Coblara. Irregular Albanian Support Soldiers


This photograph, taken in around 1917‒18, shows irregular Albanian soldiers in traditional dress operating in mountainous terrain near the town of Coblara (present-day Koblarë), Albania. Albania gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, during the First Balkan War. With the outbreak of World War I, the country descended into chaos, as different factions and tribal and religious groups sided with the competing external powers that invaded and occupied different parts of the country. In late 1914, Greece occupied southern Albania. Italy occupied the coastal town of Vlorë, while Serbia and Montenegro occupied parts of northern Albania. An offensive by Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian forces later drove the Serbian army into Albania, from where it was evacuated by a French force to the Greek city of Thessaloniki. The Italians remained in Vlorë. Under the secret Treaty of London signed in April 1915, the Triple Entente powers promised Italy that it would gain Vlorë and nearby lands and a protectorate over Albania in exchange for entering the war against Austria-Hungary. At the Paris Peace Conference, Albania balked at being placed under Italian control, and U.S. president Woodrow Wilson sided with the Albanians. Albania was recognized as a sovereign state and a full member of the League of Nations. However, Italy maintained a strong influence in the country, which it invaded and overran in April 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Coblara. Tipi di gregari irregolari albanesi

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph : black-and-white


  1. Raymond Zickel and Walter R. Iwaskiw, editors. Albania: A Country Study (Washington, DC: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1994).

Last updated: November 14, 2017