League of Lezhë

The League of Lezhë (Albanian Besëlidhja e Lezhës, sometimes Lidhja e Lezhës ) was a closed on March 2, 1444 defense alliance of several Albanian and Montenegrin princes against the Ottomans. Organized and led was the League of Gjergj Kastrioti, Skanderbeg called the prince of the Principality of Kastrioti Kruja respectively. At times, included the Kingdom of Naples, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Republic of Venice and the Papal States to the supporters of the league.

With the defeat of Shkodra, the last stronghold of the League, the Alliance was disbanded in 1479 and subsequently the Ottomans occupied Albania for more than 400 years.


Organized on March 2, 1444, Skanderbeg in the city was still under Venetian rule city of Lezha ( Alessio Italian ) a meeting of the main regional rulers from the families Muzaka, Zaharia, Spain, Arianiti, Dushmani, Thopia, Balšić / Balsha and Crnojević. Even the leader of the free northern Albanian tribes participated. It was agreed among themselves to make peace and to fight together against the Turks. Skanderbeg, the leader of the house Kastrioti, was elected commander of the Federation. But for far-reaching political decisions he needed the approval of all members of the alliance.

Course of the war

1444 Skanderbeg could beat the Turks at the level of Torvioll ( between today's places Librazhd and Pogradec ). The news of the victory of the Christians over the Muslims spread quickly in Europe. Also get in the next two years the Albanian- Montenegrin coalition victories over the Ottomans. 1450 began on 14 May of the same year, the first siege of Kruja, which had to stop it without success the Turks in the year. 1451 closed Skanderbeg an alliance with the Kingdom of Naples. For the time being the Albanians received but no help from there. 1452 the Turks were defeated at Mokra and Mecadi. After the fall of Constantinople Opel Albanians received financial aid from Naples and Venice and also by the Pope. Until 1462 could Skanderbegs troops beat the Turks each year, without their superiority but crucial to weaken. Every year, was able to send a new army of the Sultan without difficulty. Only 1460 and 1463 broke ceasefires, the fighting. 1462 Skanderbeg managed to take the important city of Ohrid.

1466 The second siege of the castle of Kruja was cut off. The Ottomans established but south in the valley of Shkumbin the fortress of Elbasan and sat thus finally established in Albania. 1467 failed a third siege of Kruja.

Until 1468, the 10,000 -strong army Skanderbegs could withstand the Turks. Financial support received, the Albanians of Venice and of the kings of Hungary and Naples.

As Skanderbeg had died in 1468, the League of Lezha began to fall apart. Inspired by the Venetians, however, translated especially the northern Albanians fighting the Ottomans continued. When this was taken until then dominated Venetian Shkodra in 1479, the resistance collapsed and the entire Albanian settlement area was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

Members of the League of Lezha

The founding members of the League of Lezha included not only Skanderbeg:

  • Lekë Zaharia ( lord of Sati and Danja ) and his two vassals Pal and Nikolle Dukagjini
  • Pjetër Spani ( Lord of the mountains behind Drisht )
  • Lekë Dushmani ( Lord of the landscape panel)
  • Đurađ Strezov, Gojko and Ivan Strezov Balšić ( Lords of Misia )
  • Andrea Thopia ( Lord of Scuria ) and his nephew Tanush Thopia
  • Gjergj Arianiti
  • Theodhor korone Muzaka
  • Stefan Crnojević I. ( Lord of the top Zeta) and his three sons, Ivan, Andrew and Bozidar Crnojević

Sieges and battles


The League of Lezha plays an important role in the national consciousness of Albanians along with Skanderbeg. It marks the first attempt in history to establish an independent state formations and to unite for a cause. Although the League failed at the end against the superior Ottomans, it is a symbol of national honor and pride for many Albanians. Many streets, places and institutions in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia are now named after the league.

On the ruins of the church of St. Nicholas in Lezha - the Holy Sepulchre of Gjergj Kastrioti - him and the League was established in honor of a monument to the communist era.