What is Nortnern Epirus?
THE APPELLATION NORTHERN EPIRUS: The term “Northern Epirus” is relatively posterior. It was violently and arbitrarily imposed in 1913, when the Great Powers (England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and Austro-Hungary) committed the great crime of the partitioning Epirus and detaching Northern Epirus from it, in order to donate it to Albania.
Up to then, and thousands of years before, Epirus was unified, one and undivided, with its boarders starting from Amvrakikos Gulf (Preveza) and ending to Genoussos River (Skoubi), in parallel to Via Egnatia, with its capital the ancient city of Nikopolis, close to Preveza. Beyond Genoussos River, there were mostly Illyrian tribes, yet in that area Hellenism was present as well, with Greek cities, mostly on the coasts of Adriatiki, with Epidamnus, i.e. the modern city of Dyrhacchion, as its capital.It was in this unified Epirus that the Greek civilization was born, and it was there that Hellas matured. What we currently call Northern Epirus has always been an inseparable part of the undivided Epirus.
Thus, in the area of Northern Epirus, as in Epirus as a whole, pure Hellenism was settled since the ancient times, and long before Christ was born. Famous ancient cities were flourishing there, and the religious, domestic, national expressions of its inhabitants did not differ at all from those of the rest of Greeks. Numerous of ancient monuments come as a proof, and many great foreign scientists, such as archaeologists, linguists, historians and scientists of religion, maintain that in admiration; the same is true for many ancient historians, geographers and philosophers (Procopius 6th c. B.C., Skylax 6th c. B.C., Ecateus 6th c. B.C., Thucydides 5th c. B.C., Aristotle 4th c. B.C., Dionysius the Traveler 1st c. B.C. and Strabo 1st c. B.C.).
Referring to N. Epirus thus means talking about an area of the formerly unified Epirus, primordially inhabited purely by Greeks, repeatedly been liberated from foreign domination however in 1913 “donated” to the newly constituted Albanian state by the Great Powers which fervorously worked on its creation. The N. Epirotans reacted to their incorporation within the Albanian state with a victorious war against Albanians. In 1914 they earned their autonomy with the Protocol of Corfu co-signed by the Albanian government. But unfortunately that right was infringed after the WWI ended and particularly after the Massacre in Asia Minor (1922) while thereafter never has it been enacted.
After the end of WWII, the Greek government during the Paris Peace Conference officially brought up for discussion the issue of unification of N. Epirus with Greece. The question was committed upon the Foreign Ministers of the four victorious Great Powers and was placed (on 03/08/1946) in their agenda. According to the Council meeting of the four Ministers in N. York (04/11/1946-12/12/1946) the resolution about the N. Epirus question had to remain pending with the view to be examined after the Austrian and German Questions were resolved. While the Austrian Question was resolved in 1955 and the German one in 1990 it remains up to the Greek state to recrudesce.