Less than a year before his death on January 17, 1468, George Castriota Scanderbeg launched a fierce attack against Ottoman invaders in April 1467 who had beseiged his capital city of Croya [Krujë]. The harsh winter had weakened the Islamic attackers, led by the Sultan Mehmed II’s general Ballaban pasha, and the garrison at Croya, had stubbornly held out against their repeated assaults. The Albanian leader then gathered his forces and launched an attack from the rear, decisively defeating the besiegers.
Writing from Venice, Zakaria Barbarus described the battle in a letter to the Bishop of Verona: “Today we received a letter dated 27 April from our Rector [Governor] in Alessio who has learned that Scanderbeg, with 1,500 troops, has captured the brother of Ballaban, the Sultan’s General, together with all the equipment that they [the Ottomans] had used against Croya, and has brought them to Alessio. Ballaban, suspecting that he could not come to the aid of his forces in Croya, decided to assault the city and launched an attack. Those inside conducted themselves bravely and wounded the aforementioned Ballaban, General of the Sultan, with the first shot. As soon as he was brought back to his camp he died. Scanderbeg then arrived and expelled all of the Turks from their camp, taking control of Croya and reinforcing it with weapons, he killed many of the Turks and won a great victory… It is hoped that all those who had risen up against Scanderbeg during the Turkish invasion will return their allegiance to him.”
2018 marks the 550th anniversary of the death of the great Albanian national hero who defended Europe from the Islamic assault. For more on the life and times of George Castriota Scanderbeg see: Scanderbeg: A History of George Castriota and the Albanian Resistance to Islamic Expansion in Fifteenth Century Europe available on Amazon and at HistriaBooks.com.
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