Luigj Gurakuqi, an Albanian writer and politician was born in Shkodra on the 19th of February 1879. Gurakuqi attended a Catholic school in Shkodra and then studied in Naples. In 1899 he joined the “Bashkimi” language association founded by Catholic priests. He participated in the standardization of the Latin Albanian alphabet at Monastir Congress in 1908. It was in November 1912, when together with Ismail Qemali , he chaired an Albanian national conference in Bucharest which aimed at the immediate proclamation of an Albanian state.
Albania was proclaimed independent on November 28, 1912.
In the first government of Albania, Gurakuqi became Minister of Education. In 1921 Gurakuqi was elected to represent Shkodra in the first Albanian parliament. He was considered one of the most dedicated debate speakers. He remained in opposition to the rapidly changing governments, mostly controlled by large landowners, and to the rising politician Ahmet Zogu. In 1923, as head of a commission, he submitted a proposal to parliament for a new electoral law.
In the revolutionary government under Fan Noli, Gurakuqi was a finance minister. The new government announced, albeit vaguely, an agricultural reform, a changed tax system, better security against attacks by officials and disarmament of the population. From August to November 1924 Gurakuqi and Noli stayed at the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva to clarify problems with neighboring states and to receive financial aid for their state. With the return of Ahmet Zogu, Luigj Gurakuqi fled to Italy with other members of the revolutionary government, and was murdered in Bari on March 2, 1925. Zogu was behind the attack.
Gurakuqi's main political goal was to overcome the feudal-Ottoman backwardness of Albania, primarily by promoting popular education. The assessment of his life's work varies. The German ambassador to Albania at the time, Kardorff, called him the flexible opportunist from Scutari, while his biographer Piro Tako called him an important democrat with revolutionary views. His contributions to language and educational policy are widely recognized.
The University of Shkodra Luigj Gurakuqi was named after him in 1991. There is also a monument to him in this town.