Sunday, April 28, 2013

Today -100: April 28, 1913: Of Scutaris, and kings

Austria is sending 10,000 troops to force Montenegro to evacuate Scutari.

So Albania may get Scutari after all. But what it still doesn’t have is a king, and it’s put the Help Wanted sign out. Various European powers support various princelings from various Germanic and Scandinavian states for the job. The Albanians have offered the crown to Philippe d’OrlĂ©ans, the Duke of of Montpensier, son of the French king deposed in 1848, but he turns them down. Austria would like to give it to Ismail Kemal Bey, who spent his life alternating between positions in the Ottoman government and living in exile before hitching his star to Albanian nationalism (Kemal will later irritably reject the idea of offering the throne to Teddy Roosevelt). Montenegro is attempting to install Essad Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman troops in Scutari who surrendered the city to Montenegro, which now begins to look rather suspicious. He declares himself king, to little effect. The NYT calls him “a native chieftain of the type that earned for the Albanians a reputation for barbaric simplicity, approaching savagery.”

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