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John Bua Spata

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Title: John Bua Spata  
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John Bua Spata

Gjin Bua Shpata (died 1399), also known as John Bua Spata, was an Albanian ruler of the Despotate of Arta.[1] He was part of the noble Shpata family.[2] He was also despot of Angelokastro and Acheloos (1358–1399), Lord of Arta 1375, Lord of Lepanto, Despot of Arta and Lepanto.[3]

Ruler and Despot of Arta

In the summer of 1358, Nikephoros II Doukas, the last despot of Epirus that belonged to the Orsini dynasty, fought against the Albanian forces in the Battle of Achelous (1359) near the river Acheloos, Acarnania. The Albanians won the war and managed to create two new states in the Southern Despotate of Epirus.

After the fall of the Orsini dynasty of the Despotate of Epirus, the Serbian lords of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, divided the territory between them and the Albanian rulers that supported the Serbian campaign.

The first of the two Albanian lead states had its capital in Arta and was under the Albanian nobleman Peter Losha. The second, centered in Angelokastron, was ruled by Gjin Bua Shpata. After the death of Peter Losha in 1374, the Albanian despotates of Arta and Angelocastron were united under the rule of Despot Gjin Bua Shpata. The territory of this Despotate was from the Corinth Gulf to Acheron River in the North. The Despotate of Epirus, just north of the Despotate of Arta, managed to control in this period only the eastern part of Epirus, together with Vagenetia (Thesprotia). Its capital was Ioannina.

North of the Despotate of Epirus was another Albanian state, the Principality of Gjon Zenebishti.

During this period the Despotate of Epirus was ruled by Thomas II Preljubović, who was in an open conflict with Gjin Bue Shpata. In 1375, Gjin Bue Shpata started an offensive in Ioannina, but he couldn't invade the city. Although Shpata married with the sister of Thomas II Preljubović (the Despot of Epirus), Helena, their war did not stop. In 1380 and 1382 Thomas II Preljubović allied with the Ottomans against Gjin Bua Shpata.[4]

In the same period Shpata started a war against Leonardo I Tocco, who was the ruler of Cefalonia and Leucada. Shpata died on 29 October 1399, under the continuous pressure of Preljubović and Tocco, whose son would become the next despot of Epirus.[5]

Shpata family

Gjin Bue Shpata was part of the noble Albanian Shpata and Boua families. His father Pietro Bua Shpata was lord of Gjirokastër and Delvina.[6]
His genealogical tree is not well documented. It was first outlined by Karl Hopf in his Chroniques Greco-Romanes (p. 531) and by K. Sathas in the 19th century but a newer study finds that those works have many mistakes and gaps.[7] An anonymous source, based mainly on Hopf's work, gives this family tree

G. Schiró studied the genealogy of Spata based on the original sources, i.e. the "Chronicle of Ioannina" and the "Chronicle of Tocco", but also on the Venetian archives. He proposed a family tree quiet different from that of Hopf. For example, Pietro Bua had not only three sons but four. Gjin Bua Spata had not any son but only daughters. His daughter Irene married three times. He believes that the family was extinct with the death of Yaqub in 1416. Other people, mainly condottieri, with the name "Bua" are not blood relatives of this family but this name was used by many as first name since it became famous.[8]


Preceded by
Post created
Despot of Angelokastron and Lepanto
Succeeded by
Post abolished
Preceded by
Peter Losha
Despot of Arta
Succeeded by
Muriq Shpata

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