|Place of birth||Gruda, Sanjak of Scutari, Ottoman Empire (now Montenegro)|
|Place of death||Gruda|
Ottoman Empire (before 1870s–1877)|
Principality of Montenegro(1884–1913)
Northern Albanian (Malissor) tribes (1837-1919)
|Years of service||1870s–1913|
Abdul Hamid's Albanian guard (before 1876)
|Battles/wars||Albanian Revolt of 1911|
Sokol Baci[a] (1837–1919) was the chief of Gruda, a northern Albanian tribe in the vicinity of Podgorica (now Montenegro), who had initially served the Ottoman sultan in his personal guard, then decided to fight the Ottoman forces in the Sanjak of Scutari after maltreatment. After the clan's defeat and subjugation, he was exiled and crossed into Montenegro, against whom he had earlier fought against in the 1870s. Prince Nicholas I of Montenegro recognised his status and employed him. He was one of the leaders of the Albanian Revolt of 1911, alongside chiefs such as Ded Gjo Luli, Mehmet Shpendi, Mirash Luca and Luigj Gurakuqi, among others. In 1912, the whole tribes of Gruda and Hoti backed Montenegro, while also the greater parts of Kastrati and Shkreli, as well as a part of Klimenti. In 1913, he was appointed commander of Scutari by King Nicholas I of Montenegro. He lived in Podgorica from ca. 1884 and in Scutari from 1913 until his death in 1919.
Sokol was the son of Bac, hence his most commonly used name (Sokol Baci), and he belonged to the Precaj family of the Ivezaj brotherhood in Gruda. The Ivezaj brotherhood claimed they were descendants of Iveza, a son of a certain Vuksan Gela (sr. Vuksan Gelja) who allegedly hailed from Suma below Shkodër.
As a youth, Sokol was taken by the Ottoman authorities to be trained and raised in Istanbul. Due to his impressive intelligence and athletic abilities, Sokol was selected to attend military academy at the University of Sorbonne in Paris, France. As a youth he had fought in many battles for the Ottomans, and was eventually selected along with five other young men of high standing for the personal bodyguard of the Sultan. While on leave at home, the order came for the disarming of the northern Albanian tribes. This took place in 1877, amid the Serbo-Turkish War (1876–78) and Russo-Turkish War (1877–78).
Gruda refused to obey, and as he would not consider himself a traitor to his people, he led his clan in battle against Ottoman forces. He managed to behead two high Ottoman officers, though the clan was defeated, and he was forced to flee. He became a fugitive and outlaw, in exile in Montenegro, against whom he had earlier fought against in the 1870s. He took refuge in his wife's tribe in Zatrijebač, which had been annexed by the Principality of Montenegro after the Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1876–78). On September 21, 1879, Sokol Baci, along with the other chiefs of Hoti and Gruda submitted a memorandum to the Great Powers requesting that their land not be ceded to Montenegro.[verification needed] Prince Nicholas of Montenegro recognized him, and gave him a house and land, and employed him in the Montenegrin government for northern Albanian affairs; Sokol Baci stayed loyal to Nicholas. After 1883, Prince Nicholas diplomacy with the Malissori mainly went through Sokol Baci. A Montenegrin document dated November 1891 with a list of Herzegovinian and Albanian leaders and other emigrants shows that Sokol Baci received the largest payment from the Montenegrin government, 540 florins and 967 measures of flour annually for his service. In mid-July 1902, Sokol Baci gave a list to Prince Nicholas of Malissori chieftains and their escorts who were given 1,190 florins on the Prince's order. In 1903, Reginald Wyon recalled a night at the billiard-room at Hotel Europe in the Turkish quarters of Podgorica, in which he drank with Ded Gjo Luli, Sokol Baci, the komandir, the mayor, kapetan Tomo and old Vuko. Sokol Baci returned briefly to Gruda upon the Young Turk regime's accession to the Ottoman government (1908), but problems arose and he returned to Podgorica.
Among the leaders of the Albanian Revolt of 1911 who had turned their weapons and clans on the Ottomans, was "the intelligent Sokol Baci"[page needed] (from Gruda); Mirash Luca (from Kastrati); Ded Gjo Luli (from Hoti); Ton Nika (from Shkreli); Mehmet Shpendi (from Shala); Ljub Mark Gjeloshi, Mirash Pali and Franjo Pali (from Selce) and also intellectual Luigj Gurakuqi, among others.[page needed]
On June 24, 1911, the Ottoman minister to Montenegro, Saddridin Bey, came to negotiate with the Malissori and promised an extension of armistice and increase of compensation money; Sokol Baci, however, urged the Malissori to not surrender, and he uttered "Where is the European guarantee?".
In 1912, the tribes of Gruda and Hoti were entirely backing Montenegro, while support also came from the greater parts of Kastrati and Shkreli, as well as a part of Klimenti.
During her war correspondence in the Winter of 1913, Edith Durham details her conversation with Sokol Baci and his son, Kole Sokoli who state that they are fighting to free Albania from the Ottomans. After the Montenegrin conquest of Scutari (1913), Nicholas I appointed Sokol Baci the commander (vojvoda) and brigadier of Scutari. When congratulated for the appointment, Sokol replied, "He who does not see through the screen, may his eyes fell out!" On May 26, 1913, 130 leaders of Gruda, Hoti, Kelmendi, Kastrati and Shkreli sent a petition to Cecil Burney in Shkodër against the incorporation of their territories into Montenegro. Sokol broke ties with Nicholas I and lived in Shkodër for the next five years. He returned to his ancestral home of Gruda after the fall of Nicholas I, where he spent the last year of his life. On November 14, 1918, Luigj Gurakuqi, Anton Harapi and Gjergj Fishta led the leaders of Hoti and Gruda on a march from Montenegro into Shkodër where they submitted a Memorandum to the French Colonel, Bardy de Fourton. The Memorandum was addressed to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Washington, London, Paris and Rome requesting that Hoti and Gruda be united with Albania. The Memorandum was signed by the Chiefs of Gruda, including Sokol's closest cousins, Dede Nika Ivezaj, Zef Martini Ivezaj, Mirash Hasi Ivezaj and Marash Pllumi Ivezaj.
