birth  rate  in  Europe  (an  average
6.9-member  family)  plus  30  students  per 1,000  citizens,  rendered  all
financial  measures  insufficient.   Kosovo  remained  a  primarily  peasant
environment where society was organized on the  basis of  tribal traditions,
strongly  influenced  by the Islamic concept  of society.  Chiefly agrarian,
with large families, the ethnic Albanian community craved land. The conflict
with the  Serbs had social besides national causes: hunger  for land for the
ever growing peasant  population. Another feature of the Albanian milieu was
the large percentage of young people educated at faculties of the humanities
where they  were  directly indoctrinated with the national romantic  rapture
orchestrated from Tirana. A large number of  students and academic citizens,
most of them without a chance of finding a job, were, owing to  the language
barrier, bound to Kosovo, and thus transposed their personal discontent into
national frustration. The low level of education among the intelligentsia in
Kosovo and  Metohia  had  created a  particular  sort of  semi-intellectuals
capable  of taking in only a limited  number  of  ideas, restricted  by  the
national horizon and  ideological model of Albania, an  extremely uncritical
provenance. The  growing number of ethnic Albanian peasants acquired land by
persecuting Serbs with the authorities' blessing,  and the  disproportionate
number of semi-intellectuals saw themselves in the persecution  of  Serbs as
executors of the mission - national unification of all Albanians.
     As a community relentless to itself (blood feuds were still  above than
the law),  ethnic Albanians attacked  the  Serbs with specific brutality. By
taking  over all bodies  of  authority,  the  Albanian  minority began their
planned  suppression  accompanied  by  various  forms  of psychological  and
physical  pressures. State coercion  became  hard to  bear  as the state had
become  Albanian. Outvoting  the  Albanian  language in  official  use,  the
creation  of  typically  state institutions, such  as a national library and
academy of  sciences, along with the judiciary, police  and  administration,
showed that a  surrogate national state had been created  in which the Serbs
felt as the persecuted ethnic minority without  any protection  from Serbia.
Tens of thousands of emigrants sought refuge in Serbia proper; even peasants
were  forced to  emigrate,  selling  off  their lands  to  ethnic  Albanians
(usually for  next to nothing), while  the authorities settled the abandoned
lands with many-membered emigrant families from Albania.
     Serbian  communists  in whose hands  was  the fate of the republic made
feeble and pathetic  attempts  in  the  late  70's  to  improve  within  the
framework of the existing system the position of Serbs in Kosovo. The nature
of their rule, which emanated from the capricious benevolence  of Tito,  and
the  limited  personal traits  of Serbia's leading  communists,  resulted in
their aspirations going  no further  than  inter-party  red-tape memorandums
(1977). Unable and unwilling  to bring  the convenient  stagnation of Serbia
under their  rule, the  Serbian  communists  reduced their concern for their
fellow citizens  in Kosovo and Metohia to sporadic disputes with ideological
like-minded  person  from  other  republics, believing  that, being  in  the
minority in such discourses, incapacitated any further action.
     1 M. Misovic, Ko je trazio republiku Kosovo, Beograd 1987, passim. 24
     2 Ibid., pp. 120-121
     3 Ibid, pp. 150-78-93.
     4 R. Stojanovic, Jugoslavija, nacije i politika, Beograd 1988.
     The  epilogue  of  the communist solution  to  the ethnic  question  in
Yugoslavia: the example of Kosovo
     Until  Tito's death  (1980),  the varying  balance of  the  nationality
contrasts  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia  was  maintained  mainly  owing  to  the
inviolability  of his power.  Fresh large-scale demonstrations a year  after
Tito's death, when it was  assessed  that  conditions for winning a republic
(which  by  the  Leninist  formula  has  the  right  to  self-determination,
including secession),  revealed  the substance of the national  movement  in
Kosovo: the annexation  of Kosovo  to  Albania: cheers for Enver Hoxha,  the
return to the Marxism and Leninism of the Albanian type, the creation of the
"Socialist   Republic  of   Kosovo".  Dozens  of   secret   ethnic  Albanian
organizations for the liberation of Kosovo and its unification with Albania,
composed chiefly  of  students, were  ideologically linked to  the Stalinist
regime of Enver Hoxha.1 The extent  to which the  ethnic Albanian
intelligentsia in Kosovo  and  Metohia owed  its  views about  the  world to
dogmatic Marxism  imported from Tirana became  apparent. It  attained absurd
limits in  the theory  of "Albanianism" as the sole national religion (Enver
Hoxha  forbade  the work of all religious communities in 1966)  which sought
its  roots in  the remote past - in the need to show that  Albanians are  of
Illyrian descent and thus  the  oldest and  only "indigenous" people  in the
Balkans - therefore natives, compared to  the  Slavs  who  were settlers and
intruders  on Albanian soil. Thus a  cabinet  and scientific question on the
origin  of  the  Albanians  was  reduced to  a powerful  means  of  national
homogenization 2
     After  bloody clashes  between demonstrators and the police in the 1981
uprising,  the  Federal  authorities  condemned  the  entire movement  using
typically communist vocabulary -, counter  revolutionary The usual procedure
of  replacing  the  leadership, making ideological purges and  adopting  new
programs  produced  no  tangible  results  3  The  demonstrations
continued in waves, many young  people suffered in  clashes with the police,
but  the  balance  of forces in  Kosovo  remained the same the emigration of
Serbs, of which the press wrote more freely did not stop, instead, it gained
fresh impetus, and delegations of Serbs in quest of protection paid frequent
visits to the federal parliament The party and state leaderships promised to
provide  protection  when  the  delegations  lodged  complaints  of  abuses,
physical  persecution,   usurpation  of   estates,  language  and   national
discrimination before court, rape on a national basis and the desecration of
graves, but failed to undertake efficient steps
     Discontent in Serbia and among Serbs elsewhere in Yugoslavia in creased
particularly  after support was extended  to  the  Kosovo leadership  by the
Croatian, Slovenian  and  some Bosnian  communists  Tito  s successors  (the
collective presidency) were insignificant politicians loyal  to  the  narrow
interests  of  their  federal  units  Incapable of coping  with  the  subtle
frisking of the national and  Yugoslav, and surprised by the ethnic Albanian
uprising in  Kosovo  and Metohia, they failed to further conceal the essence
of  the problem  and undertake  decisive steps  in Kosovo  fear  from the re
emergence  of Serbian nationalism  and  chauvinism , displayed through  open
support  offered  to the  ethnic Albanian national movement  in  Kosovo  and
Metohia, revealed the main cause of the whole dispute the inequality of  the
Serbian nation  in  the Yugoslav federation Despite official  condemnations,
the  support offered  by  the  Slovenian,  Croatian and  Moslem part  of the
Bosnian leadership to the Albanian minority in Kosovo could not be concealed
for long  the  skillfully concealed inequality  of  the  Serbian  people  in
confederal  Yugoslavia  became an  issue on  which the state and ideological
foundations  of  Tito's  Yugoslavia  began  to  crumble  As a  reaction, the
national integration  of Serbs, halted in 1918  and  checked  in  1945, rose
again in the mid-80's into a widespread national movement demanding that the
1974 Constitution be changed, as the people did not wish to reconcile to the
tacit  support  extended  by  the  federal  party   bodies  and   republican
leaderships to the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo 4
     The  blockade  of  the  system  in  Yugoslavia did not  allow  for  the
intervention of the leadership of Serbia in the federation thus a subversion
was  carried out within the Serbian  communist  party  (1988),  in  which  a
dogmatic trend assessed that by  playing the card of wounded national  pride
and obvious discrimination, it  would win power and maintain it  by changing
the  1974   Constitution   The   Kosovo   frustration   of   Serbs,   wisely
instrumentalized in conflicts of  the local political oligarchy  in  Serbia,
soon  became  the  legitimation  of  the  new  authorities lead  by Slobodan
Milosevic  The  pressure on Serbia  from  all  the  federal  and  republican
institutions was so  strong that the  new  leader was  greeted as a savior a
mythical hero who would retrieve  equality in  Yugoslavia for the  Serbs and
bring again Kosovo  and Metohia, by hook or by  crook, under the sovereignty
of Serbia  The demonization  of the new  authorities in Serbia,  accused  of
"Bolshevism",  "Great  Serbianism",  Stalinism  and  of  having  aspirations
towards  hegemony in  the media of  all the other communist leader ships  in
Yugoslavia, particularly in Croatia and Slovenia  was so great and deafening
that it decisively affected the homogenization of  the Serbian people around
the new power holders
     The  raising  of  the  Serbian  question in  Yugoslavia had  the entire
country seething, which soon proved  to exceed ideological  differences  and
shades in the  interpretation of Tito's way ', disputes between advocates of
socialism with  a  human face '  and  adherents  of the  dogmatic  line  The
ideological   screen  suddenly  collapsed,   forbidden  political   subjects
inundated the press,  reexaminations of the  interpretations of contemporary
history began, justifications of the existing organization, showing that the
national  question was being opened anew on which  depended the survival  of
the country's present political, ideological and state organization
     Serbia  found itself in  a paradoxical  situation, to have its national
interests  saved by  the communist  party -  the chief  culprit  of  all its
troubles The  process of the growth  of  the communist leadership  into  the
patron of  the mother nation's national interests had been implemented under
Tito's rule since the late 60's by all  the  leaderships except  the Serbian
one When, because of the conflicts in Kosovo and Metohia, this took place in
Serbia, processes instigated by the detante, Perestroika and Glasnost, which
heralded  the advent of the post-communist epoch,  were already under way in
Europe. What had not been possible during Tito's reign was being implemented
by Serbian communists seven years since his death:  in  the still  communist
Southeastern  and Eastern Europe,  political wills  and national aspirations
could only be expressed through the  communist party. Communism emerged as a
protector of the national  interests  of the Serbs at a  time when, ahead of
growing democratic  processes  in  the entire international public,  it must
have appeared  anachronous. Thanks to the  dangerous  identification of  the
people and leadership, Serbia, due to measures implemented by the communists
in their protection of the endangered national and human rights of Serbs and
the  state  territory  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia, was  soon  branded  in  the
international public  opinion  as a  state  of  undemocratic  and aggressive
communist repression.
     The  situation in Kosovo continued to deteriorate. Clashes between  the
police and ethnic Albanian secessionists  did  not stop, while the  province
institutions, from  the police  and  judiciary, to finances and the economy,
were  still  controlled by  the  local ethnic  Albanian  bureaucracy  which,
supported  by the  other  Yugoslav national-communist  lites  (particularly
Slovenian  and  Croatian),  resisted  the  demands  of  "inner Serbia".  The
measures undertaken by the new Serbian authorities in Kosovo again proved to
be a  neocommunist delusion on the possibility of an ideological partnership
to  overcome  the existing national conflicts, and  that police and economic
measures  can  stop  a  strong national  movement in  which  all ideological
differences  began to disappear.  The former Marxists and Leninists of Enver
Hoxha's  type began to adapt to the new political trends  in the Eastern and
Southeastern European  countries which were paved by  the Soviet Perestroika
and  Glasnost, endeavoring to win  the sympathies  of the foreign  public by
advocating reforms in  socialism and presenting the nationalist conflict  in
the  light  of  a  struggle  for  human rights.  Every  new  ethnic Albanian
leadership, appointed with approval from Belgrade, proved unfit  to curb and
disinclined to condemn the  nationalist  movement of its people. Subversions
in Serbia's northern Vojvodina province and in Montenegro, which returned to
its Serbian  identity, were directly  provoked  by the  Kosovo  and  Metohia
question, and the new balance of political forces in the party helped Serbia
retrieve its  say in the  matter  concerning its provinces. The congruity of
these events nearing  the 600th anniversary of the battle  of Kosovo (1989),
the Serbs' main  national  holiday,  consolidated  the authority of the  new
leadership  in Serbia  in which  the people, unaccustomed to differences  in
political opinion, gave  priority to the  saving of national territory. With
the disintegration of  the Titoist order in Yugoslavia fresh uprisings broke
out  in  Kosovo and  Metohia followed  by  bloody clashes  with the  police,
strikes and diversions which, after  an attempt by the communist assembly in
Kosovo, in which ethnic
     Albanians  predominated, resulted  in the  abolition  of  the state  of
Kosovo and the  introduction of a state of emergency, after the proclamation
of the Albanian state of Kosovo in during 1990.
     The failure  of the  Serbian communists in late  eighties to comprehend
the  extent  of  the international repercussions  of the  ethnic  strife  in
Yugoslavia, and  pretentious in the worst Titoistic manner, incapacitated an
active communication of Serbia with the centers  of  political and  economic
power  in  the  world.  Due  to  a  negative  view  of  "Serbia's  Bolshevik
repression", the aggressive and Orientally brutal ethnic  Albanian  national
movement in Kosovo and Metohia was able to present its goals as an authentic
and pacific movement of an unusually  numerous ethnic minority (it  accounts
for  15-20%  of  Serbia's  population) which  is  striving  to  realize  its
legitimate human and social rights.  However, open support  extended  to the
Democratic Alliance of  Kosovo  (a party which  rallies  ethnic Albanians in
Kosovo) by the  new communist leader of Albania, Ramiz Aliu (both before and
after  the  first  democratic  elections  in  Albania),   with  considerable
participation by  agents of the  Albanian secret  service  Sigurimi  in  the
organization of strikes and armed  conflicts (some  200-400 Albanian  agents
were  infiltrated  into Yugoslavia in  1990  alone), clearly reveals  that a
centuries-long ethnic, national and inter-state conflict cannot be justified
by  ideological differences or a  human rights  struggle.  The fact that the
ethnic Albanian question in Kosovo and Metohia is not in reality an issue of
ideological differences and human  rights is  evident  from  the  stands  of
Serbian  opposition  parties which  are waging  a  bitter struggle with  the
former  communists  and  present  socialists for the  democratization of the
country. They are all willing to negotiate with the leadership of the ethnic
Albanian national movement about all controversial issues except the one  on
which the ethnic Albanian side insists: the change of the  state  borders of
Serbia  and  Yugoslavia.5  The ethnic  Albanians' refusal to take
part in  the December 1990 multi-party  elections and  be  registered in the
regular  Yugoslav  census (April  1991)  shows  the  unwillingness of  their
leadership to find a democratic solution.
     1 S. Hasani, Kosovo. Istine i zablude, Zagreb 1985, p, 175
     2 Cf Albanians and their territories Tirana 1985
     3 Sta i kako dalje na Kosovu. Dalja drustveno politicka aktivnost SSRNJ
u realizaciji politicke platforme  za akciju SKJ  u  razvoju socijalistickog
samoupravljana, bratstva i jedinstva i zajednistva na  Kosovu Beograd  1985,
Cf documents on Serbian complaints in Noc oporih reci. Kompletan stenogram o
svemu  sto  se govorilo na  zboru u Kosovu Polju u  noci  izmedju 24.  i 25.
aprila 1987. Specijalno izdanje Borba, maj 1987.
     4  K. Magnusson The Serbian  Reaction Kosovo  and  Ethnic  Mobilization
Among the Serbs Nordic Journal of Soviet  & East European Studies vol. 4
3 (1987) pp. 3  30, A Dragnich, The Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia The  Omen of
the  Upsurge of Serbian Nationalism in East European Quarterly vol. XXIII No
2 (1989) pp. 183 198, Cf A. Jeftic, Od Kosova do Jadovna Beograd 1988; idem,
Stradanja  Srba  na Kosovu  i  Metohiji od  1941 do 1990,  Pristina 1990;  R
Stojanovic, Ziveti s  genocidom, Hronika kosovskog bescasca, Beograd 1989; A
Djilas (ed.), Srpsko pitanje, Beograd 1991
     5 Demokratija, 3. 08. 1990.

     Ethnic  intolerance  between  the  Albanians  and  Serbs,  deepened  by
centuries of  confrontation,  was  expressed through  religious  intolerance
(Albanians as  Moslems  and  Serbs as Christians  in  the  Ottoman  Empire),
acquiring  at the turn  of  the 20th  century vague  contours of a  national
conflict.  Unequal  degrees  of  national  integration  provoked  additional
tensions in the old conflict: while the Serbs conceived the renewal of their
state in  the  1804 national revolution, and  gained  independence  in  1878
(Serbia  and Montenegro), the Albanians were  the last in Europe to begin an
organized  national  movement  in  1878 through  a  small in number national
elite,  but even then with deep  social and religious differences which were
not surmounted,  not even after  the  proclamation of the  Albanian state in
1912, nor in the interwar  period.  The national integration  of the  Serbs,
though  incomplete,  stopped in 1918  with  the creation of  the  Kingdom of
Serbs,  Croats  and  Slovenes, in which the  majority of Serbs lived in  one
state  and conceded  their national  ideology  to  institutions  of Yugoslav
character.  Discontinuity  in  the  development  of  the   Serbian  national
movement, deepened  during the 1941-1945 war,  turned under  communist  rule
into  a  50-year-old  vacuum whose  effects  on  the  protection of  primary
national  interests proved almost fatal. The Albanian  national  integration
had continuity, as opposed to  the Serbian  one. The young,  aggressive  and
expansive  national  movement,  closed  within  itself, developed without  a
standstill, regardless of  whether  it was  lead  by feudal lords,  outlaws,
foreign  patrons,  Albanian  or  Yugoslav  communists.  In a  society  which
harmoniously accepted both in Albania and Yugoslavia the  ideological monism
of  xenophobic  isolation  which  suited its internal tribal structure and a
certain  intolerance that  was racial  as well  as ethnic.  After  receiving
political  asylum  in  France,  the  Albanian writer  Ismail Kadare  pithily
explained the nature of the  internal resistance of the Albanian society  to
all  ideological challenges. "Communism has not  really  penetrated into the
depths  of  Albanian  society. The Albanians  are, as it were, racists: they
consider those  who do not share their moral customs  amoral, as the classic
Greeks considered  other peoples Barbarians. This racism  probably  played a
role  in  the  Albanian  resistance  to  socialism."1  From  this
perspective, the  depth of the conflict  and the mutual misunderstanding  of
Serbs and  Albanians is shown in brighter light. However, it is important to
note that in this centuries-old conflict to which their seems no end, in the
second half of the 20th century Albanians  in Kosovo and Metohia won crucial
support from Yugoslav communists to the detriment of Serbs.
     1 Ismail Kadare Interview in Le Monde, 26. 10. 1990. 34

     In the thousand year long-history of Serbs, Kosovo and Metohia were for
many  centuries  the  state  center  and  chief  religious  stronghold,  the
heartland of  their culture and springwell of its historical traditions. For
a people who lived longer under foreign rule than in their own state, Kosovo
and Metohia are the  foundations on which  national  and state identity were
preserved in times of tribulation and founded in times of freedom .
     The   Serbian  national   ideology  which  emerged  out   of   Kosovo's
tribulations  and Kosovo's suffering (wherein the 1389 St. Vitus Day  Battle
in Kosovo polje  occupies the  central place), are the pillars of that grand
edifice that constitutes the Serbian national pantheon. When it is said that
without  Kosovo there can be no Serbia  or Serbian nation, it's not only the
revived 19th  century national romanticism: that implies  more than just the
territory  which is covered  with  telling  monuments  of  its  culture  and
civilization, more  than  just a  feeling of  hard  won  national  and state
independence: Kosovo and Metohia  are considered the key to  the identity of
the Serbs. It is  no wonder, then, that the  many turning-points in  Serbian
history took place  in the and around Kosovo  and Metohia. When the Serbs on
other  Balkan lands fought to preserve their religious freedoms and national
rights,  their banners bore as their beacon the  Kosovo idea embodied in the
Kosovo covenant  which was  woven  into folk legend and upheld  in uprisings
against alien domination. The Kosovo covenant - the choice of freedom in the
celestial empire  instead of humiliation and slavery in the temporal world -
although  irrational  as  a  collective  consciousness,  is  still  the  one
permanent connective tissue  that  imbues  the  Serbs with  the  feeling  of
national entity and lends meaning to its join efforts.1
     1  Cf. D.  Slijepcevic,  Srpsko-arbanaski  odnosi kroz vekove  posebnim
osvrtom  na novije vreme, (Himelstir 1983); D. Bogdanovic,  Knjiga o Kosovu,
Beograd 1985; Zaduzbine Kosova, (Prizren-Beograd  1987); Kosovo i Metohija u
srpskoj istoriji, (Beograd 1989);German translation: Kosovo und Metochien in
der  serbishen Geschichte, (Lausanne  1989);  Kosovo. Proslost i sadasnjost,
Beograd 1989 English translation: Kosovo. Past and present, (Belgrade 1989).
R.  Mihaljcic,  The Battle of Kosovo in History  and in  Popular  Tradition,
(Belgrade 1989).

     Kosovo and Metohia, land lying in the heart of the Balkans where viutal
trade  routes had crossed since  ancient times, was settled by  Slav  tribes
between the 7th and 10th  centuries. The Serbian medieval state, which under
the Nemanjic  dynasty  (12th to 14th century) grew into a major power in the
Balkan peninsula, developed  in the nearby mountain regions,  in Raska (with
Bosnia) and  in  Duklja (later Zeta and then Montenegro). The center  of the
Nemanjic slate moved to Kosovo and  Metohia after the fall of Constantinople
(1204). At its peak, in  the early the  14th century, these  lands  were the
richest  and  the most densely  populated areas,  as well as state  and  its
cultural and administrative centers.1
     In his wars  with Byzantium,  Stefan Nemanja conquered various parts of
what  is  today Kosovo, and his successors,  Stefan the First  Crown (became
king in 1217),  expanded his  state by including Prizren. The  entire Kosovo
and  Metohia region became a permanent  part  of the  Serbian state  by  the
beginning of the 13th century. Soon after becoming autocephalous (1219), the
Serbian Orthodox Church moved  its seat to Metohia.  The heirs of the  first
archbishop  Saint Sava (prince Rastko  Nemanjic)  built  several  additional
temples around the  Church of  the Holy Apostles, lying the  ground for what
was  to  become  the  Patriarchate  of  Pec.  The  founding  of  a  separate
bishophoric  (1220)  near  Pec was  indicative  of  the  region's  political
importance growing along with religious influence. With the  proclamation of
the empire,  the patriarchal throne was  permanently established at  the Pec
monastery in 1346. Serbia's rulers alotted the fertile valleys between  Pec,
Prizren,  Mitrovica  and  Pristina   and   nearby   areas  to  churches  and
monasteries, and the whole region eventually acquired the name Metohia, from
the Greek metoch which mean an estate owned by the church.
     Studded with more churches and monasteries than any other Serbian land,
Kosovo  and  Metohia  became the spiritual nucleus of  Serbs. Lying  at  the
crossroads  of  the main Balkan routes  connecting  the surrounding  Serbian
lands of Raska, Bosnia, Zeta and the Scutari littoral with the Macedonia and
the  Morava  region,  Kosovo and  Metohia were, geographically speaking, the
ideal place for  a state and cultural center. Girfled by mountain gorges and
comparatively  safe from outside attacks, Kosovo and Metohia were not chosen
by chance as the site for  building religious centers, church mausoleums and
palaces.  The  rich  holdings of  Decant  monastery  provided  and  economic
underpinning  for the  wealth of spiritual activities  in  the area. Learned
monks  and religious dignitaries  assembled in  large  monastic  communities
(which  were  well  provided  for  by  the rich feudal  holdings),  strongly
influenced the  spiritual shaping of the nation, especially in strengthening
local cults and fostering the Orthodox doctrine.
     In the monasteries of Metohia and Kosovo, old theological  and literary
writings were transcribed and new ones  penned, including the lives of local
saints, from ordinary monks and priors to the archbishops and rulers  of the
house  of Nemanjic. The libraries and scriptoria were  stocked with the best
liturgical and theoretical  writings from all  over Byzantine  commonwealth,
especially with  various codes from  the  monasteries  of  Mounth Athos with
which close ties were established.  The  architecture  of  the  churches and
monasteries developed  and the artistic value of their frescoes increased as
Serbian medieval culture flourished, and by the end of  the 13th century new
ideas  applied in architecture  and  in  the technique  of  fresco  painting
surpassed  the  traditional  Byzantine  models.  With  time,  especially  in
centuries to come, the people came to believe that Kosovo was the  center of
Serbian  Orthodoxy   and  the  most  resistant  stronghold  of  the  Serbian
     The most important buildings to be endowed by the  last Nemanjices were
erected  in  Kosovo and  Metohia,  where  their courts  which  became  their
capitals were  situated.  From King  Milutin  to  emperor Uros,  court  life
evolved in the royal residences in southern Kosovo and Prizren. There rulers
summoned the landed gentry,  received foreign legates  and issued  charters.
The court of Svrcin stood on the banks of Lake Sazlia, and it was there that
Stefan  Dusan  was crowned king in 1331. On the opposite side was the palace
in Pauni, where King Milutin often dwelled. The court in Nerodimlje  was the
favourite  residence of King Stefan Decanski, and  it was at  the palace  in
Stimlje that emperor Uros issued  his charters. Oral  tradition,  especially
epic  poems, usually  mention  Prizren  as emperor  Dusan's capital, for  he
frequently sojourned there when he was still king.3
     Among dozens of churches and monasteries erected in medieval Kosovo and
Metohia by rulers, ecclesiastical dignitaries and the local nobility, Decani
outside of Pec,  built  by  Stefan Uros  III  Decanski, stands out  for  its
monumental size and  artistic beauty. King  Milutin left behind  the largest
number of endowments in Kosovo, one of  the  finest  of  which  is Gracanica
monastery  (1321)  near  Pristina,  certainly  the  most beautiful  medieval
monument in the Balkans. The monasteries  of Banjska dear Zvecan (early 14th
century) and  Our Lady of  Ljeviska in  Prizren  (1307), although devastated
during Ottoman rule,  are eloquent examples  of  the wealth and power of the
Serbian state at the start of the 14th  century. Also of artistic importance
is the complex of churches in Juxtaposition to the Patriarchate of  Pec. The
biggest of the  royal endowments,  the  Church  of  the Holy Archangels near
Prizren, erected  by Tsar Stefan  Dusan in  the  Bistrica  River Canyon, was
destroyed in the 16th century.4
     Founding  chapter  whereby  Serbian rulers  granted  large  estates  to
monasteries offer a reliable demographic picture of the area. Fertile plains
were largely  owned by  the large monasteries, from Chilandar in Mount Athos
to Decant  in Metohia. The data given in the charters show that  during  the
period  of  the  political rise of Serbian  state,  the population gradually
moved from  the  mountain plateau  in  the west and  north southward to  the
fertile valleys of Metohia and Kosovo. The census of monastic estates evince
both a rise in the population and appreciable economic progress. The estates
of the  Banjska  monastery numbered  83  villages,  and  those of  the  Holy
Archangels numbered 77.5
     Especially  noteworthy  is the 1330 Decani Charter,  with its  detailed
list  of  households  and  of  chartered villages. The Decant estate  was an
extensive  area which  encompassed  parts  of  what  is  today  northwestern
Albania. Historical analysis and onomastic  research reveal  that only three
of the  89  settlements were mentioned as being  Albanian. Out  of the 2,166
farming  homesteads  and  2,666  houses  in  cattle-grazing  land,  44  were
registrated  as Albanian (1,8%). More recent  research indicates that  apart
from the Slav, i.e. Serbian population  in Kosovo and Metohia, the remaining
population of non-Slav origin did not account for more than 2%  of the total
population in the 14th century.6
     The  growing political power, territorial expansion and economic wealth
of the  Serbian  state  had  a major impact  on  ethnic processes.  Northern
Albania  up  to the Mati River was a part of the Serbian Kingdom, but it was
not until  the  conquest of  Tsar  Dusan  that the  entire Albania (with the
exception of Durazzo) entered the Serbian Empire. Fourteenth century records
mention  mobile  Albanian  mobile cattle  sheds  on mountain slopes  in  the
imminent  vicinity  of Metohia, and sources in  the  first half of  the 15th
century note their  presence (albeit in  smaller  number)  in  the  flatland
farming settlements.
     Stefan Dusan's Empire stretched  from the Danube to the Peloponnese and
from  Bulgaria  to  the  Albanian  littoral.  After his  death  it  began to
disintegrate into areas  controlled  by powerful regional lords. Kosovo  and
parts of  Metohia came  under  the  rule of  King  Vukasin Mrnjavcevic,  the
co-ruler of  the last Nemanjic,  Tsar  Uros.  The earliest  clashes with the
Turks, who  edged their way into Europe  at the  start  of the 14th century,
were noted during the reign of Stefan Dusan.  The 1371 battle of the Marica,
near Crnomen in which Turkish troops rode rougshod over the huge army of the
Mrnjavcevic brothers, the feudal lords of Macedonia, Kosovo  and neighboring
regions,  heralded  the decisive  Turkish  invasion  of Serbian  lands. King
Vukasin's successor King Marko (the legendary hero of folk poems, Kralyevich
Marko) recognized the supreme authority of the sultan and as vasal took part
in his campaigns against neighboring Christian states. The Turkish onslaught
is  remembered as the apocalypse of the Serbian people,  and this  tradition
was cherished  during the long period of Ottoman rule.  During the Battle of
the Marica, a monk wrote that "the worst of  all  times" had come, when "the
living envied the dead".7
     Unaware of the danger that were looming over their  lands, the regional
lords  tried  to take  advantage  of  the new  situation  and  enlarge their
holdings. On the eve of the battle  of Kosovo,  the northern parts of Kosovo
where in possession  of  Prince  Lazar  Hrebeljanovic,  and parts of Metohia
belonged to  his brother-in-law Vuk Brankovic. By quelling the resistance of
the  local landed  gentry,  Prince  Lazar  eventually  emerged as  the  most
powerful  regional lord and came to dominate the lands of  Moravian  Serbia.
Tvrtko I Kotromanic, King of Bosnia, Prince Lazar's closest ally, aspired to
the political legacy of the saintly dynasty as descendant  of the Nemanjices
and by  being  crowned with  the "dual crown" of  Bosnia and Serbia over St.
Sava grave in monastery Mileseva.8
     The  expected clash with the  Turks took place in Kosovo polje, outside
of Pristina,  on  St.  Vitus  day, June 15 (28), 1389. The  troops of Prince
Lazar, Vuk Brankovic and King Tvrtko I, confronted the army of Emir Murad I,
which  included his Christian vassals. Both Prince Lazar and emir Murad were
killed in the head-on collision between the two armies (approximately 30,000
troops on  both  sides).  Contemporaries were  especially impressed  by  the
tidings that twelve  Serbian knights  (most  probably led  by legendary hero
Milos Obilic) broke through the tight Turkish ranks and killed  the  emir in
his tent.9
     Military-wise  no  real  victor  emerged  from  the  battle.   Tvrtko's
emissaries told the courts  of Europe  that the  Christian army had defeated
the  infidels, although Prince Lazar's successors, exhausted by  their heavy
losses, immediately  sought peace  and conceded to became vassals to the new
sultan.  Vuk  Brankovic, unjustly remembered  in epic tradition as a traitor
who slipped  away  from the battle field, resisted them until  1392, when he
was forced to become their vassal. The Turks took Brankovic's lands and gave
them to a more loyal  vassal, Prince Stefan  Lazarevic, son  of Prince Lazar
thereby  creating a rift between their  heirs. After the battle of Angora in
1402,  Prince Stefan took  advantage of the chaos  in  the Ottoman state. In
Constantinople he received the title  of  despot, and  upon returning  home,
having defeated Brankovic's relatives he took control over the  lands of his
father.  Despite frequent  internal conflicts and his  vassal obligations to
the  Turks   and  Hungarians,   despot  Stefan  revived   and   economically
consolidated  the Serbian  state,  the  center of which was gradually moving
northward. Under his rule Novo Brdo in Kosovo  became the economic center of
Serbia where in he issued a Law of Mines in 1412.10
     Stefan appointed  as his successor his nephew despot Djuradj Brankovic,
whose rule was marked by fresh conflicts and  finally the fall of Kosovo and
Metohia to the Turks. The  campaign  of the  Christian army led by Hungarian
nobleman Janos  Hunyadi ended in 1448 in heavy defeat in a clash  with Murad
II's forces, again in Kosovo Polje. This was the last concertive attempt  in
the Middle Ages to rout the Turks out of this part of Europe.11
     After  the  Fall  of Constantinople  (1453), Mehmed  II  the  Conqueror
advanced  onto Despotate  of Serbia.  For some time voivode Nikola Skobaljic
offered valiant  resistance  in  Kosovo, but after a  series of  consecutive
campaigns  and lengthy sieges in 1455,  the economic center of Serbia,  Novo
Brdo  fell. The Turks then  proceeded  to conquer other towns in Kosovo  and
Metohia four years  before the entire Serbian  Despotate  collapsed with the
fall  of  new  capital  Smederevo.  Turkish  onslaught, marked  by  frequent
military  raids,  the  plunder  and  devastation  of   entire  regions,  the
destruction of monasteries  and  churches,  gradually narrowed down  Serbian
state territories,  triggering off  a large-scale  migration northwards,  to
regions  beyond reach to the  conquerors. The biggest migration  took  place
from 1480-1481, when a large part of the population of northern Serbia moved
to Hungary and Transylvania, to  bordering region along the Sava and  Danube
rivers,  where the descendants of  the fleeing despots of Smederevo resisted
the Turks for several decades to come.12
     1 For a  more  complete  picture of  Kosovo and Metohia's medieval past
see: D. Kojic-Kovacevic,  Kosovo od sredine  XII  do sredine  XV  veka,  in:
Kosovo nekad i sad (Kosova  dikur  e  sot), (Beograd 1973), pp.  109-128; S.
Cirkovic, Kosovo i Metohija u srednjem veku, in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj
istoriji, pp. 21-45 (with earlier bibliography)
     2 R. Samardzic,  Kosovo  i Metohija: uspon i propadanje srpskog naroda,
in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 6-10; D. Bogdanovic, Rukopisno
nasledje Kosova  in: Zbornik okruglog  stola o  naucnom istrazivanju Kosova,
Serbian Academy of  Arts and Sciences, Naucni skupovi,  vol.  XLII, Belgrade
1988,  pp. 73-80. For  more  details  see: Istorija  srpskog naroda,  vol. I
(Belgrade 1981).
     3 S.  Cirkovic, Vladarski  dvorci  oko jezera  na  Kosovu, in:  Zbornik
Matice srpske za likovne umetnosti, 20 (1984), pp. 72-77.
     4 V. S. Jovanovic, Arheoloska istrazivanja srednjovekovnih spomenika  i
nalazista  na  Kosovu, in:  Zbomik  okruglog stola  o  naucnom  istrazivanju
Kosova, pp. 17-66.
     5 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga  o  Kosovu,  pp. 34-39;  Zaduzbine  Kosova, pp.
     6  D.  Bogdanovic,  Knjiga o  Kosovu, pp. 39-41; S. Cirkovic, Kosovo  i
Metohija  u srednjem  veku, pp.  34-36. More details  in: B. Ferjancic,  Les
Albanais dans les  sources byzantines, in: Iliri i Albanci,  Serbian Academy
of  Sciences  and  Arts,  Naucni  skupovi  vol.  XXXDC (Belgrade  1988), pp.
303-322; S. Cirkovic, Les Albanais   la lumiere des sources historiques des
Slaves du Sud, ill: Iliri i Albanci, pp. 341-359.
     7  D.  Bogdanovic,  Knjiga  o  Kosovu,  pp.  75.  More  details in:  R.
Mihaljcic, Kraj Srpskog Carstva, Boj na Kosovu II, (Belgrade 1989).
     8 S. Cirkovic, Istorija srednjovekovne bosanske drzave, (Beograd 1964),
pp. 133-140.
     9 S. Cirkovic, Kosovo i Metohija u srednjem veku, pp. 39-41.
     10 M. Purkovic, Knez i despot Stefan Lazarevic, (Beograd 1978).
     11 Ibid.  More details:  R.  Mihaljcic,  Lazar Hrebeljanovic. Istorija,
kult, predanje, Boj na Kosovu II, (Belgrade 1989).
     12 Istorija srpskog  naroda, vol. II (Beograd  1982),  pp. 260-265;  D.
Bogdanovic, op. cit. p. 72.

     For the Serbs as Christians, their loss of state independence and  fall
to the Ottoman Empire's kind of theocratic state, was a terrible misfortune.
With  the advent of the Turks  and establishment of their rule, the lands of
Serbs were forcibly  excluded from the circle of progressive European states
wherein they occupied a  prominent  place precisely  owing to the  Byzantine
civilisation, which was enhanced by local qualities and strong influences of
the  neighboring  Mediterranean  states. Being Christians,  the Serbs became
second-class citizens in Islamic state. Apart from religious discrimination,
which was evident in all spheres of everyday life, this status of rayah also
implied social dependence,  as most of the  Serbs were landless peasants who
paid the prescribed feudal taxes. Of the many dues paid in money,  labor and
kind,  the hardest for the Serbs was having their children taken as  tribute
under a law that had the healthy  boys,  taken from their parents, converted
to Islam and trained to serve in the janissary corps of the Turkish army.
     An analyse of the  earliest  Turkish censuses, defters,  shows that the
ethnic picture of Kosovo and Metohia did not alter much during the  14th and
15th  centuries. The small-in-number Turkish population consisted largely of
people  from  the  administration  and   military  that  were  essential  in
maintaining order,  whereas Christians continued to predominate in the rural
areas. Kosovo and parts of Metohia  were registrated in 1455  under the name
Vilayeti Vlk,  after Vuk  Brankovic who  once  ruled over  them. Some 75,000
inhabitants  lived in  590 registrated  villages.  An onomastic  analysis of
approximately 8,500 personal names shows that Slav  and Christian names were
heavily predominant.1
     Along with the  Decani Charter, the register  of  the  Brankovic region
shows  a   clear  division  between  old-Serbian  and  old-ethnic   Albanian
onomastics,  allowing  one to say,  with some  certainty  which  registrated
settlement  was  Serbian,  and  which ethnically mixed. Ethnic  designations
(ethnic Albanian,  Bulgarian, Armenian,  Greek)  appeared repeatedly next to
the  names of settlers in  the region. More thorough  onomastic research has
shown  that from  the mid-14th  to  the 15th centuries, individual  Albanian
settlements appeared  on  the fringes of Metohia, in-between  what had until
then  been a density of  Serbian  villages.  This  was  probably  due to the
devastation  wrought by Turks  who  destroyed  the old  landed estates, thus
allowing  for  the mobile among  the population,  including  ethnic Albanian
cattlemen, to settle on the abandoned  land and establish their settlements,
which were neither big nor heavily populated.2
     A  summary  census  of  the  houses  and   religious  affiliations   of
inhabitants in the Vucitrn district (sanjak), which encompassed the one-time
Brankovic lands, was drawn in 1487, showed that the ethnic situation had not
altered much.  Christian households  predominated  (totalling 16,729, out of
which 412  were  in Pristina and Vucitrn): there were 117 Muslim  households
(94 in Pristina and 83 in  rural  areas).  A  comprehensive  census  of  the
Scutari district offers the following picture:  in Pec  (Ipek) there were 33
Muslim and 121 Christian households, while  in  Suho Grlo, also in  Metohia,
Christians alone lived in 131  households. The  number of Christians (6,124)
versus  Muslim (55)  homes in the rural areas  shows that  1%  of the entire
population  bowed to the faith of the  conqueror.  An analysis of the  names
shows that  those of Slav origin predominated among the Christians. In  Pec,
68% of the population bore Slav names, in the Suho Grlo region 52%, in Donja
Klina region 50% and around monastery of Decani 64%.
     Ethnic  Albanian settlements where  people had characteristic names did
not appear until one reached areas  outside the  borders  of  what is  today
Metohia, i.e. west of Djakovica. According to Turkish sources, in the period
from 1520 to 1535 only 700 of the total  number  of 19,614 households in the
Vucitrn district were Muslim (about 3,5%), and 359 (2%)in Prizren district.
     In  regions extending  beyond  the geographic  borders  of  Kosovo  and
Metohia, in the Scutari and  Dukagjin districts, Muslims accounted for  4,6%
of the  population. According to an analysis  of  the names in the  Dukagjin
district's census, ethnic Albanian settlements did not predominate until one
reached regions south  of Djakovica,  and the ethnic  picture  in  the  16th
century   in   Prizren  and  the  neighboring   areas   remained   basically
     A  look at  the religious affiliation of  the  urban population shows a
rise  in the Turkish and local  Islamized  population.  In Prizren, Kosovo's
biggest  city,  Muslims  accounted  for 56% of the households,  of which the
Islamized population accounted for 21%. The  ratio was  similar in Pristina,
where out of the  54% Muslim population 16%  were converts.  Pec also had  a
Muslim majority (90%), as did Vucitrn  (72%). The Christians compromised the
majority of the population in the mining centers  of Novo Brdo (62%), Trepca
(77%),  Donja  Trepca  and  Belasica  (85%).  Among  the  Christians  was  a
smattering of Catholics. The Christian names were largely from the calendar,
and to  a lesser extent Slav  (Voja, Dabiziv, Cvetko, Mladen,  Stojko),  and
there  were  some that  were typically  ethnic  Albanian  (Prend, Don,  Din,
     After the fall of Serbia in 1459,  the Pec Patriarchate soon  ceased to
work and the Serbian eparchies came  under  the jurisdiction of the Hellenic
Ochrid Archbishophoric. In the first decade following Turkish conquest, many
large  endowments and wealthier churches were pillaged  and destroyed, while
some turned into mosques. The Our Lady of Ljeviska Cathedral  in Prizren was
probably converted into a mosque right immediately following the conquest of
the town; Banjska,  one  of the grandest monasteries dating from  the age of
King Milutin, suffered the same fate. The Church of the Holy Archangels near
Prizren, Stefan Dusan's  chief endowment was turned into ruins.  Most of the
monasteries and churches  were left unrenewed  after being  devastated,  and
many village churches were abandoned. Many were not restored until after the
liberation of Kosovo and Metohia in 1912. Archeological findings  have shown
that some  1,300 monasteries,  churches and other  monuments  existed in the
Kosovo and Metohia area. The magnitude of the havoc wrought can be seen from
the earliest Turkish censuses: In the 15th and 16th centuries there were ten
to  fourteen  active  places  of  Christian  worship.  At  first  the  great
monasteries like  Decani and  Gracanica, were  exempt from destruction,  but
their  wealthy estates were reduced to a handfull  of  surrounding villages.
The privileges granted the monastic brotherhoods by the sultans obliged them
to perform the service of falconry as well.5
     The restoration of the Pec Patriarchate in 1557 (thanks to Mehmed-pasha
Sokolovic,  a  Serb by  origin,  at the time the third vizier at the  Porte)
marked  a  major  turn and helped revive  the spiritual life  of  the Serbs,
especially in Kosovo and Metohia. Mehmed-pasha Sokolovic (Turkish:
     Sokollu) enthroned  his relative Makarije  Sokolovic on the patriarchal
throne.  Like  the  great reform  movements  in  16th  century  Europe,  the
restoration of the Serbian  Orthodox  Church meant the rediscovery  of  lost
spiritual strongholds. Thanks to the Patriarchate,  Kosovo and Metohia  were
for the next two centuries again the  spiritual  and political center of the
Serbs.  On   an   area  vaster   than  the   Nemanjic  empire,  high-ranking
ecclesiastical dignitaries revived old and created new eparchies endeavoring
to reinforce the  Orthodox faith which  had been  undermined  by  influences
alien (particularly by Islamic Bekteshi order of dervishes) to its authentic
     Based  on  the  tradition  of  the  medieval  Serbian  state,  the  Pec
Patriarchate revived  old and  established  new cults  of  the  holy rulers,
archbishops,  martyrs and  warriors, lending life to  the Nemanjic heritage.
The  feeling  of  religious  and ethnic  solidarity was  enhanced  by  joint
deliberation  at church assemblies attended  by the higher and lower clergy,
village  chiefs and  hajduk  leaders,  and by  stepping  up a  morale on the
traditions  of  Saint  Sava but  suited  to  the  new conditions and  strong
patriarchal customs  renewed  after  the  Turkish conquest  in  the  village
     The  spiritual rebirth was  reflected in  the  restoration  of deserted
churches and monasteries: some twenty new churches were built  in Kosovo and
Metohia alone, inclusive of printing  houses (the  most important one was at
Gracanica):   many  old  and  abandoned   churches  were  redecorated   with
     Serbian  patriarchs and  bishops gradually  took  over the role of  the
one-time rulers,  endeavoring with assistance from the neighboring Christian
states of Habsburg Empire and the Venetian Republic, to incite the people to
rebel.  Plans  for overthrowing the Turks and re-establishing an independent
Serbian  state sprang throughout the  lands from the Adriatic to the Danube.
The  patriarchs of Pec, often learned men and able politicians, were usually
the  ones  who  initiated  and  coordinated  efforts  at  launching  popular
uprisings when the right moment came. Patriarch Jovan failed to instigate  a
major rebellion against  the  Turks,  seeking the  alliance of  the European
Christian  powers  assembled around Pope Clement  VII. Patriarch  Jovan  was
assassinated  in Constantinople  in 1614. Patriarch  Gavrilo Rajic lived the
same  fate in  1659  after going  to Russia  to  seek help in  instigating a
     The least auspicious conditions for an uprising were actually in Kosovo
and  Metohia itself. In the  fertile plains, the  non-Muslim masses  labored
under the yoke of the  local  Turkish administrators, continually threatened
by marauding  tribes from the Albanian highlands.  The crisis  that overcome
the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th century  further aggrovated the position
of the Serbs in Kosovo, Metohia and neighboring regions. Rebellions fomented
by  cattle-raising  tribes  in  Albania  and  Montenegro,  and the  punitive
expeditions sent to deal with them turned  Kosovo and  Metohia into a bloody
terrain where Albanian tribes, kept clashing with  detachments of  the local
authorities,  plundered  Christian  villages  along  the  way.  Hardened  by
constant clashes with the Turks, Montenegro gradually picked up the torch of
defending Serbian Orthodoxy; meanwhile, in northern Albania, particularly in
Malesia, a reverse  process  was under way.  Under steady  pressure from the
Turkish authorities, the Islamization  of ethnic Albanian tribes became more
widespread  and  the process assumed broader  proportions  when antagonistic
strivings  grew within the  Ottoman Empire in the late 17th  and  early 18th
     It  is not  until the end of the 17th  century that the colonization of
Albanian  tribes  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia  can be established.  Reports  by
contemporary  Catholic  visitators  show that the ethnic border  between the
Serbs and Albanians still followed the  old dividing  lines of the Black and
White Drim rivers. All reports on Kosovo and Metohia regard them as being in
Serbia: for the Catholic visitators, Prizren was still its capital  city. In
Albania, the first wave of  Islamization  swept  the feudal strata and urban
population.  Special tax and  political  alleviations encouraged  the  rural
population to convert  to Islam in larger  number. Instead of being  part of
the oppressed  non-Muslim masses, the converts became a privileged class  of
Ottoman society, with free access to the highest  positions in the state. In
Kosovo and Metohia,  where they  moved to avoid heavy taxes, Catholic tribes
of Malesia  converted to Islam. Conversion to Islam in  a  strongly Orthodox
environment rendered them  the desired privileges (the property of  Orthodox
and of  the  Catholics) and saved them from  melting  with  Serbian Orthodox
population. It was only  with the  process of  Islamization that  the ethnic
Albanian    colonisation    of    lands    inhabited    by   Serbs    became
     The  ethnic  picture  of Kosovo did  not radically  change in the first
centuries  of Ottoman  rule.  Islamization encompassed  part  of  a  Serbian
population, although  the  first generations at least, converted  as a  mere
formality, to avoid heavy financial burdens and constant political pressure.
Conversion constituted the basis of Ottoman policy in the Balkans but it was
les successfull in  Kosovo and Metohia, regions with the strongest religious
traditions, than  in other Christian areas.  The Turks'  strong  reaction to
rebellions  throughout  the  Serbian lands and  to the revival of Orthodoxy,
embodied in the cult of  Saint Sava,  the founder of the independent Serbian
church, ended in setting fire to the Mileseva monastery the burial place  of
the  first  Serbian saint.  The Turks  burned  his wonder working relics  in
Belgrade in 1594, during a great uprising  of Serbs in southern  Banat. This
triggered  off fresh  waves of Islamization accompanied by  severe reprisals
and the thwarting of any sign of rebellion.
     Apart  from  Islamization,  Kosovo  and  Metohia  became  the target of
proselytizing Catholic missionaries at the  end  of 17th century, especially
after the creation of the Sacra Congregazione de Propaganda Fide (1622). The
ultimate aim of  the Roman Catholic propaganda  was to converts the Orthodox
to Graeco-Catholicism  as the initial phase in completely converting them to
the  Catholic faith. The appeals of patriarchs  of Pec to the Roman popes to
help the liberatory  aspirations  of the Serbs  were met with the  condition
that  they  renounce  the Orthodox faith. In spreading  the Catholicism, the
missionaries  of  the  Roman  Curia  had  the  support   of   local  Turkish
authorities;  a considerable number  of  the missionaries  were of  Albanian
origin.  Consequently, the propagators of  Catholic proselytism persisted in
inciting Catholic and Muslim  Albanians  against the Serbs, whose loyalty to
Orthodoxy  and  their  medieval traditions  was  the  main obstacle  to  the
spreading of  the Catholic faith in the central and southern regions of  the
     Catholic propaganda  attempts  at  separating the  high clergy  of  the
Serbian  Orthodox Church from the people  prompted  the Pec Patriarchate  to
revive old and create a new cults with even greater vigor. In 1642 Patriarch
Pajsije,  who was born in Janjevo, Kosovo, wrote The Service and The Life of
the last Nemanjic,  the Holy Tsar Uros, imbuing old literary  forms with new
content reflecting the contemporary moment. By introducing  popular  legends
(which  gradually took shape),into classical  hagiography Patriarch  Pajsije
strove  to establish a  new cult of  saints which  would  have  a beneficial
impact on his compatriots in preserving their faith.
     Parallel  with  the Orthodox  Church  national policy in  traditionally
patriarchal  societies, popular  tales  gradually  matured  into  oral  epic
chronicles.  Nurtured   through  epic  poetry,  which  was   sung   to   the
accompaniment of the gusle, epic tales glorified national heroes  and ruler,
cultivating  the  spirit  of  non-subjugation and  cherishing  the  hope  in
liberation from  the Turkish yoke. Folk poems about the battle of Kosovo and
its  heroes,  about  the tragic fate of the last Nemanjices, the  heroism of
Prince  Lazar and his knight Milos Obilic, and, especially, about  Kraljevic
Marko  (King Marko  Mrnjavcevic) as  the faultless and  dauntless  legendary
knight who was always defeating Turks and saving  Serbs, were an  expression
not only of the tragic sense of life in which Turkish rule  was a synonymous
to evil, but a particular moral code that in time  crystalized into a common
attitude towards life, defined in the first centuries  of Ottoman rule.  The
Serbian nation's Kosovo covenant is embodied in the choice  which, according
to legend, was made by Prince Lazar on  the eve of the battle of Kosovo. The
choice of freedom in the kingdom  of heaven instead of  humiliation  in  the
kingdom of  earth  constituted  the Serbian nation's  spiritual  stronghold.
Prince Lazar's refusal  to  resign to injustice and  slavery, raised to  the
level of biblical  drama,  determined his unquenchable thirst  for  freedom.
Together  with  the  cult  of   Saint   Sava,   which  grew  into  a  common
civilisational framework in everyday life, the  Kosovo  idea which, in time,
gained universal  meaning.  With its  wise policy  the Patriarchate  of  Pec
carefully built epic  legend  into  the  hagiography of  old and new Serbian
saints, glorifying their works in frescoes and icons.10
     1  O. Zirojevic, Prvi  vekovi tudjinske vlasti, in: Kosovo i Metohija u
srpskoj istoriji, pp. 47-113 (with earlier bibliography).
     2 Ibid
     3 M.  Pesikan, Zetsko-raska imena na  pocetku  turskog  doba,  II,  in:
Onomatoloski prilozi, vol. IV (1983), pp. 218-243; 0.  Zirojevic;, op. cit.,
pp. 90-92.
     4. O. Zirojevic, op. cit., pp. 92-94.
     5 Ibid, pp. 94-96.
     6  R. Samardzic, Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic, (Beograd  1975); Idem, Ideje za
srpsku istoriju,  (Beograd  1989), pp.  125-128; Dj.  Slijepcevic,  Istorija
Srpske pravoslavne crkve, I, Dusseldorf 1878, pp. 328-321.
     7 R. Trickovic, U susret najtezim iskusenjima, in: Kosovo i Metohija  u
srpskoj istoriji, pp. 119-126.
     8 J. Radonic, Rimska kurija i juznoslovenske zemlje od XVI do XIX veka,
(Beograd 1950)
     9 J. Radonic, op. cit., pp.,  8-11; Further documentation in: M. Jacov,
Spisi Tajnog vatikanskog arhiva XVI-XL veka, (Beograd 1983)
     10 R. Samardzic, Usmena narodna hronika (Novi Sad 1978).

     The Serbs stepped again onto the historical scene  in  the years of the
European  wars that  swept the continent from  the forests of Ireland to the
walls of Constantinople in the late 17th century. The Turks finally withdrew
from Hungary and Transylvania when their Ottoman hordes  were routed outside
Vienna in 1683. The disintegration of Ottoman rule in the southwest limbered
up  the  Serbs, arousing in  them hope  that the moment was ripe  for  joint
effort to break  Turkish dominion in  the Balkans. The neighboring Christian
powers  (Austria and Venice) were  the only possible allies. The  arrival of
the Austrian army in Serbia after the fall of Belgrade in  1688 prompted the
Serbs  to join it. Thanks to the support of Serbian insurgents, the imperial
troops  penetrated  deep  into Serbia and in  1689 conquered  Nis: a special
Serbian   militia  was  formed  as  a   separate   corps   of  the  imperial
     After  setting fire  to Skoplje (Uskub),  which was raging with plague,
the  commander  of  Austrian troops  Ennea Silviae  Piccolomini  withdrew to
Prizren where he was  greeted by 20,000 Serbian insurgents, and with whom he
reached  an  accord  on  fighting  the  Turks  with  joint  forces.  Shortly
afterwards, Piccollomini  died of the plague, and his successors  failed  to
prevent their troops from marauding the surrounding regions. Disappointed by
the conduct of the  Christian troops  from  which they had expected decisive
support,  the  Serbian  insurgents  abandoned the agreed alliance. Patriarch
Arsenije III Crnojevic tried  in  vain to arrive at a new agreement with the
Austrian  generals.  The  restorer  of  the  Ottoman  Empire,  Grand  Vizier
Mustafa-Pasha Koporilli, an Albanian  by  origin, took advantage of the lull
in  military operations, mustered Crimean Tatars and Islamized Albanians and
mounted a  major  campaign.  Despite assurances of  help,  Catholic Albanian
tribes deserted  the  Austrian army on  the  eve of the  decisive  clash  at
Kacanik in  Kosovo, on  January  1690.  The  Serbian militia,  resisting the
Sultan's  superior  hordes,  retreated  to  the   west  and   north  of  the
     Turkish retaliation,  in which the Serbian  infidels  were  raided  and
viciously  massacred lasted a  three full months. The towns of Prizren, Pec,
Pristina, Vucitrn and Mitrovica were hit the worst, and Serbs from Novo Brdo
retreated from the Tatar saber. Fleeing from the brutal reprisal, the people
of Kosovo and the neighboring areas moved northwards with Patriarch Arsenije
III. The decision to end the massacre  and declare an amnesty came  belately
as much of the  population had already fled for safer  areas, moving towards
the  Sava  River and  Belgrade. Other  parts of  Serbia were also targets of
ghastly reprisals. In  the Belgrade pashalik alone, the number  of taxpayers
dropped  eightfold. Grand old  monasteries were looted from Pec Patriarchate
to  Gracanica, and  the Albanian tribe Gashi pillaged the Decani  monastery,
killing the prior and seizing the monastery's best estates.
     At the invitation of emperor Leopold I, Patriarch Arsenije III led part
of the high clergy and a sizeable part of the refugees (tens of thousands of
people) to the Habsburg Empire to the territory of southern Hungary,  having
received  assurances that the Serbs would there be granted special political
and  religious status.  Many Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia followed him. The
new  churches built along  the  Danube they named  after those  left in  old
     The Great 1690 Migration  was a important turning point in the  history
of  the Serbs. In  Kosovo and Metohia alone,  towns  and  some villages were
abandoned to the last inhabitant.  The population  was also decimated by the
plague,   whatever   remained  after  the  Turkish   troops.   The  physical
extermination along with the mass exodus,  the burning of grand  monasteries
and their rich  treasuries and libraries,  the death and  murder of a  large
number of  monks and clergy  wreaked havoc in these regions. The position of
the  Pec Patriarchate was badly shaken; its  highest  clergy  went  with the
people to Austria, and  the confusion wrought by  the Great Migration had  a
major influence on its abolition (1766).3
     The hardest consequence of the Great Migration was demographic upheaval
it caused,  because  once  the  Serbs  withdraw  from  Kosovo  and  Metohia,
Islamized Albanian tribes  from  the northern highlands started settling the
area  in greater  number,  mostly by force, in the decade following the 1690
Great Migration of  Serbs,  ethnic Albanian  tribes (given  their incredible
powers of reproduction) was posing a grave threat to the biological survival
of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. Colonies set  up by the ethnic Albanians
in  Kosovo,  Metohia and  the neighboring areas  provoked  a  fresh  Serbian
migration toward the north, encouraged the process of conversion  and  upset
the centuries-old  ethnic  balance in  those areas. Supported (depending  on
circumstances) by the Turks  and the  Roman Curia, ethnic Albanians, abyding
by their tribal customs and hajduk insubordination to the law, in the coming
centuries turned  the entire region  of  Kosovo  and Metohia  into  a bloody
battleground, marked by tribal and feudal anarchy. The  period following the
Great  Migration of Serbia  marked the  commencement  of  three centuries of
ethnic Albanian genocide against Serbs in their native land.
