National Geographic : 1918 Aug
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by '. J. koch ONE FAMILY, OR CLAN, OF ALBANIANS In certain remote mountain districts of Albania, the tribal law, known as the Canon of Lek (a legendary lawgiver), still obtains in full force. By this law a man is complete master in his own house and may even kill his wife or children. Marriages are frequently arranged in infancy and may be consummated when the girl becomes 14 years of age. Among moun tain clans the women till the soil in the valleys while the men guard the flocks on the hill sides. the case of a little American school for girls at Koritza, which I visited. In the days of the Turk there were pri mary and secondary schools in some of the towns, and instruction in the Koran was given in the village mosques, but neither reading nor writing taught. ALBANIA UNDER THE AUSTRIANS It is true that at Scutari a college and a seminary were established, with the aid of the Austrian Government; the Fran ciscans had several primary schools and three lay schools were supported by the Italian Government, in its endeavor, even before the occupation, to educate the people. In all these institutions Italian was the language of instruction. The priests of the Greek Church, upon whom the rural population depended for instruc tion, were often deplorably ignorant. Of the Albanians north of the Allied lines no information is, of course, avail able, and the attitude of the Austrian, the German, and the Bulgar toward these unfortunate people is an unknown story, a hard one, I am inclined to think, from the rumors of hardship and forced labor which are current. Though no census of population has been taken, it is estimated that the Alba nians as a whole number some two and a half million people.* Their home land is a magnificent country, with its chaos of grand mountains, deep and fertile val leys, and beautiful streams - a region without forests, almost without wood lands, it is true, but superb in its stern majesty. * An estimate given me in conversation in Albania as covering the entire race. It may be an overestimate.