Today the 107th anniversary of Albania’s Independence Declaration

Today is the 107 anniversary of the Independence Day of Albania. It is a National Holiday. Albania was declared independent on the 28th of November in 1912 from the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire fell in the First Balkan War that broke in October 1912 and the Albanians found themselves in an extremely difficult position. Their leaders were worried by the coalition of neighboring forces (Montenegro, Serbia and Greece) rather than the weakening of the Ottoman military presence in their home country. They sought the maintenance of the territorial integrity of Albania. Within two months, the Ottoman forces had almost capitulated, but in Shkodra and Janina, the Turkish garrisons were not surrendered. The existence of the country was jeopardized.

Under these circumstances, on the initiative of Ismail Qemali, a meeting with the senior patriots was held in Istanbul, which decided on a general insurgence for the liberation of the country.  Some Albanian patriots set about organizing the uprising while others visited Europe in search of allies. The Junik Assembly drew up a political programme for the territorial autonomy of Albania. The uprising led by Hasan Prishtina, Bajram Curri, Isa Boletini, Abdi Toptani, Themistokli Germenji etc. swept the whole country and forced the Porte to accept some of the demands for autonomy, which failed to materialize because of the First Balkan War.

As the Balkan States troops passed through Albanian territory, they routed the Turkish troops. Under these circumstances Albanians ceased to demand the autonomy of the country; instead they decided to take arms to fight for country’s independence. I. Qemali and L. Gurakuqi visited Bucharest and Vienna where they met with the Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary and the British and Italian Ambassadors as well as with other diplomats to seek support and defend the national rights of the Albanian people. In these meeting the Albanian diplomats came to realize that the Albanian issue would find the support of Vienna and Rome and other great powers.

On November 28, 1012, the National Assembly held in Vlora proclaimed the Independence of the country. The national flag was raised and the first National Cabinet was formed with Ismail Qemali as Prime Minister. The declaration of the Independence constitutes a monumental event in the history of the Albanian people. It was the outcome of the a century –long attempts and battles against the foreign yoke in defense of the territorial integrity of the country and the formation of the Albanian State without denying, at the same time, the help of international factor. With the declaration of the Independence the Albanian nation won the indisputable right to be free and sovereign alongside the other nations of Europe. Albania emerged as a Sovereign State.

After securing the consent of European governments, Ismail Qemali called an assembly for the declaration of the independence in Vlora. He presided over the National Assembly and was charged with heading the provisional government. Though under very difficult circumstances, his government took a series of important measures in the economic and cultural fields. He made frequent visits to the capitals of the major European powers to secure their support and assistance. Ismail Qemali has gone down in history as a distinguished leader of the Albanian National Movement and as the first Prime Minister of Albania as an Independent country.

/Klara Ruci/

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