     The  century after the Great Migration saw a fresh exodus  of the Serbs
from Kosovo and  Metohia,  and a growing influence of  ethnic  Albanians  on
political  circumstances.  Ethnic Albanians used  the  support they received
from the Turkish army  in  fighting Serbian insurgents  to seize the ravaged
land and abandoned  mining  centers in Kosovo  and  Metohia and  to enter in
large  numbers  the  Ottoman  administration  and military.  More  and  more
Catholic ethnic-Albanians converted to Islam, thereby acquiring the right to
retain the estates they had seized and to apply the might-is-right principle
in their dealings with the non-Muslim Serbs. The  authorities encouraged and
assisted  the settlement of the newly Islamized ethnic-Albanian  tribes from
the mountains to the fertile lands devastated by war. The dissipation of the
Turkish administrative system encouraged the ethnic-Albanian colonisation of
Kosovo and Metohia, since with the arrival of more of their fellow tribesmen
and  compatriots,  the local  pashas  and  beys (most  of  whom  were ethnic
Albanian)  acquired  strong  tribal armies which in times of trouble  helped
them hold  on to their position  and illegally pass on their power to  their
descendents. The missionaries of  the Roman Curia did not  heed  to preserve
the small  ethnic Albanian Catholic population,  but endeavoured instead  to
inflict  as  much  harm  as  possible  on  the   Pec  Patriarchate  and  its
dignitaries,  and, with  the  help  of  bribable  pashas, to  undermine  the
cohesive power of Serbian Orthodoxy in these areas.4
     The  next  war  between  Austria  and  Turkey  (1716-1718)  marked  the
beginning of  a fresh  persecution in Kosovo and  Metohia.  Austrian troops,
backed  by  Serbian volunteers, reached the Western Morava  River where they
established a new  frontier. Ethnic Albanians collectively guaranteed to the
Porte the safety  of the  regions in the immediate vicinity of  Austria, and
were in return exempted from the  heaviest taxes. Towards the end of the war
(1717), a  major Serbian uprising broke out in Vucitrn and its surroundings:
it was brutally crushed and the troops sent to allay the rayah and launch an
investigation, perpetrated fresh atrocities. Excessive dues, robbery and the
threat  of extermination put before  the Kosovo Serbs the  choices of either
converting to Islam or  finding a powerful master  who would protect them if
they  accepted the  status of serfs.  Many opted for  a third solution: they
moved to surrounding regions where life was more tolerable.5
     The following war between Austria and Turkey (1737-1739) ended with the
routing of  the  imperial  troops from Serbian  territory.  The  border  was
reestablished at the Sava and  Danube rivers, and Serbs  set out  on another
migration. Patriarch Arsenije  IV  Jovanovic, along with  the  religious and
national  leaders of Pec, drew up  a  plan for cooperation with the Austrian
forces,  and contacted their commanders. A  large-scale uprisings  broke out
again in Kosovo and Metohia, engaging some 10.000 Serbs. They were joined by
Montenegrin tribes,  and  Austrian envoys  even stirred up  the Kliments,  a
Catholic tribe from northern Albania. A Serbian  militia  was formed  again,
but the Austrian troops and insurgenta were forced to retreat in the face of
superior Turkish  power: reprisals ensued, bringing death to  the insurgents
and  their  families.  Serbs  withdrew  from  the mining settlements  around
Janjevo,  Pristina, Novo Brdo and  Kopaonik. In order  to keep the remaining
populace  on  the  land,  the Turks declared  an amnesty. After  the fall of
Belgrade, Arsenije IV moved to  Austria. The number of refugees from Serbia,
including  Kosovo  and Metohia,  along with some  Kliments  has  yet  to  be
accurately  determined, as people were moving  on all sides  and the process
lasted for  several months.  The considerably reduced number of taxpayers in
Kosovo and Metohia and in other parts of Serbia points to a strong migratory
     Unrest  in  the Ottoman  empire  helped spread  anarchy  in Kosovo  and
Metohia  and  rest of  Serbia.  Raids,  murder,  rape  against  the  unarmed
population  was largely committed by ethnic  Albanian outlaws, who  were now
numerically superior in many regions. Outlaw bands held  controll over roads
during  Turkey's war  with  Russia  (1768-1774),  when  lawlessness  reigned
throughout  Serbia. Ethnic Albanian outlaws looted and fleeced other regions
as  well,  which  sent  local  Muslims  complaining  to  the  Porte  seeking
     During  the last Austro-Turkish  war  (1788-1791);  a sweeping  popular
movement again took shape in northern Serbia. Because of the imperial forces
swift retreat, the movement did not encompass the  southern parts of Serbia:
Kosovo, Metohia and present-day  northern  Macedonia. The  peace  treaty  of
Sistovo  (1791)  envisaged a  general amnesty  for the Serbs, but the ethnic
Albanians,  as  outlaws  or soldiers  in  the detachments  of  local pashas,
continued unhindered to assault the unprotected Serbian population. The wave
of religious intolerance towards Orthodox population, which acquired greater
proportion owing to the hostilities with Russia at the  end of 18th century,
effected  the forced  conversion  to Islam  of  a  larger number  of Serbian
families. The abolition of  the Pec Patriarchate (1766), whose  see and rich
estates  were  continually sought  after by local ethnic Albanian pashas and
beys, prompted  the  final wave  of  extensive Islamization  in  Kosovo  and
     Those who suffered the most during these centuries of utter lawlessness
were  the  Serbs, unreliable subjects who would rise  every  time  the Turks
would  wage  war  against one of  the  neighboring Great  Powers, and  whose
patriarchs  led  the people  to enemy  land. Although  initially  on a small
scale,  the Islamization  of Serbs in  Kosovo  and Metohia began  before the
penetration of ethnic Albanians.  More  widespread conversion to  Islam took
place  in  the  17th  and  the first  half of 18th  centuries,  when  ethnic
Albanians  began  to  wield  more  influence  on  political events  in these
regions. Many Serbs accepted Islamization as  a necessary  evil, waiting for
the moment when they  could revert to the faith of their ancestors, but most
of them  never lived to see that day. The first few generations of Islamized
Serbs preserved their  language  and observed their old  customs (especially
slava -  the family patron saint day, and the  Easter holiday).  But several
generations  later,  owing to  a strong  ethnic  Albanian environment,  they
gradually  began adopting  the Albanian dress  to safety, and outside  their
narrow  family circle they spoke the Albanian language. Thus came into being
a  special  kind  of  social  mimicry  which  enabled  converts to  survive.
Albanization  began only when  Islamized  Serbs, who were  void of  national
feeling, married girls from  ethnic  Albanian tribal community.  For a  long
time Orthodox Serbs called their Albanized compatriots  Arnautasi, until the
memory  of their  Serbian origin waned  completely,  though old  customs and
legends  about  their ancestors were  passed on from  one  generation to the
     For a  long  time  the  Arnautasi felt  neither like Turks  nor  ethnic
Albanians, because their customs and traditions set them apart, and yet they
did not  feel like Serbs  either, who considered Orthodoxy to be their prime
national trait. Many Arnautasi retained their old surnames until the turn of
the  last century. In Drenica the  Arnautasi bore  such  surnames as  Dokic,
Velic,  Marusic, Zonic, Racic,  Gecic, which unquestionably indicated  their
Serbian  origin. The situation was similar in Pec and its surroundings where
many Islamized  and  Albanized  Serbs  carries typically  Serbian  surnames:
Stepanovic, Bojkovic,  Dekic, Lekic,  Stojkovic, etc.  The eastern  parts of
Kosovo and Metohia, with their compact Serbian settlements, were the last to
undergo Islamization. The earliest Islamization in Upper Morava and Izmornik
is pinpointed as taking place in  the first decades of the 18th century, and
the latest  in 1870s. Toponyms  in  many ethnic Albanian villages  in Kosovo
show that Serbs had lived  there the preceding centuries, and in some places
Orthodox  cemeteries  were  shielded against desecrators by ethnic Albanians
themselves, because  they knew that  the graves  of their own  ancestors lay
     In the late 18th century,  all the people of  Gora, the mountain region
near Prizren were converted  to Islam. However they succeeded in  preserving
their  language  and  avoiding Albanization. There were  also some  cases of
conversion of Serbs to Islam in the  second half of 19th century, especially
during  the Crimean  War,  again  to  save their lives,  honor and property,
though far  more pronounced at the time was the process of emigration, since
families, sometimes even  entire  villages,  fled to Serbia  or  Montenegro.
Extensive  anthropogeographic  research  indicates  that  about 30%  of  the
present-day ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia  is  of Serbian
     1  N.  Samardzic,  Savremena  strana  stampa   o  Velikoj  seobi  Srba,
Istorijski Casopis,  vol. XXXII (1985),  pp.  79-103;  R. Trickovic,  Velika
seoba  Srba  1690. godine, in:  Kosovo  i  Metohija u srpskoj istoriji,  pp.
     2 N. Samardzic, op. cit., pp. 136-139.
     3 R. Trickovic, Ustanci,  seobe  i stradanja u XVIII veku, in: Kosovo i
Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 149-169
     4 Ibid
     5 Ibid
     6 Ibid
     7 Ibid
     8 J. Cvijic, La peninsule balkanique. Geographic humaine, (Paris 1918),
pp. 343-355.
     9 A. Urosevic, Kosovo, (Beograd 1965); D. Slijepcevic, Srpsko-arbanaski
odnosi kroz vekove, pp. 95-127.
     10  J.  Cvijic, Osnove za  geografiju  i  geologiju Makedonije  i Stare
Srbije, I-III, (Beograd 1906-1911).

     The series of long-scale Christian  national movements  in the Balkans,
triggered  off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the  earlier
centuries,  the  fate  of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom
were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the  European provinces
of Ottoman  Empire.  At  a  time when the  Eastern question was  again being
raised, particularly in the final quarter  of  19th  and the first decade of
20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey's policy
in  crushing  the  liberation movements  of  other Balkan  states. After the
congress of Berlin (1878) an Albanian  national movement flared up, and both
the Sultan  and Austria-Hungary,  a  power  whose  occupation of Bosnia  and
Herzegovina  heralded  its   further  expansion   deep   into  the  Balkans,
endeavored,  with  varying  degrees  of  success,  to  instrumentalize  this
movement. While the Porte used the ethnic Albanians as Islam's shock cutting
edge   against  Christians  in  the  frontier  regions  towards  Serbia  and
Montenegro,  particularly  in   Kosovo,  Metohia  and   the  nearby   areas,
Austria-Hungary's design was to use  the Albanians national movement against
the  liberatory aspirations of the two Serbian states that were impeding the
German  Drang nach Osten. In a  rift  between  two  only seemingly  contrary
strivings,  Serbia  and  Montenegro,  although independent since  1878, were
powerless (at least until the Balkan wars  1912-1913) without the support of
Russia or other Great  Power  to  effect  the position  of their compatriots
within the borders of Ottoman Empire.1
     During  the Serbian revolution,  which  ended  with the creation of the
autonomous Principality of Serbia  within the  Ottoman empire (1830), Kosovo
and  Metohia  acquired special  political  importance. The hereditary ethnic
Albanian  pashas, who had until then been mostly  renegades from the central
authorities  in Constantinople, feared  that the  flames of  rebellion might
spread to regions they controlled thus they became champions for the defense
the integrity of the Turkish Empire  and  leaders of many military campaigns
against the Serbian insurgents, at the  core of the  Serbian revolution  was
the Kosovo covenant,  embodied in the "revenge of Kosovo", a fresh, decisive
battle  against  the  Turkish invaders in the field of Kosovo. In  1806  the
insurgents were  preparing, like Prince Lazar  in his  day,  to come  out in
Kosovo and  weigh  their forces against the Turks,  However,  detachments of
Serbian insurgents reached only the fringes of northern Kosovo. Metohia, Old
Raska (Sandzak), Kosovo and northern  Macedonia remained outside the borders
of the Serbian principality. In order to  highlight  their importance in the
national and  political  ideologies of  the renewed Serbian state, they were
given  a new  collective  name. It was not by  chance  that  Vuk  Stefanovic
Karadzic, the father of modern Serbian literacy, named the  central lands of
the Nemanjic state - Old Serbia.2
     Fearing  the renewed Serbian state, Kosovo pashas engaged  in  ruthless
persecution in an effort to reduce number of  Serbs living in their spacious
holdings. The French travel writer F.C.H.L Pouqueville was  astounded by the
utter  anarchy  and ferocity of the  local pashas  towards  the  Christians.
Jashar-pasha Gjinolli of Prishtina was  one of the worst, destroying several
churches in Kosovo, seizing monastic lands and killing monks. In just a  few
years  of  sweeping terror,  he evicted more than  seventy Serbian  villages
between  Vucitrn  and Gnjilane, dividing up the seized land  among the local
Islamized  population and mountain folk that had settled there from northern
Albania. The fertile plains of Kosovo became desolate meadows as the Malisor
highlanders, unused to farming knew not to cultivate.
     The revolt of the ethnic Albanian pashas against the reforms introduced
by  the  sultans  and  fierce clashes  with  regular Turkish  troops  in the
thirties and forties  of the 19th century, emphasized  the anarchy in Kosovo
and Metohia,  causing fresh  suffering  among  the  Serbs  and  the  further
devastation  of   the  ancient  monasteries.  Since   neither   Serbian  nor
Montenegro,  two  semi-independent  Serbian  states,  were  able to give any
significant help  to the gravely endangered people, Serbian leaders form the
Pristina  and  Vucitrn  regions  turned  to  the  Russian  tsar  in  seeking
protection from their  oppressors.  They set  out  that they were forced  to
choose between  converting to Islam or  fleeing for Serbia as the  violence,
especially killings,  the persecution of  monks,  the  raping of  women  and
minors, had  exceeded  all  bounds.  Pogroms marked  the  decades  to  come,
especially  in  period  of   the  Crimean  War  (1853-1856)  when  anti-Slav
sentiments reached their  peak in the ottoman empire:  ethnic Albanians  and
the  Cherkeses, whom the Turks had  resettled in  Kosovo, joined the Ottoman
troops in persecuting Orthodox Serbs.
     The  brotherhood  of  Decani  and the  Pec  Patriarchate turned  to the
authorities of Serbia for protection.  Pointing to the  widespread  violence
and increasing banditry, and to  more frequent  and  persisted  attempts  by
Catholic missionaires to compel the impoverished and spiritually discouraged
monk  communities to concede to union. Prior  Serafim Ristic of Decani loged
complaints with  both the sultan and Russian tsar and in his book Plac Stare
Srbije (Zemun  1864) he penned hundreds of examples of violence  perpetrated
by  the   ethnic   Albanians   and  Turks  against  the  Serbs,  naming  the
perpetrators, victims and type of crime. In  Metohia  alone he recorded over
one hundred cases  in  which the Turkish  authorities, police  and judiciary
tolerated and  abetted robbery, bribery, murder,  arson, the desecration  of
churches, the seizure of property  and  livestock, the  rape  of  women  and
children, and the harassment of monks and priests. Both ethnic Albanians and
Turks  viewed assaults  against  Serbs  as acts pleasing to Allah  acts that
punishing infidels  for not believing in true God: kidnapping and Islamizing
girls were a way for true Muslims to approach Allah. Ethnic Albanian outlaws
(kayaks) became heroes  among  their  fellow-tribesmen  for fulfilling their
religious obligations  in the right way and spreading  the militant glory of
their clan and tribe.
     Eloquent testimonies to the scope of  the violence against the Serbs in
Kosovo and Metohia, ranging from blackmail and  robbery to rape  and murder,
come from  many foreign  travel-writers,  from A. F.  Hilferding  to  G.  M.
McKenzie - A. P. Irby. The Russian consul  in Prizren observed  that  ethnic
Albanians were settling the Prizren district underhidered  and were  trying,
with the Turks,  to eradicate Christians from Kosovo and Metohia. Throughout
the  19th  century  there was  no public safety on the roads of Metohia  and
Kosovo.  One could travel the roads which were  controlled  by tribal bands,
only with strong armed escort. The  Serbian peasant had no protection in the
field where he could be assaulted and robbed by an outlaw  or bandit, and if
he tried to resist,  he could be killed  without the  perpetrator  having to
face  charges for  the crime.  Serbs,  as non-Muslims,  were not entitled to
carry arms. Those who possessed and used arms in self-defence afterwards had
to  run  for  their life. Only the luckiest managed to reach the  Serbian or
Montenegrin  border  and  find  permanent  refuge  there. They were  usually
followed by large  families called family cooperatives (zadruga), comprising
as many as 30-50 members, which were unable to defend themselves against the
numerous relatives of the ethnic Albanian seeking vengeance for his death in
a conflict with an elder of their clan.
     Economic pressure, especially the forced reducing  of free  peasants to
serf, was  fostered by ethnic Albanian feudal lords with  a view to creating
large  land-holdings. In  the upheavals  of  war (1859,  1863)  the  Turkish
authorities tried to  restrict enterprising Serbian  merchants and craftsmen
who flourished in Pristina, Pec and  Prizren, setting ablaze entire quarters
where  they  worked  and had their shops. But it  was  the hardest  in rural
areas, because ethnic Albanians, bond together by tight communities of blood
brotherhoods or in tribes, and relatively socially homogeneous, were able to
support  their   fellow  tribesman  without  too  much  effort,   simply  by
terrorizing Serbs  and seizing their property and livestock.  Suppression in
driving of the  Serbian peasantry, space  was made  for their relatives from
northern Albania to move in,  whereby  increased  their  own prestige  among
other  tribes. Unused to life  in  the plains and  to  hard  field-work, the
settled ethnic Albanians preferred looting to farming.
     Despite  the hardships,  the Serbs  in Kosovo  and Metohia assembled in
religious-school  communes  which financed the  opening  of schools  and the
education of children,  collected donations for the restoration of  churches
and  monasteries  and,  when possible, tried  to  improve relations with the
Turkish authorities.  In  addition to  monastic  schools, the first  Serbian
secular  schools  started opening in Kosovo  from  mid-1830s, and in  1871 a
Seminary (Bogoslovija) opened in Prizren.  Unable to  help politically,  the
Serbia  systematically aided  churches and  schools from the 1840s  onwards,
sending teachers and encouraging the best students to  continue  with  their
studies.  The Prizren  seminary the hub  of  activity  on national  affairs,
educated  teachers  and  priests  for  all the  Serbian lands under  Turkish
dominion, and unbeknownst to  authorities, established contact  on a regular
basis  with the government  in Belgrade,  wherefrom it  received  means  and
instructions for political action.
     Ethnic  circumstances in  Kosovo and Metohia  in the early 19th century
can be reconstructed on the basis of data obtained from the books written by
foreign  travel  writers  and  ethnographers who  journeyed  across European
Turkey. Joseph Miller's studies  show that in  late 1830s, 56,200 Christians
and  80,150 Muslims lived in Metohia; 11,740 of  the Muslims were  Islamized
Serbs, and 2,700 of the Christians  were  Catholic Albanians. However, clear
picture of the ethnic structure during this  period cannot be obtained until
one takes into account the  fact that from 1815 to  1837 some  320 families,
numbering ten to 30  members each, fled  Kosovo and Metohia ahead  of ethnic
Albanian  violence. According to Hilferding's  figures,  Pec numbered  4,000
Muslim  and 800  Christian families,  Pristina  numbered  1,200 Muslim,  900
Orthodox and 100 Catholic families with a population of 12,000.3
     Russian  consul  Yastrebov  recorded  (for  a  1867-1874  period)   the
following figures for  226 villages in Metohia: 4,646 Muslim ethnic Albanian
homes,  1,861 Orthodox and 3,740 Islamized Serbs  and 142 homes  of Catholic
Albanians.  Despite  the massive departure  of  the  population for  Serbia,
available data show that until  Eastern crisis (1875-1878), Serbs formed the
largest  ethnic  group in  Kosovo and Metohia, largely owing to a high birth
     The biggest demographics upheaval in Kosovo and Metohia occurred during
the Eastern crisis, especially during the 1876-1878 Serbo-Turkish wars, when
the  question  of Old Serbia  started being  internationalized. The  Ottoman
empire  lost  a good deal of  territory  in its wars with Russia, Serbia and
Montenegro, and  Austria-Hungary occupied  Bosnia and  Herzegovina.  In  the
second war with  the Turks, Serbian troops liberated parts of  Kosovo: their
advance  guard reached Pristina via Gnjilane  and at the Gracanica monastery
held a memorial  service  for the medieval heroes of Kosovo battle...  After
Russia  and Turkey  called a truce,  Serbian troops  were forced to withdraw
from  Kosovo. Serbian delegations  from  Old Serbia  sent  petitions to  the
Serbian Prince, the Russian tsar and participants of the Congress of Berlin,
requesting that these lands merge  with Serbia.  Approximately 30,000 ethnic
Albanians retreated from  the liberated areas (partly under duress), seeking
refuge  in Kosovo  and  in Metohia,  while tens of thousands  of Serbs  fled
Kosovo  and Metohia for  Serbia ahead  of unleashed  bashibozouks, irregular
auxiliaries of Ottoman troops.4
     On the eve of the Congress of  Berlin in the summer  of  1878, when the
great powers  were deciding on  the fate of the Balkan nations, the Albanian
League  was formed in  Prizren, on the periphery of  ethnic Albanian  living
space.  The  League  called for  the preservation  of  Ottoman Empire in its
entirety  within  the  prewar boundaries and for the creation of  autonomous
Albanian vilayet out of the vilayets of  Kosovo, Scutari, Janina and Monster
(Bitolj),  regions  where  ethnic Albanians  accounted  for  44% of  overall
population. The territorial aspirations of the Albanian movement  as defined
in  1878, became part of all subsequent  national  programs. The new  sultan
Abdulhamid II (1878-1909) supported the League's pro-Ottoman and pro-Islamic
attitude. Breaking with the reformatory policy of  his  predecessors, sultan
adopted pan-Islamism as the ruling principle  of his reign. Unsatisfied with
the decisions taken at the Congress, the League  put up an  armed opposition
to concession  of  regions  of  Plav  and  Gusinje to  Montenegro,  and  its
detachments committed countless acts of  violence  against the Serbs,  whose
very existence posed a  permanent threat to Albanian  national interests. In
1881,  Turkey  employed force  to crush the  League,  whose radical wing was
striving towards an independent  Albanian state to show that it was  capable
of implementing  the  adopted reforms. Notwithstanding, under  the system of
Turkish rule in the Balkans, ethnic  Albanians continued to occupy the  most
prominent seats in the decades to come.
     The  ethnic Albanians' religious  and ethnic intolerance  of  the Serbs
took on a  new, political  tone.  The strategic objective  of their national
policy was  to systematically  edge the  Serbs  out of  these  regions.  The
sultan's policy of forming a chain of  ethnic Albanian settlements to secure
a  new border towards Serbia  and  to let ethnic  Albanians, as advocates of
Islam, crush all  unrest  by  Serbs and other  Christians  in  the  Empire's
European provinces, turned Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody battle-ground in
which  the persecution of the  Serbian populace  assumed  almost apocalyptic
proportions.  From  1876 to 1883, approximately 1,500  Serbian families fled
Kosovo and Metohia for Serbia ahead of Albanian violence.5
     Surrounded by his influential guard of ethnic Albanians, the Abdulhamid
II became  increasingly lenient  toward Islamized  Albanian tribes who  used
force  in  quelling  Christian  movements: they  were exempt  from providing
recruits, paying the most  of the  regular taxes  and  allowed  at times  to
refuse  the  orders  of local authorities.  This lenient  policy towards the
ethnic Albanians  and  tolerance  for  the  violence  committed  against the
Serbian population created a feeling  of superiority  in the lower strata of
Albanian  society. The knowledge that no matter what the offense  they would
not  be  held  responsible, encouraged  ethnic Albanians  to ignore all  the
lesser  authorities. Social stratification  resulted on increasing number of
renegades who lived solely off banditry or as outlaws. The policy of failing
to punish ethnic Albanians led to total anarchy which, escaping all control,
increasingly worried  the authorities  in Constantinople.  Anarchy  received
fresh impetus at the end of the 19th century when Austria-Hungary, seeking a
way to expand towards the  Bay  of Salonika, encouraged ethnic Albanians  to
clash with  the Serbs and disobey the  local authorities. Ruling  circles in
Vienna saw the ethnic Albanians as a permanent wedge between the two Serbian
states  and,  with the  collapse  of  the  system of Turkish rule,  a bridge
enabling the Dual Monarchy to extend in the Vardar valley. Thus,  Kosovo and
Metohia  became the hub of great  power  confrontation for  supremacy in the
     The only protection for the Serbs  in Kosovo and Metohia until  the end
of 1880s came from Russian diplomats, Russia  being the traditional guardian
of  the Orthodox and Slav population  in the Ottoman  Empire Russia's waning
influence in the Balkans following the Congress of Berlin had an unfavorable
impact  on  the Serbs in Turkey. Owing  to  Milan  and Alexander Obrenovic's
Austrophile policy, Serbia lost valuable Russian support at the Porte in its
efforts to  protect Serbian  population In Kosovo  and  Metohia, Serbs  were
regarded  as a  rebellious,  treasonous element, every move  they  made  was
carefully  watched and any  signs of  rebellion were ruthlessly  punished. A
military tribunal was  established in Pristina  in 1882  which  in  its five
years of work sent hundreds of national leaders to prison.
     The  persistent efforts of  Serbian officials to reach  agreement  with
ethnic Albanian tribal  chiefs in Kosovo and Metohia, and thus help curb the
anarchy failed to stem the tide of  violence. Belgrade officials did not get
a  true picture of the  persecutions until a Serbian consulate was opened in
Pristina in 1889, five centuries after a battle  in Kosovo.  The  government
was informed that ethnic Albanians were systematically mounting attacks on a
isolated Serbian villages and driving people  to  eriction  with  treats and
murders:  "Go  to Serbia -you can't survive here!". The assassination of the
first Serbian Consul in the streets of Pristina revealed the depth of ethnic
Albanian  intolerance.  Until  1905,  not a  single  Serbian  diplomat  from
Pristina could visit the  town  of  Pec  or tour  Metohia, the hotbed of the
anarchy. Consuls in Pristina (who  included the well-known writers Branislav
Nusic and  Milan  M. Rakic) wrote,  aside  to their regular reports, indepth
descriptions  of  the  situation  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia.  Serbia's   sole
diplomatic  success  was  the  election  of  a  Serbian  candidate  as   the
Raska-Prizren  Metropolitan  in 1896,  following  a  series  of anti-Serbian
orientated Greek Bishops who had been enthroned in Prizren since 1830.
     Outright campaigns of terror were mounted after a Greaco-Turkish war in
1897, when it  appeared that  the Serbs would  suffer  the same fate as  the
Armenians in Asia Minor whom the Kurds had wiped out with blessing from  the
sultan.  Serbian  diplomats  launched  a  campaign  at  the  Porte  for  the
protection of their compatriots,  submitting extensive documentation on four
hundred  crimes of murder, blackmail, theft, rape, seizure of land, arson of
churches.  They  demanded  that  energetic  measures  be  taken  against the
perpetrators   and  that  the  investigation  be  carried  out  by  a  joint
Serbo-Turkish  committee.  But, without the support  of  Russia,  the  whole
effort  came   to  naught.  The  prime  minister  of  Serbia  observed  with
resignation that 60,000 people had fled Old Serbia for  Serbia in the period
from 1880 to 1889. In Belgrade, a Blue Book  was printed for the  1899 Peace
Conference  in  the  Hague, containing  diplomatic correspondence on acts of
violence committed by ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia, but Austria-58
     Hungary prevented  Serbian diplomats from raising  the  question before
the  international  public.  In  the  ensuing years  the  Serbian government
attempted to secretly supply Serbs  in  Kosovo with arms.  The first  larger
caches  of guns were  discovered, and 190l  saw another  pogrom  in  Ibarski
Kolasin  (northern  Kosovo),  which  ended   only   when  Russian  diplomats
     The  widespread  anarchy reached a  critical point  in  1902  when  the
Serbian  government  with the support of Montenegrin  diplomacy again raised
the  issue of the protection of the Serbs in Turkey, demanding that  the law
be applied equally to all subjects of Empire, and that an end be put  to the
policy of indulging ethnic Albanians, that they be disarmed and that Turkish
garrisons  be  reinforced  in  areas  with  a mixed  Serbian-ethnic Albanian
population.  Russia,  and then  France, supported Serbia's demands.  The two
most  interested  parties,  Austria-Hungary  and Russia, agreed in  1897  to
maintain  the status  quo in the Balkans, although they  initiated a  reform
plan to rearrange Turkey's European provinces. Fearing for their privileges,
ethnic Albanians launched  a  major  uprising in 1903;  it  began  with  new
assaults  against  Serbs  and  ended  with the  assassination of  the  newly
appointed Russian consul in Mitrovica, accepted as a  protector of the Serbs
in Kosovo.
     The  1903 restoration of  democracy in Serbia under  new King  Petar  I
Karadjordjevic marked an end to  Austrophile policy and  the turning towards
Russia. In response, Austria-Hungary stepped up its propaganda efforts among
ethnic  Albanians. At the  request of the  Dual Monarchy, Kosovo and Metohia
were  exempt from the Great Powers Reform action (1903-1908).  A new wave of
persecution ensued:  in 1904,108 people fled for Serbia  from  Kosovo alone.
Out  of  146 different cases of violence,  46  ended  in murder; a group  of
ethnic  Albanians  raped  a  seven-year-old  girl.  In  1905,  out  of   281
registrated  cases  of violence, 65 were murders, and  at just  one wedding,
ethnic Albanians killed nine wedding guests.7
     The Young Turk revolution in 1908, which ended the "Age of  Oppression"
(as Turkish historiography refers to the reign of Abdulhamid II), brought no
changes in  relations between ethnic Albanians  and Serbs. The Serbs'  first
political organization was created under  the  auspices  of the  Young  Turk
regime,  but  the  ethnic  Albanian  revolt  against  the  new  authorities'
pan-Turkish  policy triggered off a  fresh wave  of violence. In  the second
half  of  1911 alone, Old  Serbia registrated 128 cases of theft, 35 acts of
arson,  41 instances  of banditry, 53 cases of  extortion, 30  instances  of
blackmail, 19 cases of intimidation, 35 murders,  37  attempted  murders, 58
armed  attacks on  property, 27  fights  and cases of abuse,  13 attempts at
Islamization, and  18  cases of  the  infliction  of serious  bodily injury.
Approximately  400,000  people  fled  Old Serbia  (Kosovo,  Metohia,  Raska,
northern  and  northwest Macedonia) for Serbia ahead of ethnic  Albanian and
Turkish violence, and about 150,000 people fled Kosovo  and Metohia, a third
of  the overall Serbian population in  these  parts. Despite the persecution
and the steady outflow of people. Serbs still accounted for almost half  the
population  in Kosovo  and  Metohia in  1912.  According to  Jovan  Cvijic's
findings,  published in 1911,  there were 14,048 Serbian homes in Kosovo, 3,
826 in Pec and  its environs, and  2,400 Serbian homes  with roughly 200,000
inhabitants in the Prizren region. Comparing this statistics dating from the
middle of the century, when there were approximately 400,000 Serbs living in
Kosovo  and Metohia, Cvijic's estimate that by 1912  about  150,000 refugees
had fled to Serbia seems quite acceptable.8
     The  Serbian  and  Montenegrin governments  aided the  ethnic  Albanian
rebels  against Young Turks  up to a point: they took in refugees  and  gave
them arms with a view to undermining Turkish rule in the Balkans, dispelling
Austro-Hungarian influence on their leaders and curbing the violence against
Serbs. But it was all in vain as intolerance for the Serbs ran  deep  in all
Albanian  national  movements.   Serbia,  Montenegro,  Bulgaria  and  Greece
realized that the issue of Christian survival in  Turkey had to  be resolved
by arms. Since Turkey refused to guarantee the Christians the same rights it
had promised the ethnic Albanian insurgents, the Balkan allies  declared war
in the fall of 1912.
     1 D.  T. Batakovic, Od srpske revolucije  do  istocne krize: 1804-1878,
in: Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 172-208.
     2 D. T.  Batakovic  (ed.), Savremenici o Kosovu  i Metohiji  1852-1912,
(Beograd 1988), Forward, pp. XVII-XXXVII.
     3 Ibid
     4 D. T. Batakovic, Ulazak u sferu evropskog interesovanja, in: Kosovo i
Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 216-231.
     5 V. Bovan, Jastrebov u Prizrenu, (Pristina 1984), pp. 180-185.
     6  Documents  diplomatoques.  Correspondence  concernant  les actes  de
violence  et de  brigandage des  Albanias dans la Vielle  Serbie (Vilayet de
Kosovo) 1898-1899, (Belgrade MDCCCXCIX), pp. 1-145
     7 List of violence, in. Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 672-697.
     8  D. T. Batakovic, Anarhija i  genocid u  Staroj  Srbiji, in: Kosovo i
Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 271-280.

     Serbia  and Montenegro, states whose national ideologies  were based on
the  Kosovo  covenant,  welcomed  the  war  as a  chance  to  fulfill  their
centuries-old desire to avenge Kosovo. Volunteers from all the Serbian lands
rushed to join the army. Carried by the feeling  that they were fulfilling a
historic  mission, Serbian troops set out  for  Kosovo. Attempts to  isolate
ethnic Albanians from the war actions failed: the leaders of their  movement
had  decided  to defend  their Ottoman homeland  in arms.  The Serbian army,
together with Montenegrin, liberated Kosovo without much fight,  and its 3rd
army stopped in  Gracanica to  hold a commemoration for the heroes  of  1389
Kosovo battle. Montenegrin troops marched into Pec,  Decani and  met Serbian
troops in Djakovica. Leaders of the ethnic Albanian movement fled to Albania
where an  independent state  had  been pro-clamed under  the auspices of the
Austro-Hungarian diplomacy. Seeking  an outlet to the  Adriatic sea in order
to save themselves from the over-tightening grip of Austria-Hungary, Serbian
troops  entered  norther  Albanian  ports,  but under the  decisions of  the
Conference  of  Ambassadors  in  London  (1912-1913),  they were  forced  to
withdraw. Austria-Hungary struggled to  win  as  big  an  Albanian state  as
possible  to  counter-balance Serbia  and  Montenegro, but both  delegations
stressed  that  under  no conditions  would  they  agree  to let  Kosovo and
Metohia, as holy lands of  Serbs, remain  outside their  borders.  Raids  on
Serbian  territory by armed  Albanian  detachments  in  1913,  protected  by
Turkish  and  Austro-Hungarian  services, were  aimed  at  destabilizing the
administration in  the newly  liberated regions, heralding Austria-Hungary's
imminent  setting of accounts  with Serbia, the chief obstacle to the German
Drang nach Osten.
     World War  I  hindered  not  only  the  stabilization  of  the  Serbian
administration in  Kosovo and Montenegrin  in Metohia, but also the creation
of  a  union between  the two  Serbian  states.  Austria-Hungary helped  the
revanchist aspirations of fugitive ethnic Albanian leaders and fanned  plans
for the creation of  a  Greater  Albania inclusive of  Kosovo,  Metohia  and
western  Macedonia. Organized by  Austro-Hungarian  military and  diplomatic
services, detachments  comprising ethnic Albanian refugees  from Kosovo  and
Macedonia  were formed in Albania (where civil war was  raging), with a view
to provoking  an  uprising in Kosovo and  opening an  another  front  toward
Serbia. In  the summer  of 1914,  the Serbian government helped  Essad-Pasha
Topfani, a  supporter  of the Balkan  cooperation and the Entente powers, to
assume power in Albania and with him signed a treaty on military cooperation
and one on  a real union. In the summer of 1915, following the letter of the
treaty,  the Serbian army  intervened in  Albania to  protect  Essad-pasha's
regime and crush  an uprising by  supporters of the Triple Alliance. After a
joint Austro-Hungarian, German and Bulgarian offensive against Serbia in the
fall of 1915.  The initial  plan had  been to  put up decisive resistance in
Kosovo, but the view  that it was better to reach  the allied forces  on the
Albanian coast prevailed. Owing to hunger, disease, a bad winter and clashes
with Albanian tribes  in areas not controlled by Essad-Pasha,  approximately
70,000 of the  220,000 soldiers died in  Albania, and  only  a third  (about
60,000)  of   the   200,000   civilian  refugees   made   it  to  Corfu  and
     After penetrating the Salonika front in the  fall  of  1918, the allied
troops  liberated  Kosovo and  Metohia and turned over power to the  Serbian
administration.  There were sporadic revolts,  especially after the founding
of  the Kosovo  Committee  in  Albania which called  men  to fight  for  the
creation of a Greater Albania. Serbian troops occupied Albanian border areas
and tried to put in power Essad-Pasha, who was at the allied camp in Athens.
     Italy,  having  assumed  the  role  of  Albania's protector  after  the
collapse  of  Austria-Hungary,  became  the  chief  opponent  of  the  newly
proclaimed Yugoslav-state.  Owing to  a  dispute over  supremacy  along  the
Adriatic littoral,  Italy set up a puppet regime in Albania, encouraged  its
aspirations in Kosovo,  Metohia  and northwestern Macedonia, with the aim of
turning Albania  into  a  foothold for  its  advance and expansion into  the
     At the Peace Conference in Paris,  the Yugoslav  delegation upheld  the
stand  that Albania  should  be  an independent state  within the borders of
1913, but in the event such a solution was rejected, it demanded territorial
compensation from the Drim River  to Scutari. After strong external pressure
and internal upheaval, the question  of  Albania's independence was resolved
at the Conference  of the Great Powers ambassadors in 1921,  and  the border
with the Kingdom of  Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was  finally drawn  in 1926.
Kosovo emigrants in  Albania worked to expand the movement  for the creation
of  a  Greater Albania. Guerilla detachments were infiltrated  into Yugoslav
territory and, clashing  with  Yugoslav  troops  and  the authorities,  they
created an unsafe border area which had to be placed under a special regime.
The  involvement of  Yugoslav  diplomacy in  internal  tribal, religious and
political struggles in Albania was aimed  at edging out  a foreign influence
and helping  to establish a regime that would sever the continual subversive
     Owing  to  new  political   factors  within  the  Yugoslavia   and  new
international  circumstances, the  creation of Kingdom of Serbs,  Croats and
Slovenes  (which  in  1931  became  Kingdom  of  Yugoslavia), lent  a  fresh
dimension  to Serbo-Albanian relations  in Kosovo  and Metohia, and to state
relations between Yugoslavia and Albania (although they had been  defined by
the  inherited  ethnic  strife).  The  Albanian question once again became a
means  of political  pressure on the new state, especially  against Serbs as
its  driving  force.  With fascism  and Nazism  emerging,  revanshist states
defeated  in  World  War  I,  unsatisfied  with  the  set  borders  and  the
distribution  of political power, rallying around Italy, tried to  undermine
the foundations of Yugoslavia in its most vulnerable spots - Kosovo, Metohia
and Macedonia, lands where burden of five centuries of Ottoman  rule  opened
the deepest civilisational chasms.2
     The new  state had the difficult  task of severing feudal  relations in
Kosovo, Metohia  and Macedonia, of  carrying out  the agrarian reform and of
populating the area. The settlement of  Serbs from  the  passive  regions of
Montenegro, Bosnia and Vojna  Krajina in  Croatia, was meant to  bring about
the  desirable ethnic balance in the sensitive border region. The first step
in  pulling  these  regions out of their centuries-old  backwardness was the
abolition of the feudal system in 1919, when an end was  put to  serfdom and
the serfs were declared owners of the lands they tilled. For the first time,
native Serbs and many poor ethnic Albanian families obtained their own land.
Colonization  began  in 1920  without being adequately  prepared,  thus  the
earliest  settlers  were  on  their own, and  the  authorities in charge  of
carrying out the task took advantage of rough edges of  the reform to engage
in various forms of abuse. After the first  decade, the  agrarian reform and
colonization proved to suffer from major shortcomings, which were hardest on
the  settlers themselves. In principle, taking land away from private owners
for the  purpose of settlement was forbidden, though small lots of land were
thus obtained for the purpose of reallocating holdings, and the owners  were
alloted land elsewhere. The pseudo-ownership rights of some ethnic Albanians
who could  not prove their ownership of the land  they had been using  after
its real owners had  left, created some confusion. Initially, settlers  were
mostly alloted untitled land, pastures, clearings, barren or abandoned land,
forests  and, to a lesser extent, lands of fugitive outlaws.  Only 5% of the
total amount of land  was arable. During the two waves of colonisation, from
1922-1929 and from 1933-1938, 10,877 families, some 60,000 people settled on
120,672 hectares of land (about 15, 3% of the land). Another 99,327 hectares
planned  for  settlement  were not alloted. For  the incoming settlers,  330
settlements and  villages  were built with  12,689 houses, 46 schools and 32
     The kacak (renegade,  outlaw)  movement, which posed  a growe threat to
personal safety of  settlers living in  border areas during the 1920's was a
major obstacle to efforts at stabilizing the  political situation. The kacak
movement, a  remaining from  the  Turkish times, was  mostly  coordinated by
ethnic Albanian emigrants from Kosovo,  as a movement for the unification of
Kosovo  and Metohia with  Albania.  Operating separately  were  a  number of
outlaw bands which  plundered the remote  and poorly protected border areas,
evading  taxes   and  military  service.  The  border  military  authorities
responded  to  the  perpetual  assaults  and  murders  of  local  officials,
gendarmes,  priests  and  teachers, to  the looting  of and setting fire  to
isolated Serbian  estates, by driving out the perpetrators,  using artillery
in the worst of  cases.  The  estates  of  the  most  dangerous outlaws were
confiscated  and the homes of their accomplices set  afire as a warning. The
1921 amnesty for  all crimes excepting murder produced only partial results:
the  outlaws surrended  just before  winter, but were back in the forests by
spring. From 1918 to  1923,478 kacaks surrendered, 23  were  captured and 52
killed. Most of those (231) who were captured or who  surrendered were  sent
to military commands (they evaded regular military service), 195 were turned
over to the courts, and 75 were acquitted. The kacak movement began tapering
off  in  1923  when on  of the more  liberal governments issued a  decree on
amnesty inclusive of more  serious  crimes. The amnesty  and  good relations
with Albania helped bring an end to the kacak movement.4
     The ethnic  Albanian and  Turkish population in Kosovo and Metohia were
reluctant to  reconcile with living in  a  European-organized  state  where,
instead of the  status of the absolutely  privileged class they  had enjoyed
during the Turkish  rule, they  acquired only  civil  equality with what had
previously been the infidel masses. In 1919 the leading ethnic Albanian beys
from Kosovo,  Metohia  and  northwestern  Macedonia  founded  the  Dzemijet,
political party  which in 1921 had 12 seats in  Parliament and 14  two years
later. The Dzemijet was  banned in 1925 because  of its ties with kacaks and
the government in Tirana, but in continued to operate clandestinely. Besa, a
secret  student organization  financed  by Tirana and  then by  the  Italian
legation  in Belgrade,  propagated the annexation of  Kosovo  and Metohia to
Albania. Because of their support to the kacaks and  ties with Kosovo migr
circles, ethnic Albanians  were regarded with suspicion  in Yugoslavia, as a
subversive element ready  to revolt at a given opportunity and annex certain
regions to Albania. Under  the Constitution, ethnic Albanians, as a national
minority,  were  guaranteed the  use of their  mother  tongue  in elementary
schools, but  everything  was reduced to education in religious schools. The
Yugoslav government wished to resolve the rights of minorities reciprocally,
with the Serbian minority in Albania being allowed to open  its  own schools
and  the  question of  the  Orthodox eparchy in Albania being  resolved, but
agreement was  never reached. Not even the  leading beys from the  Dzemijet,
who looked out solely for their own privileges,  raised the question of  the
schooling for their compatriots. They were satisfied with  religious schools
for ethnic Albanian youth. Out of 37,685 pupils in 252 compulsory schools in
1940/1941,  11,  876  ethnic  Albanian   pupils  attended  classes   in  the
Serbo-Croatian language.5
     Discontent with the new state among the ethnic Albanian  masses stepped
up emigration to Turkey, in whose Muslim environment they felt at home. Many
openly admitted that they could not bear being  ruled over by members of the
former  infidel masses,  Serbs, whom they pejoratively  called  Ski (Slavs).
Emigration started right after  the Balkan wars  and  many refugees  who had
fled to Albania to avoid conflicts with the  authorities, returned  to their
homes  after  the war and the quelling  of kacak operations. By the  1930's,
thousands of ethnic Albanian  and Turkish families  had voluntarily moved to
Turkey,  and in 1938,  after lenghtly negotiations, the Yugoslav and Turkish
governments prepared a convention on the emigration of  some 200,000 Muslims
(ethnic Albanians and Turks)  from  Kosovo-Metohia and Macedonia to  Turkey.
Because the Turkish government  abandoned the  agreement and a lack of funds
to dispatch the emigrants, the convention  was  never implemented. According
to official figures, from  1927  to  1939,  the number  of  ethnic  Albanian
emigrants  in Turkey  numbered  19,279, and 4,322 in Albania. In  comparison
with  the 30,000  Serbs, Creates  and  Slovenes who  emigrated  annually for
economic  reasons to the  United  States and  other  transoceanic countries,
migrations from  far more backward regions to Turkey and Albania  were not a
remarkable phenomenon.6
     Population   census  covering  the  inter-war  period  shows  no  major
emigration of ethnic Albanians. According to the 1921 census there were 439,
657 ethnic  Albanians in the  Kingdom  of Yugoslavia (accounting for 3,67 of
the country's total population), 15,000 less than prior to the liberation in
1912, and they lived  in Kosovo, Metohia and  in Macedonia. The 1931  census
gives following  figures: 505,259  ethnic  Albanians  (3,62%  of  the  total
population),  lived  in three administrative  units  (banovina):  in  Zetska
banovina 150,062  (16%),  in Moravska  banovina 48,300 (3,36%), in Vardarska
banovina 302,901  (19,24 %).  Figures from  the 1939  census  show  that the
non-Slav  population  (ethnic  Albanians,  Turks,  Gypsies,  etc.)  numbered
422,828 people, or 65,6%, the native Slav population accounted for 25,2% and
the settlers (mostly Serbs) for 9,2% .7
     After the  Yugoslav army  capitulated  in the  April  war  of 1941, the
Kingdom  of Yugoslavia was  torn  asunder: Serbia came under  direct  German
occupation,  and its individual parts divided among the allies  of the Third
Reich. During the  April war, armed groups of  ethnic Albanians attacked the
army, unarmed settlers and native  Serbs. Because  of the  Trepca mines, the
district of Kosovska Mitrovica  remained under German occupation,  while the
eastern parts of Kosovo where given to Bulgaria, and on August 12, 1941, the
rest of Kosovo  along with Macedonia and  parts of  Montenegro and Macedonia
were annexed  to  Greater  Albania under Italian protectorship.  Almost  all
settlers houses  were  set  afire within just a few  days, their  owners and
families  killed  or  forced to  leave  for Montenegro  and  Serbia.  Forced
migration is believed to have encompassed some 100,000 Serbs from Kosovo and
Metohia. From 1941 to 1944,  ethnic Albanians serving the Italian and German
occupation authorities killed  some 10,000 Serbs; the  worst  of suffer were
Serbs  in Pec  and Vitomirica where  ethnic Albanian  volunteers  formations
wrought  terror: before executing their victims they gouged out  their eyes,
sliced off their ears and  severed  other  parts  of their bodies. Dozens of
Orthodox churches were destroyed,  set afire and  looted, priests  and monks
were arrested and killed and many Orthodox cemeteries desecrated. Divided up
into several police  and  paramilitary  formations, ethnic Albanians were in
the forefront  of  the  massacres, and  the German  command  was  forced  to
intervene to  stop them. Ethnic Albanians used various forms of intimidation
in  an effort  to  drive away  the remaining  Serbs from  Kosovo.  After the
collapse  of  Italy  in   1943,  Kosovo   and   Metohia  came  under  German
administration,  which supported  the Greater Albanian ideology  of national
leadership, helping the forming of the Second Albanian League at the  and of
1943. The  21st SS  "Scanderbey" division was formed out of ethnic  Albanian
volunteers  in the  spring  of  1944. The  Balli Kombelar,  Greater Albanian
organization,  took the  lead  in ethnically  purging  Kosovo,  warning  the
Serbian population to move out of Kosovo and Metohia before it was too late.
The  last  migratory   wave  was   registrated   in   the  first  months  of
     Civil  war  in  Yugoslavia  (1941-1945)  raged  in  Kosovo between  the
Chetniks, regular  royalist  forces,  led  by general Dragoljub  Mihailovic,
which operated mainly in northern parts of Kosovo, and partisan units of the
Communist Party of  Yugoslavia  (CPY)  led by  Josip  Broz Tito. Both armies
dashed  with  the occupational troops and ethnic Albanian formation. The CPY
condemned  the  "the Serbian bourgeoisie's policy" in inter-war period, thus
there  were a few  hundred ethnic Albanians in the partisan detachments. The
policy of winning over ethnic  Albanians and aid provided by CPY instructors
in the  forming and developing of Communist Party in Albania did not produce
the   expected  results.  Moreover,   representatives  of   ethnic  Albanian
communists from Yugoslavia and Albania  meeting at a conference in Bunaj (on
Albanian   territory),  January  1-2,1944,   adopted  a  resolution  on  the
annexation of Kosovo and Metohia to  Albania after  the  end of the war. The
common ethnic Albanians saw both  the partisans and Chetniks as Serbs, their
age-old enemies.9
     1  D T Batakovic, Oslobodjenje Kosova i Metohije, in: Kosovo i Metohija
u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 249-280
     2 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 178-182.
     3 V. Djuretic, Kosovo i Metohija u Jugoslaviji, in: Kosovo i Metohija u
srpskoj  istoriji, pp.  95-106; N.  Gacesa,  Naseljavanje  Kosova i Metohije
posle Prvog svetskog rata, in:  Kosovo. Proslost i sadasnjost, pp. 95-106;M.
Obradovic,  Agrarna reforma i kolonizacija na Kosovu  (1918-1941),  Pristina
     4  B.  Gligorijevic, Fatalna  jednostranost. Povodom  knjige B. Horvata
"Kosovsko pitanje", Istorija XX veka, 1-2 (1988), pp. 179-193.
     5  R. Rajovic, Autonomija Kosova.  Istorijsko-pravna  studija, (Beograd
1985), pp.
     6 B. Gligorijevic, op. cit., pp. 185-192
     7 Ibid, pp. 187-191.
     8 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp.  199-210; V. Djuretic,  op  cit.,
pp.  311-318; A.  Jeftic,  Hronika  stradanja  Srba  na  Kosovu  i  Metohiji
(1941-1989), in Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 405-414.
     9 V. Djuretic, op. cit., pp. 320-325

     With  the  arrival of  Soviet  troops  in Yugoslavia,  partisan  units,
well-armed and their ranks freshly  recruited, liberated Kosovo  and Metohia
in the late fall of 1944, and established  their rule. Local ethnic Albanian
communists were  entrusted with setting up  power,  and thousands of  ethnic
Albanians were drafted and sent to the front (two mutinies occurred in Vrsac
and Bar).  Few  weeks after the  establishment of communist rule major armed
revolt broke out among the newly mobilized ethnic Albanian units unsatisfied
with the solution that Kosovo will remain within the  borders of Yugoslavia.
For the quelling of ethnic Albanian revolt troops had to be  brought in from
other  areas and  in  February  1945 military rule was imposed in Kosovo and
     By decree of  the  new communist authorities (March 16, 1945),  Serbian
and Montenegrin settlers who  had  been  expelled during the war were banned
from returning  to their abandoned estates as they were considered exponents
of  the  inter-war "Greater Serbian hegemonistic policy" On the  other hand,
international circumstances and particularly  close  ties with the communist
leadership in Albania, prompted Tito to take a lenient attitude  towards the
ethnic Albanian minority: ethnic Albanians settled in Kosovo by the Italians
and Germans during the  war were not expelled; on  the contrary, the  border
was open  to new  immigrants from Albania until 1948. The precise  number of
ethnic  Albanians  who settled  in Kosovo during  and after the war  is  yet
unknown: estimates range from 15,000 to 300,000, but the first figures after
the war were from 70,000-75,000. Compared with the 100,000 Serbs who had bee
forcibly moved out and forbidden to return after the war, these figures show
that acceptance  of the situation created under the occupation created major
disturbance in the ethnic structure of Kosovo and Metohia.1
     The  evolution  of Kosovo  and Metohia political  status  in  communist
Yugoslavia  cannot be comprehended  without some  knowledge  about the CPY's
national  policy in  the inter-war  period.  As a section of  the  Communist
International (Comintern),  the  CPY worked after World War I to destroy the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia as a "Versailles creation" in which  "Greater  Serbian
hegemony"  oppressed  the other  nations  in  the state. Following  Moscow's
instructions,  the  CPY  adopted  the  stand   in   1924  that  Yugoslavia's
non-Serbian  nations should be allowed to create their own separate national
states and that minorities should be  allowed  to  join their parent states:
Albania,  Hungary  and  Bulgaria. The policy  of destroying the  "Versailles
system" in Europe, as an instrument of imperialist powers -Great Britain and
France, was to be completed  in the case of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the
breaking up of the Serbian lands.
     When the  Comintern  changed its political course in 1935,  deciding to
preserve  the  Yugoslav  community with  the  a  view  to grouping  together
anti-fascist forces, the CPY changed its course too, leaving the question of
settlement of  position  and  status of the  minorities for  a  later  date.
Contrary to the  prewar  thesis that a  strong  Serbia  guaranteed a  strong
Yugoslavia, the communists upheld the view that the only way to  establish a
stable state was  by  federalizing Yugoslavia and  breaking the supremacy of
the Serbs. In its proclamations to the people of Kosovo and Metohia, the CPY
blamed the Serbian bourgeoisie  for  the mistreatment and persecution of the
ethnic  Albanian  population,  thus indirectly shifting  the blame from  the
ruling  structures  of  the  Kingdom  of Yugoslavia  to the  entire  Serbian
     Communist rule was thus established in 1945 with such stands  regarding
the  national question. After a strong ethnic  Albanian revolt in the winter
of 1944/1945, representatives of the new authorities voted in July 1945 that
Kosovo  and Metohia remain  within Serbia. In September  that same  year,  a
separate autonomous region called Kosmet was formed, and in northern Serbia,
the  autonomous  province of Vojvodina. This solution set the precedent only
in  Serbia:  the borders  of other  Yugoslav  republics were drawn  so as to
remedy as  much as possible the "injustices" done  in  the inter-war period,
although  their ethnic  structures gave cause  for  creation  of  autonomous
units. The policy  of pacifying Serbia and  the  Serbs as a hegemonic nation
was  implemented by the CPY  leadership, headed by Josip Broz Tito, with the
slogan "brotherhood and unity" of  all Yugoslav nations, Serbian communists,
imbued  with  Yugoslavism  and  the proletarian  internationalism,  followed
Tito's political  conceptions to the last without realizing its far-reaching
     The extent to which Serbian lands  were of the disposal of Yugoslavia's
communist leadership is evident  from conceptions about the internal borders
in  the projected  Balkan federation of communist countries. In negotiations
with the  leader of the  Albanian communists, Enver Hoxha,  Tito promised to
concede Kosovo  and Metohia to Albania if it entered  the Balkan federation.
