Hoti (tribe)

Hoti (tribe)

Hoti is the head of the seven ethnic Albanian tribes of Malësia. The tribe is located in southcentral Montenegro, on the northern shores of Lake Scutari.


The people of modern Hoti trace their genealogy back to the late fifteenth century, when Albanian settlers from Herzegovina migrated southward to escape the Ottoman invasions, and interbred with the native highlanders, who by most accounts spoke the Albanian language.

Before 1421, much of the Malësia area was incorporated into the kingdom of Zeta which was ruled by the powerful Balša family (House of Balšić). The Balšas used the highlands of Montenegro as a sanctum for Serbian nobles seeking political asylum (as well as other Balkans who were outlawed or persecuted by the Ottoman conquerors). Sometime between 1356 and 1362 (during the reign of Balša I) and after the Balšić invasion of Shkodra) most of the indigenous people of Hoti abandoned the Malësia area and settled in the areas of Plav and Limaj (near Peja (Peć) in the Republic of Kosovo). After this migration, the residual Hoti population only amounted to about seven houses. citation needed

After a long history of conflict with both the Ottomans and their (sometime) Venetian allies, the Balša dynasty went extinct in 1421, after which time a new dynasty was founded in the area by Stefan Crnojević who fixed his capital at Žabljak on the north-eastern side of Lake Scutari and joined with his relative, the famous Scanderbeg, in many campaigns against the Turks.

In the latter half of the fifteenth century (during the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans), the Slavs of Bosnia were pushed ever southward by the Turkish armies, eventually being pushed to Herzegovina by 1463. After the Turkish conquest of Herzegovina in 1476, of Albania in 1478, and the surrender of Shkodër by the Venetians in 1479, according to legend, a man named Keq Preka and his five sons moved southward from the Herzegovinan highlands to escape the mass migration of Slavs. They and many of the other Albanian-speaking peoples in the Herzegovina area kept moving until they found an area where they found a population that spoke the same language as theirs (most likely a form of gheg Albanian).

At the outset of the northern Albanian resistance against Ottoman rule, it is the tribe of Hoti that sparked the war for Albanian Independence. The commander of the Albanian guerilla campaign against Turkish occupying forces was a man named Ded Gjo Luli, perhaps Hoti's most distinguished hero. At the victorious Battle of Deçiq, Ded Gjo Luli was able to raise the Albanian standard in symbolic defiance of Ottoman rule (the Albanian standard had not been raised since the late fifteenth century, during the military campaigns of Scanderbeg). Because of its instrumental role in the resistance, Hoti is commonly held as the head the Albanian tribes of Malësia.


The origins of the Hoti tribe are in dispute. Albanian sources claim that they are descendants of an Albanian forefather named Keq, while Serbian sources claim that the forefather was Vaso, from the Nemanjic family.

Albanian Legend

Albanian Legend maintains that each of Keq Preka's sons is the father and namesake of his own tribe: Lazar Keqi (Hoti), Ban Keqi (Triesh), Kras Keqi (Krasniqi), Piper Keqi (the Piperi clan), and Vaso Keqi (the Vasojevići clan). Sometime after the construction of the church at Gruda (1528), Lazar Keqi and his son, Gheg Lazari, moved into the area known by the natives as Hoti (a name that has existed since at least the 1330s) and settled there permanently.

The nearby Triesh tribe is considered b locals as the "younger brother" of Hoti, as the tribes share Keq Preka as a common ancestor.


The majority of the Hoti are followers of the Roman Catholic faith and celebrate St. John the Baptist (Albanian: Shën Gjoni or Shnjoni). However, there is also a minority that follow Islam.

Clans/Surnames of Hoti

After Gheg Lazari settled in the area, he had four sons, from whom all the clans of Hoti are said to have descended: Junç Ghega (forefather of the Junçaj clan), Gjon Ghega (forefather of the Gjonaj clan), Lajq Ghega (forefather of the Lajçaj clan), and their half-brother Pjeter Ghega (forefather of the Traboini clans (Dedvukaj).

  • Junçaj(from the towns of Drume(Prëkaj, Gjonikshabaj, Luk Smalajt, Nikgjokajt, Bozhaj etc.))
    • Lucgjonaj and Çunmulaj (standard-bearers)
  • Gjonaj (Drume)
  • Lajçaj (from the towns of Drume, Bozaj and Tuzi)
  • Pjeter Gega had three sons Gozdjeni,Gojçi,Dushi From Gozdjeni we have Dedvukaj, Gjelaj, Nicaj, Camaj,


  • Ded Gjo Luli (Dedvukaj), Commander of the Malsor army in the Battle of Deçiq/Dečić
  • Çun Mula (Lucgjonaj/Junçaj; Bajraktar)
  • Smail-Maliq (Çunmulaj)
  • Dedi i Gjonit (Camaj)
  • Mark Sokoli (Camaj)
  • Pjetër Uci (Camaj)
  • Cak Gjoni (Camaj-vajtori)
  • Lekë Gjon Leka (Camaj)
  • Palok Gjeto Kola (Camaj)
  • Cuba Deli (Gojçaj; Bajraktar of Traboini)
  • Luc Gjon Ujka (Gojçaj)
  • Pjetër Zef Smajli (Gojçaj)
  • Kolë Marash Vata (Gojçaj)
  • Tom Nika i Hoti (Gojçaj)
  • Rrok Doka (Gojçaj)
  • Palok Traboini (Gojçaj)
  • Mark Miri (Dedvukaj)
  • Kolë Miri (Dedvukaj)
  • Zef Hoti (Junçaj)
  • Mark Gjeto Ujka (Junçaj)
  • Marash Uci (Gjonaj)
  • Kol Machi Hoti (Gjonaj)
  • Ton Vuksani (Camaj) (desetar)
  • T'Bijte e Calit (Gjonaj)
  • Lulash Zeka (Nicaj)
  • Frano Zeka (Nicaj)
  • Mul Delia (Çunmuluaj, Junçaj)
  • Gjelosh Luli (Dedvukaj)
  • Gjelosh Frangu (Gjelaj)
  • Has Hoti (Gjelaj)'''
  • Simon Marash (Dedvukaj)
  • Zef Pjetri (Dedvukaj)
  • Kolë Zef Peri (Dushaj)
  • Rrok Gjergji (Dedvukaj)
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