Lekë III Dukagjini

Lekë III Dukagjini - Albanian personalities

Lekë III Dukagjini was an Albanian nobleman from the 15th century of whom the Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit which are a set of laws ruling the highlands of northern Albania are his best known legacy.

Lekë took over the ruling of the county from his father, Pal Dukagjini, in 1446. He fought alongside Skënderbeu during the last 2 years of the warrior but also fought one against the other as loialties came and went during that period of history. Lekë Dukagjini is known to have killed Lekë Zaharia Altisferi, prince of Dagnum at Skënderbeu’s younger sister, Mamica’s wedding. Dukagjini asked Irene Dushmani, the only child of Lekë Dushmani to marry Muzaka Thopia, the man who was going to take Mamica as his wife but Zaharia saw this and assaulted Dukagjini while being drunk. In 1459 Skënderbeu’s forces captured the fortress of Sati from the Ottoman Empire and Skënderbeu ceded it to Venice in order to secure a cordial relationship with Signoria before he send his troops to Italy to help King Ferdinand to regain and maintain his kingdom after the death of king Alfonso V of Aragon. Before the Venetians took over the control of Sati, Skënderbeu captured it and surrounding area, driving Lekë Dukagjini and his forces away, because he was opposed to Skënderbeu and destroyed Sati before the Venetian takeover. After the legendary hero’s death, Dukagjini took leadership in the fight against the Ottomans.

In Albanian chronicles, Skënderbeu is usually identified as “the dragon prince” who was willing to fight against any enemy while Lekë Dukagjini is identified as “the angel prince” who used his dignity and wisdom to ensure the continuity of the Albanian identity. However, Dukagjini couldn’t keep the Albanian leaders united and the war against the Ottomans failed, leaving the albanians under ottoman submission for the next 4 centuries.

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