Skanderbeg

(redirected from George Kastrioti)

Scanderbeg

Scanderbeg or Skanderbeg (both: skănˈdərbĕg), c.1404–1468, Albanian national hero. His original name was George Castriota or Kastriotes, but the Ottomans called him Iskender Bey, and this was corrupted into Scanderbeg. The son of a prince of N Albania, he was educated in the Muslim faith as a hostage at the court of Sultan Murad II. The sultan showered favors on him and gave him the title bey and an army command. In 1443, when the Ottomans indicated they would attack Albania, Scanderbeg escaped to his homeland, abjured Islam, and formed a league of princes among the Albanian chieftains. He proclaimed himself prince of Albania. To resist the Ottomans under Sultan Muhammad II, Scanderbeg received aid at various times from Venice, Naples, Hungary, and the pope. He had success in these wars partly because of the rugged Albanian terrain and partly because he employed a mobile defense force using guerrilla methods. He withstood repeated attacks and forced the sultan to conclude a 10-year truce in 1461. Scanderbeg broke the truce in 1463 when Pope Pius II called for a new crusade. The pope's death (1464) forced abandonment of the crusade; Scanderbeg, left without allies, had to retreat to his fortress of Kroia. After his death the league dissolved, resistance collapsed, and Albania fell to the Ottomans. Scanderbeg's life is the source of many Albanian tales.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Skanderbeg

 

(also Scanderbeg; pseudonym of George Kas-trioti). Born circa 1405; died Jan. 17, 1468. Leader of the Albanian struggle for liberation from the Ottoman conquerors. National hero of Albania.

Skanderbeg came from the influential Kastrioti (Castriota) family, a line of feudal princes. As a child he was given as hostage to the Turkish sultan Murad II; he later served in the sultan’s army. For his skill as a military commander he received the title of bey, and in honor of Alexander the Great, the name Iskender; hence Iskender-bey, or, in an altered pronunciation, Skanderbeg.

Gradually, Skanderbeg prepared for a struggle against the sultan, maintaining relations with the sultan’s domestic and foreign enemies and carrying on negotiations with J. Hunyadi. After the Hungarian army defeated the sultan’s troops in a battle near Niš on Nov. 3, 1443, he left the Turkish camp with a cavalry detachment of 300 and arrived in Dibra. Relying upon the free peasantry, who supported his call for an anti-Turkish liberation struggle, he began a campaign to drive the Turks from Albania. Within a few days he entered Kruja and on November 28 was proclaimed ruler of Kastrioti Principality. Skanderbeg drove the Turkish garrisons out of the fortresses of Pe-trela, Petralba, Steliushi, Torchan, and Svetigrad. He undertook to unify the Albanian feudal lords and within the standing army formed a people’s volunteer corps consisting primarily of peasants. Under Skanderbeg’s leadership, the Albanian people in the course of 24 years repulsed the attempts by the Ottoman conquerors to restore their rule. An extraordinarily gifted statesman, Skanderbeg overcame great domestic and foreign political difficulties caused by the separatist tendencies of the Albanian feudal lords and by the mercenary policies of Venice and the papacy. He died in Lezha. The People’s Republic of Albania has established the Order of Skanderbeg.

REFERENCE

Georgi Kastrioti-Skenderbeg, 1468-1968. Sofia, 1970. [23–1464–]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The delegation also visited the Skanderbeg museum and Castle Of George Kastrioti, which is of great historical significance.
The present castle dates to the 15th Century when it was under the command of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg's family during Albania's fight against the Ottomans.