After  Yugoslavia broke with Stalin  and  Cominform  in 1948, Enver  Hoxha's
Albania  became a dangerous center  of propaganda  and subversive activities
against  regime  in Yugoslavia, ultimately aimed at annexing Kosovo, Metohia
and parts of Macedonia to Albania, where "Albanianism", embodied in the idea
of  creating a Greater Ethnic  Albania,  entered  the  foundation  of  state
     Established  under  the 1946  Constitution,  the autonomy of Kosovo and
Metohia  was considerably  by  the 1963 Constitution,  and after inter-party
strife and fall  of Tito's deputy  and chief of the State Security  Service,
party strife and  fall of Tito's  deputy  and  chief of the  State  Security
Service, Aleksandar Rankovic (1966), accused in Kosovo and Metohia of taking
a  discriminatory  attitude  towards  ethnic  Albanians,  the  purging  on a
large-scale of Serbian cadres  in  high  offices  in the  administration and
police  started.  They  were  accused   by  ethnic  Albanian  communists  of
persecution and abuse of innocent people, particularly in drives of Security
Service to confiscate weapons, although Serbs suffered from the persecutions
just as much as ethnic  Albanians. The Serbian Orthodox church suffered most
of all. Church  lands came  under  the  blow  of agrarian reforms,  monastic
property  was confiscated, priests and monks were arrested and convicted and
in  1950 in Djakovica, one of the  biggest churches in Metohia was destroyed
in order that a monument for Kosovo partisan be erected.5
     Mass demonstrations by ethnic Albanians (mostly students) in Kosovo and
Metohia  in  November   1968  (under  the  slogan  "Down  With  The  Serbian
Oppressors"), showed that  the struggle against abuses by the state security
bodies was  turning  into a revanchist policy towards Serbs and Serbia,  and
that at its roots lax the idea of a Greater Albania. The demonstrations were
staged  during  a major political  upheaval over the  reorganization  of the
Yugoslav federation, changes resulting from the 1974  Constitution, when the
federal status of Kosovo and  Metohia (renamed the Province of Kosovo, since
Metohia had a Serbian and Orthodox connotations) was legally sanctioned as a
constitutive  element of  the  Yugoslav  state. The  autonomous province  of
Kosovo, a  political community with many elements of statehood (it  was even
granted the right to a Constitution), and only formally dependent on Serbia,
served the plans of secessionists who wanted to drive the Serbian population
out of these regions and  create an  ethnically  pure  Kosovo. The policy of
ethnically purging a territory  is  racist, and the means  to effect it  are
always violent.6
     The  normalization  of Yugoslavia's relations with Albania in 1971  and
the  free exchange  of  ideas,  teachers and  school  books  encouraged  the
Albanization  of Kosovo and Metohia. In less than a decade, Kosovo's leaders
managed to impose the  ethnic Albanian language as the  official language in
the   province   and  impose,  though  the   system's   legal  institutions,
discriminatory  attitude  to  the Serbian  population.  The  extent  of  the
discrimination  was  most  evident when the so-called  principle  of  ethnic
representation was applied: job hiring and enrolment at higher institutes of
learning were  done according to the size of the  population.  For instance,
out of five  job vacancies only  one Serb  could be hired, regardless of the
applicant's qualifications and  abilities. The same principle was applied at
the University: only one out of every five registrated students could  be  a
Serb. The 1981 population census showed a drastic decline in the Serbian and
Montenegrin  population, but also in the  Turkish,  Gypsy and Islamized Slav
minorities in Kosovo and Metohia. While Serbs were leaving their native land
for northern Serbia, many members of non-Slav minorities were pressured into
declaring themselves  as  ethnic  Albanians.  Along  with growing  number of
emigrants  from  Albania, this substantially  increased  the total number of
ethnic  Albanians  in  the Province  and  their representation  in the local
administration, schooling and culture.
     The  majority  of  Serbs  (with  the  exception of  the  thin layer  of
high-ranking officials) were subjected to various forms of pressure, ranging
from being  deprived of employment and promotion, to threats  and blackmail;
in  villages,  as  in the last  century of Ottoman rule, by the usurping  of
property, physical  assault,  the setting  of  fire to houses and  harvests,
stealing livestock, attacks and  rape of women and children, murder at one's
doorstep.  The local administration  gave  out  lands abandoned by resettled
Serbs to  emigrants from Albania, and many lots were illegally taken over by
neighboring  ethnic  Albanian families. Since all administrative power, from
the judiciary to the  police, was in hands of ethnic Albanians,  they passed
verdicts   in   favor    of   their   compatriots   whenever   deciding   on
inter-nationality  disputes.  The  injured Serbian  parties  had no  one  to
complain   to  because  the  Republic  of  Serbia  did  not  have   judicial
jurisdiction over Kosovo, and when they wrote to the federal  bodies,  their
appeals  remained  unanswered.  Dignitaries of the  Serbian Orthodox  Church
were,  from  1945 onwards, the  most persistent in lodging complaints to the
highest  state  bodies  aboud  the  stepped-up  physical  and  psychological
pressures  suffered  by  Serbs,  citing  hundreds  of  examples,   from  the
desecration of  graves  to the raping  of  nuns, but their petitions had  no
     The  attacks culminated with the March  1981 attempt to set fire in the
Pec Patriarchate, when the large living quarters burned  down, together with
the  furniture  and  library. The arsonists were never  discovered  and  the
investigating authorities kept claiming that the fire had broken out because
of  a  breakdown in  the electrical installations.  The handful  of  Serbian
communist  officials who did speak out  against Kosovo's  overt Albanization
during the  1968-1981 period were dismissed from their posts on  charges  of
being chauvinists  and  hegemonists.  The Serbs  who  collaborated with  the
ethnic Albanian communist leadership in the Province were rewarded with high
posts in the federal bodies.7
     The Albanization of Kosovo and Metohia  was especially bolstered by the
Province's unhindered communication with Albania, from where professors came
to  the  Pristina  University in the seventies,  spreading Greater  Albanian
propaganda. With the import of textbooks  from  Tirana, whole generations of
young  Albanians  were  raised in the spirit of Greater  Albanianism  and in
hatred  for  Serbia and  Yugoslavia. Political  officials  and scholars from
Tirana moved  freely about Kosovo, spreading sentiments and calling  for the
creation of  a  large  ethnic Albania. Huge sums of  money  allocated by the
Yugoslav  federation for Kosovo's economic growth (Serbia's  was the biggest
share) were  spent on  building  large  state  institutions  for  the  local
bureaucracy  which  tried  to  set up national  institutions as  swiftly  as
possible: the Academy of Science of  Kosovo, the University, institutes  for
Albanian language, history and folklore, museums, the  theater,  television,
radio,  newspaper and publishing  houses.  Paradoxically the  Yugoslav state
financed the secessionist movement in Kosovo and Metohia itself.
     Assessing  that, with  the death  of  Josip Broz Tito  (May  1980), the
Yugoslav  state  was  on The  verge of  collapse, Kosovo's  ethnic Albanians
staged large-scale demonstrations in March and April 1981, with the blessing
of  the Province's authorities, glorifying  the  regime of Enver  Hoxha  and
demanding that  Kosovo be declared  a republic,  since,  under  the Yugoslav
Constitution, only republics have the right to secede. The establishment  of
Kosovo  as  a  republic  would  denote  a  transitional  phase  toward  full
independence and then unification with Albania.8
     Ethnic Albanian national and political dominance  in Kosovo and Metohia
was enhanced by a large demographic explosion, as  their number tripled from
about  480,000 in  1948 to  1,227,000  in  1981.  Meanwhile, from the  early
sixties  onwards,  the  number  of  Serbs  in  Kosovo and  Metohia  steadily
declined.  According  to  official  figures,  92,  197  Serbs  and  20,  424
Montenegrins (Serbs from Montenegro)  moved to Serbia and other regions from
1961  to  1980. After the secessionist revolt of  ethnic Albanians in Kosovo
and Metohia in the spring of  1981, another  38,000 Serbs  and  Montenegrins
moved out under duress. Their emigration has still not been stemmed.
     The injuriousness of the policy  of narrowing Serbia's  sovereignty and
deliberately neutralizing Serbs in  communist Yugoslavia is best illustrated
in the case of  Kosovo and  Metohia, where the  Serbs,  although formally in
their own state (Republic  of  Serbia) were forcibly  reduced to  a minority
with limited civil and national rights.  Thanks to the organized  actions of
the Province's  local administration, which had backing from federal bodies,
the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia were forced in many cases to leave, owing to
the atmosphere  of unsafety, fear and  persecution. After almost a decade of
waiting in  vain  for the federal Yugoslav bodies  to  stop Kosovo's further
Albanization  and  halt  the  exodus from Kosovo  and Metohia, a large-scale
Serbian movement  erupted, aided  by  the  ecclesiastical  circles  and  the
Belgrade  liberal intelligentsia, demanding that  the  1974  Constitution be
changed and  Kosovo returned to  Serbian  sovereignty.  The movement,  which
spread to  encompass Serbs from all  over Yugoslavia,  regardless  of  their
ideological  convictions, emerged  (afterwards carefully manipulated  by new
leadership  in Serbia),  prior to the  600th  anniversary of  the  Battle of
Kosovo (1989), heralding, not only symbolically, the  return to  the eternal
foothold of Serbian national entity - the Kosovo covenant.
     1 V. Djuretic, op. cit., pp. 326-335.
     2 K. Cavoski, Komunisticka partija  Jugoslavije i kosovsko pitanje, in:
Kosovo i Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 361-375.
     3 K. Cavoski, Uspostavljanje i razvoj kosovske autonomije, in: Kosovo i
Metohija u srpskoj istoriji, pp. 379-383
     4  V. Djuretic, Kosovo  i  Metohija u Jugoslaviji,  pp.  329-333;  More
details in: B. Tonnes, Sonderfall Albanien -  Enver Hoxhas "Einiger Weg" und
die historischen Ursprung seiner ideologic, Munchen 1980.
     5 V. Djuretic, op. cit., pp. 334-341.
     6    Large   documentation   in:   R.   Rajovic,   Autonomija   Kosova.
Istorijsko-pravna studija, Beograd 1985
     7  Kosovo. Proslost i sadasnjost,  pp.  151-257.  Cf.  J.  Reuter,  Die
Albaner in Jugoslawien, Munchen  1982, pp.  43-101;  S. K.  Pavlowitch,  The
Improbable Survivor. Yugoslavia and its Problems 1918-1988, London 1988, pp.
     8 M Misovic, Ko je trazio republiku Kosovo 1945-1985, Beograd 1987.

     At the  beginning of the 19th century,  the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia
lived under extremely unfavorable circumstances.  Toward the end of the 18th
century,  the  general  position  of  Christian  subjects  in  the  European
provinces  of   the  Ottoman  Empire  was  becoming  worse   with  authority
deteriorating in the Turkish administration.  A country in which affiliation
to Islam  marked the foundation of state ideology, Christians were  citizens
of  a  lower  order.  The   empire  was  overcome  by  refeudalization.  The
timar-sipahi  system  was  turning  into  the  chiflik-sahibi  system,  thus
affecting mostly Christian  farmers.  Arrogation of  peasant  land  and  the
imposition of additional taxes were carried out by force. The destruction of
free peasant estates, thus constraining farmers  to  the position of  tenant
farmers  (chiflik farmers), the evacuation of  entire villages and  forceful
Islamization made life insufferable for the Christian people of the Balkans.
Uprisings and movements at the beginning of the century announced a struggle
for the restoration of national states on the Balkan Peninsula.1
     The unique religious, ethnic and political character had made life more
difficult for  the  Serbs  in  Kosovo and  Metohia than  in  other  European
provinces  of  the Ottoman  Empire. Aside  to the misfortune common  to  all
Christians of the European parts of the empire (religious intolerance, legal
and  economic  unprotectedness) was an  arduous  struggle  for physical  and
national survival. The Serbs  of Kosovo and Metohia had intercepted the path
leading to the biological expansion of the powerful Albanian populace living
in neighboring  regions or  admixed  with  the  Serbs. The Albanians were an
ethnic  element  with strong  tribal organization  only consolidated through
Islam. Sloping the grey  mountains  circumscribing Kosovo and Metohia on the
south, armed  Albanian  herdsmen  descended  to  the plains  of  Kosovo  and
Metohia, routing native Serbian inhabitants to make space for the settlement
of  their  fellow  tribesmen.  Albanian  settlements sprouted in  Kosovo and
Metohia like freely growing weeds. Wedging themselves like pegs into compact
Serbian  settlements, the armed ethnic  Albanians imposed  upon the  unarmed
Serbs an unequal struggle over the land.
     On the plane of political determination, ethnic Albanians were the most
conservative  element  on  the  Peninsula,  loyal  to the shenat. Headed  by
illiterate and xenophobic  tribal  chiefs (krenas) and feudal lords, without
true  national awareness,  the  Albanian highlander  was  doubly  intolerant
toward the Orthodox  Serbian. As  Islamic believers and representatives of a
privileged  class  in the  state,  they  defined  themselves  to  the  Serbs
confessionally, calling  them infidels (djaurs), thus underscoring religious
intolerance and social inequality. Certain racial intolerance was older than
Islamization. ethnic Albanians of all confessions living in regions composed
of an intermingled populace, called the Slavic inhabitants derogatorily Ski,
thus emphasizing an ethnic distinction and their superiority.
     In the mid-17th century, when Muslim ethnic Albanians more often occupy
the highest positions in  Constantinople, the rise of their fellow tribesmen
to  the high military and administrative  hierarchy  of  the  Ottoman  state
began. Their influence on the policies of the Porte was wielded  through the
sultan's personal guard comprised mostly of  select ethnic  Albanians.  From
the second half of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century,
mostly during  the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II  (1878-1909),  they largely
attained eminent positions in the army and administration.
     Surrounded by  companies of their  fellow tribesmen,  at times when the
authority exercised by the central  government was sinking, Albanian Muslims
became autocratic,  hereditary feudal lords, and often sinewy outlaws of the
Turkish authorities. During the Napoleonic wars, the rule of independent and
semi-independent  pashas  marked the political circumstances in the  Ottoman
Empire: beginning  with the Belgrade  pashalik, where  power  was usurped by
four  dahis,  proceeding  through  Vidine  and  Janina,  where  Osman  Pasha
Pasvanoglu and the  famous  All Pasha Tepellena ruled, ending with Syria and
Egypt; provincial governors rose to independent and insubordinate rulers.
     The feudal  lords of Kosovo and Metohia ruled completely independent of
the  central  government. Following  long  struggles  for dominion  in  some
regions, several notable  families  that  gave  hereditary  regents  to  the
provinces distinguished themselves. In Pristina and Gnjilane the Dime family
ruled  until  the  end  of  the 18th  century,  in  the  Prizren  sanjak the
Rotulovices, originally from Ljuma, and in Pec the powerful Mahmudbegovices,
lords  of  Metohia  from  mid-18th  century. The ethnic  Albanians of Muslim
faith, under  the  leadership  of  feudal lords  or  outlawed regents,  were
considered  followers  of  the  old regime  founded  on the sheriat law  and
liberal tribal  privileges. Their rule was  tolerated  because  they secured
Ottoman  legitimacy  in  regions  densely  populated  by  Christian  Serbian
     Independent  pashas were  also carriers of  a  proselyte policy  in the
central countries  of  the  former  Nemanjic  state.  A  surge of  religious
intolerance,  especially  from  the end  of  the  18th  century, tossed  the
systematic persecution  of Christians throughout  the  Ottoman Empire.  When
they grew to heavy pogroms, a large part of the  already thinned  and deeply
inflamed  populace in Kosovo and Metohia adopted  Islam  to  save their bare
existence  and  family hearths. At  the  end of  the 18th  century  and  the
beginning of the 19th  century almost all the  Orthodox  Serbs from Gora,  a
zhupa near Prizren, were compelled to convert to Islam.3
     Even  though  the Serbs always regarded  conversion as  a temporary and
inevitable evil, the second and third generations were  already taking wives
from Muslim Albanian families. Thus Islamization became permanent. Among the
descendants who entered Albanian clans through marriage alliances, accepting
the  language and gradually  becoming Albanized,  old family  names were  an
admonition  of the Serbian past,  a  token to the glory  of  the cross.  The
ethnic Albanians, as the Orthodox Serbs referred to them, became in time the
most extreme tyrants.4
     1 The following works  provide a  synthetical  survey  on the  life  of
Serbian  people in Kosovo  and Metohia in the 19th and the beginning of  the
20th century:
     Kosovo nekad  i sad  (Kosova dikur e sot), chapter:  Kosovo pod turskom
vlascu, (H, Kalesi), Beograd 1973, pp. 145-176; Istorija srpskog naroda V/1,
Beograd  1981, pp. 14-16,  133-148 (N. Rakocevic, Dj. Mikic); D. Bogdanovic,
Knjiga o  Kosovu,  Beograd 1983, pp. 126-195; D. Mikic,  Drustveno-politicki
razvoj  kosovskih Srba u  XIX veku, Glasnik  Muzeja Kosova, XIII-XIV (1984),
pp.  231-260.  Most  informative  on the first half  of  the  century  is  a
monography by  V. Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi u  Osmanskom Carstvu od
Jedrenskog mira 1829  do Pariskog kongresa 1856  godine,  Beograd  1971;  On
economy  see Dj. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba u XIX i
pocetkom XX veka, od cifcijstva do bankarstva, Beograd  1988; on territorial
organization in the administrative apparatus see H. Kalesi - H-J. Kornrumpf,
Prizrenski vilajet, Perparimi, 1 (1967), pp. 71-124.
     2 Istorija srpskog naroda, V/1,  A. Urosevic, Etnicki procesi na Kosovu
tokom turske vladavine, Beograd 1987.
     3 M. Lutovac, Gora  i Opolje, Antropogeografska istrazivanja, Naselja i
poreklo stanovnistva, 35 (1955), pp. 230-279.
     4 J.  Cvijic, Osnove  za  geografiju  i  geologiju Makedonije  i  Stare
Srbije, III, Beograd 1911, pp. 1162-1166; Todor  P. Stankovic, Putne beleske
po Staroj Srbiji 1871-1898, Beograd 1910, pp. 111-140.

     The attempts of Sultan  Selim  III (1789-1807)  to change and modernize
the administrative  system of  the  Ottoman  Empire  with  reforms  ended in
failure.  Resistance to the reforms was exceptionally strong  throughout the
empire. Reform plans to improve the position of Christians turned the
     Albanian feudal lords and tribal chiefs of Kosovo  against the Orthodox
Serbs - chiflik farmers on their large sipahiliks. Efforts undertaken by the
Sublime Porte to  win over  support from Albanian  lords in  Kosovo  against
outlawed  provincial  regents  had  no  apparent  effect.  Albanian  pashas,
availing themselves of a favorable opportunity to  greater  gain by imposing
new   taxes   upon    the   rayah,    took   no   heed   to    orders   from
     The Serbian Insurrection against the  dahis in the Belgrade pashalik in
1804, under the leadership of Karadjordje (Black George), moved the Serbs in
all  regions of the Ottoman Empire. Beginning  as  an  uprising against  the
dahis,  the insurrection  soon  grew into  the first  national revolution of
Balkan Christians, opening the perspectives  of a total national liberation.
At that moment, the Serbs in Kosovo and  Metohia, remote from  the  Belgrade
pashalik, unarmed  and without immediate contact with the leadership  of the
insurrection, had no opportunity to rise and join the insurgents. The feudal
lords  of Kosovo used the beginning  of the  Serbian national  revolution to
consolidate  and expand  their power. The Porte needed their assistance both
to curbe the rebelling forces and  as a warrant against  any moves the Serbs
might make in regions under their control.
     Chronic  lawlessness,  perpetual  danger  from  possible  incursions of
Albanian outlaws, religious intolerance and the  unbearable clench of feudal
lords all created  an impenetrable  wall separating the Serbs  of Kosovo and
Metohia from rebelling Serbia. Hardly any testimony remains  from individual
participants  of  the  Serbian  national   revolution.  Nevertheless,   some
documentation was preserved from the boldest among  them, whose affairs took
them  to  Belgrade  and  the  bordering  Austrian  regions,  and  who  found
themselves in the center of events.2
     An  important  role in  preparations  for the  rebellion  was played by
Andrija,  a  wealthy  merchant  from  Prizren  (father  of  Sima  Andrejevic
Igumanov,  a  renown  Serbian  benefactor and  founder  of  the Seminary  in
Prizren), who had extensive business ties  in Belgrade, Pest and  Vienna. On
the eve of the uprising against the dahis, he secretly transported gunpowder
from Zemun to Belgrade. When the uprising began, Andrija continued to supply
the rebellious companies with  arms  and  ammunition. Two of his  four sons,
Kraguj  and Petar, fought  in the insurgent  lines with several other  Serbs
from Prizren, until the fall of the insurrection in 1813.3
     Beside Andrija, the most prominent Serbian from Prizren to take part in
the First  Serbian  Insurrection  was  Anta Colak  Simonovic,  who  moved to
Belgrade when he was a young man, and  dealt  in furs.  On  the eve  of  the
insurrection,  the  Belgrade dahis  ordered several loads  of guns from him.
Colak Anta obtained the arms in Prizren, but on  his return  he  handed them
over to Karadjordje at Topola. When  the surrounding Turkish  provinces rose
together with  Sumadija  (regions between  the  Drina  and Tara rivers,  the
tribal  regions  of Drobnjak,  Moraca and Albanian  Kliments) in  1805,  the
number of volunteers joining Karadjordje's troops from  Kosovo, Metohia, Old
Raska and other regions increased.
     From the beginning of the  uprising, void  (supreme leader) Karadjordje
aimed to  raise  in arms, beside  the  Belgrade pashalik, as  many lands  of
Serbia  as possible. From 1806, the  insurgent army penetrated toward  Stari
Vlah,  Bosnia  and  Macedonia.  The  following  year  the insurgents reached
Kursumlija, and in 1809, using  their alliance with Russia, then at war with
Turkey, the  insurgent companies extended to Sjenica, Nova Varos, Prijepolje
and  Bijelo  Polje.  According to the estimates of a  French travel  writer,
Henri Pouqueville,  who passed  through Kosovo in 1807, areas around Banjska
were encompassed  by the insurrection,  while Gerasim, the  bishop of Sabac,
left  testimony on the  area  of upper Ibar, on the space between  Josanica,
Kopaonik  and Vucitrn,  where battles were  waged with  aid  from the  local
Serbian populace.  Historian Stojan  Novakovic even believed that the  whole
region was  under  Serbian  control until the fall  of  the Insurrection  in
     Karadjordje's endeavor  to  establish contact with  Montenegrin  tribes
through the Sjenica instigated a considerable number of Serbs from Kosovo to
join the insurgent forces  and caused  fermentation among the Serbs  of  the
northwestern  parts  of  Kosovo.  In  the  Ibarski  Kolasin,  a  wooded  and
impassable area, inhabited mostly  by Serbians, a movement was formed to aid
Karadjordje's campaign at the  Sjenica. However, the Turks discovered  their
intentions and captured the most famous  leaders of  Kolasin, banishing them
to exile in Egypt.5
     Karadjordje's  victorious campaign toward  Montenegro  and  Kosovo  was
severed by the defeat  of Serbian insurgents at  the battle of Kamenica near
Nis, in  1809. The  army  at the southwest of  Serbia was  forced to retreat
north; the endeavor to  expand the  uprising to Montenegro and the  northern
regions of Kosovo came to an end.
     The  victories of the Serbian  troops during the  first years of waging
seriously imperilled the feudal privileges and estates of Albanian pashas in
Metohia and Kosovo, where  the rayah  was mostly Serbian. When the  flame of
the uprising spread to the surrounding countries, commotion arose even among
Albanian leaders in north Albania. The Belgrade dahis and representatives of
the Turkish government in Serbia, of whom a considerable number were  ethnic
Albanians, strove since 1804  to win over Albanian pashas in the neighboring
regions for the struggle against a common enemy.
     Turkish  forces  engaged  to wage Serbian troops  on  the  southern and
southwestern  battlefield were composed mainly of ethnic  Albanians lead  by
pashas and tribal chiefs. In 1806, the bashibazouk (irregular) troops of the
pashas  of  Scutari,  Leskovac,  Vranje, Pristina,  Djakovica,  Prizren  and
Skoplje, a force numbering 33,800 men,  assembled at the Morava, at  a front
toward  the Serbs.  Many of them  fought Serbian insurgents in the  years to
follow. The Turkish army, composed of ethnic Albanians, checked the Serbs at
Prijepolje  and Nova  Varos. In the  battles at the  Sjenica and Suvodol  in
1809,  the  decisive  role  in defeating  the  Serbs  was played  by  troops
belonging to the pashas of  Scutari  and Pec. In battles waged at Rozaj, the
pasha od Djakovica was defeated.  Muktar Pasha, son of the most  influential
independent  Albanian feudal lord, Ali  Pasha  Tepellena of  Janina,  fought
against the  Serbs at Deligrad. Battling together with Albanian feudal lords
against the Serbs were influential tribal chiefs - krenas. At the  battle of
Kamenica  alone four standard bearers of  one  clan were  killed at Drenica.
Mehmed Pasha Rotulovic and  his army took part at the battle of Kamenica and
returned  to  Prizren with  loads  of spoil and  Serbian  slaves -women  and
     The hereditary  pashas  of  Kosovo, Metohia  and north  Albania  were a
constant  threat  to  Karadjordje  and  his successor  Knez  (Prince)  Milos
Obrenovic. When possibilities for resuming the struggle were discussed prior
to the 1813 fall  of  the Serbian Insurrection,  Karadjordje  counted on the
possibility of  all  ethnic Albanians being dispatched to  Serbia.  He  thus
entreated Prince-Bishop Petar I of Montenegro to execute a  demonstration on
the Albanian  border to compel  their neighbors to remain on  their  land. A
similar  entreaty  was  again  sent by  prince Milos to the  Metropolitan of
Cetinje in 1821, for fear that the uprising in Greece might be followed by a
Turkish preventive incursion on Serbia.
     The number of armed men under  the command of Albanian pashas displayed
the dimensions of their military capabilities, as well as deep fear  [or the
possibility of the insurrection expanding to their regions. The victories of
the  insurgents caused the exertion  of great pressure  upon  the subjugated
Serbian  populace  under  Albanian  lords. Lord  Malic Pasha Dzinic  of  the
Pristina region, moved Serbian chiflik farmers from  the  northern  areas of
Lab, and  settled ethnic Albanians to secure the boundaries of his territory
from incursions of  insurgent Serbian  companies. Passing  in  1807  through
Pristina,  estimating  around 1,500 homes in  it,  Henri  Pouqueville noted:
"From  its  narrow  and muddy streets, poor trade,  wretched  people and the
bloodthirsty rule  of Malic Pasha, who then  commanded, a  distinct  aura of
terror and  woe  emanated. It did not seem appropriate to pay a visit to the
Albanian, a sworn mortal enemy of the Christians".7
     Anarchy created through the rule of independent pashas was favorable to
the  raiding  parties  of Albanian  outlaws. They  attacked  passengers  and
merchant  caravans  from  their  hideouts,  plundered  and  blackmailed  the
Christian rayah, assaulted and  dishonored  their wives  and  daughters.  In
Gnjilane, Pouqueville saw  passengers raided by outlaws and learnt that some
merchants were killed just  at  the  entrance to the town. As  a  result, at
orders  given  by  pashas,  entire  forests  were burnt  in  spaces  between
Pristina,   Gnjilane,   Novo   Brdo   and   Kumanovo,   where   the  outlaws
     The position  of  the  Serbs in  Kosovo and Metohia did not change even
when comparative peace prevailed in  Serbia. Kosovo was  governed  by Jashar
Pasha, nephew of Malic Pasha, inviolable lord of the  Pristina sanjak during
the  second and third  decades of the  19th  century. He was engraved in the
memory  of the people on account of his merciless persecution of  the Serbs,
the destruction of their  free  estates, confiscation of church and monastic
lands, and,  above all,  for demolishing Serbian villages. For  less than  a
decade,  Jashar  Pasha  succeeded in  destroying or  evacuating  32  Serbian
villages  in the  Pristina nahi,  22 in  the  Vucitrn nahi, and  another  25
settlements  in other  parts  of Kosovo. Jashar  Pasha  distributed a  large
amount of the seized lands among newcome Albanian settlers and local Muslims
of Serbian origin, while also appropriating some himself. The newcome ethnic
Albanians,  mainly herdsmen,  had no experience  in farming  so  the fertile
plains of Kosovo soon became neglected pastures.9
     Faced with the  terror of  the  Pristina pasha,  the Serbs  fled to the
nearby sanjaks of Vranje  or  Leskovac,  or crossed over to Serbia under the
wing  of  knez  Milos.  Similar  examples  where  deliberate  change  in the
demographic picture of certain Turkish provinces were carried out existed in
southern  Albania and northwestern  Greece, where the  brutal  Ali  Pasha of
Janina  mercilessly   destroyed  Christian  villages,   forcefully  executed
Islamization  and reduced farmers  to  tenant,  chiflik  farmers. During the
twenties of  the 19th  century (1821-1825), armies  of feudal lords  utterly
devastated  vast lands  from Moreja to  Epirus and  Thessaly while  fighting
Greek insurgents.10
     The reform action of Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839),  the introduction of
a  regular army and  abolition of the Janissary Corps (1826) infuriated  the
independent pashas in Metohia and Kosovo. Intentions to grant certain rights
to the Christians inflamed the  hatred of Muslim  ethnic Albanians. Anarchy,
marking a  period of  unlimited power  for independent  pashas, suited  many
outlaws. "During the reigns  of these  pashas,  any Muhammedan could, if  he
desired,  murder  any Serb without due consequence, only if he sought refuge
under a mosque or tekke. In those  days, Prizren, Kosovo, Pec, Djakovica and
Scutari were governed by harshest oppression."11
     To  survive,  the Serbs turned  to collective  mimicry.  The  men  wore
Albanian clothes,  and  the women veiled  their faces. Jashar Pasha attacked
Serbian  churches, especially  the  Gracanica  monastery  and the  Samodreza
church. He demolished four Serbian churches (in Batus, Skulanovac, Rujan and
Slovinja and  the Lipljan church parvis) and built a bridge from their stone
over  the Sitnica river  near  Lipljan. The clergy  also  bore the brunt  of
independent pashas. In 1820, two monks from the Decani monastery were hanged
in Novi Pazar, and one in Pristina.12
     As soon as imminent danger from the expansion of  the Serbian, and then
Greek insurrection was past, rivalry  among Albanian lords for dominion over
the  surrounding territories revived. The Serbs  were the  greatest victims:
they were compelled  to receive them  for overnight  stay, supply  food  and
provide field trains for the armies of warring provincial  regents. In these
campaigns, requisition, imposition  of additional  taxes  and the looting of
Christian villages, through which the army passed, was  habitual. At the end
of the conflict, the Christians would be overwhelmed by both the rage of the
defeated and the plunder of the victorious.
     In March 1827, a  small provincial war began, when regent  of  Scutari,
Mustafa Pasha Bushatli (the so-called Shkodra  Pasha), ventured to subjugate
Numan Pasha of Pec. The clash spread when the regents of neighboring regions
were hauled into it,  being  troubled,  like Jashar Pasha, by  insubordinate
tribes in their own regions.13
     The  need  for  fresh  forces  was  imposed by  the  Russo-Turkish  war
(1828-1829),  in  which the  sultan's  troops on  the  battleground  of  the
Bulgarian Danube Basin, were faced with great temptations. The Porte granted
Mustafa Pasha of Scutari dominion over Scutari, Elbasan, Debar and Dukadjin,
expecting him, in return, to muster and dispatch a large army  to the Danube
front. Meanwhile, Prince Milos  acquired  through money  and sage advice,  a
considerable  number  of admirers  among north Albanian  tribal chiefs,  and
strove to dissuade the  powerful Scutari pasha from  sending 60,000 warriors
to assist  the  sultan's army. The Prince  warned him  that  the reforms  of
Mahmud  II  were directed  mainly  against hereditary  pashas.  However, the
belligerent  disposition  of his fellow tribesmen compelled Mustafa Pasha to
dispatch his army to  the Russian front, but instead of 60,000, he sent only
2,000  warriors. The  powerful  Scutari pasha was then able to establish his
rule in Metohia.14
     The  Peace Treaty of Edime,  signed in 1829, under conditions extremely
unfavorable  for  the  Ottoman  Empire,  deepened  its internal crisis.  The
Christian  populace,  the uprisings of  which,  owing  to Russia's  support,
developed into  movements for  national  liberation, was  faced  with  novel
temptations.  In  Kosovo and  Metohia,  where conflicts  between  provincial
regents  were frequent, and autocracy toward the  Christians was acquiring a
more  immediate physical  and fiscal pressure, anarchy  was widely expanding
its dimensions.
     The news that  Prince Milos intended  to establish  the borders  of his
recently  recognized  Principality  (Knezevina) in  1830,  according  to the
decrees of the Bucharest Peace Treaty of 1812, disturbed the pashas and beys
of six nahis,  formerly under  Karadjordje's rule.  Jashar Pasha of Pristina
secured  the borders of  his regions from the territorial pretensions of the
Serbian Prince  by compelling the  evacuation of  Serbs through  terror.  He
settled ethnic Albanians from Malissia, Metohia and the vicinity of  Scutari
in their place.15
     When the imminent danger of new wars was past, Mahmud II was determined
to intercept the obstinacy and disloyalty of hereditary pashas. The educated
Sultan particularly disliked Albanian chiefs, followers of  the conservative
Islamic order, who hindered the realization of his aspirations to end feudal
anarchy and create a modern,  centralized state. His reforms anticipated the
abolition of  all  feudal and tribal autonomies, the formation of  a regular
army,  introduction  of  military  duties,  equation  of  tax  payments  and
improvement in the position of Christians.
     Strongest objection to the reforms came from  Bosnia, Albania,  Metohia
and Kosovo. The ethnic Albanians saw in these reforms a most serious  threat
to their privileges. The Porte counted on  their objection beforehand, since
they could easily turn  against  Turkish authorities armed  to the full. The
most  difficult part was compelling them to join the regular army. Thus  the
most important reform task for the ethnic Albanians  was  crushing the power
of numerous  independent pashas who would not recognize central  government,
and  by  refusing  to acknowledge modern  judiciary,  remained loyal to  the
common law according to the Law of Leka Dukagjinit.
     Albanian  leaders  were  not  only  against the introduction  of  novel
reforms  but requested of  the  Porte to  recognize  all  their benefits and
tribal independence: "The new army  was introduced to destroy the old feudal
one. The regular  army  and the prohibition to carry arms - aimed to destroy
Albanian  condottieres   enabling  ethnic  Albanians  to  attain  privileged
positions  in Turkey  - since, like  military castes, they had  a free  hand
concerning  the Christian tribes they brutally exploited without bearing any
legal  consequences.  Thus,  the  reform  deeply  cleaved   Albanian  tribal
relations [...]".16
     The Albanian  pashas objected  to the orders of the Porte  to surrender
their arms. In  1831, a large assembly of Albanian leaders, ulems and tribal
chiefs in Scutari, rejected the Sultan's decrees as contrary to Islamic law,
determined to defend  the existing system by force. Mustafa Pasha refused to
obey the sultan's order to receive a  garrison of  a regular army in Scutari
and to submit  territories granted him during the  war for governing over to
the grand vizier.  He  was supported by  independent pashas in Prizren, Pec,
Djakovica, Pristina, Debar, Vranje,  Tetovo, Skoplje  and  Leskovac, who had
every  reason to be worried about their positions  if the reforms were to be
implemented.  Mustafa Pasha, the last Bushatii, found  new allies in  Bosnia
where the beys decidedly opposed the introduction of reforms.
     The empire was so endangered that Grand Vizier Mahmud Reshid Pasha lead
his army against the ethnic Albanians in person. A  large number of Albanian
leaders from south Albania were killed upon  encountering  him at Bitolj  in
1830. At orders from the Porte, the grand vizier introduced "many beneficial
decrees" in Pristina  and Vucitrn in summer 1832, thus improving the up till
then  insufferable  position of  the  Serbian Christian  rayah  in  villages
throughout Kosovo.
     In  1835-1836,  after  crushing  the  power  of  insubordinate  Bosnian
captains,  the Turkish army finally eliminated the independent pashas of Old
Serbia  - Mahmud  Pasha Rotulovic  of Prizren, Arslan Pasha of Pec, Seifudin
Pasha of  Djakovica,  and  finally the heirs  to  the  Pristina Dinices,  by
warring rebellious tribes in mid and south Albania, on whose side the feudal
lords  of Pec, Debar and Djakovica fought. The law  on the  timar system was
abrogated. The administration was entrusted to army commanders, and measures
were  implemented to  centralize  the administration  and  tax  system.  The
sanjaks  of Scutari, Prizren and Pec were under the  control of  the Rumehan
vilayet seated  at  Bitolj.  The  established  regime was  considerably more
endurable  for the  Serbian  rayah  than  the  brutal  reign  of independent
     1 D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki  razvoj  kosovskih Srba  u XIX veku, p.
     2 D. Mikic, Oslobodilacka aktivnost  kosovskih  Srba u svetlosti srpske
revolucije   1804-1813,    Obelezja,   11   (1981),   pp.    39-46;   idem.,
Drustveno-politicki razvoj kosovskih Srba u XIX veku, pp. 231-232.
     3 D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki  razvoj kosovskih Srba u  XIX veku,  p.
     4 St. Novakovic, Manastir Banjska u srpskoj istoriji, Beograd 1892, pp.
35-41; A. Popovic, Ustanak u gornjem Ibru i  Kopaoniku 1806-1813, Godisnjica
Nikole Cupica, 27 1908), p. 229.
     5 Several years hence only few people of Kolasin returned from exile in
Egypt.  M. Lutovac, Ibarski  Kolasin,  Naselja i  poreklo  stanovnistva,  34
(1958), pp. 8-10.
     6  Albanians of Catholic and Orthodox faith fought against  the Turkish
authorities at  the time.  The Catholic Albanian  tribe Kliment  fought with
Montenegrin tribes Kuci,  Piper and Bjelopavlici  against vizier of Scutari,
Ibrahim Pasha in 1805. South, the  Toskas - Orthodox Albanians,  fought with
the  Greeks  and  Tzintzars  against  Ali  Pasha  of Janina.  See D.  Mikic,
Drustveno-politicki razvoj  kosovskih Srba u XIX veku, 234; I. Dermaku, Neki
aspekti  saradnje  Srbije  i  Albanaca u  borbi protiv turskog feudalizma od
1804-1868. godine Glasnik Muzeja Kosova, XI (1971-1972), pp. 236-238.
     7 S.  Novakovic,  Iz  godine  1807.  srpske  istorije,  Iz  belezaka  s
putovanja H. Pukvilja kroz Bosnu i Staru Srbiju, Godisnjica Nikole Cupica, 2
(1878), p. 275.
     8 Ibid., pp. 276-277.
     9 V.  Stojancevic,  Juznoslovenski  narodi  u  Osmanskom  Carstvu,  pp.
     10 V. Stojancevic, Drzava  i drustveno obnovljenje  Srbije (1815-1839),
Beograd 1986, pp. 38.
     11 Savremenici  o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912,  fed. D. T.  Batakovic),
Beograd 1988,300.
     12 V. R. Petkovic - D. Boskovic, Visoki Decani,  I, Beograd 1941,p. 16;
J. Popovic, Zivot Srba na Kosovu 1812-1912, Beograd 1987, p. 220.
     13  V.  Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi  u  Osmanskom  Carstvu,  pp.
     14 Mustafa Pasha's army  included 150  Montenegrins from the  Vasojevic
tribe, headed by voivode Sima Lakic (ibid., pp. 46-47.)
     15 V.  Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi u Osmanskom Carstvu, pp.  46,
     16  D.  M. Pavlovic, Pokret u Bosni i Albaniji protivu reforama Mahmuda
II, Beograd 1913, pp. 73-74.
     17 Ibid.,  pp. 80-89; V. Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi u Osmanskom
Carstvu, pp. 117-128.

     The successor to Mahmud II,  Sultan Abdul Mejid  (1839-1861) issued, in
1839,  the  famous Hattisherif of Gulhane that  was to become some sort of a
"charter of freedom" for subjects of the Ottoman Empire. The Christians were
officially equated  with  the Muslims.  The imperial letter  warranted their
lives, protection, honor and  property. It anticipated the introduction to a
regular  military  obligation,  centralization   of  government  and  fiscal
reorganization, as well as the Europeanization of judiciary and education.
     In  Kosovo, Metohia  and  Albania, however,  the Tanzimat  reforms were
never  effected to the  full. At  the beginning of the  reforms, the  mainly
Serbian  populace was left without its self-governing  community, previously
renewed by the firmans of erstwhile sultans, but it benefited  from the calm
by renewing devastated fields. The reforms brought  the revival  of business
for the merchants and  handicraftsmen  in towns  throughout  Kosovo, and the
right to erect churches and  schools. The comparatively quiet  years brought
some relief to the Serbs, but not for long.
     Discontent growing in Bosnia and Rumelia due to the reforms, encroached
Kosovo and Albania. The ethnic Albanians would not concede to centralization
and the abolition of their feudal and tribal privileges. In 1839, the ethnic
Albanians of Prizren rebelled, routing the local sanjak-bey.
     The aggravated position of Serbs  in  Turkey incited a great  Christian
insurrection  in  the  Nis  sanjak  in   spring,  1841.   The  insurrection,
preparations of which were known in Belgrade, spread  to southern Serbia and
western Bulgaria.  Kosovo  and  Metohia did not have the conditions to  rise
although  some  preparations were made in  the  Prizren, Djakovica  and  Pec
regions. The insurrection  was  brutally  suppressed  by  Albanian  Muslims.
Representatives of  Great Powers, especially Russia and France, surprised at
the dimensions of violence,  requested  from  the Porte  information  on the
position of Serbs in rebelling regions.1
     Again fermentation  swarmed over Kosovo in 1843  with the collection of
taxes and regular  military recruits. The  Albanian insurrection against the
Turkish authorities began in 1844, broke out  in Pristina and soon spread to
Prizren, Djakovica, Skoplje and Tetovo. It was  seated at Skoplje and headed
by  Dervish  Tzara. At  the  beginning, the  insurgents overmastered part of
Kosovo,  occupied Skoplje,  Tetovo,  Pristina, Veles  and  the  vicinity  of
Bitolj.  The  Turkish army managed  to suppress  the insurrection  in summer
1844, after several severe clashes.
     During  the  insurrection, the  Serbs were  cleaved  between the ethnic
Albanians and  Turkish  troops, like they had been so  many times before. In
Vranje, the rebels roasted  Serbian youths  on  fire only because they  took
part in the  construction  of a new church. After driving out  the state tax
collector (muhasil) in Pristina, 1841, the  ethnic Albanians  exacted  taxes
from  the  Serbs  by employing weapons,  even  though  they  were explicitly
forbidden to do so under the  firman. In the  vicinity of Pec, according  to
the testimony of Gedeon Josif Jurisic, a monk from the Decani monastery, the
highlanders  of  Malissia were  public outlaws. Supported  by local district
chiefs   (zabits),  they   wreaked   terror  upon  the  Serbs  without   any
     In a complaint  lodged  to  the French consul at  Belgrade, sent  by 19
leaders of the  Pristina and Vucitrn kaza in the name of  the  Serbs,  seven
points include many examples of suffering  due  to Albanian violence.  In  a
petition  to  the Russian Tzar Nicholas I,  official  protector of  Orthodox
inhabitants  in the  Ottoman Empire,  the Serbs of Prizren entreated, at the
end of 1844, for protection against innumerable oppressions: "Allow not, you
most Honored liberator,  for  heaven's sake, allow not us paupers and people
to  become Turkized, and flee to  lands unknown! Our children were Turkized,
our  wives  and  daughters  dishonored,  raped; our brothers gunned down  in
uncountable  numbers,  treading on  our  law  [faith],  and dishonoring  our
priests, pulling them by their beards. Fleecing us immeasurably, each in his
own manner; the pasha fleeces, the  bey fleeces, and the sipahi,  the master
and sub-pasha, the qadi and oppressors - all fleece!"3
     Devastation and murder did not bypass the monasteries Visoki Decani and
the Pec Patriarchate, where Albanian outlaws murdered several monks.
     1 Istorija srpskog naroda, V/1, pp. 241-243.
     2 Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, pp. 6-7.
     3 Zaduzbine  Kosova,  Prizren - Beograd, 1987,  pp.  612-613; D. Mikic,
Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba, pp. 21.

     The fifties of the 19th centuries passed in the dispersion  of anarchy,
while  the  sixties marked new Albanian revolts in  the  political  scene of
Kosovo  and Metohia,  with new Serbian suffering. When  Serbia endeavored to
prepare a widespread uprising of Balkan Christians against the Turks, Kosovo
and  Metohia  were totally out of reach  to Serbian  national and  political
propaganda. The control of Muslim  ethnic Albanians over Serbian inhabitants
excluded any possible  cooperation  with Serbia. Periodical Albanian revolts
against the new measures of the Porte in the Pristina region in 1855, in the
area  of Djakovica 1866,  in  the  Prizren,  Pec  and  Djakovica  region  in
1866-1867, again  in Pec in 1869, and  operations carried out by the Ottoman
army  against them,  resulted in heavy  pogroms  of  the  Serbian  populace.
     After the  Crimean  War  (1853-1856),  anti-Orthodox  and  anti-Serbian
feelings in the southwestern parts of the Ottoman Empire culminated;
     Serbian  pogroms  attained wider dimensions. Albanization of the Serbs,
stimulated  by  independent  pashas during  the first  decades  of  the 19th
century,  reached their  peak during the Crimean War.  The Albanian language
was  then  accepted  in  many  Islamized  Serbian villages.  The  Cherkezes,
colonized then in Kosovo,  surpassed  in the devastations and murders of the
Christian populace.
     The  monastic fraternities of  Visoki  Decani and  the Pec Patriarchate
lodged a complaint  to the Serbian government and church  dignitaries of the
Principality of Serbia, warning them of  the  dimensions of violence and the
frequency of banditry.  The monks of Decani entreated the Serbian government
in  1856 to somehow intermediate with  the Turkish authorities to put an end
to  the  violence.  Archimandrite  Hadji Serafim Ristic of Decani  entreated
Prince Milos in 1859 to aid the monastery and intercede to the Porte for the
protection  of the Decani laura. He  warned  that  "since the last war until
today we are more concerned with armed defense from the perpetual attacks of
ethnic Albanians and Turks, and the  papists [French Catholic missionaries],
luring us by various wiles."2
     Attestations of Serbian origin evincing the position of Christian Serbs
in Metohia and Kosovo exhibit detailed portrayals of the horrifying pogroms.
Attempts to draw attentions to  the arduous sufferings of the Serbs with the
sultan and the government of the Serbian Principality, the Russian court and
the European public were particularly expressed by the learned Archimandrite
Hadji Serafim Ristic, prior of the Visoki Decani monastery.
     When  Grand  Vizier  Kirbizli  Mehmed  Pasha  called  on  the  European
provinces  of  the  empire  in  1860,  establishing order  by punishing  the
insubordinate Christians at the borders, Hadji  Serafim, together with local
Serbian  leaders,  submitted  to him people's  complaints in Pristina. Their
hopes  that  the vizier's visit would  wield  influence in curbing  Albanian
anarchy  dispersed: the grand vizier saw the Christians only as  rebels  and
     The Prior of Decani, however, did not abate in  his attempts to help he
people. His petitions to  Sultan Abdulaziz,  Russian Tzar Alexander  II  and
Serbian Prince Mihailo contained lists of countless brutalities committed by
ethnic  Albanians upon the Serbian  populace in  Metohia. In  the  book Plac
Stare Srbija  (Wails of Old Serbia, Zemun 1864) -  which he dedicated to the
British  pastor  William  Denton -  aiming  to demonstrate "that evil  deeds
committed  by the Turks upon  the rayah had gone one step  too  far", Ristic
submitted a complaint to the sultan from 1860, in  which he included several
hundred examples of  violence committed by ethnic Albanians over the Serbs -
fires, plunders, murders, blackmail, fleecing, confiscation  of property and
cattle-raiding,  raping of  women  and  children,  destroying  churches  and
abusing priests and monks - naming the doers and victims.
     Addressing the sultan, the  Archimandrite of Decani entreated that  his
quiet complaint "against brutal Albanian oppressors" be  heard, for if  they
were not  stopped, the Serbs would be  compelled to leave  their fatherlands
wherever  the sultan ordered: "Pec and the Pec nahi  indescribably  scourged
day after day, with increasing evils on  the part of ethnic Albanians,  with
no errors committed, God only knows why, afore the eyes of Your councils and
pashas wailing upon their bitter destiny in bondage.'4
     Russian diplomat and historian AF. Hilferding, while sojourning Metohia
in  1858,   penned  numerous   examples  of   oppression  upon  the  Serbian
inhabitants.  He  remarked that  there were  few parishioners  in the Gorioc
monastery, "all poor men horribly oppressed by the ethnic Albanians". He was
convinced that Serbian Christians in Pec  endured  insults and injuries from
the unbridled and hot-tempered ethnic Albanians every day, and that measures
undertaken by  the township chief (mudir)  "who strives to bridle and punish
the  Albanian obstinacy" had no effect, since his  small in number policemen
(zaptijas) were drafted from Albanian lines:  "What could  one  man with the
best of intentions do against  an armed mass  ignorant of  law and judgment,
habituated to unlimited obstinacy and tyranny, in other  words, as the local
saying goes, one that fears God a bit, the Emperor not at all'."5
     Almost  exact  observations on the position of Serbs in Old Serbia were
noted  by two  Englishwomen,  Miss  Irby and Miss MacKenzie, in their famous
traveling  account  of  the  Slavic  countries  of  European  Turkey.  Their
description  on  the  position  of  ethnic  Albanians  in  Pec reads:  Their
indifference  to authority and  the  importance of the Porte  is as harsh as
their  insolence and cruelty  against  the Christians.  A  Turkish  mudir in
Vucitrn complained to the two  ladies that  with a dozen  zaptijas there was
little he  could accomplish against the self-will of ethnic Albanians: there
are 200 Christian houses and 400-500 Muslim ones, so the ethnic Albanians do
as they  please.  They seize from the Christians whatever and whenever  they
desire; so many times they would walk into a man's store, require some goods
and  then leave  by simply saying they  would  pay  another time,  and often
without  saying as  much. Even worse  in the affair is  their wholly savage,
stupid and unrestrained living that retains the entire society to a state of
barbarism  and  since  the  Christians receive no help against them  and  no
education from Constantinople, they thus turn to Serbia for everything -  to
the Serbia of the past, inspiring themselves to enthusiasm by  its memories,
and to the Principality for hope, advice and enlightenment.6
     Official  reports  of  Yevgeny  Timayev,  the first  Russian consul  to
Prizren  -  representative  of  the  power  that  had  been  the traditional
protector of Orthodox subjects in the Ottoman Empire - complete  the picture
of the situation in  Metohia and  the dimensions of suffering endured by the
Serbian  population  in the second half of the sixties.  At the end of 1866,
Timayev reported on the severity of violences  inflicted by ethnic Albanians
of  the Pec nahi. Devastating  about a dozen Serbian villages, they murdered
the male progeny and assaulted the women,  and even desecrated the graves of
their forefathers. In  Pec, as cited by Timayev, government  representatives
aided  the  ethnic Albanians  in their maltreatment  of Serbian  Christians:
"They  receive  letters from  Pec  informing me that crimes committed by the
ethnic Albanians  are countless, that the  destruction of the  Christians is
immeasurable  and  unexpressible, while the  local Turkish  authorities give
assurance  of  peace,  stating  that  nothing  unusual  is  happening. These
assurances cannot  be trusted,  by  no  means,  because I  have irreprovable
evidence   of   an   irregular    and    disquieting    situation   in   the
     Parallel  to  the  extent  of  oppression,  observed  Timayev, was  the
forceful colonization  of ethnic  Albanians  to  Old Serbia:  "The  Albanian
people  overmastering more  and  more  of  the  lands they settle,  and will
perhaps  soon  play  a role in  the destiny of  Europe, notwithstanding  the
current illiterate and  almost savage condition of the majority.  [...] Mass
Albanian settlings of the Prizren sanjak meet with no obstacles. The Turkish
government, it  seems, would be very happy if there  were no more Christians
in the province, there is no way the Christians could withstand the Albanian
deluge, since here they are small in number and very disunited [Orthodox and
Catholics]. In normal  circumstances one  might  say that upon one Christian
come  at  least  six  Muslims ethnic  Albanians,  except in the western  and
southern  outskirts  of  the Prizren  sanjak."8  Reports  of  the
Russian  consul show  that the position  of Orthodox Serbs did not differ in
regions to the other side of Mount Sara, in Tetovo, Debar, Ohrid, Prilep and
the vicinity of Bitolj (Monastir).
     The pogroms of the Serbs in Metohia resulted in the dissipation  of the
Serbian  population.  Villages  were  most  often  the  targets  of  violent
inflictions.  According  to  a  research  carried out  by  Ivan  Stepanovich
Yastrebov, between 1855 and 1860, twenty Serbian villages in the vicinity of
Decani contained 165 houses, whereas their number in 1870 diminished to only
50 Serbian homes.9
     At  the beginning of the 70's, until the opening of the Eastern  crisis
and the  Serbian-Ottoman wars, the position of  Serbian inhabitants did  not
alter  drastically.  Even  though there were  no  large  Albanian moves  nor
Turkish  campaigns,  the  Christian Serbs  were confronted with high  taxes,
unpaid labor (kuluk), attacks and  blackmail. The  main targets were usually
Serbian girls  seized by ethnic Albanians who then forced them accept Islam.
Religious intolerance and thirst for  land and property were causes for much
blackmail, conflagration  estates and cattle raids. The custom of the ethnic
Albanians was first to warn the Serbian family  the property of which was to
be arrogated, by leaving  a bullet on  the hearthrug. The choice was limited
to evacuating the entire family, or, in case of resistance,  killing the men
and kidnapping or Islamizing the girls.10
     1 Kosovo nekad i sad, 154; A. Lainovic,  Prizrenski  pasaluk  polovinom
XIX veka na osnovu izvestaja francuskih konzula u Skadru, Kosovo,  3 (1974),
pp. 3-7.
     2 Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 613.
     3 J. Hadzi-Vasiljevic,  Srpski  narod  i  turske  reforme  (1852-1862),
Bratstvo, XV (1921), pp. 187-188.
     4  Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912,  pp. 20-21. The plea sent
to  the Russian  tzar in  1859, to  help the Decani brotherhood published in
Decanski spomenici, Beograd 1864; ibid., pp. 423-426.
     5 A. F. Giljferding, Putovanje po  Hercegovini, Bosni i  Staroj Srbiji,
Sarajevo 1972, pp. 154-155,165.
     6  Putovanje  po  slovenskim  zemljama  Turske  u  Evropi  by  G.  Mjur
Makenzijeve and A. P. Irbijeve, Beograd 1868, pp. 188, 210.
     7 M. Seliscev, Slavianskoe naselenie v Albanii, Sofia 1931, pp. 7-10.
     8 Ibid., pp. 43-46; D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 134-136.
     9  I. Jastrebov, Stara Serbia i Albanija, Spomenik SKA, XLI, 36 (1904),
pp. 86.
     10 V. Stojancevic, Prvo oslobodjenje Kosova  od strane srpske  vojske u
ratu 1877-1878, in: Srbija u zavrsnoj fazi velike istocne krize (1877-1878),
Beograd,  1980,  pp.   461-462.   J.  Muller,  Albanien,  Rumelien  und  die
Osterreichisch-montenegrinische  Granze,  Frag  1944;  A.  Ivic,  Rumelijski
vilajet u godini 1838, Prilozi za knjizevnost,  jezik,  istoriju  i folklor,
XIII, 1-2 (1933), pp. 117-126.  An elaborate analysis of data provided by V.
Stojancevic, Etnicke, konfesionalne i demografske prilike u Metohiji 1830-ih
godina, Zbornik okruglog  stola o naucnom istrazivanju Kosova, Beograd 1988,
pp. 99-114.

