Siege of Krujë (1450)

1st Siege of Krujë
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe
Rrethimi i pare I krujes 1449-50
The Siege of Krujë 1450 — By Jost Amman 1578
DateMay 14[1]–November 23, 1450[2]
Location
Krujë, Albania
ResultDecisive Albanian victory
Belligerents
Coa Kastrioti Family.svg League of Lezhë Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Skanderbeg
Vrana Konti
Murad II
Prince Mehmed
Strength
8,000 men, a quarter of which was infantry;[3] 1,500[4] to 4,000[5] garrisoned in Krujë under the command of Vrana Konti[5]100,000[1] to 160,000 men;[3] ten guns[6][7]
Casualties and losses
1,000 killed, wounded, or demobilised[8]20,000 casualties during the siege,[9][10] many more casualties as Murad escaped from Albania[11]

The first Siege of Krujë occurred in 1450 when an Ottoman army of approximately 100,000 men laid siege to the Albanian town of Krujë. The League of Lezhë, led by Skanderbeg, experienced low morale after losing Svetigrad and Berat between 1448 and 1450. Nevertheless, Skanderbeg's exhortations and the support of the clergy, who claimed to have had visions of angels and victory, motivated the Albanians to defend the capital of the League, Krujë, at all costs. After leaving a protective garrison of 4,000 men under his trusted lieutenant Vrana Konti (also known as Kont Urani), Skanderbeg harassed the Ottoman camps around Krujë and attacked the supply caravans of Sultan Murad II's army. By September the Ottoman camp was in disarray as morale sank and disease ran rampant. The Ottoman army acknowledged that the castle of Krujë would not fall by strength of arms, lifted the siege, and made its way to Edirne. Soon thereafter, in the winter of 1450–51, Murad died in Edirne and was succeeded by his son, Mehmed II.

Campaigns of 1448 and early 1450

After several failed invasions of Albania by Ottoman captains, Murad II laid siege to the fortress of Svetigrad (which is thought to be today's Demir Hisar) on May 14, 1448, with a force of 80,000 men.[12] Svetigrad was an important strategic point, since it controlled the routes from Macedonia into Albania.[13] The small garrison, composed of Albanians, Bulgarians, and other Europeans, held the fortress while Scanderbeg attacked the Ottoman camp from outside. After the Ottomans poisoned the wells, a group of defenders decided to open the gates and let the Turks in, thus giving control of the fortress to the Ottomans.[14][15] The Sultan retired from Albania and Skanderbeg laid siege to Svetigrad on September 23, 1448. After several failed assaults, Skanderbeg lifted the siege and retreated.[16] In early 1450, Berat was captured by the pasha of Gjirokastër through a night attack, causing Gjergj Arianit to desert Skandebeg's cause.[17]