Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu

Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu - Albanian history

Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu was the son of Gjon Kastrioti ( who was a ruler of central Albania ) and Vojsava Tribalda. His true name was Gjergj Kastrioti, Skënderbeu being the name given to him by the turks in the honour of Alexander the Great ( Skënder – Alexander, Bey/Beg/Beu – Great ).

Since he was just a little boy he was raised at the Ottoman court alongside 3 of his brothers, being educated in the muslim religion and trained to become a Janissary. Because of his hard work and great skills in battle he is promoted to general. After the death of Gjon Kastrioti who was liege to the Ottoman Empire, sultan Murad II didn’t allow the Kastrioti family to rule anymore, instead Hasan Beg, governor of Krujë was made ruler of all the albanian cities.

In 1443, Skënderbeu receives an important regiment to fight against John Hunyadi, the new threat coming from Transilvania. He was also made governor of Dibër Sanjak. However, he did not forget his true origins and pained after his father’s death and the sultan’s decision to extend his domination over the citadel he was borned, made him switch camps. He runs back to the fortress of Krujë with 300 more men and starts a war that the Ottoman Empire will never forget.

The failure of the crusade of Varna meant that the albanians were left alone against the ottomans. Having enough of it, Sultan Murad II decides to go himself on the battlefield alongside 150.000 warriors in the summer of 1450. With a garrison of 1.500 men and others fighting against the ottomans using guerrilla tactics, Skënderbeu manages to put the sultan’s army on the run. Humiliated by the result of the battle, sultan Murad II dies the same year, and his son, Mohammed II, becomes sultan.

 

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