     More detailed information concerning  the  number, ethnic and religious
affiliation of the inhabitants of Kosovo  and Metohia  is contained in lists
dating from  the  thirties of  the 19th  century.1 The  traveling
account  of  Joseph  Muller, based  on official  Turkish data  and  personal
inquiries,  and a  detailed  roll  of the Rumelian  vilayet in 1838 from the
Kriegsarchiv  in  Vienna  provide  a  precise demographic  and  confessional
picture  of  the  population  in  Kosovo  and  Metohia:2  
District Muslims Christians Total
Prizren 49,000 29,000 78,000
Pec 34,000 31,000 65,000
Djakovica 31,000 21,000 52,000
According to Muller, in Pec, 12,000 inhabitants lived in 2,400 houses, of which 130 were Orthodox and 20 Catholic. The Slavs comprised the majority of the population, 62 families were Turkish, 100 Albanian and 28 Tzintzar.3 Almost identical data on the populace in Pec is provided by the list of the War Archives in Vienna.4 Djakovica, according to Muller, had 21,050 inhabitants: 18,000 Muslim, 450 Catholic, 2,600 Orthodox. Among them 17,000 were Albanian, 3,800 were Slavic (Serbian), 180 were Turkish, and a few Tzintzar houses.5 In Prizren, as noted in the same source, 24,950 people inhabited 6,000 houses. Among them 4,000 were Muslim, 2,150 Catholic and 18,000 Orthodox. According to Muller's estimate, Serbs comprised 4/5, ethnic Albanians 1/6, Tzintzars 1/12 and Turks 1/60 with the military company.6 Thus, the ethnic composition, considering many among the Muslims in Metohia were of Serbian origin and spoke the Serbian language, and that among the Christians few were Albanian Catholics, the ethnic picture based on Muller's research would look like the following:
All town-dwelling Serbs All town-dwelling ethnic Albanians
Catholics Muslims Catholics Muslims
Pec 510 10,540 100 400
Djakovica 2,600 1,200 450 16,500
Prizren 16,800 - 2,150 4,000
All: 19,900 11,740 2,700 20,950
Total Serbs: 31,650 ethnic Albanian: 23,650
Based upon Muller's data, V. Stojancevic calculated the total number of village dwellers in three Metohian districts:7
district Muslims Christians
Pec 22,750 30,250
Djakovica 13,000 17,950
Prizren 44,400 8,050
Total: 80,150 56,250
The cited data exhibits that in Metohia, despite being the most endangered from violence, devastation and blackmail, the Serbian populace composed the most numerous ethnic group at the end of the 1830's. Even though no precise data exists on the then demographic situation in Kosovo, considering subsequent rolls, one could suppose that the relationship between the Serbian and Albanian population was at least close to the ethnic disposition in Metohia. A more complete picture of the demographic disposition in Metohia and Kosovo in the first decades of the 19th century could be attained only if the aforesaid data was compared with available information on the evacuation of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia, from Prince Milos. In keeping with a preserved incomplete documentation of Serbian origin, 180 families moved to Serbia from the Prizren, Pristina, Pec and Scutari pashalik, and another 160 from the northern regions of Kosovo, all in the period between 1815-1837. Most of them were farmers; following were handicraftsmen and several merchants. Keeping in mind the sizes of families, particularly the extended family groups in Metohia (10-30 persons), the number of Serbs fleeing to Serbia was considerable.8 The total number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia during the first half of the 19th century is hard to determine. Turkish annual censuses (sal-namas) were generally unreliable, since the real number of family members was concealed due to taxes, and the Muslims especially refused to have their wives and female children listed. Information also varies in the traveling accounts of contemporaries, foreigners mostly. The data is mainly comprised of the inhabitants of towns and surrounding areas. A somewhat more voluminous and reliable source is the traveling account of Russian diplomat and scientist A. F. Hilferding. Conforming to his data and estimates, there were 4,000 Muslim and 800 Christian families in Pec in 1858; in Podrima 3,000 Albanian and 300 Orthodox families; in Orahovac 50 Albanian and 100 Serbian homes; in the Sredska zhupa 200 Albanian and 300 Serbian families; in the Prizren Podgora more than 1,000 Albanian Muslims, 20 Albanian Catholics and around 300 Orthodox homes; in Pristina 1,500 homes with around 1200 Muslim and 300 Orthodox inhabitants, in Vucitrn 250 Muslim and 150 Orthodox houses. Furthermore, Hilferding noted 3,000 Muslim, 900 Orthodox and 100 Catholic families with 12,000 inhabitants.9 The relativity of data provided by the travel writers is demonstrated by the statistics of Austrian consul Johan Georg von Hahn (1863), who relied on official information when he cited that Prizren contained 11,540 houses with 46,000 inhabitants, of whom 8,400 were Muslim, 3,000 Orthodox and 140 Catholic. The salnama of 1874 noted 3,687 homes in Prizren whereas data of the then Russian consul, Ivan Stepanovich Yastrebov, in reference to the same year, recorded 4,089 houses.10 Yastrebov was the most reliable researcher; he spoke Albanian, Turkish and Serbian well, and as consul to Prizren had the opportunity to personally check on official documents and determine the exact results. Between 1867 and 1874 Yastrebov provided information regarding Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Metohia, classifying them in relation to the traditional territorial division between Albanian tribes and religious affiliation:11
bairak villages Albanians Serbs Serbs Albanians
Mala Hoca 24 827 284 - 30
Poluzje 28 434 4 223 22
Suva Reka 42 691 294 - 45
Ostrozub 33 1,052 5 - 45
Sredska 32 502 488 900 -
Opolje 21 985 - - -
Gora 31 - - 2,167 -
Sirinic 15 157 786 - -
Total 226 4,646 1,861 3,740 142
All this data exhibits that, notwithstanding the emigration of the Serbian populace to Serbia, Islamization and Albanization, still in progress (excluding only Gora), the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia still comprised the largest ethnic group. 1 J. Muller, Albanien, Rumelien und die Osterreichisch-montenegrinische Granze, Frag 1944; A. Ivic, Rumelijski vilajet u godini 1838, Prilozi za knjizevnost, jezik, istoriju i folklor, XIII, 1-2 (1933), pp. 117-126. An elaborate analysis of data provided by V. Stojancevic, Etnicke, konfesionalne i demografske prilike u Metohiji 1830-ih godina, Zbornik okruglog stola o naucnom istrazivanju Kosova, Beograd 1988, pp. 99-114. 2 J. Muller, op. cit,. p. 12; V. Stojancevic, Etnicke, konfesionalne i demografske prilike, p. 102. 3 J. Muller, op. cit., pp. 73-74. 4 A. Ivic, op. cit., pp. 122. 5 J. Muller, op. cit., pp. 77-78; same data stated by the Kriegsarchiv in Vienna (A. Ivic, op. cit., p. 122). 6 J. Muller, op. cit., pp. 82-83; A. Ivic, op. cit., p. 122. 7 V. Stojancevic, Etnicke, konfesionalne i demografske prilike, pp. 104-104. 8 V. Stojancevic, Drzava i drustvo obnovljene Srbije (1815-1839), pp. 45-63. 9 A. F. Giljferding, op. cit, pp. 157,183,193, 214. 10 J. G. Hahn, Putovanje kroz porecinu Drina i Vardara, Beograd 1876, pp. 127-128; I. Jastrebov, op. cit., p. 40. 11 I. Jastrebov, op. cit., pp. 52-91; V. Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi u Osmanskom Carstvu, p. 331. From the Middle Ages, until the First Serbian Insurrection of 1804, the lands comprising Serbia were considered to range from Belgrade to Veles, and from Kladovo to the plateau of Malissia. However, the creation of an insurgent state in north Serbia (1804-1813), brought on a new apprehension of its frontiers. Ever since the downfall of the Insurrection, Milos Obrenovic strove, with patience, perseverance and cunning diplomatic actions, to create an autonomous principality of the subjugated pashalik (of which the foundations for restoring the Serbian state were laid under Karadjordje), within the boundaries of the Bucharest treaty (1812), giving a new name to those Serbian regions remaining beyond its range. Vuk Karadzic united all spacious lands south and southwest of Milos's Serbia, close to the courses of the Drina and Lim rivers, and the river basin of the Juzna Morava (regions that were seats of the Nemanjic state), under a common name - Old Serbia.1 The growing political independence of Serbia, that by 1833 formed an autonomous Principality under Turkish sovereignty, territorially and politically, revived the hopes of Serbs in Metohia and Kosovo. French travel writer Ami Boue remarked that the Serbs in Metohia, even though oppressed by all sorts of brutalities, looked upon Prince Milos as their messiah who would one day liberate them of the harsh bondage of Turkish rule. The Principality of Serbia, during the first reign of Prince Milos (1830-1839), became an attractive place for all Serbs who lived in lands under Turkish domain.2 Prince Milos never disregarded the severe destiny of Serbs in Kosovo. Even during the reigns of independent pashas, he undertook efforts to mitigate the position of his compatriots through ties with the Rotulovic family of Prizren and the Mahmudbegovic family of Pec. The Prince received and bestowed gifts upon the monks of Old Serbia, gave them permission to collect donations for their monasteries in Serbia, and sent gifts whenever he could to the impoverished fraternities in Metohia and Kosovo. He is to be credited for the restoration of the Visoki Decani palace in 1836. In complaints lodged to him, mostly from Visoki Decani, monks bewailed that ethnic Albanians were arrogating monastic lands, notwithstanding the firmans of former sultans, giving warrant for their estates. They pleaded for him to intermediate with the Porte, requesting that a new firman be issued for the fraternity of Decani. Sultan Abdul Mejid confirmed all monastic estates in 1849, but nothing changed, since in the mountains, no one heeds for the firman".3 During the reign of the constitutionalist and Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic (1842-1858), Serbia continued to aid churches, monasteries and schools in Old Serbia, but was unable to improve the position of the unprotected rayah. In the mid-19th century, little was known about the political situation of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. Sporadic connections were made through monks and teachers, who drew attention to the unbearable position of the Serbian populace by sending pleas to the Prince, government or metropolitan. The harsh fate of the people in Old Serbia, as far as the public of the Principality and the Serbian intelligentsia in Austria were concerned, fell into a vague picture of hard life under Turkish rule. The mid-19th century saw no solid grounds enabling closer contact with Albanian chiefs in Kosovo and Metohia. The Nacertanije, by Ilija Garasanin (1844), the first modern Serbian national program within the framework of a foreign-policy plan, spoke of "liberating all non-Ottoman people of the Balkan Peninsula from this bitter bondage through a well-conceived plan"; winning over the ethnic Albanians was part of the plan, as a potential to rely on for the entire Christian uprising against the Turks. The aim to secure a free trade route for the future state by way of Ulcinj and Scutari to the Adriatic shores, compelled Garasanin to cooperate with Albanian Catholics in north Albania. Serbian political propaganda in north Albania was administrated by Matija Ban. According to the Ustav politicke propagande (Constitution of Political Propaganda) of 1849, north Albania belonged to the Southern region". Several agents were assigned to work on winning over north Albanian tribes but most of the burden fell upon the Catholic miter bearer, abbot don Caspar Krasnik, of Albanian nationality, who, after his first successes, was named an agent, receiving annual payment of 270 talers from the Serbian government. Owing to his efforts, Bib Doda, heir to the great Catholic tribe Mirdit, had been won over for cooperation with Serbia. At the time, Bib Doda told Krasnik "that he, with the Mirdits, would be ready to join in the rise for liberation, so the Mirdits would have an autonomy and the freedom to practice their religion under Serbian rule". Abbot Krasnik arrived at Belgrade in 1849, informed Garasanin of the situation in north Albania and confirmed the readiness of the Mirdits to start an uprising against the Turks if they were given gunpowder and flints. Due to Garasanin, lord of Montenegro, Prince-Bishop Petar II Petrovic Njegos, established tolerable relations with the Mirdits, there until in hostile relations with Montenegrin tribes. Prince-bishop of Montenegro and Bib Doda contracted an alliance at the end of 1849 for attack and defense against the Turks. In 1851, a relative of Bib Doda, Marko Prokljes, arrived at Cetinje and in Belgrade, promising "the Prince and Serbian government up to 2,000 soldiers any time they may require them". Cooperation with the Mirdits soon evolved through Montenegrin ties. At the same time, Krasnik won over Domazen, the Catholic bishop in Scutari.4 International circumstances, especially the political situation on the European side of the empire, would not allow for a great Serbian uprising, nor military cooperation with the Mirdits. The campaigns of Omer Pasha Latas in Walachia, Old Serbia and Bulgaria, from 1849-1851, the great rise of the Serbs in Herzegovina under the leadership of Luka Vukalovic in 1852, and the 1853 war between Montenegro and Turkey, brought on new campaigns and a concentration of Turkish troops in Albania, Old Serbia and at its borders with Montenegro. The Mirdits did not, for the first time in long while, respond to a call to war with Montenegro. The Turks blamed and arrested Abbot Krasnik for this weak response; he evaded penalty due to French intervention. At the same time, in 1853, Ilija Garasanin, the instigator of national action in Turkey, was replaced. Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, pressured by the Porte, which regarded Serbia as the source of all subversive action on the Peninsula, ceased all national action outside the boundaries of the Principality and prohibited public anti-Turkish manifestations. At the beginning of the Crimean War, 1853, the loyalty of Prince Aleksandar to the Porte grew, thus incurring the cessation of all propaganda actions. The Mirdits were compelled to join the Danube Ottoman army.5 Following several years of slowdown, particularly during the reign of Prince Mihailo, when Garasanin occupied the seat of prime minister and minister of foreign affairs (1861-1867), plans revived for the Balkan uprising against the Turks. Garasanin believed, with the cooperation of Montenegro and Greece, that Serbia, as the most powerful Balkan force, should bear the heaviest load in the organization and in preparations for the uprising. Following the plan, Serbia was to encompass, through propaganda, a larger part of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Old Serbia and the northern and mid-regions of Albania. In a memoir addressed to Prince Mihailo in 1860, Garasanin underscored the explicit necessity for the ethnic Albanians to be politically neutralized. The aim was to separate them from the Turks, to prevent them from hindering the Serbian-Greek alliance. He intended to exert influence over their clans and prominent tribal chiefs, warning him that the people were mostly illiterate, had no national center, and were segregated by three religions. Anticipating the creation of a common Serbian-Bulgarian state, Garasanin believed that Albania, after liberating itself from the Turks, as well as Greece, should be an independent country, allied with the new Slavic state for purposes of defending common and special interests. In negotiations with Greece, in 1860, Serbia agreed, in principle, to divide Albania, whereby the northern territories, Durazzo and Elbasan, would be annexed to Serbia, and Berat and Korea, to the Greek state. However, this contract was never signed. The final text of the contract on the alliance between Greece and Serbia (1866) allowed for the creation of an independent Albania, or its annexation to either Serbia or Greece.6 Both Serbian and Greek statesmen observed how important Albanian determination was in case of a total Christian uprising on the Balkans, due to Albania's geopolitical position and the role of Albanian warriors in the Turkish army. According to a belief of the contemporary French minister to Athens, the stand of the ethnic Albanians was a knot in all controversial matters regarding Turkey and the Christian population. The formation of the Balkan alliance for a joint struggle against the Turks helped reestablish contacts with north Albania. Gaspar Krasnik was interned at Constantinople in 1865, so Garasanin assigned a Slovenian priest, Franz Mauri, secretary of the bishop of Scutari, to be the agent instead. However, cooperation was soon severed due to suspicions that he was working for Austria and Turkey. Albania most severely opposed the Forte's reforms; this discontent was thus used for contracting new alliances. In 1866, Djelal Pasha, member of the powerful Zogu clan and influential chief of the Mati region, who was interned at Constantinople, was won over for cooperation. For the first time, contacts, though only in principle, were established with ethnic Albanians of the Muslim faith. Since there were no Serbian settlements in Mati, no intolerance existed like in Old Serbia. Djelal Pasha was to head the great uprising against the Turks. When it was learnt in Constantinople that the Porte was working on winning over and arming the ethnic Albanians for the Christian uprising, the Serbian government, bolstered by the until then reserved Russian diplomacy, activated its tasks among the ethnic Albanians. In Belgrade in 1868, six Albanian chiefs were sojourning. After being won over by gifts, they were familiarized with the preparations for the uprising and sent to Albania to await the beckon to rise. Cooperation with Dzelal Pasha was not realized for his instability and the unreliability of his nearest retinues. There could be no political nor military organization, for everything depended upon the competence of a handful of chiefs.7 Serbia had high hopes for the Albanian revolt against Turkish authorities, until abandoning the idea of rising in Turkey in 1868. However, Belgrade did not apprehend that the readiness of ethnic Albanians to rise evolved out of the desire to resist Turkish reforms and retain tribal privileges. During the sixties of the 19th century, the ethnic Albanians were void of national awareness, in the modern sense of the word, nor did they comprehend, excepting a small number of educated tribal chiefs, their problems as national, beyond narrow tribal and confessional frameworks. As soon as imminent danger from the introduction of reforms was past, the ethnic Albanians would again respond to calls from the sultan to defend Islam and pay their dues of loyalty with abundant spoils and devastated Christian countries. 1 V. Karadzic, Danica za 1827, Budim 1827. G. J. Jurisic considered the following nahis part of Old Serbia in 1852: Novi Pazar, Pec, Djakovica, Prizren, Skoplje, Kosovo, Pristina, Vucitrn, Vranje, Leskovac and Nis. A. F. Giljferding, nevertheless, included the Novi Pazar nahis with Kosovo and Metohia as part of Old Serbia (More detailed analysis in: V. Stojancevic, Jugoslovenski narodi u Osmanskom Carstvu, p. 327). 2 A. Bou, Recueil d'itinraires dans la Turquie d'Europe, Paris 1854, p. 198. 3 Zaduzbine Kosova, 611-612; V. Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi u Osmanskom Carstvu, p. 235. 4 D. Stranjakovic, Juznoslovenski nacionalni i drzavni program Knezevine Srbije iz 1844. god., Beograd 1931, pp. 3-29; idem, Politicka propaganda Srbije u juznoslovenskim pokrajinama 1844-1858. godine, Beograd 1936, pp. 20-25. 5 V. Stojancevic, Juznoslovenski narodi u Osmanskom Carstvu, pp. 292-293. 6 D. Stranjakovic, Albanija i Srbija u XIX veku, Srpski knjizevni glasnik, 52 (1937), pp. 624-627; G. Jaksic - V. J. Vuckovic, Spoljna politika Srbije za vlade kneza Mihaila. Prvi balkanski savez, Beograd 1963, pp. 137. 7 G. Jaksic, Jedan izvestaj o Albaniji, Arhiv za Arbansku stranu, jezik i etnologiju, II (1924), pp. 169-192; G. Jaksic - V. J. Vuckovicic, op. cit., pp. 240-246, 413-416, 468, Srbija i oslobodilacki pokret na Balkanu od Pariskog mira do Berlinskog kongresa (1856-1878), I (ed: V. Krestic- R. Ljusic), Beograd 1983, pp. 435-444, 558-563. National life evolved under the wing of the church. After the abolishment of the Pec Patriarchate in 1766, gone was the only national institution around which the Serbs congregated; gone was the guider of national living. It was in 1807, by the edict of Sultan Mustafa, that the Serbian Janicije was named metropolitan of the Raska-Prizren Eparchy. Owing to himself and his successor, Hadzi-Zaharije (1819-1830), during the first three decades of the 19th century, the Raska-Prizren Eparchy helped maintain national awareness with the assistance of lower clergy of Serbian nationality, even though remaining under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The people in Kosovo and Metohia were bound, perhaps more strongly than those in other Serbian lands, to their national heritage. Living memories of the sacred rulers and heroes of Kosovo, of past glory and the unfortunately lost empire were kept alive by priests and monks from the fraternities of medieval endowments. In Visoki Decani and the Pec Patriarchate, in Gracanica and Devic, the most powerful seats of national and spiritual life, the cults of ruler-martyrs, patriarchs and ascetics were cherished. Beside the tradition of the once glorious Serbia under the Nemanjices, the minds of the people were kept alive with the memories of uprisings and migrations of centuries past. The endurance sustaining the Serbs despite all their miseries, evolved out of a profound attachment to the spiritual and national heritage of the medieval Serbian state. Not with standing the raging anarchy that shook Old Serbia, waning only from time to time, the Serbs in Metohia and Kosovo were able to organize and restore their spiritual and educational lives with assistance from official Serbia. Continuity of work, with periodical suspensions during times of turbulence, was maintained by monastic schools in the Pec Patriarchate, Visoki Decani, Devic and Gracanica (containing a press at one time). Here pupils from different areas of Serbia under Turkish rule were being taught the clergyman's vocation. The first more deeply felt financial support given to the monastic schools, began to arrive from Prince Milos during the third decade. During the reign of Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and the constitutionalist regime in Serbia (1842-1858), financial aid began to arrive more regularly for the restoration of churches and the maintenance of monasteries, and gifts were sent in books for religious service. Excluding the most renown medieval endowments, aid from the Serbian government also arrived to fraternities of the monasteries St. Marko and the Holy Trinity near Prizren, the Holy Transfiguration near Pec, and to priests of the Prizren and Djakovica churches. Since the mid-18th century, Serbian church-school communities operated in Metohia and Kosovo, founded first in towns and then in village parishes, the cores of township and village self-government. Until the Rasko-Prizren metropolitans were of Serbian nationality, they nominated members for the governing bodies of church-school communities, usually for no limited time. The selection was limited to the most noted priests, wealthy merchants and guild representatives. Communities saw to the maintenance of religious schools and the education of monastic progeny, strove to establish contact with Serbia and effect relations with Turkish authorities, both on religious and educational grounds, and when possible, on economic ones, too. Members of church-school boards collected contributions for the repairement of monasteries and churches. Beside many monasteries and churches (Gracanica, Visoki Decani, Devic, Duboki Potok, Vracevo, Draganac), palaces were built for the operation of monastic or religious schools, and subsequently secular ones. At the beginning of the 19th century, the inauguration of schools was urged by Raska-Prizren Metropolitans Janicije and Hadzi Zaharije. When the bishopric chair was taken over in 1830 by Greek bishops, endeavors were undertaken, especially during Metropolitan Ignjatije's time (1840-1849), to open Tzintzar schools where lessons in Greek would also be attended by Serbian children.1 The Phanariot bishops strove to sustain the subjugation and ignorance of the Serbian clergy, so as to facilitate their manipulation of The flock. Some of them sold their clerical positions for money and fined the people with large church taxes. Being of open anti-Serbian determination, they impeded or hampered the restoration or construction of new churches, attempted to Hellenize the populace by imposing the celebration of the name-day feast, instead of the Slava (Serbian family feast for its patron saint), a definitely Serbian custom.2 In the first half of the 19th century, religious schools existed in all major towns (Pristina, Pec, Mitrovica, Vucitrn, Gnjilane, Djakovica) and in some villages (Musutiste, Vitina, Korminjan). Private schools were opened usually under the name of a notable leader who was to finance its operation, but the burden of maintenance usually fell upon church-school communities and guilds. Private schools provided lessons in subjects both religious and secular. The best among them were at Prizren, Vucitrn, Mitrovica, and the Donja Jasenovo and Kovaci villages. The inauguration of new private schools falls with the Turkish reforms at the middle of the century. Merchant and craftsmen guilds in Pec, Prizren and Gnjilane introduced funds for opening new schools and obtaining better teaching staff. The constitutionalist government sent the schools money, books and other facilities through merchants and other members of church boards. According to available data, several dozens of schools in Metohia and Kosovo were attended by around 1,300 pupils during the sixties. The oldest and most renown Serbian church-school community was in Prizren, the economical center of Serbs in Metohia, where a community school aiming to prevent Greek propaganda was established in 1836. Hilferding recorded that the male school had 200 pupils in 1857. Other important seats of scholastic life were at Pristina (150 pupils in 1865) and Pec (150 pupils in 1866), in which Serbian teachers from different regions (Srem, Serbia, Croatia) lectured according to secular programs from Serbia. Special schools were opened for female children. The highest degree of education was provided by an extensive school at Prizren, a kind of high school, though of lower level.3 A number of talented pupils from Kosovo and Metohia aspiring to the teaching vocation, were being prepared in Serbia from the beginning of the sixties, owing to scholarships received from wealthy Prizren merchant Sima Andrejevic Igumanov (1804-1882). Their number greatly increased already after 1868, when in Belgrade, at the proposition of Serbian Metropolitan Mihailo, an Educational Board was formed for schools and teachers in Old Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Under the patronage of the Board, works on the improvement of teaching conditions soon produced significant results. New schools were opened and old ones given financial support, and the curriculum contained better programs. The tasks of teachers educated in Serbia were not solely to educate, but were, above all, aimed to maintain national awareness of the people, prevent conversions and prepare the progeny to carry on the duties of national enlightenment. The turning point in the educational life of Serbs in the Ottoman Empire, was marked by the Bogoslovija (Seminary), founded in Prizren in 1871. Even though some suggestions for its inauguration were directed at Pec, the prevailing attitude in Belgrade was that Prizren was the most favorable place, being the center of economical life for Serbs in Old Serbia and seat of the vilayet. Sima Andrejevic Igumanov lived in Prizren, the contemporaneously greatest benefactor who bequeathed his riches obtained by trades in Russia, to the people. He was a Russian subject and was thus able, with assistance from the Russian consulate at Prizren, to obtain a license from the Turkish authorities to found a Seminary. It soon became the seat of the overall spiritual and educational life and the stronghold for political work on national affairs. More important was the fact that for the first time, contact had been established with the government in Belgrade, able thus to exert immediate influence on national operations amongst Serbs in Old Serbia. From its inauguration in 1871, until the liberation in 1912, the Seminary worked according to instructions given by the Serbian government. At the beginning, its operation was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry for Education and Religious Affairs, and then the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. All expenses of the Seminary were paid by the Serbian government, but important means for its maintenance came from various funds founded by the church and from the endowment of Sima Igumanov. The first rector of the Theological college was a monk from Decani, Sava Decanac, a graduate of the Spiritual Academy in Kiev.4 Owing to the Bogoslovija, primary schools operated in all larger settlements in Metohia and Kosovo until 1912, and graduated theologians from Prizren became teachers and priests all over the Ottoman Empire, from Macedonia to Bosnia. According to incomplete data, around 480 students graduated from the Seminary (subsequently transformed to a theological-teaching school) until 1912, among whom 196 were from Metohia and Kosovo. The inauguration of the Seminary in Prizren proved to be a secure dam against any attempts undertaken by the Constantinople Patriarchate to Hellenize the Serbian populace through Tzintzar oases in Metohia and against the aims of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870) to build strongholds in the Gnjilane region. Until the Serbian consulate was opened in Pristina in 1889, the Seminary was the center of Serbian political life in Metohia and Kosovo. From Belgrade, by way of the School, books, journals and newspapers were delivered, for expanding liberational ideas and consolidating national awareness. From the beginning of its operations, the Turkish authorities and ethnic Albanians suspected the School of being the center of Serbian national action, thus political contacts with Belgrade were carried out through the Russian consulate in Prizren which secured the transmission of confidential mail.5 In Prizren (seat of the vilayet from 1868-1874), from 1871, until the abolition of the vilayet, the paper Prizren was published in two languages, Turkish and Serbian, in which official news, laws, orders, new regulations, verdicts over violators, and columns on events taking place in Turkey and in other countries were published. The Serbian section of the paper was editored by Ilija Stavric, rector of the Seminary, and texts were translated into Serbian by a distinguished national worker and subsequent Serbian consul to Pristina, Todor P. Stankovic. In Pristina, where the Kosovo vilayet was formed in 1877, a similar vilayet paper Kosovo was instigated, also in the Serbian and Turkish language. When the seat of the Kosovo vilayet was moved to Skoplje in 1888, the paper resumed its publication only in Turkish.6 1 See most important works: P. Kostic, Crkveni zivot pravoslavnih Srba u Prizrenu i njegovoj okolini u XIX veku, (with writer's memories), Beograd 1928; idem, Prosvetno-kulturni zivot pravoslavnih Srba u Prizrenu i njegovoj okolini u XIX veku i pocetkom XX veka, (with writer's memories), Skoplje 1933; J. K. Djilas, Srpske skole na Kosovu od 1856. do 1912. godine, Pristina 1969. 2 J. Popovic, Zivot Srba na Kosovu 1812-1912, pp. 222-226. 3 The most distingushed teachers during the sixties were Nikola Musulin and Milan Novicic in Prizren, Milan D. Kovacevic in Pristina, and Sava Decanac in Pec. 4 J. K. Djilas, op. cit., pp. 53-104. 5 Spomenica Sezdesetogodisnjice prizrenske Bogoslovske uciteljske Skole 1871-1921, Beograd 1925, pp. 133-160; J. K. Djilas, op. cit., pp. 105-110. 6 T. P. Stankovic, Putne beleske po Staroj Srbiji 1871-1897, pp. 67-72; H. Kalesi - H.J. Kornrumpf, op. cit., pp. 117-122. The essence of Serbian economy in Metohia and Kosovo lay in the town and village handicrafts and trades. Centers of Serbian society in Metohia and Kosovo were the towns Prizren, Pristina and Pec, and during the last quarter of the century - Mitrovica. In Prizren, a large town on an important crossroad toward Scutari and Salonika, trade and craftsmanships flourished in the preceding centuries. The local Serbs called it "small Constantinople", since most of the trade and crafts traditionally belonged to Serbian citizens. According to available sources, life in Serbian towns evolved under irregular circumstances during the entire 19th century. The perpetual shifts of anarchy, wars and uprisings, and continual peril upon one's life and property, compelled the small-in-number Serbian citizens in Kosovo to adapt to the existing conditions with haste. Using bribes and tips, common means with bribable government representatives, they somewhat expanded narrow economic frameworks, and discovered, always coinciding with momentous political conditions, new opportunities for work and ways to protect their estates and families. Life in the Serbian towns of Kosovo and Metohia continued parallel to the Turkish and Albanian ones dictating the terms. Even though corroded by irregular conditions, Serbian tradesmen and craftsmen, gathered in church-school communities and parishes, united in times of hardship, succeeded in organizing their lives. Acted as a unity toward the authorities and tyrants, they often quarreled when settling matters in local communities. The obstinacy with which they resisted temptations to move to Serbia - a land that soon trod the path of national and economic emancipation by European standards - proves that among the best national representatives, a high degree of awareness existed on the need for survival on Kosovo grounds. Anachronic methods of trade, insecurity on roads and competition of cheap European goods impeded the development of trade and handicrafts among Serbs. The Muslims forbade the Christians to deal in crafts of wider significance, for instance, the gunsmiths', leather dealers', and even the barbers' trade. Beside the Muslims, who were mostly Turks, the Tzintzars, Jews and Catholic Slavs of Janjevo were also in the handicraft business. Yet the Serbs did very well in all the permitted trades. A larger part of their produces satisfied their domestic needs and provided for nearby bazaars in Old Serbia and Macedonia. Only a smaller portion of handicraft produces, particularly of the goldsmiths', leather dealers' and tailors' guild (especially in Prizren, Pristina and Pec), were vended on larger markets. Costly decorative pieces of silver and gold, as well as saffian, had their buyers on markets in Salonika, Constantinople and other Levant towns. Bulk traders of Prizren, Vucitrn and Pristina sold various articles in Serbia, mostly produces of different guilds, and purchased larger livestock. The Vucitrn tradesmen of the Camilovic family had successful dealings with Sarajevo, while merchants from Pec and Pristina traded with other towns in Bosnia. Enterprising Prizren tradesmen held warehouses with leather and wool in Belgrade from where their goods were delivered to Pest, Vienna and Constantinople.1 The dynamic development of enterprises accomplished by Serbian merchants in the mid-19th century provoked religious intolerance in conservative competitive circles - tradesmen of Muslim faith. The commercial successes of Serbs also disturbed the Turkish authorities, who reckoned them to be signs of national rising. As a result, in 1859 and 1863, Serbian shops were burnt in Prizren, Pec and Pristina, which incurred a sudden economic downfall in these towns. Hadji Serafim Ristic recorded that when the army occupied Prizren in 1860, 12 shops were burnt, and in Pristina, at two strokes, 90 shops belonging to reputable merchants blazed, with values amounting to almost a million coins.2 Yet, commerce remained in Christian hands in Prizren, according to the attestation of Austrian Consul J. G. von Hahn.3 A new commercial swing came with the opening of the railway track from Mitrovica to Salonika in 1873-1874, while handicrafts recorded a decrease in sales due to competition from cheap European goods brought to Kosovo by Jewish merchants from Salonika. Nevertheless, the revival of handicrafts and trade among the Serbs in the mid-19th century, despite irregular conditions, considerably influenced the slowdown of emigration to Serbia. In towns, contrary to the villages, a certain amount of legal security existed and a possibility for developing ventures. The position of Serbs living in villages was incomparably harder. ethnic Albanians of Muslim faith organized raiding parties and mercilessly sacked Serbian villages. Being Muslims, being privileged in every way, they united into compact communities of blood brotherhoods or tribes, socially homogeneous, maintaining their clans by terrorizing the Serbs, seizing their lands or exacting taxes. By curbing Serbian farmers from certain regions, they made space for the settlement of their fellow tribesmen living in the indigent plateaus of north Albania. Unused to life in the plains and hard work in the fields, the ethnic Albanians who settled from the hilly regions rather picked up guns than hoes.4 There was no public safety on the roads of Kosovo and Metohia during the 19th century. Passageways were controlled by bands of outlaws or tribal companies, thus roads could be passed only with military escorts of the Turkish police or with protection from Albanian clans supervising parts of tribal territory, lurking about for an opportunity to fleece merchants and passengers. The Serbian peasant could not hope to be protected even in the fields, where he could be assaulted at any moment by a wandering outlaw, or blackmailed, and if he resisted, killed. Being the rayah, the Serbs had no right to carry weapons, and when they contrived to obtain them, they had nowhere to hide from the vengeance of the Albanian clan with which they clashed. The haiduk tradition, characteristic of Serbs living in all regions under Turkish domain, had no effect in the plains of Kosovo and Metohia. Haiduk activity occurring from time to time on the ranges of Mount Prokletije, in the vicinity of the Decani and Pec monasteries, took place with the assistance and protection of Serbs from Montenegro, but still it could not be sustained. In times of peace, rule in towns was maintained by Turkish military garrisons. Passage through roads depended upon the will of numerous Albanian clan companies until 1912. Villages inhabited by ethnic Albanians and situated along the roads of Metohia where interspersed with high stone towers, small fortresses from where passengers were attacked and where concealment lay from members of other companies. Both day and night, Serbian homes, made of glued mud, were open to attack by individuals or bands of outlaws without fear of sanctions. French travel writer Ami Boue recorded that his escort terrorized and robbed the inhabitants of a Serbian village. When the host opposed the assailant with an axe, the latter threatened to notify Pristina, from where the "janissaries" and the tax collector would pop out. Under such threats, the head of the Serbian home was compelled to comply to the demands of the assailant, and even to part with him on "friendly" terms.5 During the second and third decade of the 19th century, when independent pashas reigned, the position of Serbian village populaces was extremely difficult. Agrarian-legal relations depended not on Turkish regulations but on physical force. Feudal lords forced free farmers to the position of chiflik farmers, especially in Drenica, and the Pec, Vucitrn and Pristina nahis. Many free farmers fled to Serbia, while Islamization and Albanization decreased the resistance of Serbian villages toward chiflik labor. The seized estates were returned to some of the Serbs in 1832, owing to the merit of Grand Vizier Reshid Pasha. The vizier then attempted to permanently settle agrarian-legal relations in Rumelia with a decree issued in Vucitrn, but in practice it was all different. Agas and subpashas settled in villages to control the division of incomes of Serbian chiflik laborers. Fearing sanctions, the Serbs were forbidden to collect income from the lands they tilled unless given permission. By the Hattisherif of Gulhane, the chiflik-sahibi system was legalized; private ownership of land was recognized legally. The chiflik-laboring Serbs tilled the lands of their lords and gave them part of their income. In Kosovo and Metohia, until the Tanzimat reforms, the transformation of sipahiliks to chifliks was executed by force. Chiflik-laboring was most expressed in districts where Serbs and ethnic Albanians lived admixed. Landowners were mostly Muslim ethnic Albanians and Turks, free farmers - ethnic Albanians, and chiflik-laborers mainly Serbs with a small portion of Catholic ethnic Albanians.6 Pressure exerted upon the Serbian chiflik inhabitants following 1839 was so great that when a large Christian uprising was prepared in Bosnia and Rumelia, serious thought was given to rising. When the plans to rise were divulged, the position of farmers grew worse. Muslims in Prizren routed the tax collector in 1841, but Christian Serbs were compelled to pay. Having no one to seek protection from, the Serbs of the Vucitrn and Pristina nahis addressed the government in Belgrade in 1842, requesting help. Weighed down by high taxes, which in some areas amounted to half of their total incomes, Serbian farmers became impoverished. Economic pressure did not exclude violent deeds which became daily events at the end of the fifth and sixth decade. Blackmail, fleecing, arrogation of incomes and estates were followed by countless acts of violence over Serbian inhabitants under Albanian raiding bands. Only a part of these oppressive acts were divulged by archimandrite of the Decani monastery, Hadji Serafim Ristic, in his complaints to the sultan, Serbian Prince and Russian ruler.7 1 D. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba, pp. 235-260. 2 Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki razvoj kosovskih Srba, pp. 236-237. 3 J. G. Hahn, Putovanje kroz porecinu Drina i Vardara, 130. 4 T. P. Stankovic, op. cit., pp. 131-138. 5 D. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba, p. 90. 6 D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki razvoj kosovskih Srba, pp. 236-239 (with earlier bibliography). 7 Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, pp. 22-52. 104 The Albanian national movement was born during the great Eastern crisis (1875-1878). The basis for its gathering contained the direct denial of liberatory aims of Serbian states and of the political and national rights of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. Bound, in its matrix course, to the Islam concept of tribal autonomy within the framework of the Ottoman state, the Albanian movement radiated a peculiar intolerance toward European comprehensions of society. The movement for autonomy was, to the Muslim masses of Kosovo and Metohia, synonymous to the preservation of tribal and feudal privileges; to the conservation of the anachronous regime in which the Serbs had no place. The outcome of the Eastern crisis brought Kosovo and Metohia under the direct influence of Great Powers. Subsequent to the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entrance of Austro-Hungarian troops in the northern parts of the Kosovo vilayet, the remote Turkish province became the key of dominion on the Peninsula. In Vienna, strong argumentation underscored that the Ottomans conquered the Balkan Peninsula only after the battle of Kosovo in 1389. The formation of oppositional power blocks in Europe, with Austria-Hungary and Russia as their main exponents in the Balkans, was conducive to a clearer refraction of their mutual conflicting interests in Kosovo, Metohia and Macedonia than in other Ottoman provinces. Internationalization of the problem of Old Serbia, which intercepted German penetration to the east, heavily affected the local Serbian populace. Russia's influence on political issues in the Balkans, since the Congress of Berlin until the Young Turk Revolution (1908), was diminishing despite aims for its restoration and consolidation. Austro-Hungarian supremacy on the Balkans, destroyed in World War I, was based on mercilessly checking Serbian national interests and liberatory aims (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Novi Pazar sanjak, Old Serbia, Macedonia). Favorizing the ethnic Albanians and the conservative regime of Abdulhamid II, the Dual Monarchy made the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohia victims of a policy aiming to a total expulsion of Serbs in areas between the Una river and the Vardar river basin, mid Hungary and the Adriatic Sea. The great Eastern crisis inaugurated the issue on the survival of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Uprisings in Bosnia and Herzegovina compelled the Porte, fearing interference from the Great Powers, to issue a firman of reforms for the whole Empire. The following year a reform plan, designed by Austria-Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Count Gyula Andrassi, was imposed upon the Porte to prevent Russian intervention. Serbia and Montenegro, emboldened by successful insurrections and the rebellion in Bulgaria, prepared for a liberation war and the unification of the Serbs. Crucial support was expected from Russia, but a somewhat larger response came only from Slavophile circles which sent around 3,000 volunteers to Serbia. Heading a Serbian army (subsequently the entire army), entirely devoid of a trained military cadre, was Russian General Mihail Grigorievich Chernaiev. With the agreement in Reichstadt (1876) and the military convention in Budapest (1877), Russia negotiated with Austria-Hungary: with free action and the declaration of war to Turkey the Dual Monarchy would be able to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina at the appropriate time. The destiny of the liberation movement was thereby settled beforehand. The beginning of the uprising in Herzegovina and Bosnia in 1875 revived the hopes of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia that the time of liberation was drawing near. Harbingers voicing the approaching liberation were seen in dreams, interpreted by portents and extraordinary occurrences, while Serbian merchants demanded the payment of their dues before deadlines.1 Unfamiliar passengers seen in various parts of Metohia and Kosovo were regarded as Serbian Prince Milan in disguise, observing the battlefields of the upcoming combats. Shortly before the war, emissaries did actually arrive from Serbia. In Nis in 1874, a secret committee was formed with the task of preparing an uprising against the Turks. Before the commencement of war, a general of the Serbian army, Franz Zach, sent Todor P. Stankovic, member of the Nis committee and an authority on the local situation to Kosovo, to confer with notables in Pristina, Vucitrn, Gnjilane and Prizren on the upcoming war. The report was submitted to General Chernaiev who disapproved of the Serbs rising in Kosovo, expounding that Russia had not yet decided to engage in war. Several notables from Kosovo did, however, arrive in Serbia with the desire to obtain detailed instructions for the Joint action. Aksentije Hadzi Arsic, a merchant from Pristina, contacted the Russian diplomacy in Belgrade, endeavoring, with its assistance in Constantinople, subsequently in Odessa, to organize a course for transferring volunteers to Serbia.2 When the war began in June 1876, masses of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia crossed over to Serbian territory, and with Macedonian volunteers, fought within the composition of the Serbian army. Numerous refugees fleeing Albanian terror sought shelter in Serbia. Serbs in Prizren and other places were called to join the Ottoman army in the composition of irregular troops (bashibazouk) and war with Serbia. Most of them saved themselves by paying high ransoms. The ethnic Albanians and Turks received the declaration of war vexed and anxious. Around 35,000 (72 units with 550 men) Albanian volunteers responded to the sultan's call to defend their homeland. The first to advance to the front towards Serbia were ethnic Albanians of the Ljuma mountainous region. On their way toward the border, at the beginning of July, around 3,000 of them descended to Prizren, sacking the Serbian town. The Albanian volunteers took every advantage to pillage regions lying on their way. Again Kosovo and Metohia became a battleground where ethnic Albanians settled their accounts with the Serbs, blaming them for the outbreak of war. Serbia and Montenegro fought with unequal success. The Montenegrins won two great victories whereas the poorly armed and insufficiently trained Serbian troops suffered defeats. Serbia soon agreed to a truce and then a peace treaty with Turkey on a status quo basis. In Constantinople the insane Murad V was deposed and Abdulhamid II proclaimed sultan. At the end of 1876, the Constitution was proclaimed, warranting freedom of religion and civil equality for all subjects of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, nothing changed in Kosovo and Metohia. Terror upon the Serbs did not abate. At the end of December 1876, the church-school community of Pec complained to the pasha of Prizren that fifty Serbs were killed in the town and its vicinity from May to December. Complaints of oppression were sent to the grand vizier and Russian and Austro-Hungarian consuls in Prizren. An English Committee received refugees returning from Serbia to Kosovo following the unsuccessful war.3 A conference of ambassadors of the Great Powers disputed the destiny of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, at the beginning of January in 1877. The destiny of Serbs in other Balkan provinces except in Bosnia and Bulgaria was not mentioned. Thus a "Committee for the Liberation of Old Serbia and Macedonia" was founded in Belgrade presided by Archimandrite Sava Decanac. National notables composed a petition at the end of February with a hundred signatures, thus authorizing the Board was able to represent them with the Great Powers. The petition demanded that all countries in which Serbs lived be annexed to Serbia so as to sustain their faith and nationality. An alternate demand was to found a Serbian Exarchate, following the example of the Bulgarian one, with its seat at Pec, and encompassing Bosnia and Herzegovina.4 Russia's entrance to war with Turkey in April 1877, which Serbia and Montenegro were to join, had delayed the submission of the petition, but, nonetheless, the Committee resumed its work. Shortly before Serbia's repeated engagement in war, the Serbian prince and the Russian tzar received news from Kosovo on the slave-like treatment of the Turkish authorities upon the Christians. At Russia's demand, after lengthy hesitation, Serbia entered war at the end of December, 1877, but only after Russia's conquest of Plevna, which sent off an unfavorable echo to the ruling Russian circles. A favorable condition for a move to liberate Skoplje and emerge in Kosovo was missed. The Kosovo ethnic Albanians advanced once more toward the border. The regular Turkish troops were engaged at the front with the Russians, while ethnic Albanians comprised the main force against the Serbs. Anxiety among them was higher than military enthusiasm. Fear of Russian victory ("Moskovits") and of its allies wrought commotion upon the ethnic Albanians, anxious about their future religious and tribal rights. Life in a Christian and Slavic state was inconceivable for the majority of ethnic Albanians; in combats with the Serbian army they put up stubborn resistance, especially in struggles for Prokuplje and Kursumlija. But the Serbs were advancing steadily. Liberating Nis, Leskovac, Vranje and Prokuplje, the Serbian army emerged in Kosovo. Not knowing that Russia and Turkey had agreed to a truce, the voluntary regiment of Major Radomir Putnik took Gnjilane, while the advance guard of the Serbian army, under the command of Lieutenant Milos Sandic, reached the Gracanica monastery near Pristina toward the end of January 1878. On January 25, a solemn liturgy was performed in Gracanica to honor the victory of the Serbian army and Prince Milan, and a commemoration was held for the heroes of Kosovo in 1389. However, the concluded truce was inclusive of the Serbian army. The units were compelled to withdraw from Kosovo.5 According to the Peace Treaty between Russia and Turkey concluded in San Stefano on March 3rd, 1878, a bulk of the liberated territories, including those liberated by the Serbian army, were alloted to Bulgaria. prince Milan informed the Russian supreme command that "the Serbian army will not abandon Nis even if it were attacked by the Russian army". As a compensation, Serbia's border was extended to Mitrovica on Kosovo. Old Serbia remained under Ottoman rule. By the agreement, the Porte was obligated to issue a special reglment organique for Albania.6 The Committee of Sava Decanac then expanded its actions. Signatures for petitions were collected and sent to the Serbian prince, Russian tzar and delegates of the European powers. All the petitions demanded the annexation of Old Serbia and Macedonia to Serbia. The news that the Congress of Berlin had been convoyed for the revision of the San Stefano Peace Treaty was received by the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia as a possibility of emphasizing again the demands for annexation to Serbia. Delegates of the Pristina, Prizren, Djakovica, Pec and Vucitrn regions sent a petition to the participants of the Congress with 272 signatures, stamped with 126 county and monastic seals. On June 28, the Serbs of Gnjilane, Skoplje and Tetovo sent to the Russian tzar and British delegate in Berlin an appeal with nearly 400 signatures. A similar authorized appeal was sent to the Serbian knez. In a memorandum submitted to Russian Tzar Alexander II, national representatives complained of unbearable violence and the inferior position of the Orthodox people.7 Sava Decanac set off to Berlin with a petition signed by around 2,000 national representatives - priests, serfs, merchants and craftsmen. He submitted the petition to the German Chancellor Prince Otto von Bismarck who promised that the participants of the Congress would be told about the demands. Archimandrite Sava wrote a general appeal to every other delegate of the Great Powers, demanding the annexation to Serbia, or, at least, if possible, the restoration of the Pec Patriarchate. His memorandum dated June 3, 1878, reads: "This nation has been enduring sufferings unheard-of because it was left to the mercy of Turkish and Albanian renegades. Now, since the position of all the peoples of the Balkan Peninsula has improved, is it right that we should remain shackled to tyranny, is it right that we should further endure butchery from the Turks, that our homes should be burnt by ethnic Albanians, is it right that we should be subject to deeds worse than those committed upon animals in Europe. Considering we took part in the war for liberation, considering we rebelled against exploitation, considering we expressed our desires for freedom and unification with our brothers; if the old system is restored, Muslim fanaticism will be without limit, more brutal, we will be forced to endure sufferings never experienced before. We raise our voices once more to the European assembly, asking for mercy, not to leave us to this gory and cruel bondage. If it is unable to grant us freedom, let at least autonomy and personal safety be secured."8 Austria-Hungarian and Russian rivalry for dominance over the Balkans was not favorable to Serbia's requests. Delegates from Serbia and Montenegro delegates were not permitted to take part in the Congress. The Serbian government, relying upon Austria-Hungary, requested of Gyula Andrsssi the annexation of the Gnjilane region, beside the Nis sanjak. Minister of Foreign Affairs Jovan Ristic, in a memoir submitted to participants of the Congress, underscored that if Old Serbia were to remain under Turkish rule, the Serbs would be left to the merciless revenge of Muslims, which would bring Serbia to an unenviable position and only incur new troubles.9 Even though both countries acquired independence at the Congress of Berlin, the decision that Old Serbia was to remain under Turkish rule was received with great disappointment by the Serbs in Kosovo Metohia. Liberation from the Turkish yoke was delayed indefinitely.10 The decisions of the Congress of Berlin caused great discontent in Serbia. In a public proclamation, announced after the Congress, Prince Milan underscored: "Within a brief time of six weeks, you penetrated to Kosovo at the speed of lightning, where the victorious song of Serbia was sung at the gloomy church of Gracanica five hundred years later. [...] Your brilliant leap needed only a step further and victorious Serbian banners would have unfurled in Pristina, Skoplje and Prizren, the old capitals of the Nemajices, but alas, a truce concluded on January 19, [31] this same year, forestalled and stopped you."11 Fighting along with Serbia against the Turks, Montenegro tried to win over the Catholic Mirdits. In 1874 the Serbian agency in Constantinople contacted the Mirdit captain Marko, cousin of Bib Doda. In mid-1876 the Mirdits were ready to engage in war against the Turks if Montenegrin Prince Nikola warranted, in writing, that he would recognize their independence after the war. Receiving from Belgrade the reply "we accept completely", the Montenegrin Prince made his promise. Even though of anti-Slavic disposition, the. Mirdit Prince Prenk Bib Doda entered into conflict with Turkish authorities well rewarded.12 In the second war with the Turks, Montenegro came into conflict with north Albanian Catholic tribes, the Grudas and Hotis, and waged major battles with the Muslim bashibazouks. ethnic Albanians and Muslims of Serbian origin, on the stretch from Ulcinj on the Adriatic Sea to Plav and Gusinje in the mountainous region toward north Albania, severely clashed with Montenegrin forces. At the Congress of Berlin, aside to the independence granted it, Montenegro's territorial expansion had been confirmed: among other territories, Plav and Gusinje had been alloted to it, with strong resistance incurring from the Albanian populace. 13 1 V. Topic, Istocno pitanje, Sarajevo 1966 , pp. 168-170. J. H. Vasiljevic, Pokret Srba i Bugara u Turskoj posle srpsko-turskih ratova 1876. 1877-1878. godine i njegove posledice (1878-1882), Beograd 1908, pp. 266-274. 2 D. Mikic, Srbi Kosova u istocnoj krizi 1875-1878, Obelezja, 5 (1982), pp. 98-111; ibid., Kosovo prema radu Berlinskog kongresa i realizovanju njegovih odluka, Pristina 1980, pp. 243. 3 D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki razvoj kosovskih Srba u XIX veku, pp. 243-345. 4 Ibid. 5 V. Stojancevic, Prvo oslobodjenje Kosova od strane srpske vojske u ratu 1877-1878, in: Srbija u zavrsnoj fazi velike istocne krize (1877-1878), Beograd, 1980, pp. 462-468; J. Popovic, op. cit., pp. 230-233; Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, pp. 286-292. 6 D. Mikic, Albansko pitanje i albansko-srpske veze u XIX veku (do 1912), M. misao, 3 (1985), p. 143. 7 J. Hadzi-Vasiljevic, Pokret Srba i Bugara u Turskoj, pp. 17-36; Srbija 1878, Documents (edited by M. Vojvodic, D. R. Zivojinovic, A. Mitrovic, R. Samardzic), Beograd 1978, pp. 322-327. 8 Srbija 1878, 503; Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 291-292. 9 "In provinces located on this side of the rivers [Drina and Lim], events have created an entirely new situation. The Princedom [Serbia] was compelled to take up arms for the second time, and due to continual advancements, the region of its action covered almost all of Old Serbia. How was it to withdraw from the region and leave its populace to the revenge of Musloman without the land sinking again to another horrifying state by which no one would gain? The best way to secure the benefits of eternal peace in the region would be to satisfy the legitimate wishes of the people, to liberate and conjoin it to mother Serbia. "(Srbija 1878, pp. 449.) 10 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 291-292. 11 B. Perunicic, Zulumi aga i begova u kosovskom vilajetu, Beograd 1989, p. 43. 12 D. Mikic, Prizrenska liga i austrougarska okupacija Bosne i Hercegovine i zaposedanje novopazarskog sandzaka (1878-1879. godine), Balcanica, IX (1978), p. 294; D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, 137-138; more elaborate in: B. Hrabak, Katolicki Arbanasi za vreme istocne krize (1875-1878), Istorijski zapisi, XXXV, 1-2 (1978), pp. 5-59. 