Re: The Albanian Monarchy
Posted by Gary on 6/12/2011, 23:14:54, in reply to "Re: The Albanian Monarchy "
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: However, it is surely unarguable that in the
: case of Albania, a country which had never
: know a monarchy, which did not even have a
: written language until the 15th century (and
: then only a few words), and in 1914 had to
: invent a word for Prince "Mpret"
: and then king "Mbreti"), it would
: have been better to have had a democratic
: republic - the kind that Zogou was elected
: to rule as president. His election, however,
: was not by popular vote but by the
: parliament and the number of assassination
: attempts (more than 50) suggests that his
: rule was far from uncontroversial. He was
: certainly effective and a moderniser but
: there is no reason to suppose he would have
: been any less effective he had stuck to
: being president.
It is indeed unarguable that Albanian had no monarchical tradition and that Zog's kingdom had more than a touch of Ruritanian fantasy about it, but it is surely also the case that Albania had no tradition of democratic republicanism. I agree that it would probably have made no difference whether he used the title king or president, although one could idly speculate that, had Italy not invaded, a monarchy could over time have provided a certain continuity that would have allowed for a smoother transition to genuine democracy. Of course we can never know.
: I do not take the same view for the other
: Balkan states - Montenegro had been an
: ancient principality (of Zeta). before the
: Ottomans, Wallachia had likewise been a
: quasi hereditary principality before the
: princes were appointed by the Sultans,
: Bulgaria an ancient kingdom as were Serbia
: and Croatia, while Greece could claim to be
: the last remnant of the Greek (Byzantine)
You lost me on Greece. Despite the romantic claims of some of its more ardent nationalists, the Greek state established in the nineteenth century had only the most tenuous connection with the Byzantine Empire. The leaders of the independence movement were not monarchists, and neither of the alien monarchies set up to please the protecting powers (as you note below) managed to implant firm roots in the country.
: empire. Furthermore when these states
: achieved their independence in the 19th
: century, it was almost inconceivable that
: the powers would not have preferred a
: Even in Iran where Reza Pahlavi overthrew
: the reigning dynasty, there was very ancient
: monarchical tradition.
: However the Albanian monarchy was invented
: at a time when monarchy was far from being
: the accepted form of government. Zog's
: self-proclamation was really an exercise in
: hubris and his search for a wife of
: "suitable" birth caused much
: merriment among the more ancient crowned
: heads. His eventual choice, the beautiful
: Countess Apponyi, was an immense stroke of
: good fortune. His was probably the last
: monarchical experiment in Europe and for
: that reason worthy of note - but not a great
: advertisement for another.
All true, but I return to my point above that a monarchy was no more alien than a republic. It was just, as you note, that in post-Great War Europe there was a general sense that the days of monarchies had passed. Of course, sophisticated people at the time might have been rather surprised at how enduring monarchy has been in the western and northern parts of the continent.
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