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SCANDERBEG, or ISKENDER BEY (14o3-1467)

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 287 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SCANDERBEG, or ISKENDER BEY (14o3-1467)  , known also as " the Dragon of
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Albania," the
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national hero of the Albanians, was the son of John (Giovanni) Castriota, lord of Kroia and of the Mirdite country in
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northern Albania, and of a Servian princess named Vaisava . His actual name was George (Giorgio) Castriota, and the name of Iskender Bey (Prince Alexander) was given to him by the
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Turks in complimentary reference to Alexander the
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Great . In 1423, when Murad II. invaded Epirus, George Castriota, with his three brothers, was handed over as a hostage to the Turks and sent to be trained in the service of the seraglio . His brilliant qualities of mind and
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body at once gained 'him the favour of the sultan; he became a Mussulman, was promoted to high military command and, though barely nineteen years of age, to the government of a sanjak . He remained in the
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Ottoman service for twenty years, dissembling his resentment when, on the
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death of his
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father, his principality was annexed and his brothers poisoned . In 1443, however, his opportunity came with Janos Hunyadi's victory at Nish . He seized Kroia by stratagem, proclaimed himself a Christian, and gathered the wild Albanian clansmen about him . In the inaccessible fastnesses of Albania he maintained a guerilla warfare against the Turks during nearly twenty-five years, easily routing the armies sent against him, and is said to have slain three thousand Turks with his own hand . In 1461 Murad's successor Mahommed II. acknowledged him by a temporary truce as lord of . Albania and Epirus . He died in 1467 at Alessio, and his tomb was long the
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object of a superstitious veneration on the
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part of the Turks . Scanderbeg's resistance to the
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Turkish advance was invaluable to the cause of
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Christianity, but the union which he had maintained in Albania did not survive him .

He was succeeded in Kroia by his son, Giovanni Castriota, who in 1474 sold the princi- pality to the Venetians, by whom four years later it was re-sold to the Turks . See Georges T . Petrovitch, Scander-beg (Georges Castriota) Essai de bibliographie raisonnee; Ouvrages sur Scander-beg ecrits en langues francaise, anglaise,

allemande, latine, italienne, &c . (Paris, 1881); Pisko, Skanderbeg, historische Studie (Vienna, 1895) .

End of Article: SCANDERBEG, or ISKENDER BEY (14o3-1467)
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