13 N. Raznatovic, Crna Gora i Berlinski kongres, Cetinje 1979; D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 141. Military operations during the 1877-1878 war brought demographic disturbances in Old Serbia. From 1875, a surge of refugees from Kosovo and the neighboring areas crossed over to Serbian territory. At the bordering regions of Serbia, stretching between Mount Kopaonik and Jastrebac, around 200,000 Serbs sought shelter from the terror of ethnic Albanians, Turks and Cherkezes. The triumph of the Serbian army and the liberation of southern Serbia caused a contrary migratory process. In the spaces from Prokuplje to Leskovac and Vranje, during the 19th century, the ethnic Albanians had settled, and, like their compatriots in Kosovo and Metohia, had supremacy in political relations, occupying frontal positions in the governing apparatus. When Serbian units liberated the Nis sanjak, withdrawing ahead of them, together with the defeated bashibazouks, were Albanian inhabitants of that region. In accordance with the consecrated Turkish traditions, in case of defeat, Muslims were called to leave the lost territories with the army. From Toplica and southern Pomoravlje, around 30,000 ethnic Albanians retreated with the Turkish troops, seeking refuge on the plains of Kosovo and Metohia. These refugees (muhadjirs), looking for space to settle, bereft of their belongings and lands, began to take vengeance upon local Serbian inhabitants, to plunder property and arrogate lands. The administrative authorities existed only nominally, since power was held by local ethnic Albanians who also attacked the Serbian inhabitants.1 In a complaint lodged to Prince Milan, the Serbs of Gnjilane stated that following the retreat of the Serbian army from Kosovo, acts of violence were tripled: "The exasperated ethnic Albanians broke into our houses and estates on the day the Serbian army withdrew from Gnjilane, devastating everything, fleecing us to our bare skin! And, alas, there is more! Every day one our brothers is killed, either secretly or in public."2 The ethnic Albanians were disturbed by the military fiasco, the arrival of muhadjirs and decisions brought by the San Stefano Peace Treaty. The penetration of the Serbian army caused panic and the flight of many ethnic Albanians further into Ottoman territory, toward Djakovica and Pec. Albanian leaders considered the expansion of Serbia and Montenegro, particularly their evident aspirations to acquiring Old Serbia, perilous to Albanian interests. Tribal chiefs from Pec, Djakovica, Gusinje, Ljuma, Debar and Tetovo conferred upon whether to accept, in peace, their in war lost lands, which they believed were "Albanian" territories, or to resist in arms the alteration of former frontiers, despite the Forte's standpoint. Toward the end of April, precautionary measures were undertaken in Djakovica in case of another Serbian, Montenegrin or Russo - Bulgarian offensive and to protect the supplies of arms, ammunition and food.3 The news of the Berlin Congress being convoked accelerated the national assemblage of ethnic Albanians. Even in the preceding decades, Albanian migrs in Italy, Bulgaria and Romania pledged for the educational and national emancipation of their people, but their influence among the illiterate commoners of Muslim faith, bound to the tradition of the sheriat and tribal privileges, was entirely negligible. The "Italo - Albanian Committee" acted under the patronage of the Italian government, which saw it as a means of economic and political penetration to the Balkans. In Constantinople, an influential literary-political circle of Albanian intellectuals grew to become, in 1877, the "Central Committee for Defending Albanian Rights", propagating territorial-administrative autonomy within the framework of the Ottoman Empire. The plan of the Committee, published in the Tercuman - i Sark paper, anticipated the founding of a single Albanian vilayet that would encompass the Kosovo, Bitolj, Scutari and Janjevo vilayets. Plans were then already voiced for including even of the Salonika vilayet.4 For the first time since their foundation, the activities of Albanian committees met with some response from wider Albanian circles, due to a perilous psychosis on account of aspirations arising from the neighboring Serbian countries. Around 300 delegates assembled in Prizren from different regions, but mostly big landholders (pashas and beys), tribal chiefs and religious heads. At a congregation in the Prizren mosque, a "League for defending the rights of the Albanian people", more widely known as the Albanian League, was founded. The main board, composed of 60 members, presided over by Abdul Bey Frasheri, sent a memorandum to the Great Powers in Berlin on June 15, requesting for the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire to be preserved with its borders as they were prior to the war.5 The statute of the League, called Kararname (Book of Decisions) underscored fidelity to the sheriat law, Islam and the Porte, and the determination to defend in arms the totality of Ottoman territories. The first article of the Kararname underlines the League's "aim not to accept and to remain distanced from any government except that of the Porte and to struggle in arms to defend the wholeness of the territories". Article 2 states: "Our aim is to preserve the imperial rights for his revered majesty the sultan, our lord." Article 6 states a definite attitude toward the neighboring Balkan countries: "Having Balkan soil before us, we should not allow foreign armies to tread our land. We should not recognize Bulgaria's name. If Serbia does not leave peacefully the illegally occupied countries, we should send bashibazouks (akindjias) and strive until the end to liberate these regions, including Montenegro."6 The main demand of the Albanian League was to form from the territories of four vilayets: Scutari, Janjevo, Kosovo and Bitolj, a single "Albanian vilayet" in the Ottoman Empire. With its first step, the Albanian national movement defined the range of its territorial pretensions. The spaces of these four vilayets contained 44% ethnic Albanians, 19,2% Macedonian Slavs, 11,4% Serbs, 9,2% Greeks, 6,5 Walachs, 9,3% Ottoman Turks, 0,4% Jews, Armenians and Gypsies.7 The territorial demands of the national movement expanded to Old Serbia and Macedonia, regions where ethnic Albanians did not comprise the majority of the populace, thus bearing the germ of new clashes with the two Serbian states. It was based on extremely anti-Slavic and anti-Serbian determination. The activities of the League pointed to a breach in religious beliefs, varying degrees of national awareness and opposing conceptions of national future, all within the Albanian national movement. The political activities of the League were controlled by notable landholders, religious heads and tribal chiefs who were by their positions, faith and conceptions profoundly bound to the Ottoman state and its ideology. Relying upon the lower layers of the Albanian and Muslim people, whose hostility for the Serbs paralleled the victories of Serbian armies, they gave the whole movement a pro-Islamic and legitimist character in the first year of its work. Abdul Bey Frasheri and delegates from south Albania, advocates of the so-called "radical movement", remained a minority in their propositions to sever all ties with the Porte. Yet, they coincided in designating the territorial extension of "Albanian countries": the new independent state was to be composed of four principalities: 1) south Albania with Epirus and Janina; 2) north and mid Albania with the regions around Scutari, Tirana and Elbasan; 3) Macedonia with the towns Debar, Skoplje Gostivar, Prilep, Veles, Bitolj and Ohrid; 4) Old Serbia with the towns: Prizren, Pec, Djakovica, Mitrovica, Pristina, Gnjilane, Presevo, Kumanovo, Novi Pazar and Sjenica.8 In the conceived "Great Albania", their privileged position was taken for granted. Until the Eastern crisis, it was based upon their place in the system of the Ottoman state organization which allowed for the heedless exploitation of the subjugated populace. In the national programs of the League, preserving religious, tribal and political privileges, there was no room for non-Albanian peoples: their political inequality was not anticipated nor legal and economic protection warranted. Religious and ethnic intolerance acquired, on the other hand, a new content. The Serbs in Prizren were even compelled to sign and seal the petition of the League sent to the Berlin Congress. The leadership of the Albanian national movement, originating mainly from feudal circles, saw, in the activities of the League, a means to preserve the existing privileges, an opportunity to liberate the lower strata from paying taxes, a continuity for free tribal self-government and space for demographic expansion. Common interests soon made the League an instrument of the new Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876-1909), inspirator of the pan-Islamic ideology. Its anti-Slav disposition was to benefit the sultan in revising the San Stefano Peace Treaty, to prevent international confirmation of territorial losses or new concessions at the Berlin Congress. The League was to act as a deterrent through which to preserve the totality of the Ottoman state. Thus, at the inaugural assembly of the Albanian League, there were delegates from Bosnia and Muslims from the sanjak of Novi Pazar, and subsequently, though with little success, Albanian volunteers were mustered to resist Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.9 The pro-Islamic and pro-Turk character of the League met with disapproval among Catholic Albanians in north Albania. Italian consul to Scutari, Bernardo Berio, believed that only the Catholics were true carriers of the idea of Albanian autonomy and breakup with the Turks. Prenk Bib Doda, hereditary prince of the Mirdits, did not wish to participate in the activities of the League for the preponderance of Albanian Muslims in its orders, beside holding different claims. A council in Scutari, independent of the League in Prizren, addressed the British Premier Benjamin Disraeli with the request for the formation of an independent Albania to bar Slavic invasion toward the Adriatic sea. Diplomats of Great Powers with consulates in Prizren and Scutari (Russia, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, Italy) reported that the formation of the Albanian League was urged directly through aid from the Porte and haste from vilayet officials and military commanders. The Italian consul to Scutari observed "strange connections between the official bodies of Turkish authorities and a lawfully illegal movement", since the Turkish authorities paid for the arrival of Albanian delegates to Prizren and supplied the followers of the League with arms and ammunition.10 The same conclusions were drawn by a diplomat of the Dual Monarchy who warned that the activities of the League's local committee in Prizren evolved through conference with the highest officials in the vilayet, who "[...] armed the local Muslim Albanians with excellent guns, provided them with ammunition and granted authority upon their leaders exceeding the authorities of government bodies [...]". He had anticipated that the Porte "would no longer be able to induce the people to lay down their arms, and the consequences soon to arise will be situations on which the Porte will have to count".11 The decisions of the Berlin Congress sanctioned the expansion of Serbia and Montenegro, and, among other things, obligated the Porte to cede Plav and Gusinje. The failure of the Turkish state to defend its interests before the European powers caused the leadership of the League to gradually turn to ideas of total autonomy. Councils and branches had around 16,000 men in arms directed toward the Turkish authorities and army, being discontented by the outcome of events. The first attempt of the Porte to restore order caused a massive Albanian rebellion. The Empire's emissary, Marshall Mehmed Ali Pasha, who arrived to interpret the decisions of the Berlin Congress, was killed at the end of August 1878 in Djakovica.12 Resistance to the Porte increased with its attempts to collect taxes from the ethnic Albanians and carry out recruitment. In May 1879, the leadership of the League, overcome by the so-called "autonomous movement", demanded judicial and complete administrative autonomy from the Porte, and already in July, the decision was set to depose Turkish rule. Bodies of the League took over rule in Djakovica, Prizren, Pec, Mitrovica and Vucitrn. This kind of parallel rule lasted until 1880, when the demand for the total independence of Albania was underscored. All attempts made by Constantinople to pacify the ethnic Albanians were futile. The Porte then resorted to military measures. As it no longer needed favors from the League, a military campaign under the command of Dervish Pasha was dispatched to the rebelling regions. Beside sporadic conflicts with the ethnic Albanians, it took the towns controlled by the League and established Turkish rule. Instead of Plav and Gusinje, Ulcinj and its shores were ceded to Montenegro. Destroyed by military force, the League soon ceased to exist, while its most prominent leaders were arrested and deported to Asia Minor.13 Cautiously encroaching upon the political vacuum created after the idea for Albanian independence was expressed, was Austria-Hungary. To bar the expansion of the Slavic states, it defended the rights of ethnic Albanians, mainly the Mirdits. Count Andrassi believed that it was in the best interest of the Monarchy to direct Albanian resistance against the Serbs and Montenegrins, thereby sustaining traditional hostility between the ethnic Albanians and Slavs. Plans were discussed in Vienna for the creation of autonomous Albania to dam up Italian consolidation on the shores of the Adriatic. Even though feudal layers abhorred the aspirations of the Dual Monarchy regarding the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the military occupation of the Novi Pazar sanjak, the ethnic Albanians received these decisions comparatively peacefully. The Austria-Hungarian diplomacy aided Albanian requests in its border dispute with Montenegro, while its agents, infiltrated from Bosnia, commended the order, security and improved living conditions introduced by the new government in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Forte's emissaries were convincing the ethnic Albanians that the Austria-Hungarian troops in the Novi Pazar sanjak arrived at the invitation of padishah. As it already had secure political strongholds in the Catholic missions in north Albania, the Dual Monarchy strove to win over the ethnic Albanians of Muslim faith. Its further penetration into the depths of the Ottoman Empire by way of the Novi Pazar sanjak depended mostly upon the ethnic Albanians and their political orientation. The destruction of the League was the first encouraging step in that direction.15 1 R. Pavlovic, Seobe Srba i Arbanasa u ratovima 1876 i 1877-1878. godine, Glasnik etnografskog instituta, 4-6 (1955-1957), pp. 53-104; D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, 137-138. 2 Srbija 1878, p. 324. 3 B. Hrabak, Prvi izvestaji diplomata velikih sila o Prizrenskoj ligi, Balcanica, IX (1978), p. 237. 4 B. Hrabak, Ideje o arbanaskoj autonomiji i nezavisnosti 1876-1880. godine, Istorijski casopis, XXV-XXVI (1978-1979), pp. 160-165. 5 S. Skendi, Albanian National Awakening 1878-1912, Princeton 1967, pp. 31-53. 6 B. Hrabak, Prvi izvestaji diplomata velikih sila o Prizrenskoj ligi, pp. 238-239. Article Kararname in: A. Hadri, Prilog rasvetljavanju Prizrenske lige (1878-1881), Perparimi, 1 (1967), 36-37; useful survey on the Albanian League by D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 142-148; cf. Lidhja Shqiptare ne dokumentet osmane 1878-1881, Tirane 1978; P. Bartl. Die Albanische muslime zur Zeit der Nationalen Unabhngigkeitsbrewegung (1878-1912), pp. 115-192. 7 By confessions, 52.8% were Muslim, 27.8% Orthodox, 15% Catholic. Among the Albanians 77% were of Muslim faith (H. D. Schanderl, Die Albanienpolitik Osterreich Ungarns und Italiens 1877-1908, Wiesbaden 1971, pp. 9-10). A statistics of the population in Old Serbia complied prior to the wars, by Austro-Hungarian consul to Prizren, Lipic, indicated that Albanians were not the ethnic majority in the Nis sanjak liberated by Serbia. In Leskovac 48.58% of Albanians lived, in Vranje 27.55%, whereas in Nis they were not even listed in the statistics. The Albanians were the majority in Toplice only in Prokuplje (57.86%) and Kursumlija (92.68%); B. Hrabak, op. cit., pp. 256-257. 8 B. Stulli, Albansko pitanje 1878-1882, Rad JAZU, 318, (1959), pp. 321-323; D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 144. 10 B. Stulli, op. cit., pp. 337-341; B. Hrabak, Arbanasi i njihova liga prema okupaciji Bosne i Hercegovine, Prilozi instituta za istoriju u Sarajevu, 16 (1979), pp. 37-48; Cf. H. Kalesi, Napredne ideje nekih ideologa albanskog nacionalnog pokreta u drugoj polovini XIX veka o saradnji balkanskih naroda, in: Oslobodilacki pokreti jugoslovenskih naroda od XVI veka do pocetka Prvog svetskog rata, Beograd 1976, 225-242; D. T. Batakovic, Osnove arbanaske prevlasti na Kosovu i Metohiji 1878-1903, Ideje, 5-6 (1987), pp. 36-38. 11 B. Hrabak, Italijanski konzul u Skadru B. Berio o arbanaskom pitanju 1876-1878. godine, Casopis za suvremenu povijest 3 (1978), pp. 32-33. 12 B. Hrabak, Prvi izvestaji diplomata velikih sila o Prizrenskoj ligi, pp. 252, 262-263; B. Stulli, op. cit., p. 323. 13 B. Hrabak, Prvi izvestaji diplomata velikih sila o Prizrenskoj ligi, pp. 268-270. 14 J. Hadzi-Vasiljevic, Arbanaska liga, pp. 100-102,109-127; B. Stulli, op. cit., pp. 343-348; S. Skendi, op. cit., pp. 93-107. 15 D. Mikic, Prizrenska liga i austrougarska okupacija Bosne i Hercegovine, 297- 328; H. D. Schnaderl, op. cit., pp. 43-47. The entire activity of the Albanian League was of clear and explicit Anti-Serbian character. The motives for its formation and the decisions of the Berlin congress caused severe oppression upon the Serbian populace. Albanian attacks on the Serbian border ended, as a rule, by depredating Serbian villages on the Turkish side. From the beginning to mid June 1878 alone, according to the information of French diplomats, 112 Christian Serbs were killed, mostly distinguished village hosts. Serbian houses were burnt, and those who attempted to escape were ambushed. In Gnjilane nine women were abducted and brutally tortured. Shortly before convoking the Congress of Berlin, at least 60 Serbs escaped terror from Pristina alone, even though, at the time, the bashibazouk leaders officially spoke favorably of Christian Serbs in petitions sent to the Porte.1 Fanaticized followers of the League believed the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohia to be the major cause for all Albanian misfortunes. An Albanian leader openly stated to Russian Consul Yastrebov: "We will attack the Montenegrins on Christmas and kill them. And if we fail - we will return to Pec and the vicinity and burn and saber all the Christians."2 Yastrebov's following report indicated that these were not mere threats: "Three Albanians raped a thirteen-year-old girl from Dobrotin. The Serbs dare not complain to the authorities. Those who complained paid with their heads, and none of them trust the protection of a foreign government any longer. People are saying that atrocities as these [1879] were not committed even after the Crimean war, the general impression is that all have conspired to crush the Serbian element."3 In a complaint lodged to the Russian tzar in July 1879, the Serbs of Pec stated that since the beginning of the Eastern crisis, over 100 people were killed in the Pec district alone and that many atrocities were committed. The citizens of Pec pleaded with Alexander II to take them under his wing and help the Visoki Decani monastery in the Pec Patriarchate against plunder and blackmail committed by outlaws at the orders of Pec agas.4 Terror over the Serbs did not wane during the entire period of the Albanian League rule. Since 1880, when its leadership severed all tied with the Porte, the position of the Serbian populace was aggravated, since tribute had to be paid to both the Turks and ethnic Albanians: "The Serbs had two lords; they paid tribute to two rulers, maintained two armies, without having any protection or security."5 Yastrebov's reports dating 1880 and 1881 are filled with information on the plight of the Serbs - murders, robberies, arsons of houses and estates, and attempts to forceful conversion to Islam. One characteristic report reads: "The situation of the Christians in these regions is gloomy everywhere. Refugees from Serbia and Bosnia (muhadjirs) pillage Christian houses, especially in the Pristina, Gnjilane and Pec district. The same atrocities are committed by local ethnic Albanians, even though they gave their bessa not to disturb them, but the bessa is valid only for Muslims, it holds no obligation toward the Christians."6 Incursions into Serbian state territory were at full swing during the Albanian League, when the new Serbian frontiers were not yet secured. Military advance guards were attacked, cattle was raided and Serbian villages along the demarcation line were burnt. Following the Berlin Congress, Albanian incursions into Serbia increased: their raiding companies, sacking and burning everything in their wake, reached even Kursumlija. On their return, all Serbian villages on the Turkish side were attacked. Expecting an outcome and avoiding new conflicts, the Serbian government did not persecute the assailants out of territory. The petitions it sent to the Porte to stop the incursions remained without response.7 The ethnic Albanians assaulted the teachers of the Serbian Seminary at Prizren. They looked all over town seeking to kill one of them, someone named Petar Kostic, for writing a letter on the political situation in Prizren. Kostic was saved from certain death be fleeing to the Russian consulate; following a hearing in front of the Turkish authorities in the presence of Yastrebov, he was sent to Bitolj, since the Prizren authorities could nor warrant him safety.8 The reign of the Albanian League left hard consequences on the position of the Serbs in Old Serbia: "Created upon a reaction to the realization of the national liberational programs of Balkan Christians, especially the Serbs" - underscored Dimitrije Bogdanovic - "it was laid on the foundations of the Great Albania ideas, ignoring the rights of Serbs and other Slavic peoples of the Balkans, and of the Greeks, to live on their lands protected under the law. A clash was inevitable, and the aggressive anti-Serbian concept of the League permanently placed a burden upon the relations of these two peoples. Simultaneously, the Great Albanian concept of the League was offering itself to certain European powers as an instrument for their own penetration to the Balkans."9 Violence upon the Serbs had become, owing to the political programs of the League, one of the strategic determinations in the Albanian national movement. Until the Eastern crisis, violence upon the Serbs had been elemental rather than the result of a conceptualized policy. Routing Serbs from their hearths by perpetual oppression had become, owing to the political will of the League, a kind of religious and national duty obligatory to all ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo vilayet. The target of Albanian crimes in the decades to come were the Serbs of the Pec, Pristina and Prizren sanjaks.10 After the Serbo-Ottoman wars the Serbs were looked upon with distrust by both the Turks and ethnic Albanians. Even though they were unarmed, decimated and pressured by the surge of newly settled muhadjirs, the Serbs were considered an unreliable and potentially revolutionary element. Following the 1878 war, Turkey promised a pardon by a general decree for all subjects who had in any way violated authority. The Empire's amnesty was officially proclaimed, but the movements and behavior of the Serbs were regarded very suspiciously. A false tip that the Serbs were preparing to rise in Kosovo on the very day Serbia was proclaimed a kingdom, resulted in the formation of a drumhead trial in Pristina, 1882. During five years of active work, based on suspicion but without substantial evidence, around 7,000 Serbs were butchered "for seditious conduct", and another 300 were sentenced to hard labor from 6 to 101 years. The most respected people were convicted, teachers and merchants, priests and serfs. Upon the pronouncement of a sentence, they were sent to prisons in Salonika or exiled to Asia Minor. Only in 1888, some of convicts that survived in prison were pardoned owing to the intermediation of the Russian and British diplomacy.11 Sima Andrejevic Igumanov published a book in 1882 Sadanje nesretno stanje u Staroj Srbiji (The currently unfortunate times in Old Serbia) filled with information on atrocities committed by the Turks and ethnic Albanians at the beginning of the drumhead trial's activities. Disturbed because Serbia would pay more attention to the sufferings of its compatriots in Turkey, he attempted to draw the public eye to the new swing of violence: "Our homeland has been turned into hell by dark crazed blood-suckers and masses of melting Asian tyrants, since banditry, violence, deletion, espionage, denunciation, daily arrests, accusations, trials, sentences, exiles, arrogation of property and life in many ways, the wails, mourns and burial of the executed, all these have become ordinary events everywhere in Old Serbia and Macedonia."12 Since Dervish Pasha's campaign against the League, the position of the Serbs in Pec and Djakovica has continually deteriorated; thus the people were preparing to emigrate to Serbia. From the Pec region alone, according to data collected by Yastrebov, around 1,500 families emigrated to Serbia since the wars to 1883. Upon collection of the tribute and tithe, the Serbs in Metohia were compelled to pay, beside for themselves, for those who moved, and often a part instead of Albanian Muslims. Their complaints to the authorities remained unanswered. 13 1 B. Hrabak, Prvi izvestaji diplomata velikih sila o Prizrenskoj ligi, p. 253. 2 V. Bovan, Jastrebov u Prizrenu, Kulturno-prosvetne prilike u Prizrenu i rad ruskog konzula I. S. Jastrebova u drugoj polovini devetnaestog veka, Pristina 1983, p.147. 3 Ibid., p. 146. 4 V. Stojancevic, Zalbe Srba Pecanaca na turske zulume 1876-1878. godine Arhivski pregled, 1-2 9 (1978) pp. 151-160. 5 J. Hadzi-Vasiljevic, Arbanaska liga, pp. 109. 6 V. Bovan, op. cit., pp. 160. 7 J. Hadzi-Vasiljevic, Arbanaska liga, pp. 6-10. 8 R. M. Grujic, Dva izvestaja konzula Jastrebova o akciji Albanske lige u Prizrenu 1880. god., Zbornik za istoriju Juzne Srbije, I (1936), pp. 403-406. 9 D. Bogdanovic; Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 147-148. 10 P. Orlovic [Svetislav St. Simic], Pitanje o Staroj Srbi]i, Beograd 1901, pp. 3-11; D. T. Batakovic, Osnove arbanaske prevlasti, p. 37. 11 J. Popovic, op. cit., pp. 247-248; V. Bovan, op. cit., 168-171; Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 323-326 12 Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, pp. 101. 13 Around 60 Serbian families from the Pec nahi that had returned to Turkey refused to resettle in the Pec nahi but instead, inhabited the villages on the slopes of Kopaonik where there were not many Albanians (V. Bovan, op. cit; pp. 174,178). Abdulhamid II discontinued the reform tradition of his predecessors, encouraged refeudalization and underscored pan-Islamism as the basic principle of his reign. As supreme head of Islam, he strove to consolidate the country internally through pan-Islamic ideology, and by restoring religious fanaticism had hoped to create a counterbalance to all national movements in the ethnically heterogeneous Empire. He believed the Muslim Albanians were natural enemies of the Orthodox Slavic population -Serbs above all - not wholely by religion, but also by race, historical traditions and national aspirations. Thus Muslim Albanians had imposed themselves as the best allies in crushing all Christian movements; the Christian revolts and national movements were, according to the sultan's most profound conviction, the basic cause of all unrest in the Ottoman Empire. The padishah sought support for the new policy with the conservative feudal circles. He invited the most prominent Albanian chiefs of Old Serbia to Constantinople with the aim of binding them to him by bestowing gifts, decorations and promotions. Among his followers from Kosovo, the most outstanding were Ah Pasha of Gusinje and Hadzi Mula Zeka of Pec. Religious heads, the mullahs and softas, stirred up religious fanaticism among the illiterate and ignorant believers. Together with the feudal notables and upper classes of Albanian society, they blamed the Serbs as the source hazardous to Albanian interests and the stability of the Ottoman Empire. The formation of the drumhead court martial in Pristina marked the opening of a joint activity of Turkish authorities and Albanian notables in routing the Serbian populace of the Kosovo vilayet.1 The sultan's policy to use ethnic Albanians as the striking force in weakening the Serbian ethnicon in spaces neighboring Serbia and Montenegro, began to take on the form of a long-term political program toward the end of the eighties of the 19th century. With the chain of new muhadjir settlements the dense network of Serbian habitats was severed. The sultan and the Porte were creating a sort of Albanian military frontier toward Serbia.2 The settlement of the muhadjirs was encouraged by the Porte, while the Albanian feudal lords of Kosovo saw to their being properly settled in new habitats. Supporting them, however, was another burden upon the Serbs. Lab soon became an ethnically pure Albanian region. Along the northern borders of the Kosovo vilayet, in the Novo Brdo rivers, Kriva Reka and Gornja Morava with Izmornik, new muhadjir settlements were springing. In Kriva Reka alone the number of Albanian homes increased from 52% to 65%. The demographic situation was rapidly improving to the advantage of the ethnic Albanians; the muhadjirs had inundated mountainous rims hovering over the valley of Kosovo. Serving as an impenetrable rampart, Albanian villages provided a safeguard for the northern borders of Turkey.3 The policies of the Porte and the sultan's protection contributed to the consolidation of a belief held among the ethnic Albanians that a division of Turkish provinces in Europe would cause a division of the four vilayets they considered their own territory. Such policy promoted a stronger bondage of Muslim Albanians to the Ottoman state ideology. The destruction of the League did not raise the question of joint Albanian-Turkish resistance against the enemies of the Empire. Vali of Kosovo, Abdi Pasha, estimated, in 1883, that in case of war, the faithful ethnic Albanians would be sufficient in defending Old Serbia. Albanian and Turkish relations toward the Serbs as the seditious element encouraged new acts of violence. When a Serbian monk Martirije was murdered on his way to Pec, Albanian outlaws announced their scheme - all Serbian priests and noted people in Pec should be murdered. Then, they believed, there would be no fear in case they were to fall under Serbian of Austro-Hungarian rule. The vali came to Pec, but they told him there that the complaints of Christian Serbs were unfounded.4 Aside to practical political tasks assigned to them, the ethnic Albanians had partly to thank the immense influence of the padishah's body guards for the sultan's mercy and protection during his entire reign. Abdulhamid II rarely left his court in Yildiz, and in time became kind of a prisoner of his own personal guards, a fact observed at the Porte by all diplomats of Great Powers. Under its influence and owing to the intermediation of high officials of Albanian origin, the sultan tolerated all the unlawful acts committed by ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia - refusal to pay tribute, to provide recruits for the regular army, to respect the local vilayet authorities and answer to court for offences committed. In Kosovo, Metohia and in the neighboring areas a division of government was tacitly established. Corrupt Turkish officials gladly agreed to cooperate with Albanian feudal and tribal circles. Due to high protection from Constantinople enjoyed by the ethnic Albanians, the few conscientious government officials in the Kosovo vilayet did not even try to pursue Albanian perpetrators and rebels since they were liable to be punished and replaced after their complaints were lodged directly to the sultan. Albanian feudal circles secured full economic and political dominance in the Kosovo vilayet without much effort.5 The policy of dtente toward the ethnic Albanians and the toleration of violence committed upon the Serbian populace created a peculiar sense of might in the lower classes of Albanian society. The knowledge that they would not be punished whatever their offence, emboldened ethnic Albanians to an appreciable disregard for Turkish authorities. Social division increased the layer of outlaws (kacaks) who lived solely of banditry and raiding. Since their attacks were directed mostly to the Serbs, the Turkish authorities did not pursue them, except when required to do so by representatives of Great Powers, and subsequently, by Serbian diplomatic officials. However, even in then the perpetrators were not severely punished. The policy of impunity exercised upon the ethnic Albanians during the eighties, particularly the nineties, turned into anarchy, causing thus anxiety to both the vali of Kosovo and the Sublime Porte.6 Albanian risings, usually local ones breaking out from time to time characterized the whole period until the Young Turk Revolution. At the end of September, 1884, in the Prizren region, particularly in Ljuma, an Albanian rebellion broke out against an attempt of the Turkish authorities to list the population and its properties to determine the amount of new taxes. The rebelling ethnic Albanians of Ljuma drove out the administrative officials from Prizren and devastated the town. They dispersed only when the sultan promised them there wold be no listings nor tax-paying. The Turkish authorities attempted neither to pursue nor disarm them.7 The 1885 war of Serbia and Bulgaria, which soon ended with the defeat of the Serbian troops at Slivnica, upset the ethnic Albanians. Fearing danger, they gave their bessa (word of honor) which obligated all the tribes to discontinue mutual conflicts over estates and blood feuds. Fermentation was at its peak in Djakovica and Mitrovica, since ammunition was smuggled out of their arsenals in case of new international clashes. Large conferences of tribal chiefs were held in Vucitrn. Any implication of foreign peril or international crises in the vicinity of the Empire's autonomous regions (the unification of Bulgaria and East Rumelia in 1885, the Serbian-Bulgarian war), brought together Albanian tribes and Turkish administrative and military officials. 8 1 D. Mikic, Albansko pitanje i albansko-srpske veze u XIX veku (do 1912), pp. 144-146. 2 D. T. Batakovic, Osnove arbanaske prevlasti, p. 38. 3 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, p 148. 4 V. Bovan, op. cit., pp. 180,183-184. 5 Ibid , p 39; Dj. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba, pp. 24-25. 6 B Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, Beograd 1985, pp. 306-359. 7 V. Bovan, op. cit., pp. 185-187 8 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 274-277. All attempts made by the Serbian government to establish contact with ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia were futile. The administration of Milutin Garasanin, incited by the rising in the Prizren sanjak, tried to approach the Albanian chiefs. The initiative came from the Serbian county chief in Nis who came into contact with certain Albanian chiefs of Prizren, Pec, Djakovica and Novi Pazar. Todor Stankovic, the county chief of Vranje, proposed to win over Albanian leaders first in areas along the Serbian borders, and then others, by promises that Serbia would liberate them from the Turks. The plan was to establish contact with all notable tribal chiefs from the Serbian border to Scutari. The cooperation particularly counted on was that of Montenegrin duke and writer Marko Miljanov was, renowned in north Albania as a hero and a friend of ethnic Albanians. Competent circles in Serbia strove, with Albanian cooperation, to end Austro-Hungarian influence among them. It soon proved that Albanian chiefs would not respond to offers for cooperation. Negotiations ended when the Bulgarian-Serbian war began.1 Serbia knew little of the happenings in Kosovo and Metohia in the eighties of the 19th century. News arrived from merchants and refugees, border guards and through the Prizren Seminary. Until the mid-80's, Serbia's activities on the national affairs in Turkey were discontinued due to internal unrest and war with Bulgaria. By a secret convention with Austria-Hungary in 1881, Serbia was obligated to carry out its external affairs only in agreement with Vienna. The Dual Monarchy allowed for the possibility of expansion to the south, excepting the Novi Pazar sanjak. The friendly orientation of Prince Milan toward Austria, which had blessed his proclamation of king in 1882, displayed Serbia's helplessness to act on its own accord toward other countries. Its defeat with Bulgaria considerably weakened its positions on the Balkans.2 The national activities of Serbia toward Old Serbia could only develop within the narrow framework of ecclesiastical and educational actions. The first steps were taken in 1885 by widening the networks of educational and ecclesiastical institutions. Garasanin's government had been preparing books to be sent to Old Serbia since spring 1885. For the free distribution of books about Turkey, regarded by the authorities as a perilous means of anti-state propaganda, the Serbian books carried the seal of Sima Andrejevic's Fund in Belgrade. Rector of the Prizren Seminary Petar Kostic, was sent to Constantinople to obtain a license from the Turkish censors for the free distribution of books.3 A patriotic association St. Sava's Society" was founded in Belgrade, 1887, to revive national activities in Serbian countries under Turkish rule and promote a systematic search of the past and of contemporary political and ethnographic conditions. In 1887 the Ministry of Education opened a department for Serbian schools outside of Serbia to serve as contacts for the St Sava's Society. Since 1889, this department was taken over by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Serbian government has taken over the operation of national actions in Turkey.4 Following the Serbian-Bulgarian war a new era began with more active work on the national affairs. The defeat at Slivnica sealed the autocratic reign of King Milan (abdicated in 1888), issuing forth a breath of enthusiasm for the task of collecting national forces for activity in occupied Serbian countries. The arrival of Stojan Novakovic, a notable diplomat and one of the most renown scientists of his time, at the head of the Serbian legation in Constantinople in 1886, marked the beginning of a widely set educational-political activity in Serbian countries under Turkish rule. The whole national activity was switched over to diplomatic service. That very year Novakovic concluded a temporary consular convention with Turkey. By 1887, the first Serbian consulates were opened in Skoplje and Salonika. To crown the national activity, the network of new Serbian diplomatic missions was encircled by the opening of consulates in Pristina and Bitolj in 1889.5 The Serbian government sent the most able men into diplomatic service, educated at the best foreign universities (Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg). In the consulate of Pristina alone diplomats with doctorates served (Miroslav Spalajkovic, Milan D. Milojevic, Milan Pecanac) and writers (Vojislav Ilic, Branislav Nusic and Milan Rakic) whose works, of which many were written during their stay in Kosovo, comprise the present-day classics of Serbian literature. These young highly patriotic men, delegates of a new generation of the Serbian intelligentsia, accepted distasteful tasks to help the mission of national liberation at the hardest place for a diplomatic position, in Pristina.6 Ties with Serbia and its attendance to the national affairs had immense importance in preserving national awareness with the people. An intensive action for education followed. Money for these educational activities in Kosovo arrived regularly, and new teachers were engaged. Within a short time a large number of new schools were opened and work was resumed in many of the old ones. The administration of Greek metropolitans over the Raska-Prizren Eparchy, which encompassed almost all of Old Serbia, hindered Serbia's aims to encircle its work on the national affairs. In 1885, Serbia began negotiations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, requesting for a Serb to be the metropolitan in Prizren and for Serbian archpriests to take over bishopric chairs in Skoplje, Veles, Debar, Bitolj and Ohrid. However, negotiations with the ecumenical patriarch were not successful. The Serbian government had, nevertheless, begun to prepare a monastic progeny for high ecclesiastical duties in Turkey. The monks selected accepted Turkish subjugation and went to study theology in Constantinople. 7 1 D. Mikic, Nastojanje Srba 1885. godine da saradjuju sa Arbanasima, posebno preko Marka Miljanova, Obelezja, 4 (1982), pp. 89-102. 2 V. Popovic, Istocno pitanje, p. 182. 3 P. Kostic, Prosvetno-kulturni zivot pravoslavnih Srba u Prizrenu, pp. 70-73. 4 S. Jovanovic, Vlada Aleksandra Obrenovica, I, Beograd 1929, p. 98; Dj. Mikic, Delatnost "Drustva Sv. Save" na Kosovu (1886-1912), Nasa proslost, VII-IX (1973-1974), pp. 61-87. 5 Spomenica Stojana Novakovica, Beograd 1921, pp. 171-173; daily reports on the position of Serbs and the political situation in the Kosovo vilayet were sent from Serbian consulates in Skoplje and Pristina until 1912. Several thousand documents of which only a part have been published were stored at the Archive of the Serbian Foreign Ministry: Arhiv Srbije, Beograd, Ministarstvo inostranih dela, Prosvetno-politicko i politicko odeljenje 1878-1912; Prepiska o Arbanaskim nasiljima u Staroj Srbiji 1888-1889, Beograd 1889; V. Corovic, Diplomatska prepiska Kraljevine Srbije, I, Beograd 1933; B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, Beograd 1985; ibid., Svedocanstvo o Kosovu 1901-1912, Beograd 1988; ibid., Zulumi aga i begova u kosovskom vilajetu, Beograd 1988; Zaduzbine Kosova, Prizren - Beograd, 1987, (edited by R. Samardzic) pp. 607-738; Milan Rakic, Konzulska pisma 1905-1911, Beograd 1985 (ed. by A. Mitrovic). 6 J. M. Jovanovic, Nusic kao konzul, Srpski knjizevni glasnik, LIII (1938), 259- 269; M. M. Rajic, Konzulska pisma 1905-1911, pp. 8-23. 7 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, p. 302. Already the first reports from the consulate in Skoplje showed that the position of Serbs was harder than it had been supposed in Belgrade diplomatic circles. In fall 1887, the government was informed of anarchy flaring on the stretch from Pristina and Prizren to the Montenegrin border. ethnic Albanians controlled the roads, attacked passengers and assailed Serbs in villages. Prior Rafailo of Decani sent the following message to the consul: "Sir! Old Serbia is lost! The Christians are being killed like animals; there are victims of death every day; we are like prisoners deprived of freedom - no one dares to move."1 The waning power of the Turkish authorities strengthened the obstinacy of ethnic Albanians. Their clans clashed in blood feuds. When the conflicts came to inter-tribal bloodshed, they ended by agreements confirmed by the bessa, not valid for Christian Serbs. Incursions into Serbian territory continued with increasing anarchy. Serbian garrisons were reinforced at the frontier. Serbian notes sent to the Porte demanding an end to these incursions remained unreplied. Stojan Novakovic believed "that the Turkish authorities themselves feared the Albanians; they were never able to undertake decisive measures against them; particularly the small authorities who carry out their orders in the rear lines, thus frequently good orders sent by older authorities remain without consequences".2 In an elaborate annual report on the position of the Serbian population in Serbia, 1888, Rector of the Prizren Seminary Petar Kostic underscored the danger of anarchy and violence upon the Serbs spreading. Certain villages, unable to defend themselves, sought protection from outlaws and their companies, paying in return high annual monetary compensations and often working for free (kuluk). Similar to the ancient endowments, Visoki Decani and the Pec Patriarchate which hired local Albanian clans for considerable material compensation and gifts in kind to protect them against bandits from other regions, the villages too soon felt the bitter side attending this protection - various additional expenditures. Without license and special monetary payments, local protectors would not approve weddings. Protecting villages soon became such a lucrative business that the raiding companies frequently battled over who would guard Serbian villages. Most of the Serbian villages, however, could not afford continual protection. A frequent occurrence, stated Kostic, was "for one family to bury two of its deceased killed by the rage of Albanians, at the same time".3 Again, like many times before, Serbian shrines bore the brunt of Albanian bandits. A dispute between two Albanian clans over the estate of the Decani monastery ended in an armed clash with many killed on both sides. The dispute arose over who would use the arrogated monastic land, cut down the trees in the Decani forests and benefit from the bans. The authorities would not get involved, while the monastic fraternity was compelled to feed and provide for both tribal armies. When the energetic Prior Rafailo of Decani attempted to oppose them, he was thrown out of the monastery and arrested by Turkish authorities who interned him in Constantinople.4 The beginning of activity undertaken by the Serbian consulate in Pristina (1889) coincided with a period of great pressure exerted upon the Serbs and open hostility toward everything that was Serbian. The opening of the consulate itself was interpreted by the ethnic Albanians as a policy of provocation and an intolerable attempt to supervise their activities. The seat of the Kosovo vilayet was moved to Skoplje in 1888, thus the Serbian consulate remained a solitary diplomat watchtower in a weakly supervised district. Reports from Pristina were filled with information on innumerable atrocities - murders, arsons, blackmail, abduction of women, rapes, cattle-raids and so on. A petition sent by the Serbian consul to the district chief received an answered that Albanian tyrants were shielded by the vali of Kosovo himself: "Evil comes by itself, emanating form disharmony originating in Skoplje. I send all the guilty Albanians to Skoplje from where they are soon discharged with arms."5 Marinkovic warned that the ethnic Albanians were systematically assailing certain Serbian villages, urging them to move by threats and murders. A common slogan was: "Go to Serbia - there is no survival for you here." It was the hardest in the Pec nahi. Reports demonstrate that ethnic Albanians forcibly invaded Serbian houses. On their way to the Serbian frontier, the refugees were fleeced as a rule. Seven families of 73 members on their way to Serbia from a village near Pec were robbed of both their cattle and movables by the ethnic Albanians.6 The anarchy soon took on the form of a movement to drive out the Serbs. The Russian consul to Prizren, Teodosie Lisevich, upon evaluating the anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia, concluded that the ethnic Albanians aimed to squeeze in between Serbia and Montenegro and thus deprive Old Serbia of its Serbian character. Albanian terror spread toward the Novi Pazar sanjak, where the inhabitants were almost all Orthodox and Islamized Serbs. In April and May 1889 alone, around 700 persons fled Kosovo and Metohia to Serbia. All refugees gave warnings that the remaining Serbs would also be compelled to seek salvation by flight.7 All these events were followed by the decreasing number of Serbs who owned estates. The Turks imposed taxes so high, thus compelling the Serbs to sell their estates at reduced prices, or they were left without them on account of Albanian outlaws using the right to adopt abandoned lands, upon which the Turkish authorities looked with affinity.8 The culmination of anti-Serbian disposition was the murder of consul Luka Marinkovic in Pristina in June, 1890. The Serbian government maintained, upon information received from Serbs in Pristina, that an Albanian conspiracy was responsible, but the Porte tried to present the murder as a display of Muslim intolerance toward Christian foreigners. Serbia demanded of the Porte to undertake drastic measures against the ethnic Albanians, and the Russian ambassador to Constantinople, supporting the Serbian demands, warned the Turkish officials that anarchy would spread to such dimensions that any step taken toward pacification would be difficult to effect. But the Porte had not the slightest intention to intercept the unbridling ethnic Albanians. Pressured by the Serbian and Russian diplomacies, the murderers of the Serbian consul, muhadjirs from Prokuplje, were severely punished, but the inspirators of the assassination were never found. The Serbs who appeared as witnesses at the trial fled to Serbia fearing vengeance.9 The situation in Kosovo did not change much after the arrival of the new consul Todor P. Stankovic. The consulate was no longer the target of attack, instead, reports sent to Belgrade brought new black lists of numerous atrocities. Stating forbidding numbers of terror committed upon the Serbs, Stankovic underscored that due to the flaring of anarchy and weak connections with agents in regions remote from Pristina, he had been able to discover only about an eighth of the committed crimes. He warned that the Turkish authorities in the Pristina sanjak extended scarcely more than a degree from the city districts. Since he had lived in Metohia before the Eastern crisis, Stankovic took to comparing figures of the population census at the beginning of the seventies with those of the nineties and reached a figure pointing to three quarters of the total population inhabiting the Pec nahi being driven out by ethnic Albanians.10 Following accounts related by some Serbs from Pec in 1907, twenty years earlier around 20,000 Serbs moved to Serbia and Montenegro before the Albanian terror, while 300 Albanian families from Malissia were settled in there place by Pec notable Hadji Mula Zeka.11 The Serbian emissary to the Porte endeavored through diplomatic means to protect the Serbian populace in Old Serbia. However, it was all futile. He met with no compassion in Yildiz, the sultan's court, nor with the Turkish ministers. Having scrutinized the situation, Stojan Novakovic warned the government in May, 1891, that the sultan, and perhaps the Porte, "were working on destroying our element and strengthening the Albanian one. This activity began right after the war during the Albanian League and has not been ceased since."12 Some progress to bridle the Albanian anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia was made through intermediation of the Russian diplomacy in 1892. It requested of the Porte to curb the anarchy, secure public safety and protection for the Christians. When the European press took more interest in events taking place in Old Serbia, news of violence committed upon the Serbs reached the European public. The Porte ordered the authorities in the vilayet to end all pursuit of the rayah, punish the bandits and stop the killings among ethnic Albanians on account of blood feuds.13 Official Serbia, torn asunder by internal dissension and impeded by its political duties to Austria-Hungary, was unable to aid its compatriots in a more decisive manner. Activities on national affairs evolved solely through diplomatic legations, often owing to the personal initiative of an official. Unable as diplomatic representatives of a small country to effect anything more tangible for their people, the Serbian consuls wielded all their faculties to promote education. The extent of lawlessness and increasing distrust toward everything that was Serbian resulted in some schools closing down, and the hindering and impeding of efforts undertaken to promote education. Todor Stankovic earned great merits as a consul in the opening new schools in Kosovo and parrying Bulgarian propaganda. Branislav Nusic, a renown Serbian comedist, who worked several years at the consulate in Pristina, helped open the first Serbian bookstore and renovate of a primary and secondary school in Pristina. The promotion of education in 1893 was regarded as a considerable success in Serbia, since through the Serbian schools Serbian nationality was indirectly recognized, presented in all regulations as rum millet, i.e. a religious category belonging to the Constantinople Patriarchate. The success was even more greater since the Bulgarian Exarchate, and under its influence the Turkish authorities, continually strove to present the Serbian schools as Bulgarian. Under the imperial irada of 1893 and the regulation on education of 1896, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia could freely open schools and thus indirectly acquire recognition of their nationality.14 However, insurmountable lists of oppression upon the Serbs often exceeding all known ways of torture with their brutalities, continued to arrive in the seat of the Serbian government. Within only six months Nusic reported on the devastation of eight Serbian churches and the persecution of priests.15 Extremely dissatisfied and disturbed by the development of political conditions and the position of Serbs in Old Serbia, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered the possibility of wielding a more favorable influence on the educational and national development of Old Serbians by reorganizing the network of consulates and uniting national actions. Slobodan Jovanovic, one of the greatest Serbian historians and lawyers, then young official at the Ministry, was sent in 1894 on a tour to visit consulates in Turkey, while Branislav Nusic, the vice-consul in Pristina, obtained approval to travel through the region between Prizren and Scutari. Jovanovic informed that there was little the consul could do to protect the people from Albanian violence; that it was isolated and continually under surveillance; and proposed a move to Mitrovica, which had a railroad track and livelier merchants contacts. But, consequential to the serious violence and the helplessness of the Serbian consul before the authorities, he observed growing disagreements and quarrels among the people and that some citizens of Pristina strive to adapt to the hard conditions by cooperating with Turkish authorities.16 Traveling through Metohia and north Albania, Nusic noted that the Serbs in Pec and the vicinity were extremely estranged; the breach was so deep that they informed against each other to the authorities. Disharmony among the Serbs, as an expression of an insufferable political situation and continual living under extraordinary conditions, dangerously undermined their ability of a joint resistance against Albanian terror and the abuse of Turkish authorities. Nusic wrote on it in his book on the life of Serbs in Kosovo: "Public life in Turkey is a bad example of citizenry virtues since it is regulated by laws that are bad, or very good but not enforced, or even worse, enforced upon people whose prejudices and vices are stronger than law. While the law applies to one, it fails to apply for another [...]. Conditions like these compel the people to contrive conditions for peace and survival. Thus upon encountering these people one often comes across reservation and dishonesty, traits not indigenous to these people. Frequently betrayed and exposed, more often innocently destroyed, it has became distrustful and will rarely reveal its inner feelings."17 The Serbs were not very successful in courts either. A qadi boasted in 1891 of having solved two cases out of one thousand, for a period of over 18 years, in favor of the Serbs. When the litigants were Serbs, he made his decision according to which side gave him a bigger bribe. 18 1 B. Perunicic, Zulumi aga i begova u kosovskom vilajetu, pp. 48-50.. 2 Ibid., p. 52. 3 Ibid., p. 62. 4 D. T. Batakovic, Memoari Save Decanca o visokim Decanima 1890. godine, Mesovita gradja, XV (1986), pp. 117-136. 5 B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, p. 30. 6 Ibid., pp. 40-41, 67-73. 7 B. Perunicic, Zulumi ago i begova u kosovskom vilajetu, pp. 69-78. 8 D. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba, p. 42. 9 B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, J. Popovic, op. cit., Pp. 251-153. 10 B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, pp. 94-97. 11 B. Mikic, Nastojanje Srba na otvaranju ruskog ili engleskog konzulata u Peci 1908. godine, Obelezja, 1 (1977), p. 154. 12 Istina o Kosovu, Beograd 1988 (M. Vojvodic). 13 Ibid. 14 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, p. 301. 15 Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 631-636; B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine, pp. 152-188, 190-191. 16 R. Ljusic, Izvestaj Slobodana Jovanovica o poseti srpskim konzulatima u Turskoj iz 1894. godine, Istorijski glasnik, 1-2 (1987), pp. 193-215. 17 B. Nusic, Opis zemlje i naroda, Beograd 1986 , pp. 88. 18 "Velika Srbija", No 51, Beograd, 8/20. XII 1891. Serbian national gatherings in Turkey were possible only under the wing of the church. Since plans for restoring the Pec Patriarchate could not be realized, Serbia and Montenegro undertook a joint action in the mid-90's, demanding for the bishopric chairs in the Raska-Prizren and Skoplje Eparchies to be occupied by metropolitans of Serbian nationality. The transition of these two Eparchies to the rule of Serbian metropolitans through ecclesiastical institutions, would strengthen national and political activity in Old Serbia. Following the death of Greek Metropolitan Melentije, a Serb, Archsyncellus Dionisije Petrovic (1896-1900) was consecrated the Raska-Prizren bishop with the joint effort of the governments of Serbia and Montenegro, bolstered by the Russian diplomacy in Constantinople. Carrying out orders from the Serbian government, the new metropolitan implemented a wide reorganization in ecclesiastical and educational institutions, opened new schools, renewed teaching staff, created new church-school communities, and, in keeping with the orders of the Serbian government, united the activities on national affairs.1 Serbia endeavored to open a consulate in Prizren to enable facile communication with the metropolitan. Due to great resistance from ethnic Albanians who threatened to burn Serbian towns and sent critical protests to the Porte, the consulate was never opened.2 The national, ecclesiastical and educational activity pursued by Dionisije and his successor Nicifor Peric (1901-1911) reflected mostly in the opening of new schools and invigorating the educational autonomy of the Serbs. Turkish administrators and Austro-Hungarian diplomats regarded them as agents of "Great Serbian propaganda" and tried to obstruct every move they made. The Turkish authorities were determined to limit the religious and legal rights of Serbs in Old Serbia. Considering schools seedbeds of national propaganda, Turkish authorities endeavored to impose a compulsory study of the Turkish language and to implement a rigorous supervision of the curriculum and teachers in Serbian schools.3 The metropolitans also clashed with the administration of church-school communities, who, being unused to central church governing, showed no appreciation for measures undertaken by the former, thus giving cause for misunderstandings and mutual suspicion. The harshest conflict occurred when the administration of the Visoki Decani monastery was deferred to Russian monks from Mt. Athos. With the principle agreement from the Serbian government, Metropolitan Nicifor negotiated in 1903 to defer the administration of Decani to the monks of the Russian skits St. John the Eloquent on Mt. Athos. The Russian monks were brought to protect the Serbs in Metohia from Albanian oppression, to restore monastic life in the impoverished monasteries and to bar Austro-Hungarian influence and Catholic propaganda. As far as the protection of Serbs was concerned, the Russian diplomacy was expected to provide assistance aside to the monks of Mt. Athos. The agreement concluded in 1903 without instructions from the Serbian government caused many misunderstandings. The Russian monks usurped power of the monastery. The metropolitan and Serbian government endeavored to supplement the agreement and limit their administration, causing a breach between the Serbs of Metohia, those who were followers and those who opposed the Russian monks. A dispute between the Russian and Serbian government entailed. Dissension and quarrels resulting from the Decani issue considerably affected national activity in Metohia.4 After the Eastern crisis the Serbian farmers were faced with new troubles. Emigration to Serbia and the settlement of the muhadjirs disturbed relations in villages. The muhadjirs and various other tyrants, unhampered by the Turkish authorities, assailed Serbian estates, committing brutalities of all sorts. Toward the end of the eighties, when economic pressure had become too hard to bear, entire villages were preparing for emigration to Serbia, particularly in the Ibarski Kolasin. The Turkish authorities replied to complaints lodged by the Serbs: "If you cannot take it, seek better", thus encouraging emigration.5 Even though there were no principle differences between Serbian and Albanian chiflik farmers, the Muslim and Catholic ethnic Albanians were nevertheless in a better situation. Overall lawlessness, assails and murders compelled many Serbs to turn from previously free heirs or herdsmen to chiflik farmers. Unlike the Serbs, ethnic Albanians were unreliable serfs, being used to robbery and seizure, and the feudal lords dared not pursue them. Halil Pasha Mahmudbegovic complained of their obstinacy and recalcitrance to the Serbian consul: "[...] while we still own Serbian chiflik farmers you could say we are lords of the chifliks, but when they move out, and the ethnic Albanians take their places, then we are no longer lords of the chifliks. When an Albanian settles on a chiflik, he is peaceful 2-3 years, and gives a quarter to his master; but as soon as he builds his tower, he becomes a greater lord than the real lord."6 Collection of the land tithe was leased. The leasees fined the Serbs without limits, while their complaints remained unanswered. Common hostility toward the Serbs had spread among Albanian feudal lords. To expand and reinforce their estates, they assisted the settlement of Albanian chiflik farmers in spite of sporadic conflicts. In certain regions of Kosovo, overbearing beys and agas succeeded, through oppression, to compel compact Serbian villages to massive emigrations. In a village near Pec, the agas drove out even those Serbs who owned land. In the vicinity of Prizren, by terrorizing Serbian chiflik farmers for twenty years, ethnic Albanians of the Kabash clan succeeded in decreasing the number of Serbian houses of a single village from 40 to nine. In the sanjak of Pristina, particularly in Lipljan and Gracanica, where the inhabitants were solely Serbs, until 1904, feudal lords drove away the Serbs and settled Albanian chiflik farmers.7 Serbian town-dwellers, mostly merchants and craftsmen, lived comparatively safely in towns. The main obstacle for expanding their businesses was the regard of the Muslim trade district. With the renewal of Muslim fanaticism in 1897, ethnic Albanians and Muslims began the boycott of Serbian goods, lasting intermittently until 1912. Upon the initiative of Metropolitan Nicifor, Rector of the Prizren Seminary, and a series of notable Serbs in Prizren, an idea was initiated to found a Serbian monetary bureau to revive staggering businesses. With financial support from the Belgrade capital, the Serbian government, the consulate in Pristina and support from Russian consuls in Prizren and Mitrovica, the first monetary bureaus sprang up. In Prizren in 1901 the "St. George Church Fund" was founded to aid operations of the Serbian trade district. In subsequent years similar funds or societies in Pristina were founded ("St. Nikola Church Fund"), in Mitrovica (St. Sava Church Fund) in Fenzovic ("St. Tzar Uros Church Fund"), and many merchant-guild societies were founded in Gnjilane and Vucitrn. With their unification around 1912 the first Serbian banks emerged in Kosovo. 8 1 N. Raznatovic, Rod vlade Crne Gore i Srbije na postavljanju srpskih mitropolita u Prizrenu i Skoplju 1890-1902. godine, Istorijski zapisi, XXII, 2 (1965), pp. 218-275; Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 303-305; Archimandrite Firmilijan Drazic was appointed administrator of the Skoplje metropolitan in 1897, and as Serbian metropolitan, in 1902. 2 D. T. Batakovic, Pokusaji otvaranja srpskog konzulata u Pristini 1898-1900, Istorijski casopis, XXXI (1984), pp. 249-250. 3 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 305-307. 4 D. T. Batakovic, Decansko pitanje, Beograd 1989 (with earlier literature). 5 D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki razvoj kosovskih Srba u XIX veku, pp. 247-248. 6 T. P. Stankovic, Putne beleske po Staroj Srbiji 1871-1898, p. 105. 7 D. Mikic, Drustveno-politicki razvoj kosovskih Srba u XIX veku, pp. 250-251. 8 B. Hrabak, Poceci bankarstva na Kosovu, Istorijski glasnik, 1-2 (1982), pp. 57-83. Violence and emigrations caused a continual decline of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia since the Eastern crisis until liberation in 1912, despite a high birthrate. In his book Kosovo, Opis zemlje i naroda (Kosovo, A Description of the Country and People), (1902), B. Nusic expounded the reason for emigration most clearly: "Following the Serbian-Turkish war, emigrations of broad dimensions took place for two reasons. The ethnic Albanians, citizens of Kosovo, took to avenge themselves upon the Serbs, who were their rayah, on account of the war. While going to the war and returning from it, they set fire to Serbian homes, raided their cattle and to Serbia, the frontier of which was now closer, thus facilitating their flight. On the other hand, the bulk of ethnic Albanians who were driven out stayed in Kosovo, there being the closest to the lands they abandoned in Serbia. These newcomers, known as muhadjirs, inundated Kosovo and drove out the Serbs from their lands to make space for themselves.[...] Thus the ethnic Albanians simultaneously flooded Serbian villages from two sides: from the mountains, by descending toward the Sitnica, and from the Serbian borders. Today, one could hardly finger out villages void of ethnic Albanians, whereas countless of villages inhabited by Serbs existed just until recently. The latter have retained their Serbian names but there is not a single Serbian house in them."1 An unreliable, but indicative Turkish state census, listed shortly before the Eastern crisis in 1873, exhibits the following ethnic and religious picture: in the Pristina, Vucitrn and Gnjilane kazas (districts), there were 19,564 Christian and 34,759 Muslim male tax-heads. The Serbs numbered the most in the Gnjilane kaza: 11,607 to 12,544 Muslims. In the Vucitrn kaza there were 250 Christian toward 800 Muslim heads, in the Pristina 400 to 3,000, in Gnjilane 400 to 250. Of 7,850 male Muslims in Pristina, one half spoke Turkish, the other Albanian. In Pec, of 9,105 persons one third spoke Serbian, the second Turkish and the third Albanian.2 A list of Serbian homes in the Raska-Prizren Eparchy composed in 1899 by Metropolitan Dionisije, amounts to 8,323 Serbian village houses and 3,035 houses in the towns of Kosovo and Metohia, which comes to 113,580 persons with the average number of 10 persons per family. In comparison with official information from the Serbian government that from 1890 to 1900 around 60,000 Serbs emigrated from Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring regions to Serbia, statistics show that the number of Serbs in villages had declined by at least a third since the Eastern crisis. Serbian houses remained most numbered in towns, where they were comparatively protected from violence: in Prizren (982), Pristina (531), Pec (461), Gnjilane (407) and Orahovac (176), and the least in the small towns Djakovica (70) and Fenzovic (20).3 Statistics of the population of the European vilayet of the Ottoman Empire carried out in Vienna in 1903, based on official Turkish censuses and research conducted by consular departments, shows the following ethnic disposition in Kosovo and Metohia:4
Pec sanjak Pristina sanjak Prizren sanjak
Orthodox Serbs 23,750 73,400 14,200
Catholic Serbs - 6,600 -
Muslim Serbs 13,250 43,000 13,000
Muslim Albanians 96,250 73,500 45,300
Catholic Albanians 9,300 50 5,000
Orthodox Albanians - - 900
Tzintzars (Romanians) 300 270 2,000
Turks 250 3,000 6,400
Jews 50 350 100
Gypsies 1,350 8,530 4,300
According to Austro-Hungarian statistics, the immediate region of Kosovo and Metohia was composed of 111,350 Orthodox, 69,250 Muslim and 6,600 Catholics Serbs, totaling 187,200. Albanian Muslims numbered 215,050, Catholics 14,350, and Orthodox 900, totally 230,300. The Austro-Hungarian statistics should not be wholely trusted, considering the political interest of the Dual Monarchy for ethnic Albanians, and the time of its collection: at the beginning of the reform action in Old Serbia and Macedonia. The most complete statistic of the population of Kosovo and Metohia is the census composed by the Serbian consulate in Pristina in 1905. Three sanjaks were encompassed in the census: the Pristina, Prizren and Pec sanjaks. The total number of Orthodox Serbs in this particular census amounted to 10,346 homes with 206,920 inhabitants. Official data, sent by officials of the Raska-Prizren Eparchy to the consulate, totaled to 10,164 homes.5
homes inhabitants
Orthodox Serbs 10,346 206,920
Muslim Serbs who became Albanians 15,600 390,010
Catholic Serbs 108 1,750
Muslim Serbs from Bosnia 50 1,200
Protestant Serbs - 1
Catholic Albanians 260 1,560
Albanians 1,000 20,000
Turks 270 3,230
Jews 50 300
Shortly before the liberation of Kosovo in 1912, according to research conducted by Ivan Kosancic, the number of Serbian houses in the Pristina, Pec and Prizren sanjaks were the following:6
sanjak in towns in villages total
Pristina 1,531 12,517 14,048
Pec 643 3,238 3,026
Prizren 982 1,148 2,400
