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Robert Elsie

Texts and Documents of Albanian History


1000 — 1799

1800 — 1899

1900 — 1919

1920 — 1944

1945 —


Albanian History
1800 — 1899

William Martin Leake:
Travels in Southern Albania

A British military man tours southern Albania in 1804 and 1805.


François Pouqueville:
Travels in Epirus and Albania

François Pouqueville, French consul in Janina, gives an account of his travels through Epirus and southern Albania at the time of Ali Pasha of Tepelena.


Lord Byron:
Letters on Albania

The English poet writes home describing his meeting in Janina with the formidable tyrant, Ali Pasha of Tepelena, and the attempts of the tyrant’s son to seduce him.


John Hobhouse:
A Meeting with Ali Pasha in Tepelena

Lord Byron’s friend and travelling companion, John Hobhouse, describes their meeting with Ali Pasha of Tepelena in October 1809 and provides an account of the pasha’s life.


Peter Oluf Brønsted:
Interviews with Ali Pacha of Joanina

Danish archaeologist Peter Oluf Brønsted narrates his meeting with Ali Pasha in Preveza in late 1812.


1812 - 1813
Henry Holland:
Travels in the dominions of Ali Pasha

British travel writer Henry Holland offers a biography of Ali Pasha and a description of his journey from Janina to Tepelena.


Thomas Smart Hughes:
Travels in Albania

Two English gentlemen travel through southern Albania and Epirus in 1813.


Charles Cockerell:
Travels in Southern Europe

British archaeologist and writer Charles Cockerell narrates his visit from Preveza to Janina, then in southern Albania, and his meeting with Ali Pasha.


Ibrahim Manzour:
Information on Albania and the Customs of its Inhabitants

A by no means flattering description of the early nineteenth-century Albanians, as encountered by an Alsatian soldier and writer at the court of Ali Pasha of Janina.


Félix de Beaujour:
The Albanians as Fighters and Soldiers

An early 19th-century French diplomat leaves his impressions of the Albanians as fighters and soldiers.


Benjamin Disraeli:
Letter on a Visit to Albania

Benjamin Disraeli, later to be British prime minister, describes his journey to Arta and Janina, then in southern Albania, and his awe at entering the divan of the Great Turk.


David Urquhart:
The Spirit of the East

Scottish political figure David Urquhart visits southern Albania in November 1831 and gives an account of his journey overland from Gjirokastra to Tepelena, Berat, Kavaja and Durrës.


Gottlieb August Wimmer:
Notes on Albania

A German geography book reveals the level of general knowledge of Albania in 1833.


Robert Curzon:
Through Albania on the Road to Meteora

English scholar Robert Curson passes through Paramythia and Janina, then in Albanian Epirus, on his way back from the Levant.


Ami Boué:
Journeys through Kosovo in European Turkey

The German-Austrian geographer Ami Boué travelled much in European Turkey and made several journeys back and forth across Kosovo in the years 1836-1838.


Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer:
The Early Albanian Settlement of the Peloponnese

A then controversial study of the 13th-14th century migration of Albanian tribes to southern Greece and their settlement in the Peloponnese.


Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer:
Die albanische Besiedlung des Peloponnes im Mittelalter

Umstrittene Studie zur Einwanderung albanischer Stämme in das südliche Griechenland und deren Ansiedlung im Peloponnes im 13.-14. Jahrhundert.


August Grisebach:
A Journey from Prizren to Shkodra

A German botanist makes his way on foot from Prizren to Shkodra and describes an unknown land.


Nicolay, Prince of the Vasoyevich:
Brief Information on the Tribes of High Albania

A first-hand account of the highland tribes of Albania and Montenegro, given by a Montenegrin author.


Nicolay, Prince des Wassoevitch:
Notice abrégée sur les tribus de la Haute Albanie ...

Description des tribus dans la région frontalière entre l’Albanie et le Monténégro par un auteur monténégrin.


Cyprien Robert:
The Albanians

The French scholar Cyprien Robert gives a description of the Albanians as he sees them (1842).


Joseph Müller:
Characteristics of the Albanians

Dr Joseph Müller was an Austro-Hungarian military physician from Prague who served as medical commissioner in Albania and Rumelia around 1838. The following excerpts reflect the level of general knowledge of the Albanians and their language in the first half of the nineteenth century.


Edward Lear:
The Devil Writes

English poet and painter Edward Lear, on an originally unplanned painting tour of Albania, gives us an account of his visit to Elbasan and Tirana.


James Henry Skene:
The Albanians

Scottish diplomat James Henry Skene provides an ethnological study of the Albanians, as they were seen in the mid-19th century.


Edmund Spencer:
A Journey from Ohrid to Janina

English travel writer Edmund Spencer narrates his overland journey through central and southern Albania.


William Wingfield:
A Tour in Albania

English writer William Frederick Wingfield provides an account of his brief visit to Shkodra in Ottoman Albania.


Johann Georg von Hahn:
Travels in Central Albania

Von Hahn, remembered as the father of Albanian studies, gives a detailed and informative rendering of his journey through central Albania (Myzeqeja, Durrës, Kavaja, Tërbuf, Peqin, Elbasan, Tirana, Kruja and Shijak) in 1850.


Hyacinthe Hecquard:
A Description of Plava and Gucia

A description of Plava [Plav] and Gucia [Gusinje] in southeastern Montenegro in 1858.


Johann Georg von Hahn:
Travels in Dardanian Albania

Description of a journey through Kosovo in 1858.


