Albania 1831-1878

The great pashaliks of Albania, that of Ali Pasha at Janina (1822) and that of Mustafa Bushati at Shkoder (1831) were destroyed, the hitherto factually autonomous areas placed under Ottoman administration. The territories which had a distinct Albanian population majority were split among the Vilayets of Shkoder, Janina, Monastir and Kosovo - and especially the Vilayets of Monastir and Janina contained considerable elements of non-Albanian popularion. Within the Ottoman Empire, people were not distinguished by ethnicity, but by religion. The Albanians therefore were subdivided into Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic Albanians.
The TANZIMAT REFORMS, beginning in 1839, aimed at the modernization of the Empire. In Albania and Macedonia they were perceived mainly as increased taxation, and caused rebellions in 1843 and 1847. The reforms also increased tension between the religious communities, as the non-Muslims suffered extraordinarily from increased taxation, while incentives for converts in form of land grants were offered.
Albanian intellectual exiles such as NAUM VEQILHARXHI (1797-1846) stressed the necessity of an education in the Albanian language - hitherto the only education available for Albanian Muslims was offered by Koran schools, in Arabic. Albanians, depending on their religion, wrote in Arabic script (the Muslims), in Greek alphabet (the Orthodox christians) or in Latin alphabet (the Catholics). Veqilharxhi stressed the necesseity of a single alphabet for all religious communities among the Albanians, which he developed in 1844. In 1850 the ALBANIAN CULTURAL ASSOCIATION was founded in Bucharest (Wallachia). In 1877 an ALBANIAN COMMITTEE was formed in Istanbul.