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Albania marks 580 years since the League of Lezhë


On March 2, 1444, the League of Lezhë was held, organized by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg.

The League of Lezhë created a political and military alliance of Albanian nobles against the Ottoman invaders. It was the first political union on an all-Albanian scale recognized in the country’s history. Within the framework of this Assembly, known in historiography as the “League of Lezhë”, Albanian nobles retained all rights over their possessions.

As the head of the League, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg began to organize the army, which consisted of permanent forces and forces to be mobilized in case of war.

The permanent forces were formed by the units of Albanian lords, according to the quota set by the League of Lezhë. In the army of 8,000 cavalry and 7,000 infantry, one-third consisted of Skanderbeg’s guard.

The General Directorate of Archives commemorates this date with documents presenting some information regarding the development of this League.

Albanian President Bajram Begaj met with a broad delegation of Arbëresh from Italy to commemorate the 580th anniversary of the League of Lezhë.

The head of state invited mayors and municipalities where Arbëresh communities reside, cultural figures, entrepreneurs, and association leaders who have played a significant role in the Arbëresh community in Italy, to participate in this celebration.

It is the first time a president has taken the initiative to gather Arbëresh for the commemoration ceremony of the League, as a message about the need for unity among Albanians facing today’s challenges.

“Welcome to your home! This is the institution of the President of the Republic, and you are in your home. It is a pleasure to welcome you today in Albania. We are a small country with a big heart. We have generosity, hospitality, values ​​similar to those of friendly Italy, which became your new home six centuries ago, and for Albanians after the 1990s, Italy is their second home,” said Begaj during the reception at the Presidency.

“580 years ago, National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg and all the representatives from various Albanian regions united and pledged in difficult times to face the various challenges of the time. Today is a special day to remember that moment because our new challenges are faced together not only for us as compatriots and patriots but also with our partners,” Begaj said.

“We are living in difficult times. We have just emerged from a pandemic period. War continues in Ukraine, an unpleasant situation in the Middle East, and this requires us to be together to resolve matters. I think today is also a special day to thank Italy, because it gave you, your ancestors, the opportunity to preserve the values ​​of Albania, culture, identity, language. Italy has been close to Albania in its difficult periods. And currently, it is Albania’s best advocate for its path to EU membership. Very good political relations have translated into very good economic relations,” said the president.

“I thank you very much for being part of the joy of today. As a sign of this visit, I have prepared a gift: a coin representing Albania. On one side is the Eagle of Skanderbeg, on the other side is a house located in the mountains in the north of Albania. With this, referring to an old proverb of ours ‘The house of the Albanian is of God and the friend’, I invite you to enjoy this visit and feel at home,” concluded the president’s message.

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