1858 - 1869
Guillaume Lejean:
Travels in Albania and Kosovo

A Breton geographer ventures into the northern Albanian mountains and Kosovo in the mid-nineteenth century.


George Finlay:
The Albanians

Detailed account of the presence of the Albanians in central Greece in the mid-nineteenth century, of the Albanian origin of the “fustanella,” and of the tragic fate of the Suliot Albanians at the time of Ali Pasha.


Georgina Mackenzie and Paulina Irby:
Travels in the Slavonic Provinces of Turkey-in-Europe

Two British ladies, travelling through the southern Balkans, describe their stay in Ottoman Prizren.


Henry Fanshawe Tozer:
Researches in the Highlands of Turkey

Henry Fanshawe Tozer (1829-1916) was a British writer, teacher and traveller. He is the author of the travel book “Researches in the Highlands of Turkey, Including Visits to Mounts Ida, Athos, Olympus, and Pelion, to the Mirdite Albanians, and Other Remote Tribes” (London 1869), which contains a detailed account of his journey through Albania in 1865.


Emile Wiet:
The Diocese of Lezha and Mirdita

A French diplomat, serving as consul in Shkodra, describes the Catholic diocese of Lezha and Mirdita in the mid-19th century.


Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico:
A Visit to Albania

Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria, later to become Emperor of Mexico, gives an account of his visit to the rather run-down port of Durrës.


Auguste Dozon:
Excursion to Albania

Description by a French consul of his journey through Ottoman Albania in 1875.


Arthur Evans:
Albania and the Eastern Key of the Adriatic

British archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, writes a letter about his visit to the port of Durrës in May 1877.


Edward Frederick Knight:
Early English Tourists Venture into the Northern Albanian Mountains

A group of early English tourists venture into the mountains of northern Albania and get more of an adventure than they bargained for.


Memorandum to Lord Beaconsfield

Early appeal for Albanian autonomy and independence, sent to Prime Minister Disraeli at the Congress of Berlin.


Pashko Vasa:
Memorandum on the new Bulgaria

Albanian political figure and writer Pashko Vasa, also known as Wassa Effendi, sent this memorandum to the British government as a reaction to the Treaty of San Stefano in March 1878.


The Resolutions of the League of Prizren

Albanian leaders gathered in Prizren to oppose the Treaty of San Stefano and the Congress of Berlin that had ignored the rising Albanian wish for self-determination. The League of Prizren, that passed these Resolutions, marked the start of the thirty-year struggle for Albanian independence.


Fanny Janet Blunt:
The Albanians

Fanny Janet Blunt, wife of the British vice-consul in Skopje, Sir John Elijah Blunt, published a two-volume study of ‘The Peoples of Europe’, including this chapter on the Albanians.


Arthur Evans:
Some Observations on the Present State of Dardania

British archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, reports from late 19th-century Kosovo, a land “plunged into apparently hopeless anarchy.”


Oscar Baumann:
From Tuzi to Scutari

A nineteen-year-old Austrian lad hikes from Podgorica in Montenegro over the border to Scutari (Shkodra) in Ottoman Albania in the summer of 1883.


1884 - 1889
Jean-Claude Faveyrial:
Histoire de l'Albanie

Présentation de la première histoire de l’Albanie et de son auteur, l’enseignant Jean-Claude Faveyrial, qui était prêtre de la Mission Lazariste à Monastir (Bitola) en Macédoine.


1889 - 1898
Sami Bey Frashëri:
Description of Chameria

Extracts on Chameria from Sami bey Frashëri’s monumental Ottoman Turkish lexicon “Kamus al-a’lam.”


1889 - 1898
Sami Bey Frashëri:
Description of Kosova

Extracts on Kosova (Kosovo) from Sami bey Frashëri’s monumental Ottoman Turkish lexicon “Kamus al-a’lam.”


Victor Bérard:
Travels through Central Albania,
between Turkey and Contemporary Hellenism

A French classical scholar describes his journey through Ottoman Albania (Durrës, Kavaja, Peqin and Elbasan) in 1890, on his way to Macedonia.


Theodor Ippen:
Novi Pazar and Kosovo

The Austrian scholar Theodor Ippen describes his journey through the Sandjak of Novi Pazar and Kosovo in the late Ottoman period.


Naim Frashëri:
The Bektashi Notebook

Naim Frashëri’s profession of faith, the Bektashi Notebook, for the first time in a good English translation.


Kurt Hassert:
Excursions in High Albania

The German geographer Kurt Hassert describes his travels through the mountains of northern Albania in 1897, from Shkodra to Mirdita and Prizren, and to the rapacious Shala tribe.


Karl Oestreich:
A Visit with an Albanian Chieftain

The German geographer Karl Oestreich travelled through Ottoman Kosovo in the late summer of 1898. While sojourning in Mitrovica, he wrote the following entry in his diary about his visit to the home of the Kosovo nationalist figure and guerilla fighter, Isa Boletini.


Sami Bey Frashëri:
What will Become of Albania?

Major manifesto of the Albanian national movement for full autonomy within the Ottoman Empire.


Faïk Bey Konitza:
Memoir on the Albanian National Movement

A memorandum on the nationalist movement, with notes on its leading figures, as drafted Faik Bey Konitza for the Austro-Hungarian authorities at the turn of the last century.


The translations in this anthology may be copied, downloaded and used for non-commercial purposes if the source is appropriately documented. | Robert Elsie