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Today marks 556 years since the death of Gjergj Kastriot Skënderbeu

2024-01-17 08:54:00, Kulturë CNA
Today marks 556 years since the death of Gjergj Kastriot Skënderbeu

Today marks 556 years since the death of the national hero, Gjergj Kastriot Skënderbeu. He was born on May 6, 1405 and passed away on January 17, 1468.

As a member of the noble family of the Kastriots, he was taken as a hostage to the Ottoman imperial court, where he was educated and entered the service of the sultan for the next twenty years.

He rose through the ranks, becoming the Sanjakbey of the Sanjak of Dibra in 1440. In 1443, he deserted from the Ottoman army during the battle of Nis and became the ruler of Kruja, in a territory from Petrela and Modriçit. In 1444 he founded the League of Lezha with the support of the contemporary nobility.

In 1451 he signed the Treaty of Gaeta, where he recognized the de jure sovereignty of the Kingdom of Naples over Arberia, ensuring a protective alliance, although he remained a de facto independent ruler

In the years 1460–61 he supported Ferdinand I of Naples in the wars against John II of the Angevins. In 1463 he became the chief commander of Pope Pius II's crusading forces, but the pope died while the armies were still being assembled. Together with the Venetians, he fought against the Ottomans during the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1463–79, until his death in January 1468.

He is considered among the most important commanders in the military history of his time, as the most persistent and always victorious against the Ottoman Empire at its peak.

It is not known if his figure continued to be celebrated among the Albanian territories except with a song, but he became a central figure of the Albanian National Movement during the 19th century, as a result he is honored by the Albanians with monuments and cultural works throughout the Albanian territories. Skanderbeg's military prowess constituted a major obstacle to Ottoman expansion, and was regarded by many in Western Europe as a model of Christian resistance to Muslims.

Skanderbeg's family

Gjergj Kastrioti was the youngest son of Gjon Kastrioti and Princess Vojsava, the last child among 4 sons and 5 daughters. There are many theories about his birthplace. One of his many biographers, Frashëri, analyzing the genealogies of Muzaka's chronicle, the sources of Raffaele Mattei, as well as the Ottoman notebooks of 1467, has placed his birthplace in Sina, one of the three villages owned by his grandfather Paul Kastrioti.

Noli's birth date of 1405 has now found widespread support, after initial controversy, as well as the lack of documentation of his birth or his siblings.

His father, Gjoni, owned a territory between Shufada and Prizren, through Mati and Dibra. Vojsava's mother, whose origin has been discussed, whether she was the daughter of the Brankovics, of a noble Bulgarian family, or the daughter of the Muzakajs. Gjergji had three older brothers, Stanisha, Reposh and Kostantini, as well as five sisters, Mara, Jelena, Angjelina, Vlajka and Mamica./ CNA 

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