Celebrating Muslim Defeats: King Skanderbeg Crushes Ottoman Army in 1444 at Torvioll

By SHAWN STEEL, CA GOP National Committeeman

July 5, 2016 – San Francisco, CA – PipeLineNews.org – We are just a few days past the 572nd anniversary of a significant medieval period victory over the Ottoman Turks in Albania. The battle is important in that it was part of a monumental struggle, led by Europe’s Christian princes – begun with the First Crusade [1096] and concluding decisively in the mid 17th century at the Battle of Lepanto - which would forever break the back of the Ottomans and thus free Europe from the brutal Islamic occupation it had suffered for nearly a millennia.

The Battle of Torvioll, was fought on 29 June 1444 on the Plain of Torvioll, in what is modern-day Albania. Skanderbeg, who is a national hero, was an Ottoman Albanian captain who decided to go back to his native land and take the reins of a new Albanian rebellion. He, along with 300 other Albanians fighting at the Battle of Nis, rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. He then formed the League of Lezhë, a confederation of Albanian princes united in war against the Ottoman Empire. Murad II, realizing the threat, sent one of his most experienced captains, Ali Pasha, to crush the rebellion with a force of 25,000 men.

Good King Skanderbeg expected a reaction so he moved with 15,000 of his own men to defeat Ali Pasha's army. The two met in the Plain of Torvioll where they camped opposite of each other. The following day, 29 June, Ali came out of his camp and saw that Skanderbeg had positioned his forces at the bottom of a hill. Expecting a quick victory, Ali ordered all of his forces down the hill to attack and defeat Skanderbeg's army. Skanderbeg expected such a maneuver and had prepared his own stratagem. Once the opposing forces were engaged and the necessary positioning was achieved, Skanderbeg ordered his forces hidden in the forests behind the Turkish army to strike their rear. The result was devastating for the Ottomans, whose entire army was routed and its commander nearly killed.

The victory lifted the morale of the Christian princes of Europe and was recognized as a great victory over the Muslim Ottoman Empire. On the Ottoman side, Murad realized the effect Skanderbeg's rebellion would have on his realm and continued to take measures to defeat him, resulting in twenty-five years of war.

The Legend of Skanderbeg – Why the symbol of the goat?

One night during a siege Skanderbeg sent out a huge number of goats with a lighted candle on each of the goats' horns. The encamped Turks believed it to be an Albanian attack and made a movement against the herd. When the Turks advanced far enough, Skanderbeg launched an attack against the force, destroying it. After the siege was lifted, Skanderbeg commemorated his victory by designing a helmet with the head of a goat on it, as a reference to his "ingenious tactics" used that night.

©2016 Shawn Steel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.