“Zog I, Skanderbeg III of the Albanians ( 8 October 1895 – 9 April 1961), born Ahmet Muhtar Bej Zogolli, was the ruler of Albania from 1925 to 1939, first as President (1925–1928) and as King(1928–1939). He previously served as Prime Minister of Albania, from 1922 until 1924.King Zog of Albania was the only national leader in modern times to return fire during an assassination attempt.
Background and early political career
Zog was born Ahmet Muhtar Bej Zogolli in Burgajet Castle, near Burrel in the Ottoman Empire, second son to Xhemal Pasha Zogolli, and first son by his second wife Sadijé Toptani in 1895. His family was a beylik family of landowners, with feudal authority over the region of Mati. His mother’s Toptani family claimed to be descended from the sister of Albania’s greatest national hero, the 15th-century general Skanderbeg. He was educated at Galatasaray High School (Lycée Impérial de Galatasaray)
in Constantinople, then the seat of the decaying Ottoman Empire, which controlled Albania. Upon his father’s death in about 1908, Zogolli became governor of Mat, being appointed ahead of his elder brother, Xhelal Bey Zogolli.In 1912, he signed the Albanian Declaration of Independence as the representative of the Mat District. As a young man during the First World War, Zogolli volunteered on the side of Austria-Hungary. He was detained at Vienna in 1917 and 1918 and in Rome in 1918 and 1919 before returning to Albania in 1919. During his time in Vienna, he grew to enjoy a Western European lifestyle. Upon his return, Zogolli became involved in the political life of the fledgling Albanian government that had been created in the wake of the First World War. His political supporters included many southern feudal landowners (called beys, Turkish for “”province chieftain””, the social group to which he belonged) and noble families in the north, along with merchants, industrialists, and intellectuals. During the early 1920s, Zogolli served as Governor of Shkodër (1920–1921), Minister of the Interior (March–November 1920, 1921–1924), and chief of the Albanian military (1921–1922). His
primary rivals were Luigj Gurakuqi and Fan S. Noli. In 1922, Zogolli formally changed his surname from Zogolli to Zogu which sounds more Albanian.In 1923, he was shot and wounded in Parliament. A crisis arose in 1924 after the assassination of one of Zogu’s industrialist opponents, Avni Rustemi; in the aftermath, a leftist revolt forced Zogu, along with 600 of his allies, into exile in June 1924. He returned to Albania with the backing of Yugoslav forces and Yugoslavia-based White Russian troops under General Wrangel and became Prime Minister.