The Tribes of Albania:

History, Society and Culture

ISBN 978-1-78453-401-1 I.B. Tauris, London 2015 386 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(69 of them included here in all) which typically includes information on its geographical location, on the earliest historical references to it, on its religious affiliations over time, and on population statistics.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

Introduction 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 Glossary Bibliography Buy this Book via I.B. Tauris
Robert Elsie