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English  Robert Elsie

Writer, translator, interpreter, specialist in Albanian studies


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Webdesign J. Groß

The Tribes of Albania:
History, Society and Culture

ISBN 978-1-78453-401-1
I.B. Tauris, London 2015
368  pp.

A tribal society in Europe? Yes, there is one, or at least there are still noticeable traces of one, in the mountains of northern Albania. This unique society and culture thrived until the early years of the twentieth century and was still largely intact when the communist regime seized power in Albania in 1944. It is regarded as the only true example of a tribal society surviving in Europe up to the mid-twentieth century. Many of the structures of this traditional society were weakened or indeed eradicated in the half century of Stalinist rule in Albania (1944-1990), but the north of the country still remains a very different place from more advanced south of Albania, and from the rest of the world. Why this relic, and what do we know about it? Up to the present, there has been a glaring lack of knowledge and scholarly information about the tribes of northern Albania.

This volume endeavours to fill the gap and provide basic information about all the major Albanian tribes, at least as much information as can be found in source material and as can still be gleaned from the collective memory of the people of the region. A short chapter has thus been provided for each of the identified tribes (69 of them included here in all) which typically includes information on its geographical location, on the earliest historical references to it, on its religious affiliations over time, and on population statistics. A second part of each chapter aims to provide information, where available, on tribal legendry and ancestry, in particular for the monophyletic tribes, as well as notes – certainly not complete – on the history of the tribe in question. This is often followed by a section containing travel impressions, i.e. texts by nineteenth and early twentieth-century travellers and explorers from abroad who ventured into the northern Albanian mountains and recorded what they saw. The chapters conclude, in many cases, with a brief presentation of noted historical representatives of the tribes. The main corpus of the book is then followed by information on a number of minor tribes (some are classed here as minor simply for a lack of extensive information and not necessarily for reasons of size or prestige), as well as a glossary and bibliography to assist the interested reader in pursuing further research.

The Tribes of Northern Albania is, admittedly, a motley collection of information and texts with many lacunae of which the author is painfully aware. Nonetheless, it is to be hoped that this presentation will stimulate further interest in this very particular, indeed unique European society and in northern Albanian history and culture in general.

Table of Contents

Editorial note

The Tribes of the Northern Albanian Alps (Malësia e Madhe)
The Kelmendi tribe
The Gruda tribe
The Hoti tribe
The Triepshi tribe
The Kastrati tribe
The Boga tribe
The Shkreli tribe
The Lohja tribe
The Reçi tribe of Malësia e Madhe
The Rrjolli tribe

The Tribes of the Pulat Region
The Plani tribe
The Xhani tribe
The Kiri tribe
The Suma tribe
The Drishti tribe

The Tribes of the Dukagjin Region
The Shala tribe
The Shoshi tribe
The Shllaku tribe
The Mazreku tribe
The Dushmani tribe
The Toplana tribe

The Tribes of the Gjakova Highlands (Malësia e Gjakovës)
The Nikaj tribe
The Mërturi tribe
The Krasniqja tribe
The Gashi tribe
The Bytyçi tribe

The Tribes of the Puka Region
The Qerreti tribe
The Puka tribe
The Kabashi tribe
The Berisha tribe
The Thaçi tribe (Bugjoni and Iballja)
The Mali i Zi tribe

The Tribes of the Lezha Highlands (Malësia e Lezhës)
The Bulgëri tribe
The Kryezezi tribe
The Manatia tribe
The Vela tribe

The Tribes of the Kruja Highlands (Malësia e Krujës)
The Kurbini tribe
The Rranza tribe
The Benda tribe

The Tribes of Mirdita
The composite Mirdita tribe
The Dibrri tribe
The Kushneni tribe
The Spaçi tribe
The Fani tribe
The Oroshi tribe
The Kthella tribe
The Selita tribe

The Tribes of the Mat Region
The Bushkashi tribe
The composite Mati tribe

The Tribes of the Upper Drin Basin
The Hasi tribe
The Luma tribe
The Lura tribe
The Arrëni tribe
The composite Dibra tribe

Minor Tribes
The Bobi tribe
The Boksi tribe
The Buza e Ujit tribe
The Çidhna tribe
The Dardha tribe
The Dervishaj tribe
The Dushi tribe
The Gimaj tribe
The Grizha tribe
The Kastrioti tribe
The Komani tribe
The Kopliku tribe
The Luznia tribe
The Mëgulla tribe
The Morina tribe
The Muhurri tribe
The Ploshtani tribe
The Reçi tribe of Dibra
The Sheh Hysenaj tribe
The Skandëri tribe
The Trojaku tribe
The Ura e Shtejtë tribe
The Zogjaj tribe




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