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Yanitza, Albanian Joan of Arc - Illustration of 1911

Tringe Smajl Martini Ivezaj 1870 - 1917 (short Tringe Smajli), also known as Yanitza outside Albania, was an Albanian warfare leader from the region of Grudë, within Malësia of then Ottoman Albania, today part of southern Montenegro.[1]


Her father Smajl Martini was a catholic clan leader of Gruda tribe. His signature shows up in the protest-petitions of northern Albanian tribes send to European ambassadors and counsels accredited in the Ottoman Empire, i.e. the one of May 9, 1878 sent to French Ambassador in Istambul, or the one of June 15, 1878. The petitions expressed the dismay and disapproval of the Albanian tribes to the decisions of the Treaty of San Stefano and Congress of Berlin, granting much of the Scutari Vilayet territories to Montenegro.[2] He would became very active during the League of Prizren, joining the armies of the League until its end, and would be further persecuted by the Ottomans who finally arrested him in 1886, imprisoning him somewhere in Anatolia. He would never return. In addition, his two sons Gjon and Zef, Tringe's brothers, enlisted as well in League's armies and would get killed in battle in 1883.[2] This is the moment when Tringe became a sworn virgin.

Tringe went to war against the Ottoman Empire ans was distinguished in the Battle of Deçiq.[2] She participated in Greça Meeting, June 10–23, 1911. Her activity continued with after the Albanian Declaration of Independence as well.
She never married, never had children, and did not have any siblings. She died in November 2, 1917, and buried at the ancestral burial grounds of her family in the mountains of Gruda within the village of Kshevë, today's Montenegro. Two years later, the Montenegrin armies (back then part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) raiding the area destroyed her grave.[2]


Her heroism would make her famous and get recorded in folkloric epic songs of Montenegrins and Albanians. The folkloric version of her heroism tells a slightly different chain of events: Smajl Martini, the clan leader was kidnapped in 1911 at the Battle of Vranye, and his body was never recovered, forcing Tringe to occupy her father's place.[3] In 1911, the New York Times described Tringe Smajli as the "Albanian Joan of Arc".[3]
Her legend lives on throughout the Balkans as one of the most heroic women warriors in the history of the region.[4]

Several streets in Kosovo and Albania are named after her and is regarded a People's Hero of Albania.


  1. Edi Shukriu (2000) (in Albanian). Gra të shquara shqiptare [Distinguished Albanian women]. 1. Prishtina: Teuta. p. 54. OCLC 630465842. Retrieved 10.11.13. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pollo, Stefanaq; Pulaha, Selami (1978) (in Albanian). Akte te Rilindjes Kombëtare Shqiptare 1878-1912 : memorandume, vendime, protesta, thirrje [Acts of Albanian National Awakening 1878-1912: memos, decisions, protests, petiotions]. Tirana, Albania: Academy of Science of Albanian SPR, Institute of History. pp. 30–33, 37, 55–57, 92–93, 97–98, 100. OCLC 18832697. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "ALBANIAN JOAN OF ARC.; Handsome Heroine Takes Father's Place and Vanquishes Turks.". May 21, 1911. pp. C3. Retrieved 10.11.2013. 
  4. Savez udruženja folklorista Jugoslavije. Kongres. (1980). "Rad ... Kongresa Saveza folklorista Jugoslavije." (in Serbo-Croatian). Cetinje, Yugoslavia. p. 219. OCLC 8509246. Retrieved 10.11.13. 


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