The stated statistics show a relative increase in the number of Serbian homes. It is hard to suppose their number increased in the first decade of the 20th century, since the entire documentation preserved points to an increase of emigrations to Serbia. The increasing number of Serbian homes noted by the consulate in Pristina, and subsequently by Kosancic, would more likely refer to disintegration of family groups, when from one family group, comprised of 20-30 members, several new hearths were created. The man of most authority concerning ethnic relations in Old Serbia is Jovan Cvijic. In 1911 he published the results of his research: in the Pristina sanjak there were 14,048, in the Pec sanjak 3,826, and in the Prizren sanjak 2,400 Serbian houses, with around 200,000 inhabitants. If this data were compared with the statistics from the first half of the century, indicating the existence of about 400,000 Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia, then Cvijic's evaluation that from 1878 to 1912, around 150,000 persons moved to Serbia, is quite convincing.7 1 B. Nusic, Kosovo, Opis zemlje i naroda, pp. 76-77. 2 V. Nikolic-Stojancevic, Leskovac i oslobodjeni predeli Srbije 1877-1878, Leskovac 1975, p. 10 3 S Novakovic, Balkanska pitanja, Beograd 1906, pp. 515-527; Prepiska o arbanaskim nasiljima u Staroj Srbiji, Beograd 1899, pp. 136. 4 Haus. Hof, und Staatsarchiv - Wien, Politisches Archiv, XII, k. 272, Nationalitaten und Religions-karte der Vilajete Kosovo, Salonika, Scutari, Janina, und Monastir; cf also P. Barti, op. cit., pp. 52-64. 5 B. Perunicic, Svedocanstvo o Kosovu 1901-1913, pp. 246-248; the consul increased the final number by 20%, (not taken into account in the above table), believing the information provided by parish regents inaccurate, since the latter reduced the number of parishoners for the sake of their income. 6 I. Kosancic, Novopazarski sandzak, Beograd 1912, 16-18; Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, p. 266. 7 J. Cvijic, Osnove za geografiju i geologiju Makedonije i Stare Srbije, III, Beograd 1911; ibid., Balkanski rat i Srbija, Beograd 1912; cf. J. Dedijer, Stara Srbija. Geografska i etnografska slika, Srpski knjizevni glasnik, XXIX (1912), pp. 674-699. This era was marked by anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia. Following the great Eastern crisis (1878), anarchy encroached the bases of state policy, and its driving force became genocide upon the Serbs. Developing into a movement, the purpose of which was to exterminate a people, Albanian anarchy was adjusted by circumstances, lead by political motives, tribal, economic or personal gains, displaying itself in various ways. Muslim fundamentalism and religious fanaticism were interwoven with feelings of national and tribal belonging. Wavering between lucrative raids, blackmail, abduction and radical solutions by murder or the routing of entire families, the policy conceived to exterminate the Serbian people was never doubted. But it never could be carried out to the end, since every attempt of massive physical destruction or collective pursuit was threatened by subsequent international clashes and the military interference of neighboring Christian countries. Thus the ethnic Albanians applied the method of persistent violence day after day which, being radicalized in periods of crises, lead to a sure completion of their purpose - the extermination of Serbs in the Kosovo vilayet. The decisive turning point came with the Greek-Turkish war (1897). Recognized as an announcement of the approaching disintegration of the Ottoman Empire on the Balkans, it moved an avalanche of Albanian violence upon the Serbs. Following the Kurds' brutal massacre of the Armenians, the European public, appalled by the barbaric methods of Sultan Abdul Hamid's policy, rightfully named him "the bloody Sultan". The Kurds of the Asia Minor expanses seemed to have proved their act in the same role as the ethnic Albanians had in the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The Greek Insurrection on Crete in 1896 anticipated a new danger for the safety of the empire. News on the massacre of Muslim followers upset conservative Albanian circles in Kosovo. At councils, held in the houses of notables and in mosques, they confirmed their readiness for vengeance.1 Pressured by the Great Powers, the Sultan announced a program of new reforms in 1896, anticipating equality for Muslims and Christians under the law and the introduction of Christians to administrative bodies. The announcement of the reforms exacerbated Muslim ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia and Macedonia. Their leaders, pashas and beys, tribal chiefs and standard bearers strove to maintain the possession of specially privileged positions in the structure of the feudal society and to sustain political supremacy in their regions. The Albanian migrs and notables of southern Albania, used the announcement of reforms to renew the idea of autonomy. Feudal circles of Kosovo sent a delegation to Constantinople, headed by Mula Zeka of Pec, expressing readiness to defend in arms its homeland from external threat and requested for the reforms not to be implemented in Old Serbia. Beys in Pristina refused to give any consideration to the reforms, due to the "Serbian threat". The Sultan accepted their requests without hesitating.2 The declaration of war upon Crete was threatened by the possible involvement of Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro in the crisis. The Great Powers, especially parties holding most direct interest - Russia and Austria-Hungary, warned the Balkan state not even to think of warfare with the Turks. The beginning of the Greek-Turkish war in April 1897, accelerated negotiations between the two powers. The Dual Monarchy and Russia concluded a secret agreement in May to preserve the status quo on the Peninsula. Several months subsequently Austria-Hungary came to terms with Italy for joint influence in Albania.3 The 1897 war with Greece was a test of Albanian loyalty to the sultan. Around 10,000 Albanian volunteers enlisted in the Turkish army. The declaration of war stirred Muslim fanaticism among the ethnic Albanians, thus invigorating identification with the interests of the Ottoman Empire. It was due to them that Turkish troops penetrated deep into Thessaly, with Albanian volunteers exceeding in sacking Greek villages. Greece was defeated but Crete, with the aid of Great Powers, was on its way of achieving autonomy with the Greek prince as governor. Albanian volunteers from Kosovo and Metohia regarded the outcome of the Crete crisis as an announcement of new divisions in the Turkish countries. Like many times before, they blamed the Serbs as the guilty party, suspecting their conniving with the authorities in Serbia. Following the conclusion of the truce, the ethnic Albanians retained their arms, since the Turks believed they would successfully defend the northern borders of the empire in case of another war. Embittered by the failure of their rumoring Serbia's preparation to war with Turkey, the ethnic Albanians then turned upon the unprotected Serbian populace more severely than ever.4 The Turkish authorities and Muslim clergy stirred the apprehensions of ethnic Albanians with news of imminent war with Serbia. In such an atmosphere, mass murders, robbery and violence spread to broad dimensions. The consulate in Pristina reported that following the victory over Greece, ethnic Albanians "have literally become enraged, perpetrating atrocities upon the Serbian rayah they never dared do before, even in their wildest years."5 Already next year, in 1898, the terror grew to a general movement to exterminate the Serbian rayah in Old Serbia. Reports from Serbian consulates in Pristina and Skoplje indicate that, in its scope and cruelty, this one exceeded all previous ones. The consul in Pristina, Svetislav St. Simic, warned that the position "of our [Serbian] people in Kosovo is no better than the position of the Armenians in Asia Minor in the years from 1894 to 1896".6 Lists of hundreds of severe crimes all pointed to the fact that the Serbs would soon disappear from Old Serbia unless preventive measures were undertaken. The consuls proposed for people in the Kosovo vilayet to secretly arm for defense against the tyrants. Frequent border conflicts effected a strain in Serbian-Turkish relations. 1 A large number of Albanians, especially those from Djakovica, took part in the Armenian massacre; see V. Berard, Politique du sultan. Pans 1897; for Albanian agitation: B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, pp. 198. 2 D. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba, pp. 44-45; D. T. Batakovic, Osnove arbanaske prevlasti, p. 40. 3 S. Skendi, op. cit., pp. 242-244. 4 Ibid., pp. 199-202. 5 B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, pp. 269; Lists of violence, pp. 269-277, 293-299. 6 Ibid., pp. 311. Political conditions in Serbia did not allow for any broader actions to protect the Serbs in Turkey. Having returned to the country, King Milan undertook to govern the foreign policy. Requesting of the sultan religious concessions in Macedonia, the government of Vladan Djordjevic waged a Turkophilic policy. The foreign policy course pursued by King Milan, an old Austrophilic, induced the Serbian government to lose Russian support in the Porte, gained in 1895-96, during Stojan Novakovic's government. Becoming again the envoy to Constantinople, Novakovic proposed for the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohia to be supplied with guns, and then the issue of their protection may be raised. When the proposition was not adopted, he then proposed, to the government, at least diplomatic action with the Porte. With the assistance of consuls in Pristina (Todor P. Stankovic, then Svetislav St. Simic) detailed lists of brutalities performed by ethnic Albanians upon the Serbs in 1897-1898 were collected and submitted as a Serbian note to Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Tefvik Pasha. Novakovic requested for the Porte to undertake energetic measures to terminate the pogroms upon the Serbs and to form an admixed Turkish-Serbian investigating committee.1 The note dated May 26 contains the following statement: "During the past four years the Royal [Serbian] government was compelled more than once to draw the attention of the imperial government, to the disorder, and incredible and innumerable violent deeds continuously performed by the insubordinate and unruly Albanian populace on the Serbian-Turkish border, as well as on the bordering sanjaks. These crimes and attacks are directed solely toward the Christians of Serbian nationality, and it seems their purpose is to exterminate the people from those regions."2 Novakovic underscored that "The ethnic Albanians are well-armed and certain that no punishment awaits them, giving complete liberty to their cruel instincts, since there is nothing to hinder their fanaticism and unrestrained hatred. Crimes and robberies are daily occurrences, and not only do the perpetrators remain unpunished, they are not even pursued by the authorities. The number of fugitives fleeing across the border for their lives is enormous, and increases everyday. According to data the royal government disposes of, more than four hundred crimes were perpetrated in the Pristina, Novi Pazar, Pec and Prizren sanjaks within only a few months, last summer and winter. They were: murder, arson, banditry, desecration of churches, rape, abduction, robbery, raiding of whole herds. This number presents only several instances, one fifth at the most, of what really happened, since most of the crimes are never discovered, since the victims or their families dare not complain."3 The Porte delayed its reply so Novakovic requested to be received by the Turkish minister. He drew the minister's attention to the fact that the development of events suggested "that everything is carried out under orders from Constantinople and Yildiz, where a once extant notion was to hoop another Muslim iron ring around Serbia, like the ones once made of the Cherkezes", underscoring certain rumors "of an idea to organize a special corps named Hamid's Albanian army, like the well-known Kurd cavalier regiments".4 At the request of Serbia's envoy, the Porte ordered an investigation committee at the beginning of August, to check the assertions made in the Serbian notes. The party, headed by the sultan's adjutant, General Saadedin Pasha, visited certain areas in Kosovo and conducted a superficial investigation: instead of seeking the perpetrators, it strove to deny the complaints. The Serbian delegate Todor P. Stankovic was not permitted to participate in the operation. The investigation conducted with prejudice produced no results. Russian diplomatic officials, whose attendance was requested by the Serbian populace, were not permitted to watch its operation. Stankovic noted that only the British consul to Scutari checked the assertions made of the oppression, and having been convinced in the truth of the complaints lodged against the ethnic Albanians, submitted a report to his government.5 The entire investigation was reduced to establishing inaccuracies in citing the names of victims, perpetrators and places mentioned in the Serbian notes. Appealing to information received from local authorities, the Forte's committee maintained that "the attacks ascribed to the ethnic Albanians are either unfounded or exaggerated", and finally totally dismissed the Serbian assertions. Novakovic persistently collected additional data and submitted new notes. He warned that the ethnic Albanians, following Saadedin Pasha's mission, realizing they had no punishment to fear, continued performing their vicious deeds upon the Serbs with more enthusiasm.6 Without the support of the Great Powers, Serbia could accomplish nothing. The attempt to request the intermediation of their ambassadors in Constantinople was thwarted by Austria-Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Count Goluchowski, expounding that Russia would hinder any action benefiting Serbia on account of King Milan. The Serbian premier proposed a military demonstration on the Serbian-Turkish border, but the idea was abandoned at Goluchowski request.7 The diplomatic action was an utter failure. The Porte closed the issue with a protocolar apology. The Serbian premier, in his letter to Novakovic, somberly concluded: "The treatment of the Ottoman authorities, and Muslims in general, toward Christians in the Kosovo vilayet can be observed by the fact that over 60,000 Serbs fled their fatherlands and left whatever property they owned, to save their lives, from 1880 until today [June 1899]. This spring the ethnic Albanians killed many Serbs to arrogate their lands and drive them off, in which they have succeeded considerably, incurring thus the flight of several hundred souls to Serbia during the last few months."8 Not having met with understanding in Constantinople, the Serbian government was preparing to internationalize the issue of protecting its compatriots in Old Serbia. Preparing for the Peace Conference in the Hague (1899), a "blue book" titled Prepiska o Arbanaskim nasiljima u Staroj Srbiji 1898-1899 (Correspondence on Albanian violence in Old Serbia 1898-1899) was being compiled, in which the most important acts from correspondence with the Porte were published in Serbian and French, but were not submitted to the European public.9 Serbian refugees in Old Serbia sent a complaint of Albanian oppression to the Conference, in the form of a memorandum, which had previously been published in the Belgrade papers, but not discussed in the Hague.10 A French contemporary, while visiting Kosovo and Metohia, witnessed Serbian sufferings and protection given to the tyrants: "[...] whatever the complaints of local Slavs and charges brought by the Serbs, whatever reproaches made by Russia, it is obvious that neither the sultan nor the Porte would ever get involved against the ethnic Albanians nor would they restore order in the Kosovo vilayet. The ethnic Albanians in this Slavic country play and will continue to play the same role as the Kurds in Armenia. The captives of Islam and the servants of the lord [sultan] would, under these two bases, enjoy impunity whatever their crimes."11 Political commotion among the ethnic Albanians aggravated the position of the Serbs and violence increased. At the end of 1898, the autonomist movement was revived, incited by the sultan's order to collect whatever arms remained from the previous war. Albanian chiefs feared new reforms and the possibility of the Great Powers introducing Christian rule, like they did in Crete. In Pec, at the end of January, 1899, a large assembly of feudal and tribal notables was held to discuss opposition to reforms and expansion of tribal self-governing. Through influential beys, the Forte's attitude on the necessity of joint defense was underscored in case of incursions from Serbia and Montenegro.12 The assembly was immediately with pogroms upon the Serbs in Mitrovica. In Prizren due of boycott of Serbian goods and threats of massacre the Serbian downtown was closed. In April 1899, the ethnic Albanians set fire to Serbian houses in the Verici village of the Pec district. Every day the consulate received black news sent from Podrimlje and villages near Pristina. Consul Simic ended one of a series of lists on perpetrated crimes with the following words: "With such anarchic, truely barbaric conditions here, it is no wonder the emigration of our people, from these areas to Serbia, is increasing."13 1 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, 322-323; M. Vojvodic, Srbija u medjunarodnim odnosima krajem XIX veka i pocetkom XX veka, Beograd 1988, pp. 224-225. 2 Prepiska o arbanaskim nasiljima u Staroj Srbiji 1898-1899, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beograd 1899, p. 15. 3 Ibid., 16; in the note supplementation the number of murders, church raids, rapes and abductions, assaults, robberies and banditries (ibid., pp. 18-27). 4 Ibid., p. 28. 5 T. P. Stankovic, Putne beleske po Staroj Srbiji 1871-1898, pp. 103-104. 6 Prepiska o arbanaskim nasiljima u Staroj Srbiji 1898-1899, pp. 69-78, 87, 129 134-135; S. Jovanovic, Vlada Aleksandra Obrenovica, II, Beograd 1931, p. 76, cf. M. Vojvodic, op. cit., pp. 76-77. 7 S. Jovanovic, op. cit., pp. 76-77. 8 Prepiska o arbanaskim nasiljima u Staroj Srbiji 1898-1899, pp. 135-136. 9 Ibid., French title: Documents diplomatiques, Correspondance concemant les actes de violence et de brigandage des Albanais dans la Vieille Serbie (Vilayet de Kosovo) 1898-1899, Ministere des affaires etrangeres, Belgrade MDCCCXCIX, pp. 1-145; M. Vojvodic, op. cit" pp. 237-238. 10 D. T. Batakovic, Memorandum Srba iz Stare Srbije i Makedonije Medjunarodnoj konferenciji mira u Hagu 1899. godine, Prilozi za knjizevnost, jezik, istoriju i folklor vol. LII-LIV (1987-1988, pp. 177-183. 11 V. Berard, La Macedoine, Paris 1900, pp. 138-139. 12 M. Vojvodic. op. cit., pp. 225-226; D. Mikic, Drustvene i ekonomske prilike kosovskih Srba u XIX i pocetkom XX veka, pp. 46-47. 13 B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, p. 407; details on the violence: 387-489. During the final years of the 19th century, vital stimuli to the expansion of Albanian arrogance was given through intelligence networks in the Kosovo vilayet, by the Austro-Hungarian diplomacy. Following the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the military occupation of part of the Novi Pazar sanjak, which could, under the decrees of the Berlin Congress, be extended to just beyond Mitrovica", the Dual Monarchy continually worked on deepening the chasm between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. Having experienced the unification of Germany and Italy to its detriment, it could not allow the unification of the Serbs, with the same consequences. The Kosovo vilayet, which separated two independent Serbian states, became the key to solve the Balkan issue. With support from Germany, Austria-Hungary made preparations to take its decisive step over Old Serbia in Germanic penetration to the East. Austria-Hungarian influence in the Kosovo vilayet gradually grew through Catholic missions in north Albania, Metohia and consulates in Prizren. Skoplje and Scutari. Following the exodus of Serbs in 1878-1881, the abandoned Serbian estates in Metohia were settled, with the assistance of Albanian beys, by Albanian Catholics, the so-called Fandas, who were to become the main bearers of Austria-Hungarian propaganda among their compatriots of Muslim faith. A certain increase of Catholic inhabitants in Metohia made room for the opening of new ecclesiastical and educational institutions which became centers of the aggressive propaganda. Greater pressure emanating from Jesuit propaganda was also felt by the Serbian clergy. Phanariote Bishop Melentije freely allowed Catholic agitation to spread among the Serbs of the Pec and Prizren sanjaks.1 At the same time, the European public was presented with publications interpreting the historical evolution, the ethnic composition and political importance of Kosovo with seemingly expert argumentation. In a study of the Novi Pazar sanjak in Kosovo, Theodor Ippen endeavored to support his thesis on the ethnic unity of all territories with Bosnia, and thus indirectly with Austria-Hungary, on the basis of historical evidence, therefore denying the Serbs their character, emphasizing the importance of national individuality of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.2 The Balkan policy of the highest political and military circles of the Dual Monarchy regarded the Albanian populace as an element of outstanding importance. Anticipating the approaching disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the Peninsula, Austria-Hungary was preparing to establish order and impose its rule as mandator in Europe, as it had already done in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878. Penetration toward the Vardar valley and the Salonika Bay imposed the formation of autonomous Albania under its protectorate. An Albanian state like this would render impossible the unification of Serbia and Montenegro, and would curb influence coming from Italy. The Foreign Minister of the Dual Monarchy, Count Goluchowski, considered it of immense importance to Austro-Hungarian interest for the ethnic Albanians not to come under foreign influence, and proposed, in case the Ottoman Empire should collapse, that Austria-Hungary should support a separate autonomy for Albania, ruled by a foreign prince and under its protectorate; Serbia would then have to satisfy its aspirations by concessions made in the Pristina and Skoplje sanjaks. The joint Austro-Hungarian Minister of Finance Benjamin Kallay, demanded to win over the Muslim ethnic Albanians of the Kosovo vilayet. He particularly stressed the importance of propaganda to encompass the Pristina and Skoplje sanjaks, believing that if conflicts with Turkey should arise, all territories in which ethnic Albanians were a minority would belong to either Serbia or Bulgaria.3 In the 1897 negotiations, Russian diplomats were informed that if status quo on the Balkan Peninsula were to prove untenable, the Dual Monarchy would demand the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the division of Turkish lands in Europe, including the formation of an independent Albanian state between Janina and Scutari Lake under its protectorate. Aspiring toward their goal, Austro-Hungarian diplomacy considered the possibility of establishing a religious protectorate over Catholic ethnic Albanians which would then acquire political dimensions. Since the close of the 19th century, Franciscans infiltrated by Austria-Hungary had been checking the Italian and local Catholic clergy even in Albania.4 Wherever there were bribable and ambitious beys in Metohia, Austria-Hungary built strong bastions by lavishly bestowing money. At the assembly in Pec, at the beginning of 1899, aside to notables of Turkophilic and autonomous disposition, those of pro-Austrian inclination appeared as well. A group of tribal and feudal leaders, headed by the until recently sultan's favorite Haxhi Mulla Zeka, and Riza Bey Krieziu of Djakovica, openly recommended closer relations with the Dual Monarchy, as a potential protector of the ethnic Albanians and against neighboring Serbian states and possible reforms. The number of Austro-Hungarian followers grew in accordance with purchases made by Austro-Hungarian agents of Albanian notables. According to a Russian paper Novoe Vremja, about five to six million crowns of the Dual Monarchy's annual budget were set aside for Albanian propaganda and the payment of corrupt Albanian magnates.5 Agitation among the ethnic Albanians was lead through several directions. In Metohia, where clan chiefs quarreled over domains, agents were infiltrated, while Austro-Hungarian propaganda was observed to have spread owing to Bosnian Muslim religious heads. Catholic friars expounded to Muslim ethnic Albanians that Serbia and Montenegro were outposts on the Peninsula and that the neighboring Monarchy was their sole protector. Vienna papers, reporting on events taking place in Old Serbia (particularly the Politische Korrespondenz), regularly titled their news as coming from Albania, thus creating the impression that ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo vilayet comprised the majority of the population and that it was practically devoid of Serbs.6 The dimension of Austro-Hungarian political agitation could not pass by the Turkish authorities unnoticed. The district chief in Pristina noticed that Albanian assails upon the Serbs were encouraged by agitators of the Dual Monarchy. The vali of Kosovo, Hafis Pasha, attributed all Albanian unrest in Metohia (especially in Prizren 1899, subsequently in Skoplje), to operations carried out by Austro-Hungarian intelligence services. Their purpose, he believed, was to cause widespread unrest to provide Austria-Hungary with an excuse to occupy the Kosovo vilayet.7 Even the sultan, when confronted with a warning from the Russian ambassador that Albanian anarchy was planned, since only Orthodox Serbs suffered, "did not deny the presence of a foreign party operating through its agents".8 Suspicion as to the motives of the Albanian movement was also spread by Young Turk followers of Albanian origin, who gave statements abroad that ethnic Albanians were disloyal to the sultan and were waiting for the opportunity to secede from Turkey. Telegrams were immediately sent from Pristina, Prizren and other towns in Kosovo and Metohia, to the padishah with expressions of unequivocal faithfulness and loyalty.9 Foreign witnesses also observed the fatal influence of Austro-Hungarian propaganda in Old Serbia. A French scholar, Victor Berard, an expert on political trends in the Ottoman Empire, emphasized "that the mystery concealing the operation of Austrian agents and their entire propaganda network raised, in the eyes of blinded ethnic Albanians, this major power to even greater heights, skillfully interweaving them in the dexterously devised and woven network of their foreign policy".10 Bulgarian historian N. Marenin observed that aside to all the skill of its agents, Austro-Hungarian propaganda had succeeded with the ethnic Albanians owing to large amounts of money paid annually to those most prominent and influential among them. Marenin underscored that a favorable condition for bringing together the ethnic Albanians and the Dual Monarchy was their mutual interest to exterminate the Serbian populace in the area between the Drim river and Mount Kopaonik, i.e. between Serbia and Albania.11 Owing to the instigations of the Austro-Hungarian intelligence service, total anarchy reigned in Kosovo. Enboldened by protection promised by the Dual Monarchy and the sultan's confidence, the ethnic Albanians, filled with renewed energy, dashed to settle accounts with the Serbs. During 1900 and 1902 the crimes attained apocalyptic dimensions. The Pec nahi suffered the most since Catholic ethnic Albanians exceeded in oppression. Blackmail, robbery and murder extremely affected the Gnjilane and Pristina region. In Prizren, the Serbs dared not appear downtown. Schools and churches also bore the brunt of oppression. The pursuit of Serbian priests became frequent, ethnic Albanians regarded all distinguished national notables as Serbian spies and komitadjis. This anti-Serb disposition reached the point when even certain Turkish officials, in the army, administration, especially within the circle of religious heads, openly appealed to the ethnic Albanians to clash with the Serbs, arrogate their lands and force them to flee to Serbia.12 Anarchy attained such dimensions that the Porte was compelled to send new military contingents. Brigadier General Shemsi Pasha was sent to Kosovo to consolidate government authority, collect arms and capture the major violators. He frequently left Pristina to visit the vilayet, calm the ethnic Albanians, reconcile their quarreling chiefs and, though rarely, intervened to protect the Serbs. In Vucitrn he was compelled to protect the Serbs threatened by oppression in the Raznjane village. Raska-Prizren Metropolitan Dionisije escaped assassination twice, and so moved his seat to Gnjilane.13 A direct consequence of Austro-Hungarian influence was oppression executed upon the Serbs of the Ibarski Kolasin, in summer 1901. The Ibarski Kolasin was a woody area with over forty villages to the northwest of Old Serbia, inhabited almost entirely by Serbs who had preserved a certain kind of self-government, choosing their own local knez (leader).14 The extent of oppression compelled the Serbs from all parts of Kosovo and Metohia to appeal to the consulate in Pristina in 1897, demanding a secret delivery of arms for protection against the tyrants. Stojan Novakovic had proposed to arm the Serbian inhabitants gradually and organize them for defense back in 1896: "ethnic Albanians were evildoers, but they treated with respect those houses in Old Serbia which they knew had weapons and male heads."15 The consul in Pristina supported Novakovic's proposal, adding that Albanian assails upon the Serbs were encouraged on account of the latter having no arms, while these deeds left the Serbs faithearted.16 After the failure of the diplomatic mission with the Porte to protect Serbian inhabitants, the government of Vladan Djordjevic began, in spring 1899, the secret delivery of trophy guns remaining from the previous war with Turkey, to Serbs inhabiting the northern regions of the Kosovo vilayet. Since the beginning of 1901, exaggerated news of thousands of guns being smuggled to arm entire Serbian villages caused great alarm among the ethnic Albanians. The Turkish authorities conducted searches in the north regions of Old Serbia, and only at the beginning of July, owing to information procured by Albanian notable Isa Boljetinac, did they discover that most of the weapons were delivered to the Ibarski Kolasin.17 Under the leadership of Isa Boljetinac, the ethnic Albanians and Turks searched the Kolasin villages and forced the people to surrender their arms under brutalities unheard-of. Many were abused, beaten and wounded; one Serbian was beaten up and succumbed to wounds inflicted. Several hundred Serbs were shackled and taken to prisons in Mitrovica and Pristina. The arms investigation incited ethnic Albanians from other regions to set off toward Kolasin and seek guns in the villages. From January to August alone, around six hundred persons fled to Serbia. The disturbed public demanded energetic action from the government. The arms investigation ended only when Serbia's demands to the Porte were supported by Russia. Following the energetic intervention of the Russian ambassador to Constantinople, violence in Kolasin ceased, the arrested Serbs were set free, and Isa Boljetinac was moved out of Mitrovica. However, Austro-Hungarian delegates to the Porte claimed the pogroms in Kolasin were multiply exaggerated.18 Austro-Hungarian consular officials in Kosovo saw the affair at Kolasin as a sign of "great Serbian propaganda" in Old Serbia. All political moves made by the Serbian government in the Kosovo vilayet, including the inauguration of new schools, and financial help given to teachers and monastic fraternities, were considered a serious injury to the political interests of the Dual Monarchy. When Adem Zaim killed Hadji Mulla Zeka in Pec for tribal dissentions, at the beginning of 1902, Austro-Hungarian consuls announced that it was a Serbian conspiracy.19 1 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, p.302; V. Bovan, op. cit.; H. Schwanda, Das Protektorat stereich-Ungarans uber die Katholiken Albanians, Wien 1965; passim S. Skendi, op. cit., pp. 238-286. 2 Theodor Ippen, Novi Pazar und Kosovo (Das Alte Rascien), Wien 1892; ibid, Das Religiose Protektorat Osterreich-Ungarns in der Turkei, Die Kultur, 3 (1901-1902), pp. 298-310; 3 F. Hauptmann, Uloga zajednickog ministarstva finansija u formiranju Austro-Ugarske politike prema Albaniji uoci kretske krize, Radovi Filozofskog fakulteta u Sarajevu, IV (1968), pp. 35-45; H. Kapidzic, Pripreme za austrougarsko prodiranje u albansko etnicko podrucje iz Novopazarskog sandzaka, Radovi Filozofskog fakulteta u Sarajevu, VI (1971), pp. 415-430; cf. N.D. Schnadel, op. cit., pp. 54-74. 4 B. Hrabak, Kultni protektorat Austro-Ugarske nad Arbanasima (1897), Godisnjak Arhiva Kosova, XXIII (1987), p. 33-54; J. Sliskovic, Albanija i Macedonia, Sarajevo 1904, p. 80; V. Stojancevic, Diplomatska trvenja konzula velikih sila u Skoplju no. tamosnje Arbanase katolike pocetkom XX veka, Istorijski casopis, XVIII (1971), pp. 329-339. 5 V. Stojancevic, Austrougarsko-srpski sukob u kosovskom vilajetu na pocetku XX veka, in: Jugoslovenski narodi pred Prvi svetski rat, Beograd 1967 pp. 847-876. 6 D. T. Batakovic, Pokusaj otvaranja srpskog konzulata u Prizrenu 1898-1900, pp. 256-257. 7 V. Stojancevic, Prilike u zapadnoj polovini kosovskog vilajeta prema izvestajima austrougarskog konzula u Skoplju 1900. i 1901. godine, Istorijski casopis, (XII-XIII) (1961-1962), p. 290-291. 8 V. Corovic, Odnosi izmedju Srbije i Austro-Ugarske u XX veku, Beograd 1936, p. 15. 9 B. Perunicic, Zulumi ago. i begova u kosovskom vilajetu, pp. 169-170. 10 V. Berard, La Turquie et I'Hellenisme contemporain, Paris 1900, pp. 291-292. 11 N. Marenin, Albanija i Albanci, pp. 91-92; cited from P. Orlovic (S. St. Simic), Stara Srbija i Arbanasi, Beograd 1904, pp. 21-22. 12 Regarding the conference of the Serbian and Bulgarian rulers at Nis, Austro-Hungarian agitators reported it was secretly being held at Pristina. Among the Albanians a widespread conviction existed that a joint military intervention of the two countries was being prepared. The bessa was hastily given and conference on Joint defense began. (M. Vojvodic, op. cit., pp. 332-333). 13 V. Stojancevic, Prilike u zapadnoj polovini kosovskog vilajeta prema izvestajima austrougarskog konzula u Skoplju 1900. i 1901. godine, pp. 311-312. 14 M. Lutovac, Ibarski Kolasin, Antropogeografska istrazivanja, pp. 57-188. 15 Spomenica Stojana Novakovica, p. 196. 16 B. Perunicic, Pisma srpskih konzula iz Pristine 1890-1900, pp. 345-346. 17 M. Vojvodic, op. cit., 334; D. T. Batakovic, Istraga oruzja u Ibarskom Kolasinu 1901, Kosovsko-Metohijski zbornik SANU 1 (1990), pp. 269-284 18 Ibid., cf. S. Skendi, op. cit., pp. 201-202. 19 V. Stojanovic, Austrougarsko-srpski sukob u kosovskom vilajetu, p. 865. Pogroms in the Ibarski Kolasin sobered the public and ruling circles of Serbia. In Belgrade, public meetings were organized where demands were made for the government to initiate the issue of Serbian nationality in Old Serbia and Macedonia. In disputes announced on the issue of the survival of Serbs in Old Serbia, Svetislav Simic was the most outstanding. In his discussion Pitanje o Staroj Srbiji (The Question of Old Serbia) Simic underscored the danger of Austro-Hungarian agitation among the ethnic Albanians and emphasized that the destiny of the Serbs and the Slav cause in the Balkans would unfold in Kosovo.1 The balance of forces, particularly Austro-Hungarian influence in Serbia and Russia's failure to confront its agitation in Old Serbia with more energy, tied the hands of the Serbian diplomacy in its attempts for a more efficient protection of its compatriots. Following the death of King Milutin, Vienna's most trusted friend in Serbia, King Aleksandar Obrenovic took the Russophil course in foreign policy, to calm tempers in the country. At the same time, at the invitation of the Serbian government, a group of Albanian notables arrived in Belgrade from Fed and Djakovica, among whom was the Pec leader Mehmed Zaim. They were lavished with rich gifts in money and arms and promised assistance if they helped to bring an end to violence upon the Serbs.2 The Serbian government initiated the issue of protecting Serbs in Turkey in 1902, and in August, bolteresred by the Montenegrin diplomacy, authorized its envoy in Constantinople to make the following demands to the Porte: 1) regular and for all equal application of law; 2) an end to the policy of encouraging ethnic Albanians. Propositions along this line were for either disarmament of the ethnic Albanians or allowance for the Serbs to carry guns; for reinforcement of Turkish garrisons wherever there were Serbian-Albanian inhabitants admixed; removal of corrupt Turkish officials and assignment of conscientious ones; inauguration of administrative and judicial reforms with larger Serbian participation in the administration and judiciary; implementation of agrary reform. Russia supported Serbia since none of the bases were touched regarding the status quo established with Austria-Hungary in 1897.3 To forestall the reform plan of the Great Powers, especially Austria-Hungary and Russia, which had the right to protect Christians in the Ottoman Empire under article 23 of the Berlin Congress, the sultan announced reforms in November 1902. The reform action of Turkey, headed by Hussein Hilmi Pasha as general inspector, anticipated a more rigorous application of the law, regulation of agrary duties, dismission of unconscientious officials and the enlisting of Serbs in the Turkish gendarme. Military authorities undertook to capture the most wanted criminals.4 The dimension of lawlessness and Serbian plight shocked foreign Journalists. Victor Berard wrote that life in places between Pec, Prizren and Pristina was marked with violence under the ethnic Albanians, arsons, rapes, vengeance, and real tribal warfare. Georges Gaulis noticed that due to the extent of oppression upon the Serbs, Old Serbia was, along with Armenia, the most wretched country in the world. Bearing witness to Albanian recalcitrance and their motives, he particularly stressed: "Those of Debar kill to rob, those of Djakovica kill from shear fanaticism, those of Prizren kill for their evil instincts, and those of Tetovo kill to try out their carbines."5 Following the Kolasin affair, Russia opened a consulate in Mitrovica to follow more closely Austria-Hungary's influence over Albanian moves and to protect the Serbs from violence. The Vienna legation exerted influence upon the Porte to prolong its inauguration. The ethnic Albanians received the news of the opening of the Russian consulate with open discontent and acute opposition. Isa Boljetinac threatened to punish anyone who dared rent his house to the Russian consul and openly spoke of forcibly routing him from Kosovo. Following the threats made to its staff, the Russian diplomacy demanded of the Ottoman authorities to arrest and rout the leaders of "Anti-Russian demonstrations". Isa Boljetinac agreed, after a lengthy persuasion from the authorities, to leave for Constantinople, "to visit" the padishah. The St. Petersburg press underscored the importance of the consulate opening in Mitrovica, where "at the central point between Old Serbia and Albania, [Russian] control emerges over ethnic Albanians".6 The announcement of the reform plan, more rigorous application of law, acceptance of Serbs in the gendarme service and news of the Russian consulate finally opening in Mitrovica, instigated the ethnic Albanians to rise. At the beginning of 1903, a large assembly of tribal chiefs was held at the Lucki Most near Djakovica. The ethnic Albanians blamed solely the Serbs for all the reforms. It was thus decided "to gradually kill the more prominent Serbs of the Pec nahi one after another, and compel the others to flee to Serbia or to be Turkized."7 The plans of the participants were to rout the Turkish authorities from Pec, kill the notable Serbs and then move to Mitrovica to confront the Russian consul. Severe persecution of the Serbs began immediately. In the Pec nahi alone ten people were killed within a few weeks. Following the meeting in Drenica, the ethnic Albanians decided to take to arms. Armed rebels raided Vucitrn on March 29, ravaged the local Serbian church, disarmed the Serbs accepted in the gendarme and set off to Mitrovica to rout by force Russian Consul Grigorie Stepanovich Shtcherbin.8 The Russian consul remained in town to supervise Turkish preparations for defense. Around 2,000 ethnic Albanians attacked Mitrovica on March 30. Following a decisive resistance of Turkish forces, driven away by artillery fire, the ethnic Albanians abandoned their plan to take the town. The next day a Turkish corporal, an Albanian, shot the Russian consul while the latter was visiting the outskirts of town. The assassin claimed he shot the consul in vengeance, denying affiliation to any movement, while the severely wounded consul succumbed to his wounds ten days hence. The death of the Russian consul demonstrated the extent of Albanian anarchy, whereas the relation of the sultan and of the high ranking officials of the Porte toward their bearers was displayed in the stand to which they adhered. Diplomatic circles in Constantinople expected decisive measures to be undertaken against the ethnic Albanians. Abdulhamid II promised he would send military reinforcements to restore order in Old Serbia and to capture the rebels, but "fearing court revolution from his Albanian guards", he decided against the announced measures.9 Simultaneously, the sultan advised the Albanian leaders, who feared international conflicts for wounding and killing a Russian consul, to calm down. Agents of the Dual Monarchy and Catholic friars encouraged the ethnic Albanians of Mitrovica not to fear Russian retribution and to persevere in their opposition. The death of the Russian consul was a national tragedy to the Serbs, who saw in him a protector and a representative of a power they expected would end this anarchy and violence. The train, bearing the coffin of the deceased consul, was accompanied by several thousand Serbs, while funeral services were held in churches throughout Kosovo and Metohia.10 Anarchy in Old Serbia and disorder in Macedonia, where Bulgaria introduced companies to urge a rise and solve the problem of Macedonia to its benefit, compelled Austria-Hungary and Russia, being the two most interested major parties, to demand the implementation of reforms. They announced their reform project in February 1903, while a detailed plan of the whole operation was designed at a meeting of the two tzars, Nikola II and Franz Joseph I in Murzsteg, at the beginning of October. Expecting war in the Far East, Russia strove to retain for a time, the status quo on the Balkans. Austria-Hungary intended to consolidate its positions with a reform action. Shortly before the meeting in Murzsteg, Count Goluchowski elaborated, to the tzar, the plan to divide Turkish lands in Europe: make Romania as large as possible, a large Bulgaria, a weak Montenegro, a small Serbia and a free Albania. The Dual Monarchy would, as Golochowski believed, sooner engage into war than allow for the creation of a great Serbia or a great Montenegro.11 Succeeding to the throne following the killing of King Aleksandar Obrenovic (1903), was Petar I Karadjordjevic (1903-1921). The personal regimes of the last Obrenovices were replaced by the parliamentary monarchy. The democracy activated a huge political, national and intellectual potential that was unable to take full swing during the previous regimes. The termination of dependence upon Austria-Hungary marked an acute turnover in Serbia's foreign policy, which, relying upon Russia, set off to struggle for national liberation and the unification of the Serbian people. Conflict with Austria-Hungary began immediately with the reform issues in Turkey. The reform action that was to have been implemented in the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire with the supervision of the Great Powers, was considered by the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohia a benefical solution against Albanian terror. Russia intended to secure supervision for itself on the reforms in Kosovo and Metohia, but the plan was soon thwarted. At Austria-Hungary's demand, at the beginning of 1904, the Northwest parts of the Kosovo vilayet, i.e. Kosovo and Metohia, were excluded from the reform action, explained as being one of an admixed population.12 The ethnic Albanians won a great victory with the exclusion of Kosovo and Metohia from the reform action; there was nothing to intercede their supremacy and unhamper their dealings with the Serbs. Left to fate, the Serbs remained the victims of a privileged ethnic populace. The years 1904 and 1905 are remembered by the unheard-of oppression upon the Serbian population. Turkish authorities undertook no measures whatsoever, the Porte would not heed the notes of protest sent by the Serbian government. Occupied with internal unrest and conflicts in the Far East, Russia was unable to support Serbian protests more decisively. Serbia tried in vain to establish contact with the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo. In Belgrade, the paper Albania was inaugurated to propagate Serbian-Albanian amicability, while Nikola Pasic strove to find adversaries of Austro-Hungarian propaganda among notables in Metohia. Finding no way to come to any agreement with tribal and feudal notables, the Serbian government paid some Albanian outlaws to protect Serbian villages in Metohia; since 1903 Montenegro also requited ethnic Albanians to protect the Serbs.13 The consul to Pristina, Miroslav Spalajkovic, reported at the end of June 1905, "there was not a day that one or two murders of Serbs were committed" in Kosovo and Metohia, adding that "nothing was done to stop Albanian banditry". He was particularly worried since "the reform forces pay absolutely no attention to these regions". Russian consul to Mitrovica, A. A. Orlov, assured him he was sending daily reports to the embassy on the situation in Kosovo and Metohia, but it showed no interest. Believing the Albanian misdeeds had gone too far, Spalajkovic proposed to the government to find a way "to interest the public of Russia, England and France in the wretched situation of Serbs in Old Serbia" and proposed to jar, through the press, "the passiveness and gross negligence of the official delegates of Great Powers, whose attention has now been solely diverted to Macedonia".14 Stretching from the Pec nahi to the plains of Kosovo and the gorge of Kacanik, the ethnic Albanians, fearing no sanctions, robbed, blackmailed, routed and killed the Serbian populace mostly in villages and on roads. During 1904, from Kosovo alone 108 persons fled to Serbia.15 The Serbian consulate in Pristina composed a detailed list of crimes committed upon the Serbs in 1906 - with names of the perpetrators, victims and types of oppression. In 1904, of 136 different crimes noted, 46 ended with murder. Many houses, crops and barns were burned, many people beaten and robbed, without sparing the children. A group of ethnic Albanians raped a seven-year-old girl. In 1905, from 281 cases of oppression, 65 Serbs were killed (at a wedding alone, recalcitrant outlaws killed nine of them).16 Reports from Serbian agents and consuls display that Fandas and Catholic ethnic Albanians, standing under the direct control of Austro-Hungarian propaganda, exceeded in the crimes.17 Pec and its neighboring regions suffered the most since there was no Serbian consulate nor foreign power which would, at least just by being there, somewhat lessen the crimes committed in the town and its immediate vicinity. In a complaint lodged to the consul, the Serbs of Pec reported that Albanian chiefs forbade their compatriots to protect the Serbs, "and to place komitadjis of 2-12 men in every village, so whenever they come across a Serb they do away with him".18 Rector of the Seminary in Prizren sent a list to the consulate in Pristina in 1906, containing the victims of violence under the ethnic Albanians of Pec and the vicinity - 38 murdered and five wounded in 1905; within the first three months of 1906, three murdered and one wounded. The perpetrators "of the committed crimes suffered no punishment whatsoever from the Turkish state authorities".19 The Serbs of Mitrovica appealed to King Petar I in 1905, entreating for a Serbian consulate to be opened in the town for their protection, adding that if the present situation were to continue, the Serbs would disappear from these areas. Emphasis was put on the short-lived joy for the expected introduction of reforms, which incurred "intensified Albanian hostility toward the Serbs", and, "there is not a single day when a Serb is not swept from the face of this earth, often many are; we cannot count the number of robberies and ordinary fights, there are too many of them".20 In summer 1905, Spalajkovic decided to visit Pec and its vicinity with two officials from the consulate, to convince himself of the horrid news arriving from there. Turkish authorities attempted to intimidate them with stories of Albanian ambushes on the roads. Milan Rakic penned in a private letter: "! should not forget my entering Pec for quite some time. First the passage through the Turkish quarter and downtown full of somber ethnic Albanians, a shuddering and ominous silence, then through the Serbian quarter, full of people, especially children and women yelling "welcome", throwing flowers at us and crying."21 The Turkish authorities forbade the Serbs and ethnic Albanians to visit the consul and talk to him, thus the Serbian diplomats returned to Pristina without accomplishing their task.22 The external political situation did not allow for Serbia to undertake greater national action in Old Serbia. Demands for the inclusion of Kosovo and Metohia in the reform actions were constantly sent to the Great powers. The aggravated position of the Serbs evinced the necessity to undertake measures for protecting the inhabitants, beside the educational-political action, which had achieved good results with its activities at schools and the restoration of churches. When it had become clear that due to Austro-Hungarian influence, endeavors to inaugurate reforms in the northwestern parts of the regions would not succeed, the alternative was to secretly arm those villages inflicted the most. Under the private initiative of several notable and wealthy citizens of Belgrade who organized the first company, comprised of patriot volunteers and refugees from Old Serbia and Macedonia, to fight Bulgarian komitadjis in Macedonia in 1902, chetnik action came under the wing of the state gained further swing in 1904. Kosovo and Metohia were not encompassed by the chetnik action, although it did instigate organized arms delivery to the most imperilled Serbian villages. When a chetnik detachment was passing through Metohia on its way to Macedonia, in 1905, it was discovered and killed in the village Velika Hoca, the home-town of its leader Lazar Kujundzic. Fear of mass Albanian vengeance encroached upon the Serbs, thus compelling Kujundzic's mother to deny the murder of her son before the authorities. At the demand of Albanian tribes, the houses assisting the komitadjis were burned in retribution; frightened by the emergence of the Serbian company, ethnic Albanians were ready to search Serbian villages, those that resisted would be burnt and their chiefs killed.23 In summer 1907, another Serbian company passed through Kosovo and was received by the locals of the Pasjane village. It was soon discovered, and was destroyed following a pitched battle with the ethnic Albanians and Turks. The discovery of komitadjis vexed the ethnic Albanians who feared the expansion of chetnik action and the inclusion of Kosovo and Metohia in the reform action. Feuding Albanian tribes immediately expressed solidarity. After confirming their besa, together they set off to search Serbian villages; many innocent people died in the pursuit for komitadjis and hidden arms.24 An assembly was held in the large mosque of Prizren; the ethnic Albanians of Ljuma demanded the extermination of Serbs. Milan Rakic discovered the demands of the people in Ljuma: "[...] for the assembly to determine the day when all ethnic Albanians would rise in arms and carry out a general massacre of Serbs. The reason stated by the people of Ljuma for the extermination of Serbs was that peace among the ethnic Albanians was impossible as long as there were Serbs in these regions, since the Serbs were always complaining to foreigners, bringing about bidats - reforms - with their complaints, and recently, they had started to infiltrate companies from Serbia."25 The assembly decided that the Serbs were to be killed secretly, one by one; Albanian companies were to be formed to rout the chetniks from Serbia, and attacks upon Serbian state territory would be repeated in retribution. New persecutions ensued immediately.26 Complaints from Pec, Vucitrn, Gnjilane and other regions in Kosovo showered the Serbian government and its consulates in Pristina and Skoplje. The ecclesiastical-educational community and fraternity of the Pec monastery sent an elaborate petition to the Montenegrin government in 1907, demanding Montenegro and Serbia to open a consulate for the protection of the people: "In the town of Pec there are 500 houses at most and around 4,000 Orthodox souls; the Pec nahi numbers around 1,200 homes plus, amounting to about 16,000 souls of Serbian nationality. Together with Djakovica and its vicinity, the number totals around 20,000 souls plus. It is known - and people still remember, that during the past 25 years the same number of families and souls were moved out, mostly to Serbia, and many died, all due to oppression under the fanatical savage ethnic Albanians - Muslims and the rotten savage Fandas, who are of Catholic faith [...] They are the most dangerous evildoers, haiduks and oppressors, who are systematically eradicating the Serbs from these regions; forcing them to move; killing them like wild animals; burning their houses, barns, villages and mercilessly stealing their food, seizing, plundering, fleecing - blackmails of 2,5,10, 20 and 50 Turkish liras; abducting men, women, children and girls to slavery. Well, those are the means through which they operate. In this manner alone, the Fandas came from that savage Malissia and settled more than 300 houses during the past 20 years, arriving naked and barefoot, while today most of them are wealthy men; on account of settling on the foundations of Serbian houses, occupying Serbian homes, fields and pastures, while still robbing and taking by force. There is also oppression upon the Serbs under Fandas and ethnic Albanians, most of which were Turkized 60,100-200 years ago on account of the oppression, to keep their lands."27 Montenegro failed to open its consulate in Pec. Serbia strove for at least one of the Great Powers (Russia, Great Britain or France), to open a consulate in Pec, but this initiative bore no fruit either.28 The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made several proposals to establish contact with the ethnic Albanians, but none were adopted, since all attempts performed on terrains soon failed. Even the plan of vice-consul Milan Rakic had no visible effect; in 1907, he believed the best solution was to place Albanian guards over Serbian villages.29 Violence ceased intermittently, particularly in 1907 when Austria-Hungary aimed to expand the reform action to the Presevo and Gnjilane districts, ethnic Albanians began to abhor the expansion of Austro-Hungarian influence which seriously threatened to imperil their supremacy in Old Serbia. News of the Austro-Hungarian army arriving in Kosovo brought several thousand ethnic Albanians together in Ferizovic simultaneous to the breaking out of the Young Turk Revolution. Tribal chiefs arrived from all regions of Kosovo and Metohia. The conference lasted two weeks, and due to the agitation of the Young Turks, a telegram was sent from the conference to the sultan, demanding the restoration of the constitution.30 1 P.O. (S. St. Simic), Pitanje o Staroj Srbiji, Beograd 1901. 2 V. Stojancevic, Prilike u zapadnoj polovini kosovskog vilajeta, pp. 314-315. 3 V. Corovic, op. cit., 18-19; Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 323-324. 4 V. Stojancevic, Prilike u zapadnoj polovini kosovskog vilajeta, pp. 31, 317-325. 5 G. Gaulis, La mine d'une Empire, Abdul-Hamid ses amis et ses peuples, Paris 1913, 325-326; details 325-356; V. Berard, La Macedoine, 101-125; ibid., Pro Macedonia, Paris 1904; ibid, La mart du Stamboul, Paris 1913. Cf. D. T. Batakovic, Les Francois et la Vielle Serbie, in: Rapports franco-yougoslave, Zb. radova Istorijskog instituta, vol. 10, Belgrade J1989, pp. 138-150 6 D. T. Batakovic, Pogibija ruskog konzula G. S. Scerbine u Mitrovici 1903. godine, Istorijski casopis, XXXIV (1987), pp. 311-312 (with older bibliography); S. Martinovic, Decembarski i Becki program reformi u Turskoj 1902/1903. godine i stav Rusije prema Albancima, Obelezja, 3 (1985), 63. 7 V. Corovic, Diplomatska prepiska Kraljevine Srbije, I, Beograd 1933, 597-599, cf. British documentation in: Further correspondence Respecting The Affairs Of South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, 3 (1903), London 1903. 8 D. T. Batakovic, Pogibija ruskog konzula G. S. Scerbine, pp. 312-313. 9 Ibid., p. 318-319. 10 Ibid., p. 320-323. 11 V. Corovic, Borba za nezavisnost Balkana, Beograd 1937, pp. 123-125. 12 B. Perunicic, Zulumi ago i begova, pp. 306-312. 13 Conflicts among clans in Metohia did not abate. At one moment Bairam and Murtez Cur sent a message to King Petar I that he and 10,000 fellow tribesmen from the Krasnici clan were enemies of Austria-Hungary. The offer to cooperate was not accepted. See: Dj. Mikic, Albansko pitanje i srpsko-albanske veze u XIX veku (do 1912), pp. 150-151. 14 B. Perunicic, Svedocanstvo o Kosovu 1901-1913, pp. 267-269. 15 Ibid., pp. 227-228. 16 Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 672-690. 17 Ibid., pp. 696-197; B. Perunicic, Zulumi ago. i begova, pp. 350-355. 18 Zaduzbine Kosova, p 672-690. 19 Ibid, p. 697; settlements were one of the reasons for emigration from the Kosovo vilayet to the USA: J. Pejin, Iseljavanje iz kosovskog vilajeta i drugih krajeva pod Turcima u SAD 1906-1907 godine, Istorijski glasnik, 1-2 (1985), pp. 49-54. 20 B. Perunicic, Svedocanstvo o Kosovu 1901-1913, pp. 255. 21 M. Rakic, Konzulska pisma, pp. 55-56, cf. B. Perunicic, Svedocanstvo o Kosovu 1901-1913, 252-253; Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji, pp. 374-375. 22 M. Rakic, op. cit., pp. 57-60, 315-317; Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji, pp. 374-376. 23 M. Rakic, op. cit., pp. 41-46, 304-313, a considerable number of literary works wrote about the killing of the company and the heroic act of Lazar Kujundzic's mother. The most reknown is a drama called Lazarevo vaskrsenje, by Serbian literary Ivo Vojnovic from Dubrovnik. 24 M. Rakic, op. cit., pp. 131-136,138. 25 Ibid., p. 135. 26 Ibid., pp. 135-136. 27 B. Perunicic, Svedocanstvo o Kosovu 1901-1913, p. 289. 28 D. Mikic, Nastojanje Srba na otvaranju ruskog ill engleskog konzulata u Fed 1908. godine, pp. 161-165. 29 M. Rakic, Konzulska pisma, pp. 94-106. 30 Z. Avramovski, Izvestaji austrougarskih konzula u Kosovskoj Mitrovici, Prizrenu i Skoplju o odrzanoj skupstini u Ferizovicu, Godisnjak Arhiva Kosova, II-III (1970), pp. 310-330; B. Hrabak, Kosovo prema mladoturskoj revoluciji 1908, Obelezja, 5 (1974), pp. 108-126. The Young Turk Revolution in 1908, the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the proclamation of Bulgaria's independence, essentially altered the balance of forces in the Balkans. The reform action of the Great Powers had ceased. The Young Turks restored the Constitution of 1876, proclaimed equality of all subjects of the empire, regardless of religion and nationality, and announced radical political and social reforms. The promises of the Young Turks were greeted by the Serbs as an opportunity for national affirmation and free political organization. In Skoplje, seat of the Kosovo vilayet, the Serbian Democratic League was formed on August 10, with a temporary central committee presided over by Bogdan Radenkovic. The formation of district committees ensued immediately at meetings in Pristina, Vucitrn, Mitrovica, Gnjilane and Urosevac, of which the most distinguished national representatives, teachers, priests, craftsmen and merchants were a part. The paper Vardar was founded in Skoplje to propagate the principles of the League, writing on the position of Serbs. Vardar devoted special attention to oppression, because after the expiration of the besa confirmed in Ferizovic, the ethnic Albanians again began to assail the Serbs. The League and the paper pledged for the decrees of the constitution to be applied upon ethnic Albanians as well, who recognized the new regime but displayed no readiness to support the law.1 Having reached an agreement with the Young Turks, the Serbs stated their candidates in several districts to the election campaign for the Turkish Parliament. In Kosovo and Metohia they aimed to become candidates for envoys in the Pec, Prizren and Pristina sanjaks, but the mandate was received only in Pristina where Sava Stojanovic was elected. At the assembly in Constantinople (272 seats), two more Serbian envoys entered, from Skoplje (Aleksandar Parlic) and Bitolj (Dr. Janicije Dimitrijevic), while Temko Popovic of Ohrid was elected senator.2 A large assembly of Ottoman Serbs was held in Skoplje on the Visitation of the Virgin in 1909, with 78 delegates present, 44 from Old Serbia and 34 from Macedonia; the Organization of the Serbian People in the Ottoman Empire was established, which was to grow into a representative body of all the Serbs in the Ottoman Empire.3 The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, by which the decrees of the Berlin Congress were partially violated, and the project to build a railway through the Novi Pazar sanjak, announced the unconcealed purpose of Austria-Hungary to rule the Balkan Peninsula. The meetings held against the annexation were attended also by ethnic Albanians. Frightened by Austro-Hungarian aspirations, many Albanian notables made attempts to approach the Serbs.4 Bairam Cur of Djakovica proposed to Bogdan Radenkovic a joint confrontation to the annexation, while the Mahmudbegovices of Pec negotiated with Serbian diplomats. Simultaneously though, Austro-Hungarian followers among the ethnic Albanians severely opposed this approach toward the Serbs. While comparative peace reigned in Gnjilane and Pristina, oppression upon the Serbs in the Pec nahi continued. The ethnic Albanians spoke in a threatening voice that the proclamation of the constitution was only temporary and that they would never allow the infidels (djaurs) to enjoy the same rights as the Muslims.5 Notwithstanding individual crimes, the situation in Kosovo and Metohia was tolerable until the unsuccessful coup d'etat in Constantinople, in April 1909. Abdulhamid II attempted to depose the Young Turks, and, having been defeated, was compelled to renounce the throne. His brother Mahmud V Reshad was proclaimed sultan. Within the Young Turk leadership, a pan-Ottoman inclination prevailed, which considered all subjects of the empire an inseparable Ottoman whole. The Serbian organization was renamed the Educational-Charitable Organization of Ottoman Serbs, but its operation was soon limited. Under various decrees and laws, the activities of many Serbian societies were forbidden, lands were confiscated from churches and monasteries, the work of schools and religious committees was hindered. The law on the exchange of deeds and the inheritance of estates greatly upset the Serbs, since many of the real owners fled to Serbia in the preceding period. Many of the estates were divided among the muhadjirs (Muslims who settled in Kosovo after the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina). The new laws also upset chiflik farmers, whom the agas could drive off the land and settle Muslims instead, or exact double taxes.6 At the beginning of the Young Turk reign, ethnic Albanians, like other peoples in Turkey, founded national clubs and educational societies that became seats of national congregation and political agitation. Autonomist inclinations revived. The pan-Ottoman ideology of the Young Turk leadership, centralization of administration, introduction of regular military service and a new tax policy ruffled the ethnic Albanians. Instead of protection from Abdulhamid II who tolerated anarchy, they were confronted with the resolute Young Turks who had no understanding for their special rights. The first conflicts in Kosovo and Metohia arose in 1909 when the Turkish authorities attempted to execute a list of the population for conscription and the collection of taxes. At the anniversary of the Revolution in 1909, the ethnic Albanians held a congress in Debar, where the demand for introducing military obligation was rejected, the issue of creating a separate autonomous region encircling all territories on which ethnic Albanians lived was brought up, and intolerance toward the neighboring Serbian countries was expressed with acute emphasis.7 Despite gulfs in religious differences, political disagreements, unequal economic interests, owing to the centralist measures of the Young Turks, a high degree of national solidarity was soon attained within the leadership of the Albanian movement. Persistent strivings of the Young Turks to introduce military service and new taxes exacerbated ethnic Albanians of all confessions, having been exempt of them during the reign of Abdul-hamid II. Skirmishes between regular armies and the rebellious ethnic Albanians soon proved the power of invincible clans, and the Young Turks were soon compelled to concessions. The punitive expedition of Djavid Pasha in fall 1909, and the too rigorous measures in north Albania did not bring the desired results.8 Another Albanian insurrection broke out in spring 1910, after the repeated attempt of the authorities to collect taxes. Opposition in Kosovo and Metohia was particularly strong in the Djakovica and Lab region. Turkish troops, commanded by Torgut Shefket Pasha, mercilessly crushed the insurrection and undertook to seize arms, but pacification was only a temporary solution. Albanian committees increased agitation to create an autonomous Albania and fomented discontent among ethnic Albanians in all regions of the empire. Insurrections in Yemen and Lebanon, disorder in Crete and the Italian incursion on Tripoli put the Young Turks in a difficult position. The Malissors used the new clashes to rise in north Albania. Montenegrin King Nikola I, in line with the Malissors, supplied the rebels with arms and provided shelter for refugees, expecting the Albanian insurrections to weaken Turkey. Among the 3,000 ethnic Albanians hiding in Montenegro were leaders form Old Serbia, Isa Boljetinac and Suleyman Batusa. A memorandum (Red Book) was sent from Cetinje to the Great Powers and the Young Turks demanding recognition of the Albanian nation and autonomous Albania.9 In fall 1911, Boljetinac requested arms from Serbia, and the Montenegrin government proposed to Belgrade to aid the insurrection before another power benefited from it. Serbian Premier Milovan Milovanovic regarded the Albanian insurrection and its ties with Montenegro suspiciously. Fearing that Austria-Hungary would introduce the army to restore order in the Kosovo vilayet, Milovanovic believed that flaring the insurrection was not in the interest to Serbs.10 The Serbs soon found themselves cleaved between the Young Turks and ethnic Albanians. The Young Turk authorities oppressed the Serbs more severely than the preceding ones. After the proclamation of extraordinary conditions and drumhead court-martial (urfia) in May 1910, an action to seize arms was executed, with many people beaten, while several Serbs died as a result of the hits inflicted. Local tyrants made avail of the disorders and uprisings to sack Serbian homes.11 When Sultan Mahmud V Reshad arrived in Kosovo in summer 1911 to offer amnesty, another wave of violence was tossed upon the Serbs. The settling of accounts was accompanied by murders, abduction, robberies, arson and oppression. Since July to November 1911,128 robberies, 35 arsons, 41 banditries, 53 abductions, 30 blackmails, 19 examples of frightening, 35 murders, 37 attempts to murder, 58 armed assails upon property, 27 examples of fights and abuse, 13 attempts to Turkize and 18 examples of serious injuries inflicted were recorded in Old Serbia.12 The disastrous extent of violence urged Serbian consuls to make energetic demands from the government to arm the Serbs in Kosovo again. Yet, events rapidly followed one another. The Young Turk regime was in a state of crisis, new elections were announced. Belgrade expected the Young Turks would win the elections, so instructions were sent to Kosovo upon that line. After a large conference of Serbs in Skoplje, in March 1912, a new electoral agreement was concluded with the Young Turks. The ethnic Albanians, exacerbated opposers of the Young Turk regime, began anew their attacks upon the Serbs. Their chiefs urged the masses on; the frightening of Serbs, blackmail and murders were resumed.13 The general Albanian insurrection had begun preparations in January 1912. Hasan Pristina and Ismail Kemal of south Albania supervised the preparations. Pristina's task was to gather the people and collect the arms, while Kemal was to contact Albanian committees and propagate Albanian interests in European centers. It was settled that the insurrection in the Kosovo vilayet was to begin in spring, and then it was to spread to other regions inhabited by ethnic Albanians. In July 1912, the insurrection spread over all of Kosovo; refusing to shoot Muslims, the rebels were joined by officers, soldiers and gendarmes. The vali of Kosovo personally returned to the ethnic Albanians arms seized two years before. War with Italy, uprisings and unrest all over the empire and danger of international involvement compelled the sultan to replace the Young Turks, dissolve the Parliament and yield to the demands of the ethnic Albanians. Yet, they would not surrender. Around 15,000 rebels, dissatisfied with the pacifying promises of the sultan, moved south and took Skoplje. The committee sent from Constantinople to enter into negotiations, was given requests by Hasan Pristina, in the name of the insurrection, comprising 14 articles: special laws for Albania based on the common law; the right to carry arms, amnesty for all rebels; assignment of officials who speak the Albanian language and are familiar with their customs in four vilayets (Kosovo, Scutari, Bitolj and Janjevo); recognition of the Albanian language as official; curriculum and religious schools in the native tongue; ethnic Albanians to serve in the army only on this territory; building of roads and railtracks, additional administrative divisions; trial for the Young Turk government. After a week of negotiating with the authorities, which accepted most of the conditions, the rebels dispersed.14 The leadership of the insurrection was comprised of people of different political affiliation and social status. On the one hand there were the military commanders of the insurrection, prominent tribal chiefs and former outlaws (Bairam Cur, Isa Boljetinac, Idriz Sefer, Riza Bey Krieziu), among whom there were followers of the old system and Austrophils. On the other hand, there were former diplomats and unhappy politicians (Hasan Pristina, Jahia Aga, Hadji Rifat Aga and Nexhib Draga), who held differed views on the future of ethnic Albanians both as compared to the first group and among themselves. Their official petitions did not contain demands for the territorial autonomy of ethnic Albanians, nor was the Porte ready to comply to such a demand. Abhorring intervention of the Balkan states, Hasan Pristina and Nexhib Draga, the major negotiators, were satisfied with the resolution of the Albanian issue within the framework of Ottoman legitimitism.15 The attitude of the rebels toward the political status of the Serbs in Old Serbia was, despite individual cooperation, basically one of intolerance. The Skoplje paper Vardar warned that the Serbs in Old Serbia did not mind that Turkey had met with the national demands of the ethnic Albanians: "We only think it unfair that we Serbs are excluded, whose desires and interests, like in this case, as always, remain heedless".16 The Serbian government strove to use the Albanian insurrection to further weaken the Turkish system and its leadership and to drive out Austro-Hungarian influence in its leadership. The consul of Pristina negotiated with influential leaders - Bairam Cur, Isa Boljetinac and Riza Bey, while sons of Boljetinac were guests of the Belgrade government. Many leaders were paid large sums out of funds of the Serbian government or they were given arms. Owing to this, in a draft of demands, an article was inserted which anticipated the recognition of rights demanded by the ethnic Albanians to apply to Serbs as well. Due to the insistence of several of the leaders, particularly of the pro-Austrian affiliated Hasan Pristina, this article did not enter the official Albanian requests. The Albanian national movement felt, despite periodical aid from Montenegro and Serbia and constant negotiations and political reliance upon them, in the bases of its seemingly contradictory aspirations, profound intolerance for Serbs in the Kosovo vilayet, as the most permanent component. The fact that no one even thought of recognizing the right of the Serbs to national institutions and independent political activity, was displayed by the escalation of Albanian violence in 1912. Periodical attempts of individual tribal chiefs to approach distinguished Serbian representatives in Turkey were merely tactical acts of conformation without permanent political importance. Intolerance toward the people which, though thinned out, were still the majority, was exhibit in all plans and programs of Albanian leaders. Ever since the reign of the Albanian League, until the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century, the Serbs in Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring regions, were deprived of the most fundamental rights to human freedom and even minimal civil rights. Albanian and Young Turk confrontation, fear of the involvement of the Balkan states and Austria-Hungary only temporarily suppressed their voluminous intentions with the Serbs. 