109th CONGRESS H.RES. 522


Honoring the 600th anniversary of the birth of Gjergj Castrioti (Scanderbeg), statesman, diplomat, and military genius, for his role in saving Western Europe from Ottoman occupation.


Mr. ROHRABACHER (for himself and Mr. LANTOS) submitted the following resolution;

which was referred to the Committee on International Relations on October 28, 2005


 nga Artur Vrekaj



Whereas six hundred years ago, in 1405 AD, in the White Castle of Kruja (formerly

Croya), Albania, Gjergj Castrioti was born;

Whereas at the age of 17 his father reluctantly left him with the Ottoman Turkish

Sultan as a condition of peace;

Whereas Castrioti excelled in studying history and classical languages and at an early age

reached the rank of General in the Ottoman Turkish Army;

Whereas Castrioti’s military genius and unique leadership qualities were praised by

Sultan Murad, who called him Iskander Bey (now Scanderbeg), after Alexander

the Great;

Whereas, while being away from his native Albanian lands, Castrioti never forgot his

Albanian heritage and people;

Whereas on October 28, 1443, after much soul-searching and in utmost secrecy, Castrioti

finally decided to return home and liberate the Albanian people from Ottoman


Whereas the Battle of Nish on November 10, 1443, between Ottoman troops and the

Hungarian Army (led by another freedom-fighter, Janos Hunyadi), gave

Scanderbeg the perfect opportunity to accomplish his plan of return;

Whereas on November 28, 1443, Scanderbeg returned to his native town of Kruja and raised again his flag with the double-headed eagle over the White Castle there to the

enthusiastic celebration of his people, an historical moment vividly described by the

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his lengthy epic poem, “Scanderbeg”;

Whereas Scanderbeg thereafter successfully defended the Albanian people against

countless attacks by the Ottoman Empire, the largest army of the period, including in

1450 the onslaught of more than 150,000 Ottoman troops led by Sultan Murad, who

was ultimately defeated by vastly outnumbered Albanian foot soldiers and cavalry led

by Scanderbeg at the Castle of Kruja in a bloody Homeric struggle;

Whereas Murad’s son, Sultan Mehmed, conquered Constantinople in 1453, thus ending

the Byzantine period, but was unable in 1466 and 1467 to conquer Albania, even

though he commanded the largest army of the time, including up to 300,000 foot

soldiers and horsemen;

Whereas, during 1460 and 1461, Gjergj Castrioti Scanderbeg brought his army to

southern Italy for the second time to defend his ally, King Alphonse of Naples, against

the invasion of the Lombards of southern France;

Whereas Gjergj Castrioti united the Albanian people and established a free state of

Albania, which endured for 25 years;

Whereas according to Major General James Wolfe, commander of the British army at

Quebec, “Scanderbeg… excels all officers, ancient and modern, in the conduct of a

small defensive army….”; and, according to noted British historian Edward Gibbon,

“the enthusiasm of chivalry and religion has ranked the Albanian prince with the names

of Alexander the Great and Pyrrhus”;

Whereas Scanderbeg died at the town of Lyssus (now Lezha), Albania, on January 17,

1468, and Albanians resisted Ottoman occupation for another 20 years, after which the

Ottomans overran Albania, forcing tens of thousands of Albanians to flee across the

Adriatic Sea to the Kingdom of Naples for asylum, where their progeny still live today;

Whereas the nation of Albania under Scanderbeg prevented the invasion of Rome and all

of Italy by the Ottoman Empire, thus effectively paving the way for the Italian


Whereas statues of Scanderbeg mounted on his stallion with sword in hand today grace

the capitals of Italy, Austria, Hungary, Albania, and Kosova;

Whereas Albania, including Kosova, became free again on November 28, 1912, after 425

years of Turkish Ottoman occupation, and today modern Albania and Turkey are both

staunch allies of the United States of America; and

Whereas the Republic of Albania today is resolute in joining NATO and the European

Union as promptly as possible: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—


(1) commemorates on this day of October 28, 2005, the achievements of Gjergj

Castrioti Scanderbeg;

(2) commends Albanians everywhere for paying tribute to and honoring their valiant leader, hero, and son, Gjergj Castrioti; and

(3) urges the United States government to work with its European partners to speed up the integration of Albania and a free Kosova into the European Union in recognition of the great contribution and sacrifice made by Gjergj Castrioti and the Albanian people in saving Western Europe from Ottoman domination.

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