The memory of George Castriota Scanderbeg among the Arberesh of Italy: A study on the role of diaspora in the creation of Albanian national identity
Since his death in 1468, Scanderbeg's life served as the source of many tales and myths in Albania and Europe. It is my contention that even though, Albanians and the Albanian diaspora in the world kept his memory alive, it was not until the nineteenth century, that Scanderbeg's memory was resurrected by Albanian nationalists, who lived outside Albania, as a rallying point toward the achievement of Albanian independence from the Ottoman empire. The Albanian movement for independence is a phenomenon of the Albanian Diaspora. It was the work of intellectuals like Girolamo De Rada, Giussepe Scura, Zef Serembe, Dora D'Istria, Naim and Sami Frasheri, Ismail Qemali and Fan Noli who used the memory of Scanderbeg to revive and bring to fruition Albanian independence in 1912. Many Albanians intellectuals from Diaspora, returned to Albania in the late nineteenth century to create an independent Albanian state. While many Diasporic intellectuals lived in the Arberesh communities in Southern Italy, many others lived in Egypt, Romania, Turkey, and the United States. Their efforts toward the achievement of Albanian independence were a direct response and reflected the changes that were occurring in their respective geographic domiciles of the time.