The Council of Lezha (March 2nd 1444) laid the foundations for the unification of Albanians.


In the framework of the Nationwide Year of Gjergj Kastrioti-Skënderbeu, the National Historical Museum organized “One evening in the museum” with the theme: “The Covenant of Lezha, as a product of aristocracy and Albanian nobility”. The referrers were: Dr. Dorian Koçi, director of the National Historical Museum and Prof. Dr. Ferit Duka, Academy of Sciences (Republic of Albania).

In his speech Dr. Koçi said that The Council of Lezha was established as a political and military alliance of Albanian nobles against the Ottoman invaders. Before this assembly, Gjergj Kastrioti held a series of meetings with the Albanian patricians, convincing them that by being united they would be able to withstand the enemy. The Assembly happened on March 2nd, 1444 in the “St. Koll” Cathedral, in Lezha. The main issue of the assembly was the unification of all forces in the war against the Ottomans. Shortly after the assembly, Skanderbeg began organizing the League’s army, which consisted of two parts: permanent forces and those mobilized in case of a war. Skanderbeg had his personal guard around himself, which consisted of prominent personalities of that time.

Professor Ferit Duka said that the situation of Albanian principalities (1430-1440) is documented by the Albanian Sandzak Register (Defter) of 1482, where a large area of Albanian lands has been recorded. Skanderbeg’s position as commander of the League’s military elite is related to these factors: First, he had all the qualities of the leader. Second, he was well aware of the country’s economic, financial and military status. Lezha had a favorable geographical position for holding the Assembly. It was close to the possessions of the main participants of the Assembly, and being under the Venetian rule, they avoided the disagreement and dissatisfaction that might arise between the Albanian rulers. This Assembly was like a friendly cooperation call in the fight against the Ottomans. Professor Duka, as well emphasized that in the context of this Covenant, the Albanian nobles retained all the rights they had over their possessions. Every ruler, according to this alliance, maintained his political autonomy. Each member had the right to built relationships outside the League. Gjergj Kastrioti was the first among the equal and had no right to interfere in their possessions. The Council of Lezha became thus the first Albanian-wide political union known in the history of Albania. Skanderbeg was elected its commander-in-chief. Under his leadership of, the army became a powerful weapon against the Ottomans.​

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