1. On this day, 50 years ago, on Friday May 29. 1970 Albania and Denmark established diplomatic relations. The two governments were politically far apart. The Danish government was a liberal – conservative government and the Albanian the communist Hoxha regime. It was at a time when the Hoxha regime, disappointed of China, tried to open up to Western Europe.
The negotiations between the 2 countries were conducted by Albanian Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu. and Ex-minister of Trade, in 1970 Danish ambassador in Beograd, Tyge Dahlgaard.
But a lot happened before and after…..
So here is part one of a – absolutely not complete – TIME-LINE of Albanian – Danish contacts and relations:
A. 1081 Having obtained pope Gregory VII’s consent and acting as his vassal, the Norman Robert Guiscard (of Norwegian – Danish descent) continued his campaign from Sicily in conquering the Balkan peninsula as a foothold for western feudal lords and the Catholic Church. After allying himself with Croatia and the Catholic cities of Dalmatia, in the year 1081 an army of 30,000 men in 300 ships landed in the southern shores of Albania, capturing Valona, Kanina, Jericho (Orikum), reaching Butrint after numerous pillages. The Normans attacked Dyrrachium from land and sea, devastating everything along the way. Under these harsh circumstances, the locals accepted emperor Alexius I Comnenus’ call to join forces with the Byzantines against the Normans who besieged Dyrrachium. The Albanian forces could not take part in the ensuing battle, because it had started too early, before their arrival. According to contemporary sources, this was one of the main causes the Byzantines were defeated in October 18, 1081 in the southern hills of Dyrrachium. In 1085 Robert died and the Normans retreated to Italy but made several new attacks during the next 100 years.
A seal, weighing 280 grams, supposed to be the seal of Albanian national hero Gjerg Skanderbeg is registered in the art collection in Copenhagen of Danish king Christian IV.
C. 1689 – 1690 Duke Georg Christian of Slesvig-Holsten – Soenderborg was second in command in a Habsburg army invading Kosovo in the Habsburg war against the Ottomans.
The Danish historian and playwright Ludvig Holberg published his “Compared Stories”. The full title was somewhat longer – see photo above: “Several Great Heroes and Famous Men, Especially Oriental and Indian Compared Stories and Achievements in Plutarchii way”. Holberg describes Gjerg Skanderbeg as one of the world´s most able warriors.
In the autumn of 1812, the Danish philologist, archaeologist and later Professor, Peter Oluf Brøndsted (1780 – 1842) visits Ali Pasha Tepelene. Ali Pasha, formally governor of the Ottoman Empire, ruled over large parts of present-day South Albania and northern Greece.
Brøndsted writes home about long conversations with Ali Pasha who, based on Brøndsted instructions, conducts archaeological excavations. Brøndsted is impressed by Ali and his court, but he is also skeptical of Ali Pasha’s brutality as a ruler.
F. Nineteenth Century linguists
Among those who have researched the Albanian language are the Danish linguists Holger Pedersen (1867-1953), Kristian Sandfeld (1873-1942) and Professor Gunnar Olaf Svane, Aarhus Univ. (1927 – 2012).
G. 1.8.1925 Albanian Consulate in Copenhagen:
Consul (1928 Consul General) Martin Kirstein Ewald Petersen-Bach appointed.
Quote from the Albanian MEFA’s website, history section: “1925: Albanian Consul in Copenhagen (Denmark, Danish citizen) sends a thank you letter to President Ahmet Zogu, promising to provide comprehensive assistance as well as contribute to the development of good relations between the two countries”.
In newsletter No. 140 we shall focus on Albanian – Danish contacts and relations in the 20. and 21. Century. But you might all ready now click here (new National Theatre of Albania) to have a look at a Danish – Albanian cooperation of 2020.
2. Ambassador Zef Masi
The Albanian government has appointed Zef Mazi as Albania’s Chief Negotiator with the European Union. More…
3. Corona restrictions to be lifted on June 1.
That´s all for now,
Albanian Honorary Consul
PS. This newsletter is mainly sent to relevant Danish and Albanian authorities, to Danes who have shown interest in Albania, to Albanians living in Denmark and to the friends and contacts of the consulate.
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