Area 12: Arrival of Prince Zu Wied in Durazzo

  1. View over Durrës (S/T Collection, Leiden)
  2. Customs jetty at Durrës (S/T Collection, Leiden)
  3. Reception by De Veer and Thomson (IMG, The Hague)
  4. Entry of Wilhelm and Sophie zu Wied (S/T Collection, Leiden)
  5. Albania on the map of Southeast Europe (De Grote Bosatlas 2001)

The ancient harbour town of Durazzo/Durrës (A and B) was chosen as the new capital of the Principality of Albania. As monarch (m’bret), the European Great Powers selected the 37-year-old German officer Wilhelm zu Wied from a number of candidates. This Protestant prince was a charming man with no political experience or familiarity with Albania, but he was the nephew of both Queen Wilhelmina (Netherlands) and Queen Elisabeth (Romania). De Veer and Thomson, who had joined the service of the Albanian government and had been promoted to Major General and Lieutenant Colonel respectively, were not able to welcome the new prince until the beginning of March 1914 (C and D). Wilhelm I and Sophie took up residence at the palace on the coast. In theory, he was monarch of all of Albania (E). In fact, however, Serbian troops in the north and Greek guerrilla fighters in the south continued to make those regions unsafe. Beys (Muslims with large landholdings) and imams (religious leaders) in Central Albania would have preferred an Islamic monarch, however, and many of the mountain dwellers cherished their traditional tribal laws. The central government under the octagenarian Premier Turkhan Pasha was strongly divided internally. Essad Pasha, Minister of Internal Affairs and of War, was the most powerful figure in the cabinet. Essad, who owned large tracts of land in the Durrës and Tirana regions, had his own troops.