Sanjak of Scutari

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Sanjak of Scutari / Sanjak of Shkodra
İşkodra Sancağı
Sanxhaku i Shkodrës
Скадарски санџак
Sanjak of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Flag.svg
Coat of arms
Sanjak of Iskodra, Ottoman Balkans (late 19th century).png
The sanjak highlighted, late 19th century.
CapitalScutari (present-day Shkodër)
30 May 1913
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Most Serene Republic of Venice.svg Republic of Venice
Supposed Flag of the House of Crnojevic.svg Zeta under the Crnojevići
Principality of Albania Albania 1914 Flag.svg
Today part ofFlag of Albania.svg  Albania
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro

The Sanjak of Scutari or Sanjak of Shkodra (Albanian : Sanxhaku i Shkodrës; Serbian : Скадарски санџак; Turkish : İskenderiye Sancağı or İşkodra Sancağı) was one of the sanjaks of the Ottoman Empire. It was established after the Ottoman Empire acquired Shkodra after the siege of Shkodra in 1478–9. It was part of Rumelia Eyalet until 1867, when it became a part, together with Sanjak of Skopje, of newly established Scutari Vilayet. In 1912 and the beginning of 1913 it was occupied by members of the Balkan League during the First Balkan War. In 1914 the territory of Sanjak of Scutari became a part of the Principality of Albania, established on the basis of the peace contract signed during the London Conference in 1913.



Background and formation

With short interruptions, the territory of northern Albania, including what would become the Sanjak of Scutari, belonged to the Serbian medieval states for many centuries. [1] The first Ottoman censuses (1431, 1467 and 1485) show a substantial presence of Slavic toponyms.

The last Slavic dynasty that controlled Shkodra was Balšić noble family. [2] [ better source needed ] At the end of the 14th century the city came under the control of the Republic of Venice and after Ottoman Empire acquired Shkodra from Venice after the siege of Shkodra in 1478–9, [3] [ better source needed ] it became the centre of Sanjak of Scutari.

Acquisition of Zeta

Since he was appointed on the position of sanjakbey of the Scutari in 1496, Firuz Bey had intention to annex Zeta to Ottoman Empire. Đurađ Crnojević who controlled neighboring Principality of Zeta maintained frequent correspondence with other Christian feudal states with intention to establish an anti-Ottoman coalition. When his brother, Stefan, betrayed him to Ottomans in 1496, [4] Đurađ proposed to accept the suzerainty of Ottoman Empire if Firuz Bey accept to recognize him as governor in Zeta. Firuz Bey refused this proposal and invited Đurađ to either come to Scutari to clarify his anti-Ottoman activities or to flee Zeta. When Firuz Bey attacked Zeta with strong forces in 1496 Đurađ decided to flee to Venice. [5] In 1497 Firuz Bey captured Grbalj and put Zeta under his effective military control, although it was still part of the Zeta governed by Stefan II Crnojević. [6] In 1499 Firuz Bey formally annexed Zeta to the territory of his Sanjak of Scutari, and Zeta lost its status as an independent state. [6] [5] [7] In 1514, this territory was separated from the Sanjak of Scutari and established as a separate sanjak, under the rule of Skenderbeg Crnojević. When he died in 1528, the Sanjak of Montenegro was reincorporated into the Sanjak of Scutari as a unique administrative unit (vilayet) with certain degree of autonomy. [8]

Late 16th and early 17th century

The census of 1582—1583 registered the "vilayet of the Black Mountain" (vilayet-i Kara Dağ) as separate administrative unit within Sanjak of Scutari. The vilayet consisted of the following nahiyah and villages: Grbavci with 13 villages, Župa 11, Malonšići 7, Plješivci 14, Cetinje 16, Rijeka 31, Crmnica 11, Paštrovići 36 and Grbalj 9 villages; a total of 148 villages. [9]

Marino Bizzi, the Archbishop of Bar (Antivari), in his 1610 report stated that name of the sanjakbey of Sanjak of Scutari was Ali Pasha. [10]

