The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.

But the task of Albania is bound to be difficult.  For though the Great Powers have provided it with a ruler—­the German Prince William of Wied—­there is no organized state.  The Albanians are one of the oldest races in Europe, if not the oldest.  But they have never created a state.  And to-day they are hopelessly divided.  It is a land of universal opposition—­north against south, tribe against tribe, bey against bey.  The majority of the population are Mohammedan but there are many Roman Catholics in the north and in the south the Greek Orthodox Church is predominant.  The inhabitants of the north, who are called Ghegs, are divided into numerous tribes whose principal occupation is fighting with one another under a system of perpetual blood-feuds and inextinguishable vendettas.  There are no tribes in the south, but the people, who are known as Tosks, live under territorial magnates called beys, who are practically the absolute rulers of their districts.  The country as a whole is a strange farrago of survivals of primitive conditions.  And it is not only without art and literature, but without manufactures or trade or even agriculture.  It is little wonder that the Greeks of Epirus feel outraged by the destiny which the European Powers have imposed upon them—­to be torn from their own civilized and Christian kindred and subjected to the sway of the barbarous Mohammedans who occupy Albania.  Nor is it surprising that since Hellenic armies have evacuated northern Epirus in conformity with the decree of the Great Powers, the inhabitants of the district, all the way from Santi Quaranta to Koritza, are declaring their independence and fighting the Albanians who attempt to bring them under the yoke.

The future of Albania is full of uncertainty.  The State, however, was not created for the Albanians, who for the rest, are not in a condition to administer or maintain it.  The state was established in the interests of Austria-Hungary and Italy.  And those powers are likely to shape its future.


For the sacrifice demanded of Greece in Epirus the Great Powers permitted her by way of compensation to retain all the Aegean Islands occupied by her during the war, except Imbros, Tenedos, and the Rabbit Islands at the mouth of the Dardanelles.  These islands, however, Greece is never to fortify or convert into naval bases.  This allotment of the Asiatic Islands (which includes all but Rhodes and the Dodecanese, temporarily held by Italy as a pledge of the evacuation of Libya by the Turkish officers and troops) has given great dissatisfaction in Turkey, where it is declared it would be better to have a war with Greece than cede certain islands especially Chios and Mitylene.  The question of the disposition of the islands had, however, been committed by Turkey to the Great Powers in the Treaty of London.  And Turkish unofficial condemnation of the action of the Powers now creates

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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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