English traveller and albanophile Edith Durham was on very close terms with Sokol Baci. In her book, the Struggle for Scutari, she explained:
Sokol Baci, for whom, though he is now blamed alike by Montenegrin and Albanian, I have both esteem and respect. He acted as best he knew, according to his dim lights, and believed that he was acting for the good of his country. A burly figure, in full Albanian dress, and with great white mustachios like walrus tusks. Chief of the Gruda tribe, in his young days he was one of Abdul Hamid's famous Albanian guard, but he left it owing to the way the Turks maltreated his country, and fell, therefore, upon evil times. After the war of 1876-77 he sided with the party which wished for free Albania, and in consequence was forced to flee for his life. Hunted like wild beasts, he and his wife took refuge with his wife's tribe, Triepshi, which was then annexed by Montenegro as part of the spoils of war, searched for by both Montenegrins and Turks. Finally, King Nikola, recognizing his value as an influential chieftain, gave him a house and land and employed him largely for Albanian affairs. Sokol served him with doglike fidelity and touching faith, but never forgot his ancestral home across the border. When the Young Turk regime started, he hoped to return to it, but a short visit showed him that was impossible, and he returned to Podgoritza, to play an important part in the drama of the next few years. Poor Sokol! he was used as a cat's-paw. But I believe that he acted in perfect good faith."
- ^ His full name which he gave to captain Lazović was: Sokol Bac Precaj Ivezić Vuksanović (Vuksangeljović) Gruda. Another source wrote his name as Sokol Rac Grcaj Vezirić Vuksangeljović. Other spellings of his short name include Sokol Baca (Сокол Баца), Sokol Baco, Sokol Batzi, etc. In Austrian documents, he is known as Nikola Bacci. The word sokol means "falcon" in Slavic languages.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sokol Baci.|
- Vladimir Stojančević (1990). Srbija i Albanci u XIX i početkom XX veka: ciklus predavanja 10-25. novembar 1987. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. pp. 165–6, 183. http://books.google.com/books?id=RrVBAAAAYAAJ. "Sokol Baco"
- Anali Pravnog fakulteta u Beogradu. Pravni fakultet. 1955. p. 448. http://books.google.com/books?id=v6seAQAAIAAJ. "Пуно име грудског главара који је давао одговоре капетану Лазо- вићу гласи: Сокол Бац Прецај Ивезић Вуксановић (Вуксангељовић) Груда. Шта ова имена уствари означују? Сокол је лично име и у кући оца му Баца он ће бити означаван само по личном имену — Сокол, изван куће он је у роду Сркол Бац, ван рода зову га Сокол Бац Прецај (Прецај је један од родсва у братству), изван свога братства [...]"
- Mihailo Petrović (1941). Đerdapski ribolovi u prošlosti i u sadašnjosti. Izd. Zadužbine Mikh. R. Radivojeviča. pp. 47–48. http://books.google.com/books?id=-PYMAQAAMAAJ. "Ивезићи"
- Wyon 1903, p. 314
- Durham, Edith (1914). The Struggle for Scutari. London : E. Arnold. p. 34.
- Wyon 1903, p. 315
- AMAE ,CPC ,Konsullata e Frances në Shkoder vëll. 21 ,fl.350r-351v.
- Wyon 1903, pp. 312–315
- Gjergj Fishta, 2006, The Highland Lute, I.B. Tauris, Canto 28
- Owen Pearson (22 July 2005). Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History: Volume I: Albania and King Zog, 1908-39. I.B.Tauris. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-1-84511-013-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=3_Sh3y9IMZAC&pg=PA19.
- Srpski etnografski zbornik. Akademija. 1923. p. 111. http://books.google.com/books?id=aw0mAQAAIAAJ. "Груде и Хоти су били уз Црну Гору, па онда већи дио Кострата и Шкреља, и један дио Кли- мената. Тиме је, да је било такта у команди црногорске војске, био олакшан напад и заузеће Скадра, и да се радило"
- Durham, Edith (1914). The Struggle for Scutari. London: E. Arnold. p. 215.
- Pearson, Owen (2004). Albania in the twentieth century: a history. I.B.Tauris. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-84511-013-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=3_Sh3y9IMZAC&dq=Kelmendi+%2B+nikola&q=Kelmendi#v=snippet&q=Kelmendi&f=false. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- Harapi, Anton (2008). Andrra e Pretashit. Shkodër: Botime Françeskane.
- Prilozi proučavanju jezika. Katedra za južnoslovenske jezike Filozofskog fakulteta. 1988. p. 106. http://books.google.com/books?id=juIKAQAAMAAJ. "Сокол Рац Грцај Везирић Вуксангељовић"
- Stavro Skendi (1967). The Albanian national awakening, 1878-1912. Princeton University Press. p. 449. http://books.google.com/books?id=qmm4AAAAIAAJ. "The man used as intermediary in this offer was Sokol Baci (in Austrian documents, Nikola Bacci), Albanian chieftain of the clan of Grade, who at the time was in the service of Montenegro."
- Bernard Comrie; Greville G. Corbett (2002). The Slavonic Languages. Taylor & Francis. pp. 539–. ISBN 978-0-415-28078-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=uRF9Yiso1OIC&pg=PA539.
- Wyon, Reginald (1903). "8". The Land of the Black Mountain. London, Methuen and co.. pp. 312–16.
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