1 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 330-333. 2 Elaboration: D. Mikic, Mladoturski parlamentarni izbori 1908. i Srbi u Turskoj, Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta u Pristini, XII (1975), pp. 154-209. 3 Rod narodne skupstine otomanskih Srba, Skoplje 1910; Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 335-338. 4 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, pp. 335-336. 5 Zaduzbine Kosova, p. 704. 6 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1, 340-342; see elaborate documentation: B. Perunicic, Zulumi aga i begova, pp. 460-529. 7 I. G. Senkevic, Osvoboditelnoe dvizenie albanskogo naroda v 1905-1912 gg, Moskva 1959, pp.. 140-145; S. Skendi, op. cit., pp. 391-394. 8 Ibid. 9 D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, pp. 159-160. 10 V. Corovic, Odnosi izmedju Srbije i Austro-Ugarske u XX veku, pp. 350-351; more elaborate: B. Hrabak, Arbanaski prvak Isa Boljetinac i Crna Gora 1910-1912, Istorijski zapisi, XXXIX (1977). 11 M. Rakic, Konzulska pisma, 201-214; Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 707-708. 12 Zaduzbine Kosova, 716; additional documentation, pp. 717-728. 13 Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/1,345-347, cf. Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, V/2, Beograd 1985. 14 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski ustanci 1912, Vranjski glasnik, XI (1975), pp. 339 passim. 15 Ibid., pp. 323-324. 16 Ibid., p. 325, Serbian agent in Kosovo, renowned writer Grigorije Bozovic, observing the Albanian movement in summer 1912, noted the following: "The negative aspect of this movement as far as the Serbs are concerned, is that the Arnauts are on the verge of becoming a nation, and they wish to settle their issue in Kosovo, and that they are neither the conquerors nor the conquered. We fall between them and the Young Turks, and both will throw their rage at us. A positive move is that the Albanians are beginning to unfetter themselves from Turkish fanaticism; Muslim solidarity and hypnosis are slackening; they are very aware that they are at enmity with the Turks and, most important, they speak of Serbia with sympathy and regard it an amicable country." (Ibid, pp. 320.) The development of events in Turkey, particularly war with Italy and disorder in Old Serbia and Macedonia, had created a peculiar disposition in the Balkan states. Albanian insurrections accelerated the conclusion of the Balkan alliance. Since February until August, the alliance between Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece was definitely confirmed. Realizing the impossibility of a peaceful solution to the Christian issue in Turkey, the allies decided to war. Owing to Russia's diplomatic moves, Central Powers consented to the Balkan states handling the destiny of the Balkan Peninsula. Estimating a certain victory for the Turkish army, Austria-Hungary calmly awaited war. The road leading to the realization of a historical mission - the liberation of compatriots under Turkish rule, opened in autumn, 1912. Beginning with October, the allies declared war to Turkey, the official reason being Turkey's denial to pronounce new reforms (with concessions equal to those given to the ethnic Albanians), the supervision of which would have been entrusted to the Balkan states.1 Shortly before the war, Serbia endeavored to win over the ethnic Albanians and isolate them from military operations. In a secret mission in Kosovo, two most distinguished intelligence officers Dragutin Dimitrijevic Apis and Bozin Simic aimed to come to an agreement with Isa Boljetinac and Idriz Sefer for ethnic Albanians not to take part in the upcoming war.2 Serbian Premier Nikola Pasic offered the Albanian leaders a "contract on the association of Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo vilayet", whereby within the framework of the Serbian state organization, they were warranted freedom of religion, Albanian language in schools and society, administration of Albanian communities and administrative districts, preservation of the common law and finally, a special Albanian assembly to enact laws on religious, judicial and educational matters. At an assembly held in Skoplje on October 10, (and subsequently in Pristina and Debar), the ethnic Albanians decided to defend their Ottoman fatherland in arms and use weapons obtained from Serbia against its army.3 Commanding the third Serbian army for action in Kosovo was General Bozidar Jankovic, who had previous contact with the ethnic Albanians, which might have influenced their decision. A military announcement mentioned amiable disposition toward the ethnic Albanians providing they deserved it through proper conduct. Yet Austro-Hungarian agitators encouraged both Muslim and Catholic ethnic Albanians to move against the Serbian army, promising that troops of the Dual Monarchy are on their way from Bosnia to assist them.4 Isa Boljetinac received 63,000 guns from the Turkish authorities to organize resistance toward the Serbian army. Despite Boljetinac's strong agitation that "Islamism is in jeopardy", and the need to defend "Turkish soil", only 16,000 ethnic Albanians appeared at the frontier. They were committed with the defense of Kosovo together with a Turkish corps. Well armed and equipped, the Serbian army advanced toward Kosovo in exaltation. The feeling that the "Serbian covenant thought" was coming to life with the liberation of Kosovo, bleeding five centuries under Turkish reign, had created a remarkably high morale for combat. Identical feelings were born by Montenegrin units advancing towards Pec and Djakovica.5 Combats with the ethnic Albanians were severe only in the first skirmishes. The Serbian artillery easily scattered Albanian bashibazouk companies without encountering serious resistance. Following their defeat, Bairam Cur, Riza Bey and Isa Boljetinac fled to Albanian Malissia. After the liberation of Pristina (October 22), and victory in Kumanovo (October 23-24), war was resolved for Old Serbia and Macedonia. In Kosovo and Metohia, Serbs greeted the Serbian and Montenegrin armies with exhilaration. The entire third army attended a formal liturgy at Gracanica to mark the liberation of Kosovo. Military authorities issued proclamations in Pristina and other towns for ethnic Albanians to quiet down and surrender arms; however, anti-Serbian agitation from tribal leaders drove many to flee and shelter in the mountains. Realizing they would not be persecuted after surrendering their arms, ethnic Albanians in Drenica and the Pec region finally laid down their guns. Serbian officers kept repeating that the Serbs were warring Turkey and not the ethnic Albanians. In the newly liberated areas Serbia established civil rule and administration. Kosovo and Metohia became part of the Lab, Pristina and Prizren district. Montenegro divided liberated Metohia into the Pec and Djakovica district.6 The liberation of Old Serbia was not, however, the final goal of the Serbian armies. The political and economical hoop encircled around Serbia, held tight by Austria-Hungary since the .Kg War (1906-1911), and the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina induced Serbian diplomacy to resolve the issue of its political and economic independence by gaining free exit to the Adriatic Sea, a plan similar to one made by Ilija Garasanin. The determination of the Serbian government to advance toward the Adriatic coast, to an ethnically Albanian area, was based on the evaluation that ethnic Albanians were "not a people, but tribes split up and mutually estranged, without a common language, alphabet and religion". The government was supported by the court, by civil parties, the army and the widest public.7 While Montenegrin troops besieged Scutari, Serbian regiments from Old Serbia entered Albania and occupied its northern ports. In the land of the Mirdits, Serbian troops were greeted cordially, whereas they were forced to penetrate Dukadjin toward the Adriatic Sea with arms.8 Reports of Serbia's glorious victories were received with anxiety in Vienna. Austro-Hungarian diplomacy warned Serbia not to advance its army further from Prizren. To prevent Serbia's exit to the sea, the Viennese government sent special emissaries to Albania to spread the idea of autonomy, and even called one of the most important Albanian leaders from Constantinople, Ismail Kemal. Through the Viennese press, he demanded an independent "Great Albania", encompassing the towns Bitolj, Janina, Skoplje, Pristina and Prizren. Embarking an Austrian ship, Kemal set off to Valona to proclaim independence of Albania. Gathering feudal and tribal leaders from the southern regions to his side, on November 28, 1912, Kemal proclaimed the formation of an independent Albanian state. The provisional government in Valona was a toy in Vienna's hands devoid of any influence with the people. All documents, including the proclamation of independence, were written in the Turkish language; not one member of his cabinet knew how to write in the Albanian tongue. Ismail Kemal consigned the military formation to refugee leaders from Old Serbia, Riza Bey Krieziu and Isa Boljetinac.9 Kemal's government sent messages to Serbian troops to withdraw from the territory of the new state. The Serbian army established civil rule north of the Durazzo-Elbasan-Struga line. The situation in Albania was on the verge of anarchy. The temporary government proclaimed an energetic severing of all ties with Turkey. Subsequent to the Young Turk coup d'etat, the mid-Albanian Muslim populace was disposed to Albania remaining within the framework of the Ottoman Empire. Rumors spread among the people that the Young Turks were advancing with large armies to reoccupy Albania. To the north, the Catholic Mirdits negotiated with Montenegro and Serbia on the creation of an autonomous state. The Mirdit mbret Bib Doda requested permission from the Serbian army for his fellow tribesmen to loot the Muslims. Within the Mata region, malcontents took down the Albanian flag and threatened to call the Serbian army; in some places there was agitation to resist the Serbs. Ismail Kemal's government soon disintegrated. Disorder and mutual conflicts began within the first months following the proclamation of the independent Albanian state.10 Austria-Hungary considered the emergence of the Serbian army on the Adriatic Sea a serious injury to its interests. Belligerent military circles in Vienna proposed to attack Serbia whose northern borders remained unguarded. During December all tokens pointed to an upcoming Austro-Hungarian - Serbian war. After conferring with the Russian and Italian diplomacy, the Serbian government pronounced the following statement: "We do not desire to raise the issue of our emergence at sea ourselves, but rather to let the matter remain within the hands of the Great Powers when war ends and peace is concluded. We should not disapprove of the creation of autonomous Albania if Europe should agree to it. We only believe that Albania will not abide by peace necessary to both the Balkan allies and the whole of Europe. Our desire is to have a port on our territory - yet we leave this issue for the Great Powers to resolve, when they solve other matters that will unfold from peace."11 The Austro-Hungarian incursion on Serbia was prevented by a conference of ambassadors of the Great Powers convoked in London toward the close of 1912, at the initiative of the French and British diplomacy. Representatives of the Balkan states began peace negotiations with the Ottoman Empire. The conference of ambassadors argued the issue of Serbia's emergence at sea and the status of Albania, which would then enter into regulations of peace with Turkey. While Russia supported Serbian demands for Adriatic ports, Austria-Hungary's intention at the conference was to struggle for a larger Albania. France and Great Britain accepted the formation of Albania but feared Austro-Hungarian and Italian superiority in it. Thus the very first day the conference opened, the ambassadors reached the following agreement: "Autonomous Albania guaranteed and controlled exclusively by six powers under the sovereignty or suzerainty of the sultan. The exclusion of every Turkish element from the administration is understood." Ensuring the frontiers of Albania and Montenegro were "neighbored all the way", Serbia was denied emergence to the Adriatic Sea. As compensation, it was given a free and neutral trade port on the Albanian coast, to which Serbian goods would arrive by railway secured by international gendarmes under European control. Peace in Europe was saved, but, as Poincares pointed out: "Serbia paid the highest bill".12 The border issue presented a more serious problem. Since December 1912. several plans were in diplomatic emulation. Serbia demanded the borders to be drawn west of the Ohrid Lake and the Crni Drim river, so that Decani, Djakovica, Prizren, Debar and Ohrid would remain in its composition. Montenegro demanded north Albania until the Maca river, with Scutari, Medua and Alessio. Greece demanded north Epirus where the Albanian populace lived admixed with the Greek one. Autonomous Albania was to have been constituted from the remaining areas. The Austro-Hungarian proposition, contrary to the Serbian one, suggested the creation of Great Albania. The Monarchy demanded that Djakovica, Debar, Korcca, Janina and Struga belong to Albania, and "in the first round" both Pec and Prizren, as "compensational objects". It left Struga, Ohrid and Debar to Bulgaria if it were to make any claims. Italy supported Montenegrin claims but acutely opposed Greek ones. Russia and France maintained a medial solution by which Albania's frontier toward Serbia should stretch along the watershed of the Beli and the Crni Drim rivers to Ohrid. The Albanian delegation demanded the formation of "ethnical" Albania, inclusive of the towns Pec, Mitrovica, Pristina, Skoplje and Bitolj.13 The standpoint of the Serbian delegation was most wholly revealed by the aide-memoir submitted to the ambassador conference on January 8, 1913. It explicitly stated that Serbia was not opposed to the formation of autonomous Albania, but that its whole centuries-long struggle for national survival under Turkish rule, and subsequently for state independence from 1804 until 1912, would prove to have been senseless if those regions with admixed Serbian-Albanian populaces, where forceful Islamization, Albanization and the routing of Serbian inhabitants had been urged on for centuries, were to belong to Albania. Supporting its attitudes with historical, ethnographic, cultural and ethical rights, the Serbian delegation underscored that Kosovo and Metohia, where the towns Pec, Decani and Djakovica lay, were since time immemorial the sacred land of the Serbs, and that under no condition would any Montenegrin nor Serbian government consent to their belonging to someone else.14 The Serbian government was adamant in its defense of Kosovo, Metohia and west Macedonia. The entrance of either of these regions into autonomous Albania would create a new seedbed of conflicts through which Austria-Hungary would exert pressure upon Serbia. Stojan Novakovic, the first delegate at the conference of ambassadors, believed that by "demanding Prizren, Djakovica, Pec for Albania, Austria-Hungary desired to renew the barrier between Serbia and Montenegro, between Serbia and the sea".15 Pasic kept underscoring that he would never abandon Debar and Djakovica whatever the decision of the Great Powers, and that "only a stronger military force could rout the Serbian army from these regions". In a subsequent letter addressed to the Great Powers/Pasic underlined bitterly: "The lands and sanctity of Old Serbia are being taken away and given to one who has been devastating them until today."16 Serbia was forced to withdraw its troops from the Adriatic coast. Austria-Hungary gave in to Russia's demands, so Debar and Djakovica remained part of Serbia, while its demand to include Scutari in the new Albanian state was accepted, though the town was still besieged by Montenegrin and Serbian troops. The final agreement was reached on April 10, 1913, while the structure of Albania continued to be discussed in the months to follow. At the end of July, the Austro-Hungarian - Italian proposition was accepted by which Albania was to become a sovereign state with a hereditary prince. An International Control Committee was formed whose duty was to organize life in the country with the aid of Dutch officers. As the hereditary Albanian prince, among numerous candidates, an Austro-Hungarian was chosen, German Prince Wilhelm von Wied, cousin of the Romanian queen, interpreted in Belgrade as another attempt of Austria-Hungary to close the hoop around Serbia by way of Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.17 1 Prvi balkanski rat, Beograd 1959,147-176; cf. D. Bogdanovic, Knjiga o Kosovu, Ep. 165-176. 2 C. Popovic, Rod organizacije "Ujedinjenje ili smrt" - Pripreme za Balkanski rat, Nova Evropa, 1 (1927), pp. 313-315; M. Z. Jovanovic, Pukovnik Apis, Beograd 1957, pp. 649-651; Savremenici o Kosovu i Metohiji 1852-1912, pp. 351-353, 381-383. 3 Dj. Mikic, Albanci i Srbija u balkanskim ratovima 1912-1913, Istorijski glasnik, 1-2 (1986), p. 60; more elaborate in: D. D. Stankovic, Nikola Pasic i stvaranje balkanske drzave, M. misao, 3 (1985), pp. 157-169. 4 D. Mikic, Albanci i Srbija u balkanskim ratovima, p. 61. 5 J. Tomic, Rat no. Kosovu i Staroj Srbiji 1912. godine, Novi Sad 1913. 6 Prvi balkanski rat, pp. 46-417, 464-469-496; D. Mikic, Albanci i Srbija u balkanskim ratovima, p. 63. 7 The only opposition came from the leadership of the Socialdemocratic party headed by Dimitrije Tucovic. Concerned only for their narrow party and political interests, they used the entrance of the Serbian army into Albania to settle their accounts with the government policy and civil parties (cf. D. Tucovic, Srbija i Albanija, Beograd 1914). 8 I. Balugdzic, Kad se stvarala Albanija, Srpski knjizevni glasnik, 52 (1937), pp. 518-523; D. Djordjevic, Izlazak Srbije na Jadransko more i Konferencija ambasadora u Londonu 1912, Beograd 1956, pp. 11-12, 83-85. 9 V. Corovic, Odnosi izmedju Srbije i Austro-Ugarske u XX veku, pp. 396-401; D. Djordjevic, op. cit., p. 86. 10 Dj. Mikic, Albanci i Srbija u balkanskim ratovima, pp. 68-70. 11 V. Corovic, Odnosi izmedju Srbije i Austro-Ugarske u XX veku, pp. 410. 12 D. Djordjevic, op. cit., pp. 133-134. 13 Ibid., see M. Vojvodic, Skadarska kriza 1913, Beograd 1970. 14 Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VT/1, 136-142; D. Bogdanovic, op. cit., pp. 172-173. 15 Ibid., V/3, doc. 500. 16 Ibid., VI/1, 260, 379, 380; D. Bogdanovic, op. cit., p. 173. 17 D. Djordjevic, op. cit., pp. 141-143. The situation in Albania and the border area toward Serbia was marked by anarchy, disorders and conflicts during 1913 and the first half of 1914. The commander of Scutari, Essad Pasha Toptani, surrendered the town to the Montenegrins on April 23,1913; in return, he was enabled to advance south with his army and military equipment and take part in the struggle for power. Already three mutually conflicting governments existed in Albania. As one of the most powerful landholders, Essad Pasha relied on the Muslim heads of mid-Albania. By wielding his influence between Durazzo and Tirana, he saw an opportunity to candidate himself for the still vacant Albanian throne, taking into consideration requests of the Albanian majority that did not want a Christian ruler. Already on May 5, 1913, he informed the Montenegrin prince of his intention to pronounce himself prince of Albania, expressing his wish to cooperate with the Balkan allies. He told the Serbian diplomat in Durazzo, Zivojin Balugdzic, that he wanted an agreement with Serbia. Hesitant at first, the Serbian government consented to cooperate with Essad Pasha, evaluating that "his overall behavior displayed an earnest wish for an agreement with Serbia, which he regarded as the focus for mustering Balkan forces".1 The second Balkan war was triggered off by Bulgaria in July, 1913. Dissatisfied with its territorial gains, it prepared to war its former allies. It sought support with Albania: ethnic Albanians gathered around Ismail Kemal were promised considerable territorial expansion if they advanced onto Serbia. Thus Sofia counted on the Albanian insurrection leading to the proclamation of autonomous Macedonia and its annexation to Bulgaria. Thus, somewhere in Macedonia, an Albanian-Bulgarian border would have been established. Conditions for armed incursions were favorable: around 20,000 ethnic Albanians who fled Old Serbia and Macedonia found themselves on Albanian soil, while their leaders Hasan Pristina and Isa Boljetinac sat in the government at Valona. Austro-Hungarian and Italian emissaries and agents, mostly the clergy and teachers, suppressed Essad Pasha's influence and appealed to the ethnic Albanians to rise against the Serbs.2 Individual surprise attacks on the most forward Serbian units and border stations began already during the second Balkan war. In the meantime, detailed preparations for a large incursion into Serbia were underway. Shipments of arms sent by the Viennese government kept arriving to Albania. Bulgarian komitadjis trained ethnic Albanians for guerrilla warfare. Small renegade groups were infiltrated into Serbian territory during May and June 1913 to check their guerrilla skills. Informed of the preparations for attack, the Serbian government sent Bogdan Radenkovic to try to influence his former friends among the Albanian leadership, but he returned without accomplishing his task.3 When the Serbian army was forced to withdraw to the restriction line behind the Crni Drim, a signal was given for a full force attack. At the end of September 1913, around 10,000 ethnic Albanians invaded Serbian territory from two directions - west Macedonia and toward Djakovica and Prizren. The initiator of the attack was Austria-Hungary. Ismail Kemal ordered the refugee Albanian leaders, Bairam Cur, Isa Boljetinac, Riza Bey and Elez Jusuf to attack Serbia with their parties, promising that with the aid of the Dual Monarchy and Italy, all conquered territories would belong to Albania. Essad Pasha refused to join them and warned Serbia not to approve of their action.4 The infiltrated companies were headed by Albanian leaders and Bulgarian officers in coaction with the Bulgarian komitadjis. Weak Serbian border troops and several gendarmes units were unable to withstand the attack. On the southern stretch, commanded by Bulgarian komitadjis, the companies managed to take Debar, Ohrid and Struga and advance toward Gostivar. To the north, Isa Boljetinac, Bairam Cur and Kiasim Lika took Ljuma, besieged Prizren and shortly occupied Djakovica. At the beginning of October, two divisions, the Troops of new regions, advanced from Skoplje and, having routed the ethnic Albanians from Serbian territory, crossed to Albania to continue their pursuit.5 The Vienna press published elaborate articles on great victories gained by the ethnic Albanians and demanded a revision of the borders. Ismail Kemal demanded an exclusion of those regions encircled by the insurrection from the Serbian state and proposed a plebiscite that would be implemented by the infiltrated companies. When the incursion was checked, the Vienna press spread rumors of alleged reprisals committed by Serbian troops upon the innocent Albanian people. Austro-Hungarian diplomacy endeavored to prove that an insurrection had broken out within Serbian territory, subsequently joined by ethnic Albanians from the other side of the frontier.6 To emphasize his pro-Serbian orientation, Essad Pasha took advantage of the commotion resulting from the incursion, and in Durazzo, on September 23, proclaimed himself Governor of Albania. Before the European public, which blamed the external activities of the Serbian army for the incursion, Serbia intended to compromise the government in Valona by proving that two of its ministers, Isa Boljetinac and Hasan Pristina, were the organizers and leaders of the incursion. Again the issue was brought up that the borders determined by the London conference of ambassadors were unfavorable for Serbia, since the outlaw seedbeds around Debar and Ljuma demanded by the Serbian delegation were seriously imperiling Serbian territory.7 Wilhelm von Wied arrived in Albania in March 1914. Pressured by the International Control Committee, Essad Pasha was compelled to enter a united government, but did receive two of its most important spheres of activity, the Ministry of War and Internal Affairs. Discontent of the Muslim Albanian populace with the government of the infidel prince culminated in a pro-Turkish uprising lead by Hadji-Qamil Feiza, a Young Turk officer originally from Elbasan. Incited by Muslim fanaticism and the unsettled agrarian issue, the uprising caused general anarchy. Austro-Hungarian and Young Turk agents inflamed discontent among the Muslim masses. Essad Pasha first supported the uprising, but was forced to emigrate to Italy in May, 1914, having been checked by the prince's followers.8 Simultaneously, with the aid of Austro-Hungarian secret services, Albanian leaders Bairam Cur and Isa Boljetinac were preparing for another incursion into Serbia. At the end of March, 1914, several hundred ethnic Albanians crossed the border, having received news that an uprising against the Serbs broke out in some villages near Orahovac. The uprising spread to four villages. Cur and Boljetinac planned to bring members of the International Control Committee to the rebelling areas, where the local ethnic Albanians would express their wish for Djakovica, Pec, Prizren and regions until the railway Urosevac (Ferizovic) - Mitrovica, to be annexed to Albania, as promised by Austria-Hungary. Tension at the borderline did not cease.9 1 I. Balugdzic, op. cit., 521-522; D. Mikic, Albanci i Srbija u balkanskim ratovima, pp. 75; more elaborate documentation: Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VI/2, Doc. No 75, 77, 80, 86, 93, 100, 105, 124, 130, 135. 2 Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VI/3, Doc. No 194, 239, 253, 3 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji od kraja 1912. do kraja 1915. godine (Nacionalno nerazvijeni i nejedinstveni Arbanasi kao orudje u rukama zainteresovanih sila), Vranje 1988, pp. 33-38. 4 Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VT/3, Doc. No 406, cf. Doc. No 347, 351, 359, 378, 379, 418. 5 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji, pp. 52-64. 6 Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VI/3, Doc. No 407, 408, 409. 7 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji, pp. 57. 60-61. 8 B. Hrabak, Muslimani severne Albanije uoci izbijanja rata 1914, Zbornik za istoriju Matice srpske, 22 (1980), pp. 52-53. 9 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji, p. 93. The direct cause leading to World War One was the assassination of Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, by Serbian students (on St. Vitus' Day, June 28th, 1914), thus symbolically marking the commencement in the outcome of Austro-Hungarian and Serbian confrontation. Serbia's victories in the Balkan wars proved its military, political and economical strength; in the Yugoslav provinces of the Dual Monarchy, national movement grew, turning to Belgrade as the pillar of national and South-Slavic assemblage. War with Serbia turned over from a considerable delay of punitive expedition to a war to destroy the Serbian state. The Viennese diplomacy found reliable allies first with Albania and then with Bulgaria.1 The opening of the war found the borderline between Serbia and Albania unrestful and unconsolidated. Essad Pasha, follower of Balkan cooperation, was in emigration, while civil war raged in Albania. The insurgents, called "Ottomans", demanded a Muslim for a ruler, and for the flag, and the character of state administration to be Ottoman. Refugee Albanian leaders from Kosovo, organizers of the previous incursion into Serbia, did not take part in the uprising; they awaited the opportunity to incite a rebellion and seize Kosovo, Metohia and west Macedonia from Serbia. Two days before war was declared to Serbia, consular officials in Albania received orders from Vienna to assist the Albanian insurrection on Serbian territory. Bairam Cur, Hasan Pristina and Isa Boljetinac obtained money, arms and ammunition from Austro-Hungarian consuls to prepare for the insurrection. In Constantinople, a contract was concluded for Austria-Hungary to finance and urge the insurrection, while the Young Turks would handle the propaganda, military organization and operations of the insurrection. Incursions onto Serbian territory and the Albanian insurrection in Kosovo, Metohia and Macedonia were to have been the basis for opening another front against Serbia, which had, after the Austro-Hungarian attack, distributed its troops along the border with the Dual Monarchy. The at first small-scale attacks were recorded already at the beginning of August, 1914. Turkish and Austro-Hungarian association was growing closer, thus sealing the destiny of Prince Wilhelm von Wied. After several unsuccessful attempts to crush the insurrection, abandoned by his volunteers, the prince left Albania for good at the beginning of September, 1914.2 Shortly before the war, Serbia strove to win over some of the chiefs of mid and north Albania for cooperation. The agents cruised Albania endeavoring to make contact with dissatisfied chiefs. It was soon disclosed that Albanian tribal and feudal chiefs were inconstant, bribable and unreliable, that they easily changed sides for money and, being without a clear political conception and strong national awareness, cared most of all about their personal and tribal interests. Internal political polarization between them was determined by religious affiliation which ascended over national feelings.3 Incursions into Serbia, though mostly skirmishes with bordering stations and gendarmes never ceased since the war began. Even though small in number and always rapidly checked, they increasingly disturbed competent circles in Serbia. Informed of preparations for new incursions of broader dimensions, on the delivery of arms to Albania and the arrival of Young Turk and Austro-Hungarian officers to join Albanian companies at the Serbian-Albanian borderline, the government sought a way to neutralize the preparations for the insurrection. Military circles proposed a preventive military intervention.4 With the departure of Prince von Wied, no one held power in Albania. At an assembly, a senate of rebelling towns in mid and north Albania chose Essad Pasha for their leader, while the Serbian government immediately appealed to him to take over rule. Nikola Pasic contracted with him an agreement of friendship, aid and customs union, in Nis, mid-September, 1914. Aided by Pasic's government, supplying him with money and arms, Essad Pasha mustered around 5,000 Albanian volunteers, crossed over to Albania and entered Durazzo at the beginning of October without strife. He immediately formed a government and proclaimed himself Premier of Albania and Supreme Army Commander.5 At the beginning of November, Turkey engaged at war on the side of the Central Powers and declared Holy War (jihad) to the Entante and its allies. Essad Pasha was considered an enemy to Islam, being a friend to Serbia, and therefore, an ally of the Entante. The declaration of jihad caused a new pro-Turkish insurrection of Muslim-fundamentalist forces, this time against Essad Pasha. The rapidly spreading insurgent masses were lead by Young Turk officers. The entire movement was of anti-Serbian orientation; the insurgents demanded the restoration of Albania under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, with Kosovo, Metohia and west Macedonia included in its composition. Greece and Italy benefited from the new opportunities. The Greeks took north Epirus, while Italian troops first occupied the island Sasseno and then Valona.6 Essad Pasha's position in Durazzo was becoming increasingly uncertain. Thus the Premier appealed to the Serbian government more than once for military intervention in Albania. In December, 1914, Serbia successfully withstood an Austro-Hungarian offensive. The Serbian government feared that following their defeat north, the Austro-Hungarian state and military circles would urge the ethnic Albanians to war Serbia, which imposed preventive military action as a solution. Incursions of broader dimension announced Hasan Pristina's attempt to organize an insurrection in Serbia in February, 1915, with a company numbering around 200 men. Three bordering villages on Serbian territory joined the insurgents, but in the first clash with a stronger Serbian unit, Hasan Pristina's company was crushed and banished to Albania.7 Pro-Turkish insurgents besieged Essad Pasha in Durazzo and demanded of him to recognize the sultan's power and declare war to Serbia. Pasic thus believed it was best to intervene immediately rather than wait for Austro-Hungarian and Young Turk officers to muster an Albanian army against which a whole Serbian army would be forced to fight. When a Serbian diplomat reported at the end of May that Essad Pasha's position was desperate, and since Albanian companies had then attacked the Serbian border at two places, the Serbian government decided to move its army and take strategic positions in Albania. Around 20,000 Serbian soldiers invaded Albania from three directions. In only ten days the Serbian troops crushed the rebellious movement, took Elbasan and Tirana and liberated the besieged Essad Pasha in Durazzo. A special Albanian regiment was formed from Serbian troops in Albania to implement thorough pacification in Albania and consolidate Essad Pasha's position.8 Essad Pasha did not succeed in establishing power in all the northern and middle regions of Albania. In the Mirdit region, Isa Boljetinac, Bairam Cur and Hasan Pristina were hiding, while in the Mat region, pasha's relative Ahmed Bey Zogu strove to come to an agreement with the Serbian military authorities; at his personal request he went to Nis for negotiations with Pasic.9 Serbia's military intervention met with general complaints in allied circles, especially with Italy, whose claims to the Albanian coast, warranted by a secret London Treaty (1915), were thus jeopardized by the entrance of Serbian troops. Pasic replied to protests sent by ally diplomacies that it was only a matter of temporary action and the troops would withdraw after consolidating Essad Pasha's regime. To secure Serbian positions in Albania after the war was over, the Serbian government contracted a secret agreement in June, 1914, in Tirana, anticipating an actual union between the two countries. Essad Pasha consented to rectify the border to Serbia's advantage, and in return received warranty of Serbia's support for his choice of ruler to Albania.10 The beginning of the German - Austro-Hungarian offensive against Serbia in autumn, 1915, Bulgaria's engagement in war on the side of the Central Powers and its attack on Serbia, forced the Serbian army to war on two fronts and withdraw to the interior of the country. Bulgaria's incursion into Macedonia threatened to cut off the retreat of the Serbian army to Greece. Its retreat and Bulgaria's penetration into the depths of Macedonia emboldened ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Metohia and Macedonia. Masses of ethnic Albanians recruited into the Serbian army became deserters, and many joined the Bulgarians who gave them arms. With Austro-Hungarian advance-guards, they attacked Serbian soldiers whom they awaited in the Ibar valley. When the Serbian army reached Kosovo, followed by many refugees, various diversions and surprise attacks on field trains were effected. In many villages ethnic Albanians refused to provide food for the refugees and soldiers. In Istok, on November 29, 1915, a company of Serbian soldiers lagging behind was massacred. Near the St. Marko monastery in the vicinity of Prizren, ethnic Albanians of the Kabash clan deceitfully disarmed and then killed 60 Serbian soldiers. After the Serbian army retreated from Pec, ethnic Albanians pillaged many Serbian homes and sacked shops. Austro-Hungarian guards prevented them from entering the hospital in Pec, in front of which they gathered to massacre the wounded soldiers. They set ambushes near Mitrovica, killed soldiers and looted refugees. Serious crimes were committed in Suva Reka and other regions of Kosovo.11 At the end of November, after the Bulgarians cut off all connections with Salonika, the Serbian Supreme Command decided to withdraw the army to Albania and make the necessary reorganizations there. The withdrawal of the Serbian army through Albania, in winter 1915-1916, has been retained as the "Albanian Golgotha". With the entrance of the Serbian army into Albania, Essad Pasha issued an announcement appealing to the Albanian people to help the amicable army and sell their food. In regions under his immediate control, Albanian gendarmes considerably helped to ease the withdrawal of the starving army, inflicted by disease, through impassable mountains covered with snow. Essad Pasha's gendarmes took care of overnight stays, food supplies and guarded the roads. The regions to which Essad Pasha's authority did not stretch, particularly Ljuma, Mirdits, Drims and partly in Mati, the Serbian army was forced to clear with guns, on its way toward the Adriatic Sea. In Mirdits, Mat and other regions, Catholic friars called to the ethnic Albanians to confront the Serbian army in arms. Rumors spread that Prince Wilhelm von Wied was arriving from Prizren with Austro-Hungarian troops, ethnic Albanians avoided confrontation with large military formations; they preferred to wait in ambush in high gorges for lagging soldiers and refugees, and then and murder them. The heaviest battles were waged in the Mirdits by a Combined Regiment of the Serbian army that fell into ambush at the gorge of the Fani river. Around 800 ethnic Albanians commanded by a Catholic friar let the army pass through only after they were given large quantities of supplies from the field train. In places where there were no armed assaults, the ethnic Albanians refused to rent rooms for overnight stay and sell food.12 General chaos encircled the withdrawal of the Serbian army, with Essad Pasha endeavoring to restore order with his gendarmes; but chaos and fear caught hold of his people and disobedience ensued. Still, most of his troops protected the Serbian army during its retreat and, whenever necessary, fought together with it against Albanian companies that joined Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian troops. After much turmoil and long marches toward the south, the Serbian army was transferred by allied ships from Albania to Corfu. Squeezed in between Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian troops, Essad Pasha was forced to submit to the Italians; escorted by a Serbian emissary, with a thousand most devoted followers, he crossed over to Italy by boat.13 Kosovo and Metohia were divided into two Austro-Hungarian occupational zones: Metohia entered the General Government "Montenegro", while a smaller part of Kosovo with Kosovska Mitrovica and Vucitrn became part of the General Government "Serbia". The largest part of Kosovo (Pristina, Prizren, Gnjilane, Urosevac, Orahovac) was included in the composition of the Bulgarian Military-Inspectional region "Macedonia".14 In Metohia and Kosovo, Austro-Hungarian authorities aimed to win over the Albanian and Muslim populace: schools and the local administration were conducted in the Albanian language. Albanian inhabitants were obviously privileged. The occupational authorities of the Dual Monarchy immediately established contact with the leaders. Many refugee chiefs returned from Albania, while beys from Kosovo and former Turkish officers from Sandzak cooperated most closely with the new authorities. Hasan Pristina and Dervish Bey handled the conscription of volunteers who were assigned either to the Bosnia-Herzegovinian gendarmes or the Turkish corps fighting at the front in Galicia. A bulk of Albanian volunteers entered the service of Austro-Hungarian military command in Kosovska Mitrovica and served in small posse regiments. At the beginning of 1917, Dervish Bey was nominated as commander of a distinct volunteer battalion (a force of 400 men), comprised mainly of ethnic Albanians.15 The Bulgarian occupation of Kosovo has been retained by its great oppression, internment of civilians, forced Bulgarization, and the persecution and murder of priests. The former Raska-Prizren Metropolitan Nicifor, was interned in Bulgaria and killed. Serbian priests suffered the most, being persecuted and murdered on both occupational zones by ethnic Albanians and Bulgarians. Bulgarian authorities assigned ethnic Albanians and Turks to all village communities as chiefs, officials and gendarmes, who helped their compatriots to raid and plunder without disturbance, to win trials against Serbs in courts, and murders were often hushed up. In certain villages, Turks and ethnic Albanians oppressed the Serbs of Kosovo in conjunction.16 In the area between Juzna Morava and Kopaonik, a komitadji movement had been growing since 1916, under the leadership of Kosta Vojinovic-Kosovac of Mitrovica, which at the beginning of 1917 turned into a large national insurrection with its seat at Toplica. ethnic Albanians took part in persecuting Serbian komitadjis in the Mitrovica district. The armed resistance was aided by many Serbs from Kosovo. Attempts made by insurgent leaders to win over ethnic Albanians through negotiations failed. Albanian companies attacked the insurgents, and in October, 1917, special Albanian and Turkish units were formed to fight them.17 After being transferred to Corfu, the Serbian army, reorganized and supplemented by volunteers, was disposed along the Salonika front along with allied troops. Crossing over from Italy to Paris, with the aid of the French diplomacy, Essad Pasha arrived at Salonika and formed a new Albanian government which acquired the status of an emigrant ally cabinet, owing to Serbian and French intermediation. A special army unit was formed from around 1,000 gendarmes (Essad Pasha's camp and Albanian archers), and disposed in juxtaposition to the Serbian Ohrid regiment as part of the French East Army. Premier Nikola Pasic's idea was to admix the forces with Serbian ones and direct operations toward Kosovo and north Albania.18 In autumn, 1918, subsequent to the penetration of the Salonika Front, a widespread national insurrection developed in Serbia. When the Austro-Hungarian troops abandoned the line Skoplje-Pristina, the insurrection spread to Kosovo and Metohia. French and Serbian troops commanded by General Tranier emerged in Kosovo at the beginning of October, liberating Pristina, Prizren, Gnjilane and Mitrovica. Serbian komitadji companies, lead by Kosta Milovanovic Pecanac, met with French troops in Mitrovica and immediately set off to Pec. Serbian komitadjis surrounded the town, compelling the considerably stronger Austro-Hungarian troops to surrender; then the French cavalry trotted into town. Divisions of the second Serbian army also arrived in Kosovo and established civil and temporary martial law.19 After the arrival of Serbian and French units, the Albanian people bore themselves coldly and with reserve. When the bodies of troops continued to advance toward Montenegro, ethnic Albanians began to assail solitary soldiers at the end of October. The reason was the injunction given by Serbian military authorities to collect all state property left from the Bulgarian administration. Obtaining supplies from communities with arms left behind, the ethnic Albanians began to assail Serbian civil and military authorities, while the injunction to surrender arms met with heavy resistance. Community seats, villages and small military garrisons were attacked, while during November entire villages in Drenica and around Pec deserted the Serbian authorities. Until mid-December, Serbian forces crushed Albanian resistance and carried out the action of disarmament with great difficulty.20 The Austro-Hungarian monarchy was disintegrating. In Belgrade, on December 1, 1918, the union of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed into one kingdom under the Karadjordjevic dynasty. In Kosovo, the military and civil authorities had no time to celebrate. The Albanian resistance, helped by agitation from Albania, with Italy behind it, announced a new, kacak (outlaw) movement. World War One forestalled the formation of a clear policy for ethnic Albanians within Serbian borders, even though all those that had not taken part in rebellions against the Serbian authorities were warranted civil rights. Two Balkan and one world armed clashes, which deepened the old and created new hatreds between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, had direct political aims, being supported by the warring sides, above all Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and in Albania by allied Italy. Yet Serbia had, on the contrary, persistently striven to create a counterbalance to the anti-Serbian movement helped by Vienna and Constantinople, through cooperation with Essad Pasha and a series of tribal chiefs in mid-Albania, and to build a foundation that would bring ethnic Albanians and Serbs closer. Contracts signed with Essad Pasha in 1914 and 1915 were, first, a draft of possible ways of contact (a real union with small territorial concessions), second, security in case the destiny of Albania would again be resolved without Serbia's participation when the war was over. Essad Pasha Toptani's fate, whose political plans for the future of Albania were based on support and cooperation with Serbia, displayed a prevailing strong anti-Serbian disposition among ethnic Albanians, who would benefit from the aims of the Serbian army to capture and include within the composition of the new state Scutari with the neighboring Serbian villages. Due to widespread Italian influence, under whose wing a temporary Albanian government was formed, Essad Pasha's repeated attempts to regain power in Albania, where he still had many followers, produced no positive results. Despite delegates supported by Italy in the name of Albania, with Serbia's assistance Essad Pasha brought another unofficial delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris, April 1919, and, appealing to the legitimacy of his government and the declaration of war to the Central Powers, requested permission to return to his country. His struggle ended with shots fired by assassin Avni Rustemi on June 13,1920 in Paris. 1 .More elaborate: A. Mitrovic, Srbija u prvom svetskom ratu, Beograd 1985. passim 2 Ibid., 218-224; B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji, pp. 124-145. 3 B. Hrabak, Muslimani severne Albanije uoci izbijanja rata 1914, pp. 49-80; D. T. Batakovic, Podaci srpskih vojnih vlasti o arbanaskim prvacima 1914, Mesovita gradja, XVII-XVIII (1988), pp. 185-206. 4 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji, pp. 147-151. 5 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, in: Srbija 1915, Beograd 1986, 300-306; for details see: B. Hrabak, Elaborat srpskog ministarstva inostranih dela o pripremama srpske okupacije severne Albanije, Godisnjak Arhiva Kosova, II-III (1966-1967), pp. 7-35. 6 M. Ekmecic, Ratni ciljevi Srbije 1914, Beograd 1973, 377, pp. 383-385; cf. J. Swire, Albania, The Rise of A Kingdom, London 1930. passim 7 A. Mitrovic, op. cit., pp. 225-226. 8 M. Ekmecic, op. cit. p. 344; for more details see: D. T. Batakovic, Secanje generala D. Milutinovica na komandovanje albanskim trupama 1915. godine, Mesovita grada, XIV (1985), pp. 115-143 9 Ahmed Zogu attempted to impose himself upon Serbian competitive authorities as Esad-pasha's rival. He promised, given the necessary warrants, he would turn to Serbia's side. An agent of the Serbian government accompanied him always; more elaborate: D. T. Batakovic, Ahmed-beg Zogu i Srbija, in: Srbija 1917, pp. 165-177. 10 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa i Srbija 1915. godine, 308-310; cf. Sh. Rahimi, Mareveshjet e qeverise serbe me Esat pashe Toptanit gjate viteve 1914-1915, Gjurmime albanologjike, VI (1976), pp. 117-143. " 11 P. Kostic, Crkveni zivot pravoslavnih Srba u Prizrenu i okolini u XIX veku, pp. 141-143; B. Hrabak, Stanje na srpsko-albanskoj granici i pobuna Arbanasa na Kosovu i Makedoniji, in: Srbija 1915, pp. 80-85; idem., Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji, pp. 186-195. 12 O. Boppe, Za srpskom vojskom od Nisa do Krfa, Zeneva 1918; P. de Mondesir, Albanska golgota, memories and war pictures, Beograd 1936; Kroz Albaniju 1915-1916, Beograd 1968. 13 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, pp. 315-124. 14 A serious crisis broke out in 1916 over the issue on dividing occupational zones between Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary (Istorija srpskog naroda, VI/2, Beograd 1983, pp. 146-148). 15 A. Mitrovic, op. cit., pp. 329-393. 16 J. Popovic, Kosovo u ropstvu pod Bugarima, Leskovac 1921; on the persecution of the clergy: Zaduzbine Kosova, pp. 745-750. 17 More elaborate in: M. Perovic, Toplicki ustanak 1917, Beograd 1973; A. Mitrovic, Ustanicke borbe u Srbiji 1916-1918, Beograd 1987. 18 Petar Opacic, Solunska ofanziva 1918, Beograd 1980, pp. 358-375. 19 B. Hrabak, Ucesce stanovnistva Srbije u proterivanju okupatora 1918, Istorijski glasnik, 3-4 (1958), 25-50; ibid., Reokupacija oblasti srpske i cmogorske drzave arbanaskom vecinom stanovnistva u jesen 1918. godine i drzanja Arbanasa prema uspostavljenoj vlasti, Gjurmime albanologjike, 191969), pp. 255-260; A. Mitrovic, Ustanicke borbe u Srbiji 1916-1918, pp. 520-522. 20 B. Hrabak, Reokupacija oblasti srpske i cmogorske drzave, pp. 270-279. The study of Serbo-Albanian relations in the first decades of the 20th century is merely one chapter in a history long marked with conflicts which in their strongest current bore traits of lasting political confrontation and religious intolerance which had deepened over the centuries. Thus the need for precisely defining in perspective the processes under study, imposes itself as the primary obligation. Favoring a national and ideologically neutral reflection is not simply an implicit inclusion of historiographical principle, but an aspiration enabling a stratified account of never unambiguous historical content, instead of a reduced image of the past. Viewed from that angle, the figure of Essad Pasha Toptani, whom entire Albanian historiography condemned as the biggest traitor of his own people (for cooperating with Serbia), emerges in a different light, ideologically impartial, alien to every industrious work on history.1 The era delimited with the beginning of the Balkan Wars and the end of the Paris Peace Conference was marked by a fresh surge of old conflicts between the Serbs and Albanians. The centuries-long commitment of most Albanians in the Ottoman Empire to an Islamic structure of society (where the Muslim belonged to a privileged status to which the Christian was necessarily subordinate), was a major obstacle to any attempt at creating more permanent political cooperation, and achieving national and religious tolerance. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Albanian national question began to undermine the very foundations of Ottoman rule in the Balkans; subsequent to the great uprisings against the Young Turk pan-Ottoman policy, it was supposed to end with the creation of an autonomous Albanian unit within the frame of the Empire - in the spirit of the decisions reached by the Albanian League in Prizren in 1878. Demands were made to the Porte that an autonomous Albania be formed from the Kosovo, Scutari, Bitolj (Monastir) and Janina vilayets - ethnically mixed areas to which all the surrounding Balkan states (for many a good reason) lay claim. Rejecting cooperation offered by the Balkan allies, primarily Serbia and Montenegro, the leadership of the Albanian national movement decided, by defending Turkey, to stand by the idea of an ethnic, Great Albania.2 The proclamation of the independent state of Albania in Valona on November 28, 1912, showed that despite the tremendous success of the Balkan Allies at war against Turkey, the balance of forces in the Balkans depended on the will of the most influential big power in the peninsula - Austria-Hungary. Created primarily with support from the Dual Monarchy, Albania was to serve as a dam to Serbia's major war objectives in the First Balkan War - obtaining a territorial access to the Adriatic Sea at the coastal belt between Durazzo and St Giovanni di Medua. Serbia's diplomacy watched with strong suspicion the development of the situation in Albania. Territorial access to the Albanian coast was jointly assessed by all relevant political factors (the court, the government, the army, the civil parties and public opinion) as the only possible way to avoid the fatal embrace of the Dual Monarchy. By encroaching upon ethnically different land, in Northern Albania, Serbia violated a principle to which it appealed there until - the principle of nationality. State reason tipped the balance which was justified by strategic needs and a historical right as well as by the struggle for survival imposed by Austria-Hungary. In fall, 1912, the Serbian troops took Allesio, Elbasan, Tirana and Durazzo with quick actions and little resistance; the men ecstatically jumped into the Adriatic, rejoicing over Serbia's sea. The ultimatum presented by Austria-Hungary, threatening to attack the northern borders of Serbia, compelled the Serbian government to renounce the access. The Great Powers acknowledged the creation of the autonomous state of Albania at the Conference of Ambassadors in London (1912-1913), initially under the sovereignty and suzerainty of the sultan, and subsequently under their control. Serbia was given trade access to the sea via a neutral and free port in the north Albanian coast. The Montenegrin army, bolstered by Serbian troops, managed to take Scutari after exhausting battles and many victims, but was forced under a decision reached by the Conference to abandon it and surrender it to the international forces.3 The new state was a cat's-paw in the hands of Vienna. The ministers of Ismail Kemal's (Qemalli) provisional government were forced to draw up the declaration on independence in Turkish, and write the provisions in Turkish letters, since none of the government members were literate in the Albanian Latin alphabet. The markedly pro-Austrian orientation of Kemal's government did not meet with support from the wider population, which was through centuries-long traditions attached to the Ottoman state and its ideology. Muslims were in the majority in Albania (around 70% of the population), and to them the only acceptable solution to the national question was to set up a state under the rule of the Turkish prince, a demand which the government in Constantinople was quick to point out. In northern Albania, the Catholic Mirdits strove to create an independent state under the wing of the Catholic powers: King Nikola I of Montenegro merely nurtured their demand for independence. To the south, northern Epirus had little in common with the tribes of central and northern Albania, being under Greek influence and of Orthodox majority.4 Religious and tribal differences, an insufficiently formed national awareness, a completely underdeveloped economy, illiterate masses and their ignorance in politics held meager promises for a future stable state community. Albanian tribal and feudal chiefs, who were accustomed to reversing their positions and allies under the Turks for a handsome gratuity, demonstrated neither enough political maturity nor national solidarity. Clashes of different conceptions on the future of the country, the involvement of the Great Powers and strife over power between regional chiefs drew Albania into a whirlpool of civil war, even before its status was defined and its borders fixed. Austria-Hungary benefited mostly from the anarchy, with its consular and intelligence agencies encouraging a vengeful policy of Albanian officials, flaring up old hatred between the Serbs and Albanians, and building outposts for undermining and then destroying the Serbian administration in the newly-liberated territories - Old Serbia and Macedonia.5 The strengthening of influence by the Dual Monarchy in Albania, which was threatening to become a tangible means of political and military jeopardy to Serbia, disputes over demarcations and the status of individual adjacent regions instructed the Serbian government to seek among prominent Albanian tribal chiefs those who would be ready to resolve the issues within the Balkan framework. The figure most suitable for that purpose emerged - Essad Pasha Toptani, a Turkish general who gave Scutari over to the Montenegrins in April 1913, and was allowed in return to leave the town with his army and all their weaponry to become involved in the struggle over power in central Albania. 1 K. Frasheri, The History of Albania, Tirana 1964, pp. 183-212; A. Buda (ed.), Historia e popullit shqiptar, II, Prishtine 1969, pp. 371-516; S. Polio - A. Puto, {ed.),Histoire de I'Albanie, Roanne 1974, pp. 181-212; M. Qami, Shqiperia ne mareredheniet nderkombetare (1914-1918), Tirane 1987, pp. 43-45, 107-112, 240-243,280-281, 313-315. 2 S. Skendi, Albanian National Awakening (1878-1912), pp. 438-463; P. Barti, op. cit, pp. 173-184; B. Hrabak, Arbanaski ustanci 1912 godine, pp. 323-350; B. Mikic, The Albanians and Serbia during the Balkan Wars, in: East Central European Society and the Balkan Wars (ed. B. K. Kiraly - D. Djordjevic), New York 1987, pp. 165-196; Kosovo und Metochien in der serbischen Geschichte, Lausanne 1989, pp. 311 3 Z. Balugdzic, op. cit, pp. 518-523; D. Djordjevic, Izlazak Srbije na Jadransko more i Konferencija ambasadora u Londonu 1912, pp. 83-86; M. Vojvodic, Skadarska kriza 1913. godine, pp. 125-137; 145-151. Cf Ismail Qemalli. Permbledhje dokumentesh 1889-1919, Tirane 1982. An elaborate insight in the documents is also provided by the Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije 1903-1914, VI/1, Doc. Nos. 135, 389-393, 395, 411, 415, 460, 495-496, 506, 521, 527; VI/2, Doc. Nos. 23, 43, 80, 87-89,108,124. 4 M. Ekmecic, Ratni ciljevi Srbije 1914, pp. 372-377; J. Swire, Albania, The Rise of a Kingdom, pp. 183-240, D. Mikic, op. cit. pp. 185-191; M. Schmidt-Necke, Entstehung und Ausbau der Konigsdiktatur in Albanien (1912-1939), Munchen 1987, pp. 25-40. 