Year 2022 / Volume 2 / Number: 1
Abstract: Isa Boletini is one of the figures of Ottoman Empire with multiple identities and loyalties at the turn of the twentieth century. He was born in the village of Boletin near Mitroviçe during the transformation of the last Ottoman land in the Balkans into an independent state of Albania. He was one of the local figures who felt the foreign pressure in the region by the Great Powers and tackled them in his own ways which resulted in diplomatic crises between the Ottoman and Russian Empires. As a local power magnet, he was invited to the Palace to serve as a personal guard, tüfenkçi, to the Sultan Abdülhamid II. Endowed with privileges and concessions, he returned to his hometown where he became a gendarme of the Sultan and continued to exercise his authority within the limits. However, with the success of the 1908 Revolution by the Young Turks, the new regime targeted him and aimed to diminish the symbolism he carried as an old ally of the Sultan. Yet, in the tumultuous environment of the Balkans, perpetuating further violence turned the region into a more vulnerable land in the eyes of the Great Powers. This thesis aims to show the parallelism between the fluctuating events of the Balkans in nineteenth century and Isa Boletini’s multiple identities, in the light of the “Imperial Biography” approach, by making use of Ottoman archival material which was not yet incorporated into the study of his life.
Keywords: Isa Boletini, Biography, Nationalism, Abdülhamid II, Kosovo