Skanderbeg (1405-1468) was a medieval warlord who repulsed numerous Turkish invasions and is the national hero of Albania.

Born George (Gjergj) Kastrioti, he was the son of a prince of Emathia. While quite young, he was given as a hostage to the Turks, as was a common practice in those days. He was converted to Islam and educated in Edirne in Turkey. Sultan Murad II elevated him to the rank of Bey and named him Iskander after Alexander the Great. (The name Skanderbeg is a combination of "Iskander" and "Bey".)

In 1443, after the defeat of the Turks at Nis, Skanderbeg jumped ship and rejoined the Albanians and converted to Christianity. Based out of his citadel at Krujë, he became commander of a league of princes he organized to repulse the Turks, which he successfully did 13 times over the next two decades. This made him a hero in Europe, and Pope Calixtus III named him captain general of the Holy See.

After his death, Krujë and the rest of Albania fell under Turkish domination.

Skanderbeg has been the subject of a few British plays and three operas, by Francois Francouer, Bernard Germain le Comte de Lacepede, and Antonio Vivaldi.

His helmet and sword are in the Kunthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.

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