5 V. Corovic, Odnosi Srbije i Austro-Ugarske u XX veku, pp. 396-410; M. Gutic, Oruzani sukobi na srpsko-albanskoj granici u jesen l913. godine, Vojnoistorijski glasnik, 1 (1985), pp. 225-275; B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu i u Makedoniji od kraja 1912. do kraja 1915, pp. 185-206. The career of Essad Pasha Toptani (born in Tirana, 1863) was similar to the careers of the biggest Albanian feudal lords. As the owner of vast chifliks in central Albania, Essad Pasha quickly climbed up the Turkish administrative hierarchy. At the opening of the century he was a gendarmery commander in the Janina vilayet. He supported the Young Turk movement in 1908, and represented Durazzo as deputy to Turkey's Parliament; in 1909 he was entrusted with the ungrateful duty of handing Sultan Abdulhamid II the decree on his deposition. Prior to the Balkan wars, he held the post of gendarmery commander in the Scutari vilayet where he successfully engaged in trade with the Italians, giving them concessions for the exploitation of forests. He took over command of Scutari in early 1913, demonstrating all the qualities of a great military leader. He decided to surrender the city only when the garrison, broken by famine and disease, decided, together with the city chiefs, to stop resisting. The London Ambassadorial Conference of the Great Powers had already decided that Scutari remain within the Albanian composition. In those circumstances, surrendering Scutari in late April 1913 on honorable conditions was a wise political decision.1 Essad Pasha evaluated that to rely chiefly on Austria- Hungary when Italy and Greece were laying open claims to the territory of the Albanian state, would be fatal to his country's survival. By cooperating with the center of the Balkan alliance - Serbia - and through it with Montenegro, he was seeking foundations to build a stable Albanian state with a Muslim majority, in which he would rely on the large beylics in the central and northern parts of the country. Essad Pasha possessed the characteristically Muslim trait of distrusting fellow-countrymen of another religion. The bearing of the northern Albanian Catholic tribes, which aspired to separate from Albania, and the pro-Hellenic orientation of the Orthodox Albanian population in northern Epirus, were the reasons why he consented to adjust the border to the benefit of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece: he believed that an Albania smaller than the one stipulated in 1913 would, once homogeneous in religion, be a much more stable country. The development of international circumstances urged a closer cooperation with Serbia: Albanian territories were an object of aspiration and, when World War I broke out, compensation in the cabinets of big European powers.3 Already in early May, 1913, Essad Pasha informed the Montenegrin king of his intentions to proclaim himself King of Albania, and of his readiness to cooperate with the Balkan alliance. He said the Albanians owed their freedom to the Balkan peoples and that he would establish with them the borders of Albania without the mediation of other powers. Essad Pasha told Serbian diplomat Zivojin Balugdzic at a meeting in Durazzo, that he wanted an agreement with Serbia. Hesitant at first, the Serbian government consented, assessing that the Pasha had showed by his bearing that he really wanted an agreement with Serbia, which he regarded, Balugdzic quoted, as the nucleus for mustering Balkan forces.4 It was crucial to the Serbian government shortly before the Bulgarian attack to neutralize preparations in Albania against raids into Serbian territory - especially in Kosovo, Metohia and western Macedonia. Around 20,000 men were in arms in the Albanian territory, mostly refugees from Old Serbia and Macedonia whose leaders, Hasan Pristina and Isa Boljetinac, were close associates of Ismail Kemal. They strove to fight the influence of Essad Pasha, agitating an attack on Serbia and stirring up an uprising of the Albanian people there. The Bulgarian komitadjis trained Albanians for guerrilla actions, with money and arms coming from Austria-Hungary. Essad Pasha refused to join them and warned the Serbian government not to approve of their action.5 At the end of September, 1913, a forceful raid was carried out into Serbian territory. The around 10,000 Albanians, who charged into the territory from three directions, were lead by Isa Boljetinac, Bairam Cur and Kiasim Lika. Aside to them, Bulgarian officers also commanded troops. Their troops took Ljuma and Djakovica, and besieged Prizren. They were crushed only after two Serbian divisions were sent to the border.6 Essad Pasha used the crushing of the pro-Austrian forces to proclaim himself (with the support of Muslim tribal chiefs and the big beylics in the central parts of the country) governor of Albania in Durazzo, in late September, 1913. Vienna assessed the act as positive proof of his pro-Serbian orientation. Official Serbia simultaneously helped a number of other small tribal chiefs who resisted Kemal's government, directing them towards cooperation with Essad Pasha. The alliance between the Serbian government and Essad Pasha was not stipulated in a special treaty: Pasic nevertheless ordered that his followers be aided in money and arms. To the Serbian prime minister, Essad Pasha served as a counterbalance to the great-Albanian circles around Ismail Kemal. The new prince of Albania, Wilhelm von Wied, backed the revanchist aspirations of Albanian leaders from Kosovo and Metohia. As the most influential man in his government, Essad Pasha held two important portfolios - the army and interior ministries. When the unresolved agrarian question, urged by Young Turk officers, grew into a massive pro-Turk insurrection against the Christian prince, Essad Pasha supported the insurgents and in a clash with the Prince sought backing at the Italian mission. After the arrest in Durazzo, Essad Pasha left for Brindisi under protection of the Italian legate in Durazzo at the end of May 1914. After his departure, border raids into Serbia assumed greater dimension and intensity.5 The threat Albania posed for Serbia abruptly increased at the beginning of the world war. The relationship between different political trends within the Albanian society towards the Central powers and the Entente powers was to a large extent determined by their commitment towards Serbia. The pronounced tendency towards pro-Austrian political circles grew with the continuous influx of Albanian refugees from Serbia. Their revanchist policy was the prime mover of a strong anti-Serbian movement in the war years, and became after its end a basis for national forgather. 1 For details see: D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915, pp. 299-303 (with earlier literature). 2 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), in: Srbija 1918, Zb. radova Istorijskog instituta, 7, Beograd 1989, p. 346 3 Dokumenti o spoljnoj politici Kraljevine Srbije, VI/2, Doc. No 135, Z. Balugdzic, op. cit., 521-522. 4 0 B. Hrabak, Arbanaski upadi i pobune na Kosovu, pp. 52-64. 5 Ibid, pp. 33-38, 60-61. 6 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, p. 305. The beginning of the "Great War" left open the question about a precise demarcation between Serbia and Albania. The International Demarcation Commission discontinued work in mid-1914, thus state borders in areas of dispute remained to be fixed. War caught unguarded the Serbo-Albanian border. Austria-Hungary, not heeding for money, prepared fresh raids into Serbian territory. Paši rightly anticipated the intention ofVien-na's diplomacy to open, aided by the Young Turks, another front and flank Serbian lands: he feared that the Albanian leaders financed by Vienna -Hasan Pristina, Isa Boljetinac (Bollletini), Bairam Cur (Curri) and Riza Bey Krieziu - would "attack Serbia when they receive orders from Turkey or Bulgaria and weaken Serbian military action on the other side".1 Concerned with reportings about incessant unrest in the border belt and endeavors to fomcnt an Albanian uprising in Serbia, military circles in the New Region Troops in Skoplje proposed preventive military action. Essad Pasha strove to preserve an independent position, crossing thus from Italy to France. He planned to confront, with the help of the Entente, Austria-Hungary's efforts to completely subjugate his country. He made inquiries from Paris on the conditions upon which the Serbian government would aid his return to Albania. In 1914, Paši imposed the following conditions: that he sign a political-customs treaty with Serbia on a joint defense, that Albania acknowledge the customs union at the chiefs' assembly, and that a solution be reached at the following stage on forming a personal or real union with Serbia. Essad Pasha confirmed by cable his acceptance in principle of Paši's conditions and immediately set off to Serbia.2 The Serbian government policy towards Albania was aimed at pre-venting subversive actions from Albania and creating preconditions to exert influence at the end of the war on the demarcation of its borders, particularly in the strip towards Serbia. Shortly before Essad Pasha's arrival to Serbia, Pasic was interested in learning the stand of the Entante Powers towards Albania: would they oppose "if Albania as a Turkish- Bulgarian-Austrian instrument now attacked the Serbian border - could we now not only fend them off, but incapacitate them for attacks in connection with Turkey, occupy certain Strategie points and bring them under our influence until the time comes when Europe would again resolve that issue, and probably reach a better solution, which would ensure peace in Europe and the Balkans".3 Essad Pasha obtained permission in Athens from the Greek diplomacy to work in agreement with the Serbian government. At the same time he secured backing from Italy, which hoped to have an open road to permanently occupying Valona (Viore) once his regime was established in Albania. The government in Rome saw Essad Pasha as the most appropriate figure to oppose growing Austro-Hungarian and Turkish influence on conditions in Albania.4 Essad Pasha did not give up his claim to the Albanian throne. He warned the Serbian consul in Salonika that it would be perilous to Albania if its prince came from the sultan's family, as that would, through detrimental influence from Constantinople, open new hostilities towards Serbia and other Balkan states. He thus pointed out himself as the most appropriate figure to rule Albania. He sent messages to Pasic on the need for them to conclude a special treaty before his departure for Albania.5 Upon arriving in Nis, Essad Pasha signed a secret alliance treaty with Pasic on September 17. The 15 points envisaged the setting up of joint political and military institutions, but the most important provisions focused on a military alliance, the construction of an Adriatic railroad to Durazzo and guarantees that Serbia would support Essad Pasha's election as the Albanian ruler. The treaty left open the possibility that Serbia, at the invitation of Essad Pasha, carry out a military intervention to protect his regime. The demarcation between the two countries was to be drawn by a special Serbo-Albanian commission. Essad Pasha was to confirm the treaty only upon being elected ruler, with consent from the National Assembly: this left maneuvering space for revising individual provisions. Serbia was obligated to finance Pasha's gendarmery and supply the necessary military equipment by paying off 50,000 dinars per month.6 After the defeat of Prince Wilhelm von Wied in clashes with pro-Turk insurgents and his escape from Albania, anarchy broke out in the country. The insurgents hoisted the Turkish flag, demanding that the country preserve its Muslim quality. The senate of free towns in central Albania invited Essad Pasha to take over power. With over 4,000 volunteers mustered in the vicinity of Debar, Essad Pasha marched peacefully into Durazzo at the beginning of October 1914, set up his government and proclaimed himself supreme commander of the Albanian army. He did not question the ties with Constantinople, and the consent in principle to the sovereignty of the sultan over Albania. As the lord of central, particularly Muslim parts of the country, Essad Pasha was compelled to approve of the pro-Turkish beylics who had invited him to take over power. His first measures were directed at protecting the Serbian border from raids of troops lead by Young Turk and Austro-Hungarian officers in the northern parts of the country. He informed the Serbian government of his move on the Catholic tribes to subdue Scutari and capture Albanian leaders Isa Boljetinac, Bairam Cur and Hasan Pristina who were in hiding in the northern parts of Has region.7 Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria believed that under the rule of Essad Pasha Albania would come closer to the Powers of the Entante on a European war. Germany and Austria-Hungary immediately recalled their legates in Durazzo, and Bulgaria withdrew its diplomatic agent. At the same time Austro-Hungarian and Young Turk officers stepped up joint work on a preparation to raid Serbia. In keeping with the provisions of the Nis agreement, Essad Pasha undertook action to prevent the troops from crossing over to Serbian territory, but he was soon thwarted by a new pro-Turk insurrection.8 In early November 1914, Turkey engaged in a war with the Central powers, and included among the enemies of Islam Essad Pasha Toptani, as an ally to Serbia and therefore the Entente. The declaration of jihad stirred up a new pro-Turk insurrection of the Muslim population. The "Board for Uniting Islam" from Constantinople called for another conquest of Kosovo: "Hey Muslims! The until recently part of our fatherland - Kosovo - where the Holy Tomb of Sultan Murad lies, where the flag of the crescent moon and star fluttered, now flies the flag of the hateful Serb, who is turning mosques into churches and seizing everything you have. That low people is forcing you to fight in arms against allies and Mohammedan regents".9 The illiterate Albanian mob was easily fanaticized with pro-Turk and pan-Islamic slogans, thus the insurgents succeeded in winning over part of Essad Pasha's followers. With regular supplies of money, arms and ammunition from Austria-Hungary, the insurgents, commanded by Young Turk officers, posed an increasing threat to Essad Pasha's territory. The entire movement gained an expressly anti-Serbian character: demands were made that regions Serbia had liberated in the first Balkan war be annexed to autonomous Albania under Turkish sovereignty. Italy and Greece cleverly benefited from the whole confusion: Italian troops disembarked on Sasseno island, and then took Valona and the hinterland, while Greek units marched into northern Epirus and set up full authority there.10 Essad Pasha's position in Durazzo continuously deteriorated. Pressured by the success of the insurgents, he called the Serbian government more than once to intervene in Albania. A tacit agreement with Italy to fend off Austria-Hungary occasionally provided money. Not only did he request guns from Greece, but demanded that its troops encroach upon those regions where his enemies mustered.11 The Serbian government ordered in December 1914 that preparations begin for a military intervention in Albania. As the allied diplomacies at the time exerted strong pressure upon the Serbian government to make territorial compensation for Bulgaria, offering in return some substitutes in Albania, Pasic wanted to incapacitate further bargaining over Macedonia with an intervention in Albania. Yet only the Russian diplomacy approved his plan. Legate Miroslav Spalajkovic from St Petersburg informed in early January 1915 that the Russian diplomacy was not opposed to a Serbian intervention in Albania as long as it did not affect the course and scope of operations against Austro-Hungarian troops. There was even mention that the Russian diplomacy hoped an occupation of some parts of Albania would "this time be constant and definitive".12 When Serbian armies broke off an Austro- Hungarian offensive in the north, Pasic's government feared that politicians and military circles in Vienna would use the lull to open war against Serbia. Raids organized sporadically by fugitive leaders of the Albanian movement in Kosovo and Metohia, and carried out in co-action with Young Turks and Austro-Hungarian officers, were not of wide scope, but roused nervousness among Serbian military circles on the Albanian border. The insurgents besieged Essad Pasha in Durazzo and demanded of him to acknowledge the sultan's rule and declare war on Serbia. Pasic then evaluated it was wiser to intervene immediately than wait for a bulk army to muster in Albania with which an entire Serbian army would be forced to fight.13 The allied diplomacies warned the Serbian government that military intervention in Albania would strike an unfavorable response. The Russian diplomacy advised Serbia to be content with the occupation of the strategic points it had already occupied and refrain from actions that Italy might regard as measures directed against its interests.14 In late May, 1915, the Serbian diplomatic representative in Durazzo informed that Essad Pasha's position was critical: two new raids into Serbian territory had taken place. Despite warnings from the allies, Pasic decided on a military intervention.15 Over 20,000 Serbian soldiers armed with guns marched into Albania from three directions at the beginning of June, and took Elbasan and Tirana - the hotbeds of rebellion - suppressed the Young Turk movement, liberated the besieged Essad Pasha in Durazzo and turned over the captured insurgent leaders. A special Albanian Detachment was set up to implement a thorough pacification of Albania and consolidate Essad Pasha's rule. The regions inhabited by Mirdits, where Isa Boljetinac, Hasan Pristina and Bairam Cur were in hiding, remained out of reach for the Serbian troops; Ahmed Bey Zogu, lord of the Matis, who was the closest relative to Essad Pasha, attempted to reach an agreement with the Serbian government on his own, contrary to the Pasha: he set off to Nis on his own accord for negotiations with Pasic.16 The Montenegrin army took advantage of the favorable situation and marched into Scutari, officially still under international regime. Serbia's military intervention roused strong disapproval from the allied diplomacies, especially Italy, whose claims to the Albanian coast and central parts of the country, guaranteed under the secret London Treaty, ensured its domination in Albania. Pasic replied to protests from the allies that a temporary action was at stake and that the Serbian troops would withdraw as soon as Essad Pasha's rule was consolidated.17 The Serbian prime minister evaluated that the timing was right to permanently tie Albania to Serbia, through Essad Pasha. Serbian Internal Minister Ljubomir Jovanovic arrived in Tirana and on June 28,1915, at St Vitus' Day, signed a treaty with Essad Pasha on a real union between Serbia and Albania. Essad Pasha obligated himself to adjust the border to Serbia's advantage on the strip between Podgradec and Has. Serbia was to acquire the towns of Podgradec, Golo Brdo, Debarska Malissia, Ljuma and Has to Spac, until the international powers drew the new borders. Joint institutions envisaged an army, customs administration, national bank and missions to other countries. The Serbian government was to place at Essad Pasha's disposal experts to set up the authorities and state institutions. With Serbia's help, Essad Pasha was to be elected prince of Albania by an assembly of chiefs, he was to draw up a constitutional draft in agreement with Serbia and form a government of people who would represent the idea of Serbo-Albanian unity. The treaty anticipated that the Serbian army remain in Elbasan and perhaps in Tirana until the provisions of the treaty were executed, to persecute and destroy joint enemies. If Essad Pasha was to learn of Italy's intent to occupy Durazzo, he was under the obligation to call the Serbian army which would do so before the Italian troops.18 The Tirana Treaty was the best political option for Pasic's government in resolving the Albanian question. It stipulated to the end Serbia's war aims towards Albania. The real union was a political form allowing Serbia to influence the fate of those Albanian regions to which it lay claim prior to and during the Balkan wars. Expecting that the fate of Albania would again be discussed at a peace conference at the end of the war, the Serbian government wanted a tangible ground with the union project when putting forth its demands on Albania. The Austro-Hungarian-German offensive on Serbia and Bulgaria's engagement in the war with the Central powers helped - with frequent news about the defeats and withdrawal of Serbian troops - the mustering again of Essad Pasha's opponents in northern Albania. It was proposed at an assembly in Mati that Serbia be attacked when a favorable condition rose and Albania be expanded to Skoplje. Ahmed-bey Zogu, who through a commissioner, had constant connection with the Serbian government, opposed their plans. No joint action against Serbia took place but clashes A decision by the allies to deliver to Serbia aid in arms and ammunition via Albanian ports suddenly increased the importance of Essad Pasha's alliance. Already at the beginning of November 1914, Essad Pasha examined with the Serbian representative in Durazzo the possibility of keeping Albania a safe base for the Serbian army. Fearing another pro-Turk insurrection, Essad Pasha requested of the Serbian government that a French or British regiment disembark in Durazzo and be deployed to strategic positions throughout the country; he would in return prepare detachments to aid the Serbs in combating the Bulgarians. The Serbian prime minister, however, proposed that Essad Pasha receive a battalion of the Serbian army in Durazzo to thus prove that Serbo-Albanian interests stood before the interests of the Entante Powers. Pasic feared that Italy would use the plight of Serbian armies in the north to land its troops in Albania and occupy the whole territory. Pasic pointed out to Essad Pasha that the Entante Powers considered him a friend and a "kind of ally", and that after their victory his alliance would be rewarded with guarantees from the powers.19 1 Arhiv Srbije, Beograd. Ministarstvo inostranih dela, Strogo poverljivo (further in text: AS; MID, Str. pov.), 1914, No 233. For details on joint work among Austro-Hungarian Young Turk and Bulgarian services in Albania see: A. Mitrovic, Srbija u Prvom svetskom ratu, pp. 218-229. 2 B. Hrabak, Muslimani severne Albanije uoci izbijanja rata 1914. godine, pp. 53, 66-67. 3 AS, MID. Str. pov. 1914, No 233. 4 G. B. Leon, Greece and the Albanian Question at the Outbreak of the First World War, Balkan Studies, 1/11 (1970), pp. 69-71. 5 AS, MID, Str. pov., 1914, No. 290, 308. Essad Pasha also had arrangement with Montenegrin diplomats on principle to settle the controversials border issue by agreement, thus from Athens he requested of the Serbian government to inform Cetinje that he would "leave for Montenegro later on, as he had promised". (Ibid, No. 250) 6 Sh. Rahimi, Marreveshjet e qeverise serbe me Essat pashe Toptanit gjate viteve 1914-1915, Gjurmime Albanologjike, VI (1976), pp. 125-127; D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, p. 307. 7 AS, MID, Str. pov. 1914, No. 438 8 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, p. 307. 9 M. Ekmecic, op. cit., p. 387. The insurgents in northern Albania declared holy war against Serbia. Public Record Office London (later in text PRO, FO), vol. 438/4, No. 1071 10 G. B. Leon, op. cit., 78-80; M. Ekmecic, op. cit., 385-386. Cf P. Pastorelli, Albania nella politico estera italiana 1914-1920, Napoli 1970, pp. 19-32; James H. Burgwyn, Sonnino e la diplomazia italiana del tempo doi guerra nei Balcani nel 1915, Storia Contemporanea, XVI, 1 (1985), pp. 116-118. 11 G. B. Leon, op. cit., p. 79 12 AS, MID. Str. pov., 1914, No 863, tel. M. Spalajkovic to MID, St. Peterburg 25. 12. 1914 / 7. 01. 1915. Cf. B. Hrabak, Albanija od julske krize do proleca 1916. godine na osnovu ruske diplomatske gradje, I, Obelezja 5 (1973), pp. 71-75. 13 AS, MID, Str. Pov., 1914, No. 810, 877; B. Hrabak, Elaborat srpskog ministarstva inostranih dela o pripremama srpske okupacije severne Albanije 1915. godine, Godisnjak Arhiva Kosova, II-III (1966-1967), pp. 7-35 14 Arhiv Jugoslavije, Beograd, 80-2-604. Tel. M. Spalajkovic from St. Petersburg, 23. 04/6. 05. 1915, No 704; PRO FO, vol. 438/3, No. 100, 118. 15 The most vicious raid into Serbian territory was lead at the about 200 persons to stir up the tribes around Prizren, but his host was crushed near the village of Zur. The Serbian government informed the allies that around 1,000 armed ethnic Albanians had crossed the border (PRO, FO, 438/5, No. 53; A. R,195 16 Essad Pasha complained about the conduct of the Serbian military authorities who pursued their own policy in Mati and other regions and attempted to agitate among individual Albanian chiefs for acknowledging as ruler of Albania a Serbian prince. (D. T. Batakovic, Secanja generala Dragutina Milutinovica na komandovanje albanskim trupama 1915. godine, Mesovita grada, XIV (1985), pp. 128, idem, Ahmed-beg Zogu i Srbija, in: Srbija 1916. godine, Zb. radova Istorijskog instituta, 5, Beograd 1987, pp., 165-177). Cf. M. Ekmecic, op. cit., pp. 394-395. 17 Pro, Fo, vol. 371, Nos. 184, 187, 200, 624,; vol. 438/5, No. 75; vol, 438/6, No 1444; M. Ekmecic, op. cit., pp. 392-394; A. Mitrovic, op. cit., pp. 230-232, 18 Sh. Rahimi, op. cit., pp. 137-140; D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, pp. 309-310. 19 Ibid, pp. 313-314. The retreat of the Serbian army into Albania in late 1915 and early 1916 put the alliance of Essad Pasha to a serious test. In regions whereto his authority did not extend, particularly Catholic tribes in the northern parts of the country, the Serbian troops were forced to shoot their way through to the Adriatic ports where allied ships were waiting for them. Essad Pasha's gendarmery aided the Serbian army, secured safe passageways, accommodation and food, and engaged in skirmishes with Albanian regiments that attacked Serbian units and pillaged unarmed refugees. Essad Pasha issued a special proclamation calling Albanians to help the Serbian army, and informed military commanders about the advancement of enemy forces, the emergence of rebellious regiments and the mood of individual tribes.1 The "Albanian Golgotha" was the greatest war trial of the Serbian people. Of the 220,000 soldiers which broke through Albania towards Corfu and Bizerta, only 150,000 reached the destination; of about 200,000 refugees spread along Albanian crags and marshes by the coast barely a third (60,000 people) escaped death.2 Serbia's losses would have been much heavier were it not for Essad Pasha and his followers during the retreat and embarkation. During the retreat Essad Pasha maintained contact with the Serbian government. He rejected Pasic's proposals to proclaim his treaty with the Serbian government and admit Serbian officials in his administration, explaining that his enemies were already calling him Essadovic because of his alliance with Serbia. He wanted the allies to guarantee that Italy would not occupy entire Albania after the retreat of the Serbian army. Realizing that Austro-Hungarian troops would soon take Durazzo, Essad Pasha proposed to Pasic that he be conveyed to Corfu with his government and gendarmes, so as to be able, when the allied offensive was launched, to take up positions on the left flank of the Serbian army and operate towards Albania. At the demand of the Italian diplomacy, Essad Pasha and several hundred gendarmes crossed at the end of February 1916 to Brindisi escorted by Serbia's charge d'affaires. Prior to his departure, he declared war on the Central powers, thus taking upon himself full responsibility for his cooperation with Serbia and the Entente powers.3 Despite promises that he would be recognized as the Albanian prince, and faced with open endeavors by the Italian government to exert complete influence over him, Essad Pasha continued on to France to seek backing from the allied diplomacy. Political circles in Paris admitted him as the prime minister of a legitimate government. Military experts evaluated that Albania was a reservoir of good soldiers which could be winged over for the allied cause by Essad Pasha only. In late August, Essad Pasha reached Salonika in a French vessel. Through the mediation of the Serbian and Greek diplomacies, his government acquired the status of an exiled alliance cabinet. Essad Pasha's camp was set up at the Salonika battlefield from 1,000 gendarmes and followers under the command of Albanian officers. Deployed to positions towards Albania, he operated within the composition of the French eastern army. According to Pasic's intentions, his camp was to operate mixed with Serbian troops towards Kosovo and northern Albania.4 During work in Salonika, Essad Pasha continuously strove to obtain firm promises from France and Great Britain that when the war was over rule over Albania would not be given to Italy, and that he would be allowed to reinstate his administration in the country. At the end of 1916, Korea was proclaimed an autonomous republic under the protection of French military authorities, and power was given to the local liberals. Essad Pasha complained to Pasic about the actions of the French military command, and warned of Italy's web of intrigues, emphasizing that he had tied his fate to Serbia. He feared that the Italian troops in Argirokastro were preparing an assassination. Instead, General Giazzinto Ferrero proclaimed the state of Albania, in early June, 1917, under the Italian protectorat.5 The Serbian government followed with anxiety the consolidation of Italian positions in Albania. Immediately after the protectorate was proclaimed, the Serbian government protested to the allied powers calling on the decisions of the Ambassadorial Conference in London, to which Italy was a signatory, and warned that the one-sided proclamation of Albanian independence violated the "Balkans to the Balkan peoples" principle. The news that the Italian military authorities were promising the Albanians considerably wider state borders than those established in London in 1913 aroused particular concern. Pasic therefore made it especially clear that the Italian protectorat resembled a similar attempt by Austria-Hungary to "secure for itself a protectorat over Albania, and indirectly over the other Balkan peoples by creating a new Great Albania to the detriment of other Balkan peoples".6 Essad Pasha also protested to the Italian government. Dissatisfied with the development of the situation, he resolved to set off for Switzerland, the center of various Albanian committees, and through the French government to secure backing from the British diplomacy which supported Italy's policy in Albania. He obtained no guarantees in Paris, and failed to secure backing from the Geneva committees, tied firmly to Austria-Hungry which financed them.7 Increasingly insecure about winning support from the allies and concerned over implications that his special obligations towards Serbia were no longer a secret, Essad Pasha demanded of Pasic that the government provide more money and secure after the war his administration in Albania within the borders drawn by the Conference of Ambassadors in London. On his return to Salonika at the beginning of 1918, Essad Pasha in talks with Regent Aleksandar linked the distrust of the French diplomacy with the Tirana Treaty and Italy's endeavors to compromise France. In talks with other Serbian diplomatic officials, Essad Pasha complained that the provisions in the Tirana Treaty impeded him in political work. Finally, he made a demand to the Serbian government to procure permission from the French military authorities for introducing his administration in the Korea Republic, where Italians were freely agitating against him. The French command, however, dissolved the Korea republic in February 1918, and took over command of Essad Pasha's units, which held the front between Podgradec and Shkumbi River, due to low combat morale.8 The Serbian government strove to aid Essad Pasha as appreciably as possible within its means. Its policy towards Albania was, in principle, to any thwart plans on foreign protectorates and reinstate the regime that existed prior to the withdrawal of the Serbian army. The Serbian government protested several times against the consolidation of Italian positions in Albania, striving to give as much prominence as possible to Essad Pasha and prepare the conditions for his return to power. Essad Pasha realized himself that Serbia was his last outpost and that without its support he had no chance with the allies to win back his return to the country. Thus in a message to US President Woodraw Wilson in the summer of 1918, he said that only a future Yugoslav state could guarantee for the integrity and independence of his country.9 In the event that Pasha's return to power was not possible, Pasic was preparing to leave open the question of the border with Albania. (The Entente had prior to the breakthrough of the Salonika front signed an agreement in Paris on the division of spheres of interest whereby Albania was ceded to Italy.) In early November 1918, Pasic sent the following message: "Our policy in Albania is to establish, if possible, the situation as it was prior to the evacuation, when Essad Pasha was the Albanian prime minister, and occupy territories from the Mati river beyond and in agreement with the tribal chiefs, reestablish local administration which will act on the instructions of our authorities."10 He called Essad Pasha - at the time in France seeking backing - to return to Salonika and at the same time demanded that territories taken in Albania be occupied by mixed allied forces: he proposed also that the Albanian camp be used, mixed with Serbian officers. The French command, however, disbanded Essad Pasha's troops on October 12. By a decision of the interallied Supreme War Council, Albania was to be controlled by the Italian army up to the Maca river.11 Still, the Serbian prime minister did not rule out the possibility that the situation would develop enabling the return of Essad Pasha to Albania, to the region north of the Mati river which Serbia considered its sphere of interest. Italy persecuted Pasha's followers in the occupied parts of the country, and at one particular time made a demand to France for his internment. It all ended with the withdrawal of the French representative to his government.12 1 Ibid, pp. 315-317. 2 Veliki rat Srbije za oslobodjenje i ujedinjenje Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca, vol. XIII-XIV; Kroz Albaniju 1915-1916, Beograd 1968; M. M. Zivanovic, O evakuaciji srpske vojske iz Albanije i njenoj reorganizaciji na Krfu (1915-1916) prema francuskim dokumentima, Istorijski Casopis (XIV-XV), pp. 231-307. 3 D. T Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani i Srbija 1915. godine, pp. 321-324. 4 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), pp. 348-349. 5 AS, MID, Str. pov., 1917, No. 232 Memoire: Proglas protektorata Italije nad Albanijom i uopste rad Italije 1917 Krf, D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), pp. 350-351; P. Pastorelli, op. cit., pp. 36-41; I documenti diplomatici italiani, Quinta serie, vol. VI, Roma MCMLXXXVIII, NOs, 119, 390, 394, 427, 438, 445, 448, 831. 6 AS, MID, Str. pov., 1917, No. 182. Pasic's note dated 30. 05/13. 06.1917. 7 D. T. Batakovic, Esad-pasa Toptani, Srbija i albansko pitanje (1916-1918), pp. 8 Ibid, pp. 353-358. 9 Ibid, pp. 359. 10 Ibid, pp. 360. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid, pp. 361-362; B. Hrabak, Reokupacija oblasti srpske i crnogorske drzave s arbanaskom vecinom stanovnistva u jesen 1918. godine i drzanje Arbanasa prema uspostavljenoj vlasti. Gjurmime albanologjike, 1 (1969), pp. 262-265, 285-286. After the war, Italy became the main rival of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in Albania. Rome strove to use the disintegration of the Dual Monarchy to step up its positions in the Balkans and turn the Adriatic Sea into an Italian lake. Albania was in its schemes the country wherefrom Italian influence would be wielded onto the neighboring regions. The Italian troops occupied the largest part of Albania and, by meeting the demands of various committees (particularly the Kosovo Committee) in annexing to Albania Metohia, Kosovo and western Macedonia, they presented themselves as the protector of the interests of all the Albanian people. An interim government of Turhan Pasha Permeti was set up in Durazzo under the wing of Italy at the end of December 1918, which was ready to recognize as its ruler a prince from the House of Savoy. At the Peace Conference in Paris, Italy strove to secure the possession of Valona and hinterland and obtain a mandate over the other parts of Albania.1 The envoys of the pro-Italian Durazzo government demanded at the Peace Conference a revision of the 1913 borders - they wanted Prizren, Djakovica, Pec, Pristina, Mitrovica, Skoplje, Tetovo and Debar to be included in the composition of the Albanian state.2 The policy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes towards Albania did not deviate much from that of Pasic's government. Belgrade evaluated that the consolidation of Italian positions in Albania would be a source of continual threat to Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring regions. Head of the delegation to the Conference, Nikola Pasic, also shaped the policy of the new state as regards Albania. In order to repress Italian influence in the Balkans, he demanded the restoration of Albania within the 1913 borders, as an independent state with autonomous and national rule. If the Great Powers should nevertheless decide to divide the Albanian territories among the neighboring states, the delegation demanded that the Yugoslav state be given northern Albania from the Veliki Drim to Scutari.3 Under the aegis of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, Essad Pasha brought his delegation to The Peace Conference in Paris. Having submitted a memorandum to the Conference at the end of April, he called on the legitimacy of his government, its allied status in Salonika and the declaration of war on the Central powers. Seeking the restoration of independent Albania within the 1913 borders, Essad Pasha demanded to be recognized as the only legal representative of his people.4 The Peace Conference, however, did not officially discuss the fate of Albania as it was formally considered a neutral state during the war. The question of its future was being resolved at the Ambassadorial Conference of the Great Powers. The diplomatic circles of the Western allies assessed that Albania was insufficiently nationally constituted and that its development had to be under the control of a big power. As time passed, the representatives of the Great Powers saw the solution to the Albanian question in granting a mandate to Italy - its troops controlled the largest part of the Albanian territory and its diplomats persisted on the allies meeting the provisions taken over by the 1915 London Treaty.5 Pasic evaluated that the Albanian question was to be resolved soon. He strove to set it apart from its natural linkage with the Adriatic question, which was considered an object of compensation. Even though France and Great Britain paid heed to the interests of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, Pasic believed that the key role in resolving the Albanian question would be assumed by United States President Woodraw Wilson and Italy. He persistently maintained the stand that the Delegation of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes demanded the restoration of Albania within the 1913 borders, and that border alteration towards Serbia and Montenegro be resolved in agreement with the tribes that lived there. If the stand prevailed that the provisions of the London Treaty should be met, Pasic demanded - as a Great Power was coming to the Balkans and in the immediate vicinity of the Yugoslav state - stronger strategic borders as compensation, "The Glavni (Veliki) Drim from the sea to the confluence of the Crni Drim, then the Crni Drim up to a point beneath Debar, to the confluence of the Zota river left of the Crni Drim, encompassing entire Ohrid Lake with the watershed to remain on our side."6 Since Valona and the hinterland was being ceded to Italy under the 1915 London Treaty, as well as protectorat over central Albania, while Northern Albania was intended for Serbia and Montenegro, Pasic proposed that the northern Albanian tribes be given the right to self-determination, "to say themselves if they wish to join the central Muslim Albania under the Italian protectorat, or to form a separate small state - some sort of small 'buffer state', or if they desire to join our state as a small autonomous state".7 Thus from the beginning of 1919, petitions of individual Catholic tribes demanding to be annexed to Serbia were collected at the border belt, with backing from the military and civil authorities of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes.8 This way Pasic wanted to parry the pro-Italian delegation to the Peace Conference and deputies of the American Albanian society "Fire", which demanded the forming of a Great Albania inclusive of considerable regions of the former Serbian and Montenegrin state. Thus he supported those groups of Albanian delegates in Paris that maintained it would be the most benefitial for Albania if it came to terms with the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, and accepted a border alteration to its advantage, in keeping with the wish of the local population. Pasic set out they believed that their independence "would best be ensured if they entered into an alliance with us, especially to set up a customs union. The group comprises Essad Pasha's followers and those opposing the Italian protectorat".9 On the ground, particularly those areas in Albania under occupation (by agreement with the French army, after the Austro-Hungarian troops were driven out) - Pishkopeja, Gornji and Donji Debar and Golo Brdo - the Serbian military authorities, and subsequently those of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, tried to help organize Essad Pasha's followers. A committee in Debar was entrusted with the task of setting up rule in the border areas and preparing the conditions for Pasha's return to the country. His commissioners exerted the strongest influence in regions between Golo Brdo and Gornji Debar, in Podgradec and Starova while deep into the country, in the central parts, Italian troops gradually and successfully checked Essad Pasha's followers. Despite continuous dissipation, Essad Pasha still enjoyed considerable support especially among the old Muslim beys, who viewed with distrust the consolidation of Italian positions in central Albania.10 Beside the Conference, Italy and Greece signed in late July 1919 a secret treaty - the so-called Tittoni-Veniselos Treaty - on the division of the Albanian territory. At the beginning of December the allied powers recognized Italy's sovereignty over Valona and the hinterland, and offered it a mandate to set up administration in the remaining part of Albania under the control of the League of Nations. The same memorandum envisaged and defined territorial compensations to the advantage of Greece. Pasic again set out that in that case the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had to stand by their demand for more favorable borders towards Albania. He proposed that the region of the entire length of the Mace river to the Crni Drim be demanded as the maximum, and the stretch along the Crni and Veliki Drim rivers to their confluence as the minimum.11 Cooperation with Essad Pasha never ceased for a moment. The delegation of the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes backed his demands that he be paid war reparations as an ally to the Entante Powers and thus indirectly acquire an allied status. Pasha's followers in the country dissipated and gathered again, depending on current circumstances, and were unsparingly helped in actions against those supported by the Italians. He sent messages several times to his followers that he was returning to the country and advised them to act in cooperation with Serbia and to decisively oppose the Italian occupation.12 While a bitter diplomatic battle over Albania's destiny was being waged at the Conference, a movement rose against the Italian occupation in the country. The government in Durazzo was condemned and replaced at a national congress of Albanian chiefs in Ljusnje in early 1920, and strong protests were lodged with the Peace Conference and Italian parliament. The delegates demanded the creation of a Great Albania; command over the army was entrusted to Bairam Cur.13 Essad Pasha's followers who convened at the People's Assembly in March made strong demands that the Italian troops be routed. Ahmed Zogu, the interior minister in the government of Suleyman Delvina, strove to neutralize Essad Pasha, sending to that end special emissaries to Paris at the end of May. The delegation offered Essad Pasha the post of prime minister, on the condition that he abandon aspirations to rule Albania.14 At the time Bairam Cur lead a decisive battle against the detachments of Pasha's followers. Finally, on June 13, 1920, an Albanian student, Avni Rustemi, by order of Lushnje government, killed Essad Pasha in front of the Continental Hotel in Paris, believing that as an ally to Serbia and then to the Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, he had betrayed the interests of the Albanian people. Essad Pasha was buried with the last honors in the Serbian army cemetery in Paris. 1 P. Pastorelli, op. cit., pp. 63-86; V. Vinaver, Italijanska akcija protiv Jugoslavija na albansko-jugoslovenskoj granici 1919-1920. god., Istorijski zapisi, XXIII, 3 (1966), pp. 477-515; Z. Avramovski, Albanija izmedju Jugoslavije i Italije, Vojnoistorijski glasnik, 3 (1984), pp. 164-166. 2 Arhiv Jugoslavije, Delegacija Kraljevine Srba Hrvata i Slovenaca na Konferenciji mira u Parizu (later in text: AJ, Delegacija), f-27, No 296; D. Todorovic, Jugoslavija i balkanske drzave 1918-1923, Beograd 1979, p. 50. 3 The Question of Scutari, Paris 1919; A. Mitrovic, Jugoslavija na Konferenciji 1919-1920, Beograd 1969, pp. 169-176; Documentation in: B. Krizman - B. Hrabak, Zapisnici sa sednice delegacije Kraljevine SHS na mirovnoj konferenciji u Parizu 1919-1920, Beograd 1960, pp. 321-324, 365-366 4 Memoir prsente la Conference de la Paix Paris par son Excellence le general Essad Toptani prsident du gouvernement d'Albanie, Paris 16 Avril 1919. (Essad Pasha's correspondence with the Serbian government and his letter addressed to the Conference in: A3, Delegacija, f-27. The same file contains the memoirs of Leon Krajewski dated January 2, 1919, focusing mainly on Essad Pasha's relations with France) 5 AJ, Delegacija, f-27, No 7289; P. Pastorelli, op. cit., pp. 189-225; D. Todorovic, op. cit, pp. 53-64. Cf P. Milo, L'attitude du Royame serbo-croato-slovene a I'egard de I'Albanie la Conference de la paw. a Paris (1919-1920), Studia Albanica, 1 (1989), pp. 37-57. 6 AJ, Delegacija, f-28, Pasic to Prime Minister; A. Mitrovic, Jugoslavija na Konferenciji mira, pp. 7 Ibid 8 D. Todorovic, op. cit., pp. 49. The originals of a number of petitions (submitted to the Peace Conference) on the annexation of the northern Albanian tribes to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes are kept in: AJ, Delegacija, f-28. 9 Same as footnote 49. 10 AJ, Delegacija, f-27, Nos. 5504, 5376, 6275, 6451, 6589. 11 Z. Avramovski, op. cit., p. 167. 12 AJ, Delegacija, f-27, Nos. 5504, 5376, 6275, 6451, 6589. 13 Ibid, Nos. 5484 - 5489; i. Avramovski, op. cit., pp. 169-170. 14 AJ, Delegacija, f-28, Nos. 6724, 6725. The cooperation of the Serbian government and subsequently the government of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes with Essad Pasha is an important chapter in the history of Serbo-Albanian relations. It was the first joint effort to resolve issues of dispute between two peoples in the Balkans to the Balkan peoples principle, in a manner that was, with certain territorial concessions to Serbia, and subsequently to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, to wipe out old hotbeds of mutual conflict. The strategic aspirations of the Serbian government to curb the influence of Great Powers in Albania did not emanate solely from old aspirations to permanently master northern Albania, but from actual political estimates that under the influence and protectorat of a Great Power, the Albanian state would pursue the course of maximalist and national claims to territories that were inhabited, aside to the Serbian people, by Albanians -- Kosovo, Metohia and western Macedonia. Kosovo and Metohia is the native and ancestral land of the Serbs. The Serbian Jerusalem, which spread over an area of 10,800 km2, is covered with a dense of about 200 medieval monasteries, churches and fortresses. Kosovo was the scene of the famous battle held on St. Vitus Day (June 28) in 1389, when Serbian Prince Lazar and the Turkish emir Murad both lost their lives. The Ottoman's breakthrough into the heart of Southeast Europe also marked the beginning of the five centuries long clash of two civilisations: European (Christian) and Near Eastern (Islamic). The conflict, alive to this day, is generated in the visible layer also in the clash of the two nations: the Serbs, mainly Orthodox Christians, and the ethnic Albanians, mainly Muslims. The oath of Prince Lazar, derived from the New Testament tradition of martyrdom that it was better to obtain freedom in the celestial empire than to live humiliated in the oppression of the earthly kingdom, became during the centuries of Turkish rule, the key of Serbian national ideology. The Kosovo oath, woven into the national epos, became the basis upon which the Serbs built the cult of resisting and not accepting injustice. The Kosovo pledge was like a flag raising rebellions against the Ottomans and heading towards its final aim: the restoration of the Serbian national state. Many a generation of Serbs received its first notions of itself and the world by listening to folk poems describing the Kosovo sufferings: the apocalyptical fall of Serbian Empire, the tormentous death of Prince Lazar, the betrayal of Vuk Brankovic, the heroism of Milos Obilic who, consciously sacrifying himself, reached the tent of the emir and cut him down with his sword. Withdrawing in front of the Turks towards west and the north, the only political tradition of the Serbs was the Kosovo pledge. Through the Pec Patriarchate, the historical traditions of the Serbs crystalized into a epic tradition of an exceptionally national character. Even before the creation of modern nations, the Serbs found in the Kosovo covenant firm basis for a future national integration. When the firsts national revolution in the Balkans broke out in Serbia in 1804, during the Napoleonic wars, its leaders dreamed of a new battle of Kosovo with which they would reestablish the lost empire. The historicism of the romantic epoch only blended harmoniously with the already clearly formed picture the Serbs had of their past and the tasks that were assigned to them as a nation. The influence of the Kosovo covenant, functioning towards the creation of national conscience, continued throughout the entire 19 century. It the two Serbian states, Serbia and Montenegro, independent since 1878, the Kosovo ideology (called also the covenant Serbian thought") was institutionalized, conformed the needs of state nationalism: their national program had as its final revenge of Kosovo and the restoration of the large Serbian state in the center of the Balkans. The centuries-dreamed-of fight with the Turks occurred in the fall of 1912. The Serbian army liberated Kosovo in a few week, while the forces of Montenegro marched triumphantly into Metohia. Negotiations on the final unification of the two Serbian states were interrupted by World War I. Serbian students from Bosnia and Herzegovina (occupied by Austria-Hungary 1878), inspired by the Kosovo idea, like new Obilic heroes, assassinated the heir to the Habsburg throne on St. Vitus Day in 1914, in Sarajevo. The Kingdom of Serbs Croats and Slovenes, later named Yugoslavia, was created on the remnants of Austria-Hungary after the Great War ended. A union of South Slav peoples was created instead of unified Serbian national state. The Serbs, almost all of them, found themselves within the framework of one state for the first time in history. It should have been the guarantee of their civil and national rights. Having underestimated the influences of thousand-year-long civilisational differences, the Serbs, although representing the relative majority, found themselves faced with unsolvable problems regarding differences in religion, historical traditions, political mentality and national aims. The case of ethnic Albanian minority in Kosovo and Metohia is a paradigmatic example of the impossibility of overcoming civilisational gaps caused by the erosive force of history. The Kosovo and Metohia were, in the moment of liberation in 1912, a backward agricultural community with mixed Serbian and ethnic Albanian population, devastated by the raging of tribal anarchy. Serbs, however, even then made almost half of the entire population in spite of the huge waves of emigration in the previous period (about 150,000 from the region Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring Raska and northern Macedonia). The Pan-Islamic policy of Abdulhamid II (1878-1909) made Kosovo and Metohia, beside Armenia, "the most unfortunate land in the world", as witnessed contemporaries from Victor Berard and George Gaulis to H. N. Brailsford to Frederick Moore. The Kurds were crushing the Armenians in Asia Minor, and ethnic Albanians in the European provinces were dealing in the same way with the unreliable Christian subjects of Sultan: Serbs, Greeks and Bulgarians. The three centuries long domination of Islamized ethnic Albanians in the Balkans, culminated at the beginning of the 20th century. Living for centuries with the gun in hand, the tribes of ethnic Albanians discovered in the plains of Kosovo and Metohia the space for their further biological expansion. Islam granted them the right to persecute Christians, lower grade citizens, and stay unpunished. In time, a strange conviction settled itself among the ethnic Albanians' tribes that Islam was the religion of free peoples and Christianity that of slaves. In the Kingdom of Serbia, constitutional monarchy with multiparty system and democratic institutions, the ethnic Albanians mostly minded the fact that their yesterday serfs now became not only their equals, but the ruling class in the state as well. Islam marked strongly the national emancipation of ethnic Albanians and defined their civilisational image. Although not fanatical believers, ethnic Albanians have also built their national identity on the basis of Islamic traditions, in fierce opposition to the neighboring Christian states. The national elite from Catholic and Orthodox tribes in the north and south of today's Albania did not succeed in imposing Europe-shaped solutions in the fight for a national state: the Muslim majority dominated in all phases of the development of the Albanian state. The rule of the founder of Communist Albania, Enver Hoxha, in spite of the decree banning all religions in the country, showed that it owed most to solutions represented in the past by national leaders with Islamic background. His regime, created by mixing oriental feudalism and Stalinist type of communism, was the ideological framework accepted without hesitation as a political model for national movement by ethnic Albanians in communist Yugoslavia. In the inter-war period, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, by colonizing the rich but uncultivated spaces of Kosovo and Metohia, tried not only to return the Serbian character to these areas, but also to establish modern European institutions, as it did in other provinces of the Yugoslav state. The ethnic Albanian population on Kosovo found it most difficult to adjust to the civil order in the Europe-organized state where, instead of status of absolute privilege during the Ottoman rule, they received only civil and political equality and with the former rayah at that-people whom they had only recently treated as serfs. World War II showed that the national breach developed from the religious one: after driving the colonists out and burning down their homes, the ethnic Albanians, mostly Muslims, set fires to and robbed many Orthodox churches, and Orthodox cemeteries were constantly desecrated. The development of political circumstances in communist Yugoslavia suited the further ethnic Albanians' national emancipation. Biologically exhausted (1,200,000 in World War I in Serbia only, and at least that many in World War II, now coming mostly from Vojna Krajina in Croatia, Montenegro, Herzegovina and Bosnia), and, after the brutal destruction of the civil class, politically decapitated, the Serbs became pawns in the hands of the new regime. Accepting Yugoslavia again as an inevitable solution to their national question, the Serbs did not realize for a long time that a national integration of other nations was going on in the communist Yugoslavia and almost entirely to their disadvantage. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was organized as a centralist state of French type. The communists on the other hand thought that centralism in that "Versailles creation" was the most typical expression of the "Greater Serbian hegemony". Tearing apart the political domination of Serbs in Yugoslavia, the communist created several federal units dividing Serbian lands after the World War II. The communist authorities in 1945 forbade with a special decree all forcibly moved out colonists to return to Kosovo, Metohia and Macedonia and their estates were mostly confiscated and afterwards granted to emigrants from Albania. The ethnic Albanians, however, in the divided Serbian state, have been given not only schools and cultural institutions but full political power. The communists were making amends for the sins of the "Greater Serbian hegemony" in the inter-war period. During the World War II, the majority of ethnic Albanians from Yugoslavia accepted, under the wing of fascist Italy, the creation of the satellite "Greater Albania" and thus cooperated in large numbers with the fascist and Nazi military authorities, unmistakably showing that they were in favor of the unification with Albania; notwithstanding this, their secessionist tendencies were completely revitalized after the war. A plan existed to form a Balkan federation (Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania under the leadership of Tito), and that is why Tito supported the large colonization of Albanians from Albania and promised Kosovo to Enver Hoxha if he entered the joint federal state. After the split with USSR and Cominform in 1948, Albania, turned into Yugoslavia's toughest enemy. The relations were normalized as Yugoslavia's insistence only in 1971, when an unusually lively and wide exchange of ideas and functionaries began between Kosovo and Albania. Under auspices of Albanian regime a 19th century type of national romanticism mixed with Albanian version of Marxism-Leninism, religious intolerance and almost racial prejudice towards Slavs became the essence of the ethnic Albanian's national movement in Kosovo and Metohia. Ideological and theocratic monism along with the strong tribal traditions as heritage of Ottoman empire fit well into a ideological monism of totalitarian ideology of communist Albania. Kosovo and Metohia has already then been an autonomous province on its way towards acquiring the attributes of a state within Yugoslav federation. The confederalization of communist Yugoslavia, finalized with the 1974 Constitution, excluded both provinces (Kosovo and Vojvodina) from Serbian authority, turning them into state entities with almost independent governments. In order to legalize formally the Albanization of the Province, the ethnic Albanian communist leadership threw out of its name the word Metohia (of Greek origin meaning church-owned land). It turned out that the hundreds of attacks the ethnic Albanians made upon Orthodox believers, priests monks and nuns, churches and monasteries, and the annexation of monastery property in the post-war period, were manifestations of centuries deep religious and national intolerance. The restoration of religious life of the Muslims in Kosovo and Metohia was conducted parallely with the Albanization. New mosque sprang up (about 700 mosques were built in Yugoslavia under communist rule, more than during the several centuries long Ottoman dominion; at the same time, about 500 Catholic and 300 Orthodox churches were erected); the Muslim clergy's primary demand from the believers was for them to have as many children as possible. The highest birth-rate in Europe derived also from religious traditions of ethnic Albanians. Instead of a political emancipation and economic progress of the ethnic Albanians' minority, the local communist leadership in Kosovo and Metohia and the Islamic institutions (including Bekteshi order, widely spread among ethnic Albanians), had the same aim: pushing out the Serbs; the modernization of Kosovo and Metohia for which the federation had put aside huge sums, turned out to be symbolic. The enormous resources from the federal funds which were intended for the economic and cultural development (these amounts reached the sum of over 1 million US dollars per day in the late seventies and in the eighties) were spent in a similar way as the help the Third world countries received from the European states. Instead of economy, the communist-national oligarchy spent the money on propaganda of secession ideology and used it for joint political action with communist Albania. At the same time, the friendship of the Yugoslav communist leadership with the Third World Muslim countries helped a lot create a suitable climate for the penetration of Muslim fundamentalism which, for ethnic Albanians, mainly signifies traditional framework of civilization. Albania, formally atheistic, watched with favor upon the biological expansion of ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia and the support of Islamic institutions and officials, because it all led to a final goal: the creation of the Greater Albania. Being the nation with the highest birthrate in Europe (28 promils), ethnic Albanians soon became the majority in Kosovo and Metohia. Another 200,000 native Serbs, faced with constant physical and political pressure, looked for a safer life outside the Province. The Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia became, in their own state, a persecuted and unprotected minority. From making almost a half of the population after World War II, the number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia dropped to 15-20% of the population. One year after Tito's death, in March 1981, ethnic Albanians announced their rebellion against Yugoslavia by setting a fire at the Pec Patriarchate, a complex of medieval churches, where the throne of the patriarch of Serbian Orthodox Church is formally located. It surfaced again that religious intolerance remained the deepest layer of their obsession against the Serbs. Several days later they came out into the streets demanding that the Province gets republic status so that they could acquire one more right which only republic (according to a Leninist principle) hold: the right to self-determination up to secession. The Yugoslav communists have for the first time openly shown the true face of their national policy in the case of Kosovo and Metohia: in their ideology every appearance of the Serbian national identity was considered as the biggest danger for the internal equilibrium of the regime: all other national movements were watched with complacency. Delegations of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia were coming, for almost an entire decade, to the National Assembly in Belgrade, asking the highest state bodies for protection, pointing to the ties between the ethnic Albanian oligarchy, the Albanian secret police (Sigurimi) and the radical currents in Muslim circles. It was ascertained that the local ethnic Albanians' authorities in Metohia entered Serbian medieval monasteries in new land-registry books as mosques, while the private land of the Serbian refugees-peasants, was entered as the ownership of those very ethnic Albanians (mostly emigrants from Albania) who usurped them in the first place with the political support of the local authorities. Attacks on Serbian churches an the demolishing of Orthodox monuments became an everyday form of expressing Albanian national identity. Significant sign of religious influence on everyday life of ethnic Albanians is new architecture of private houses: almost all are surrounded by two or three meters high walls which, according to Muslim traditions, are hiding Albanian women from eyes of strangers. Similar picture gives a architecture of public buildings, from libraries to hotels: all of them are shaped with strong Muslim tradition. All recent researches on religion in Yugoslavia shows that ethnic Albanians, mainly Muslims, are the most religious population: 70% of entire population; 34% of Serbs are religious, 53% of Croats, 60% of Slovenes and only 37% of Bosnian Muslims. Among intellectuals 61% of ethnic Albanians, 15% of Serbs and 19% of Bosnian Muslims are religious; in lower classes 85% of ethnic Albanians, 48% of Serbs and 60% of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The persecution of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia and their innumerable appeals to the Serbian and Yugoslav public, managed to shake the Serbs out of their comfortable Yugoslavism. It appeared that Yugoslavism was only an ideological framework consistently neutralizing the political, economic, cultural and the entire national potential of the Serbs. They evoked from the forbidden past their Kosovo pledge, once again discovering the essence of their national identity. The awareness of the vital Serbian interests being threatened, spread under the influence of the oppositional intellectuals and with the crucial support of unofficial media. The support which was arriving to Kosovo ethnic Albanians from all Muslim countries, and even from Muslim intellectuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, showed that the question was far more than an ethnical and interstate conflict over the territory. Becoming aware of the nation being endangered, Serbs began to return to the national and political traditions, culture and religion, realizing that once again, like in the age of the Ottoman rule, their lands will be the scene of the final phase of the centuries-long clash between the basically Islamic concept of society and the European-shaped Serbian civilization. Unfortunately, the Serbian movement in Kosovo was skillfully used by new communist leadership in Serbia who in 1987 introduced the populist policy to preserve the old bureaucratic structure upon rediscovered national ideals. But the accelerated disintegration of the Yugoslav federation showed that narrow interest of the ruling communist and post-communist national lites hid underneath a heap ethnic tensions which could hardly be overcome by democratic means. A deep driving force of all tectonic disturbances in Kosovo and Metohia emerged from layers beneath the deceptive communist reality and the inheritance of centuries long conflict of different nations: a clash of two civilizations, the Christian and the Islamic, which found cohabitations difficult even in other European countries where Islamized population is usually a minority. Ethnic strife in Kosovo and Metohia are, for many influential Serbian intellectuals, only stirred up foam on the surface of the sea whose invisible currents hide its true contents. Although the clash between these two mutually excluding points of view will be taking place under the protection of different ideological premises adjusted to the demands of the political situation, the clash of civilisations as a powerful process of "la longue duree", remains the framework which will, maybe even permanently, determine the further flow of history in this entire region. It is only to be hoped that the influential rays of the European integration, based on democratic institutions, market economy and civil sovereignty will, in the long run, turn out to be the more stable than the challenges fixed by historical heritage. Otoman Vilayets Serbia 1804-1913 Comunist Yugoslavia: Federal Organization Settling of Albanian tribes 0x01 graphic Fig. 1: Ottoman Vilayets 0x01 graphic Fig. 2: Serbia 1804-1913 0x01 graphic Fig. 3: Comunist Yugoslavia: Federal Organization 0x01 graphic Fig. 4: Settling of Albanian Tribes

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