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During the implementation of the Congress of Berlin, when the Principality of Montenegro had received Plav and Gusinje (along with other places), the surrounding Albanian populace under the guise of the Ottomans attacked the Montenegrin forces in Velika at two occasions, on October 9 and November 22, 1879. The Albanians were defeated.


According to the decisions of Berlin Congress the territories of Plav and Gusinje (then Scutari Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire) were awarded to Montenegro. Still, the Ottomans did not provide conditions for Montenegro to take over Plav and Gusinje. Officially, they intended to respect the decisions of the congress, but in reality the Ottomans supported the League of Prizren they established, also to avoid fulfilment of the obligations they undertook at the Berlin Congress.[1][2] The Ottoman governor of Scutari sent ammunition to the local Muslim population of Gusinje in order for them to resist Montenegro.[3]


Until October 1879, Montenegrin forces were able to march into Gusinje without resistance. When Montenegro prepared forces for such expedition, the Ottomans intervened at the Great Powers to stop it, under the excuse of avoiding eventual conflicts. The Ottoman military officer Muhtar Pasha arrived at Prizren in November 1879, where he had 15 battalions. The Ottomans informed Montenegro that those forces would only be used to provide the peaceful transfer of Plav and Gusinje to Montenegro, which demobilized some of its forces based on this information. In the meantime around 15,000 Albanian irregulars gathered in Gusinje.[4] The British Ambassador at Istanbul A. H. Layard informed his government that the Porte did nothing to prevent the influx of armed bands into the Gusinje region and emphasized that the Porte would be held responsible for the consequences.[5]

Milovan Đilas emphasized that the northern Albanian tribes had territorial aspirations toward the fertile plain along the river Lim in Plav and Gusinje. After the Berlin Congress, their aim was to descend into the valley before the official institutions of Montenegro grasped firm control over it.[6]


On October 9, Albanian highlanders attacked the Montenegrins between Ržanica and Velika, in Vasojevići, and a bloody fight continued into the night.[7] The Montenegrins managed to push the Albanians over the border, and this faintly did aware the Albanians and their several thousand fighters.[7] On November 22, the Albanians attacked a Montenegrin guarding post of 300 men near Velika, after which 4 to 5 Montenegrin battalions were made ready.[7] The Bratonožići and Moračani with yatagans ambushed the Albanians from behind, and cut them, which forced them to flee; the Montenegrins caught in and slew for two hours.[7] The Albanian death toll was towards 1,000, while the Montenegrins had 85 deaths and 100 wounded, and some 100 horses and plenty of weapons were seized.[7] Among the Albanians, there were many ununiformed Ottoman regulars.[7]


Battle of Novšiće

Battle of Murino

On the third day of Serbian Christmas, January 8, 1880, around 10,000 Albanians attacked the Montenegrin forces numbering 3,000, led by commanders Marko Miljanov and Todor Miljanov and priest Đoko, at Velika.[7] The Albanians had 1,400 casualties (dead and wounded), the Montenegrins 36 dead and 70 wounded.[7] Here too, Ottoman regulars were among the Albanian forces.[7] At this battle, the forces were made up of the Bratonožići, Vasojevići and Moračani.[7]


  1. Glasnik Cetinjskih Muzeja. Bulletin des Musées de Cétigné. 1968. p. 170. "... Албанаца, постре- кавана је рд турских власти на отпор ради избјегавања уступаља Црнрј Гори одређених територија, лрије свега Плава и Гуеиња. Било је оружаних еукоба црногорске војске са Албанцима, кар на Новшићима ..." 
  2. Medunarodni naucni skup povodom 100-godisnijce ustanaka u bosni i hercegovini, drugim balkanskim zemjama i istonoj krizi 1875-1878. Akademija naukа. 1977. p. 297. 
  3. Istorijski časopis. Institut.. 1961. p. 151. "... све да област Гусиња не припадне Црној Гори. Скадарски валија Хусеин-паша упу- ћивао је муницију у Гусиње да се раздијели становништву. ." 
  4. Vuković, Gavro; Tomović, Slobodan (1996). Memoari vojvode Gavra Vukovića. Obod. ISBN 978-86-305-0260-6. 
  5. Office, Great Britain. Foreign (1879). Further Correspondence Respecting the Affairs of Turkey. p. 103. " for Gusinje, and that the Turkish authorities were taking no steps to prevent the departure of these bands. I at once directed Sir A. Sandison to communicate this information to Sawas Pasha, and to speak very strongly to his Excellency on the subject, pointing out that, if anything should happen in consequence of these proceedings, the Porte will be held responsible." 
  6. Djilas, Milovan (1994). Izgubljene bitke. Prosveta. p. 513. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Dva Petrovića Njegoša: Vladika Danilo Petrović. Štamparija Petra Ćurčića. 1896. "(23) окт. ударе Арнаути на Црногорце између Ржанице и Велике у Васојевићима. Крвав бој потраја до поноћи, најпосле претерају Црногорци Арнауте преко границе. Ово слабо освести Арнауте и њих неколико хиљада. понове 22. нов. (4. дек) нападање на црногорску стражу од 300 људи код Велике. Ту сад ступе у акцију 4—5 црногорских батаљуна. Братoножићи и Морачини с јатаганима улете у Арнауте и стану их. сећи, на пто Арнаути окрену леђа. Црногорци их. вијаше и секоше два часа. Арнаута погибе до 1000. Прногорци имаше 85 мртвих и 100 рањених, добише 100 коња и доста оружја. Међу Арнаутима било је пуно преобучених низама. Ни ово не опамети ни Арнауте, ни патроне им у Цариграду. Трећи дан божића опет ударе око 10.000 Арнаута код Велике на 3000 Црногораца, које су предводиле војводе Марко Миљанов Тодор Миљанов и поп Ђоко. Борба је трајала од 9 часова пре подне до мрака. Арнаути имаше мртвих и рањених 1400, Црногорци 36 мртвих и 70 рањених И овде је константовано, да је међу Арнаутима било много преобучених низама. Ту су се на црногорској страни борили Братoножићи, Васојевићи и Морачани. Нису се Арнаути ни на друге стране поштеније владали. 30. јун. (12. јул.) 1880 пре зоре нападну на црногорску шредњу стражу на Голубовцу на ..." 

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