1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Essad

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ESSAD (c. 1875-1920), Turkish pasha and Albanian leader, sprang from the rich Albanian family of the Toptani, and was born at Elbasan. In his youth he sought and obtained the favour of ‘Abdul Hamid. He entered the political service of the Sultan, enriched himself therein, and, as was then usual, became a pasha while still a young man. In Elbasan he played the leading political part. When the Turkish Revolution broke out, Essad quickly bent his steps to the new path, which seemed to him the most promising, and was deputy for Albania in the first Turkish Parliament. His influence over the somewhat uncertain Albanian population, and the desire of the Constantinople Government not to have so exceedingly cunning and skilful a man for their enemy, led to his being in 1912 given the high command at Scutari, then under siege by the Montenegrins, though he knew almost nothing of military matters. Indeed, he never showed himself to the troops except once, in March 1913, when he had 50 men shot for an insignificant revolt. Political antagonisms and personal motives combined to make the town commandant, Hasan Riza, the target of his hatred. This honourable Old Turk was the soul of the defence of Scutari; and, in order to have a free hand for his own secret dealings with the Montenegrins, Essad had him assassinated on Jan. 13 1913. On April 25 Essad took the lead in the unreal and theatrical ceremony of handing over the fortress to Montenegro, but when the princedom of Albania was constituted after the Balkan War, Essad became Minister of War and also Minister of the Interior to William of Wied, and brought his policy into close touch with that of Italy. During the World War he was president of the Albanian delegation in Paris but appeared at frequent intervals at Salonika and on the Albanian front as a guerrilla leader. He succeeded in bringing about the overthrow, by a so-called National Assembly in Cusonio, of the “Provisional Government of Durazzo” which was under Italian influence, and this National Assembly purposed to proclaim Essad King of Albania. But on June 13 1920 he was killed in front of the Hotel Continental in Paris by Aveni Rustam, an Albanian. (F. C. E.)