Pashalik of Scutari

In the period between 1757 and 1831, the Sanjak of Scutari was elevated to the Pashalik of Scutari, a semi-autonomous [11] pashalik under the Ottoman empire created by the Albanian Bushati family. Its territory encompassed parts of modern-day northern Albania and Montenegro, with its center in city of Shkodër. The weakening of Ottoman central authority and the timar system of land ownership brought anarchy to the West Balkans region of Ottoman Empire. In the late 18th century, two centers of power emerged in this region: Shkodër, under the Bushati family; and Janina, under Ali Pasha of Tepelenë. Both regions cooperated with and defied the Sublime Porte as their interests required. [12]

Scutari Vilayet

Before 1867, Shkodër (İşkodra) was a sanjak within the Rumelia Eyalet. In 1867, the Sanjak of Scutari merged with the Sanjak of Üsküb (Skopje), forming the Scutari Vilayet. The vilayet was subsequently divided into three sanjaks: İșkodra (Scutari), Prizren and Dibra. In 1877, the Sanjak of Prizren was transferred to the Kosovo Vilayet, and the Sanjak of Dibra was transferred to the Monastir Vilayet. Following the territorial transfers, the Sanjak of Scutari was subsequently divided into two sanjaks: Sanjak of Scutari and Sanjak of Draç (Durrës).

Following the invasion of Montenegrin forces during the Montenegrin-Ottoman War between 1876 and 1878, ownership of the cities of Bar, Podgorica, and Ulcinj was transferred from the Sanjak of Scutari to the Principality of Montenegro.

The Sanjak of Shkodra (1907) Scutari Vilayet -- Memalik-i Mahruse-i Shahane-ye Mahsus Mukemmel ve Mufassal Atlas (1907).jpg
The Sanjak of Shkodra (1907)

In 1900, the Vilayet of Scutari was disestablished, demerging into two separate sanjaks: Sanjak of Scutari and Sanjak of Durrës.


In 1912 and beginning of 1913 it was occupied by members of Balkan League during the First Balkan War. In 1914 the territory of Sanjak of Scutari became a part of Principality of Albania, established on the basis of peace contract signed during London Conference in 1913. [13]

Demographics and social organisation

The majority religious population in İşkodra sanjak were Catholics. [14]

The Albanian Malisors (highlanders) lived in three geographical regions within İşkodra sanjak. [15] Malesia e Madhe (great highlands) with its religiously mixed Catholic-Muslim five large tribes (Hoti, Kelmendi, Shkreli, Kastrati and Gruda) and seven small tribes; Malesia e Vogel (small highlands) with seven Catholic tribes such as the Shala, Shoshi, Toplana, Nikaj; and Mirdita, which was also a large powerful tribe that could mobilise 5,000 irregular troops. [15] The government estimated the military strength of Malisors in İşkodra sanjak as numbering over 30,000 tribesmen and Ottoman officials were of the view that the highlanders could defeat Montenegro on their own with limited state assistance. [16] Ottoman control over the highland areas of İşkodra sanjak was limited. [17] In the 1880s, from an Albanian point of view the sanjak of İşkodra belonged to the region of Gegënia. [18]

Based on the people names registered in the census, it may be concluded that population of Sanjak of Scutari was mainly composed of Serbs and Albanians (Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim). There was also certain number of Vlachs, Turks and other people present, mainly in towns. [19]

1485 census

The first Ottoman census of the Sanjak of Scutari was organized in 1485. It was the third Ottoman census which was organized on the territory within modern Republic of Albania. The first census was organized in 1431 on the territory of Sanjak of Albania. The 1485 census shows that Sanjak of Scutari consisted of four kazas: İşkodra (Shkodër), Depedöğen (Podgorica), İpek (Peć), and Bihor. [20] The kazas were divided into smaller administrative units, nahiyah.

1582—1583 census[ clarification needed ]

The census organized in period 1582—1583 shows that there were many nahiyah within Sanjak of Scutari with following number of villages: [21]

There was a total of 709 villages in the Sanjak of Scutari.

Additionally, a smaller part of Ottoman census from 1582 to 1583 dealt with Montenegro (Vilâyet-i Karaca-dağ) as separate administrative unit within Sanjak of Scutari. This part consisted of following nahiyah and villages: Grbavci with 13 villages, Župa with 11 villages, Malonšići with 7 villages, Plješivci with 14 villages, Cetinje with 16 villages, Rijeka with 31 villages, Cernica (Crmnica) with 11 villages, Paštrovići with 36 villages, Grbalj with 9 villages. There was a total of 148 villages belonging to the Montenegrin subdivision.

The 1582—1583 census shows 857 villages and several towns including Shkodër (İşkodra), Peć (İpek), Podgorica (Depedöğen), Bar (Bar) and Ulcinj (Ülgün).

1874 estimation

According to Russian consulate Ivan Yastrebov's estimations, there were 80.000 Catholic males, 20.000 Orthodox males, and 9.500 Muslim males. The majority of the population spoke the Albanian language. He asserted that the Orthodox, and a number of Catholics and Muslims spoke the Serbian language. [22]


See also

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  1. Luka, David. "Regjistri turk i vitit 1485*" (in Albanian). Retrieved 30 April 2011. Për katër shekuj me radhë (XI-XIV) me pak ndërprerje krahinat e Shqipërisë Veriore (përafërsisht ato që në të ardhmen do të bëjnë pjesë në sanxhakun e Shkodrës), qëndruan nën sundimin e feudalëve serbë të shtetit të Dioklesë dhe të Rashës.
  2. "Bashkia Shkoder" (in Albanian). Shkoder official web site. 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011. Me dyndjet sllave pushtohet dhe bëhet kryeqendër e shtetit të Zetës në shek. Xl. Më pas vjen pushtimi i shkurtër Bullgar. Në shekullin XIV bëhet qendër e rëndësishme autonome me institucione të zhvilluara dhe në vitin 1360 bëhet kryeqendër e Principatës së familjes Balshaj.
  3. "Bashkia Shkoder" (in Albanian). Shkoder official web site. 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011. Më 1396 kalon nën sundimin e Republikës së Venedikut e cila rikonstrukton kalanë dhe qytetin e quan Scutari. ... në vitin 1479 Sulltan Mehmeti II rrethon përsëri Shkodrën me mbi 100'000 ushtarë...
  4. društvo 1935, p. 194.
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  8. Ćorović, Vladimir (1933). Istorija Jugoslavije (in Serbian). Beograd: Narodno Delo. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 1528... Црна Гора је потом поново припојена скадарском санџакату и остала је са извесним ... правима његов саставни део...
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  20. Luka, David. "Regjistri turk i vitit 1485*" (in Albanian). Retrieved 30 April 2011. Ky sanxhak në vitin 1485 ndahej në katër kaza: të Shkodrës, të Podgoricës, të Pejës dhe të Bihorit.
  21. Vasić, Milan (1991), "Etnički odnosi u jugoslovensko-albanskom graničnom području prema popisnom defteru sandžaka Skadar iz 1582/83. godine", Stanovništvo slovenskog porijekla u Albaniji : zbornik radova sa međunarodnog naučnog skupa održanog u Cetinju 21, 22. i 23. juna 1990 (in Serbo-Croatian), OCLC   29549273
  22. Folić, Milutin (1991), "Izveštaji ruskog konzula Ivana Stepanoviča Jastrebova iz Skadra o slovenskom življu i njihovim crkvama u Albaniji u drugoj polovini XIX veka", Stanovništvo slovenskog porijekla u Albaniji : zbornik radova sa međunarodnog naučnog skupa održanog u Cetinju 21, 22. i 23. juna 1990 (in Serbian), Titograd: Istorijski institut SR Crne Gore ; Stručna knj., OCLC   29549273 ; Гласник Српског ученог друштва, књ. XL. стр. 182-183


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