The Principality of Muzaka, usually known by the name of its capital, Ersekë (in Greek, Erseka), is a small survivor state in southern Albania. Since the end of the Epirote War, it is a member of the Greek Federation.
The area of Ersekë was originally inhabited by various States of Epirus and the more established northern Greek tribes, largely the Dassaretae. The attractive strategic advantages of the region attracted many foreign invaders. The Ottoman occupation of the area began in 1440. The history of the town itself began in the 17th century, when it was founded. By 1785, the city was populated by around 100 families. However, the local population resisted various invasions, though without much success,, starting with the riots during the Roman and Ottoman Empires, and continuing until the independence of Albania in November 1912. In 1914 it came under the control of the Northern Epirote forces, which repelled the newly established Albanian gendarmerie units from the region.
At Doomsday, the location of Ersekë proved to be a great help to the local population. While the mountains had made the locals very poor, it also left them fairly secure against the ills of Doomsday, as they suffered no radiation damage or direct impacts.
While the locals were largely fine, the area still eventually turned to chaos. Refugees from further north, where things went bad almost immediately, soon arrived in the area around Ersekë. Blaming the Greeks for the chaos, these groups from the north, now largely organized into gangs, of sorts, force the local Greeks out and began to fight with the local Albanians as well.
By the summer of 1984, these gangs had caused extensive damage to the region, and to a certain extent managed to destroy each other. By the next year, only four of these groups remained: two from the locals, and then two from the better-armed refugees. Issues between them largely amounted to ideology, with some supporting communism and others hating it, and being in favor of democracy or not.
During the fall of 1985, two of these gangs made an alliance. One of the groups of refugees, headed by a small number of sportsmen from the city of Korce, made an alliance with a local group, marrying the young son of their leader to the young daughter of the local leader. Together, these two groups, not inclined to communism, defeated the other two squabbling factions. Yet, just after their victory, the local leader died mysteriously, leaving the refugee leader, a member of the former basketball team in Korce, in charge. While he continued to recognize the agreed marriage, the other faction was crushed by his.
Claiming descent from the medieval State of Muzaka and its rulers, this leader, Robert Kuqo, proclaimed himself the head of a new Lordship of Muzaka, centered at Ersekë. Outside experts believe today that Kuqo was not completely sane by this point in time, but no guesses have been made as to why this would be the case either. All the same, he took control with his men, who were just glad to be safe and went along with it.
Kuqo kept a very tight grip on his territory, especially after other strongmen were discovered to have taken control of both Korce and other cities. Using the terrain, Kuqo began to fortify the region, believing that he could hold the territory against outsiders. This proved a good plan, as it saved the area from being attacked during the Albanian Civil Wars, and likely helped them when Macedonian expansion to their east began.
Despot Kuqo refused to join the Albanian nation-state that was formed in the aftermath of the Civil Wars, believing that its defenses, along with its location near Macedonia and Heptanesa, would keep it safe from them. In this, the last major decision of his reign, he was right, as the state survived the destruction of that Albanian state. On April 17th, 1999, the Despot passed on in his sleep, and his son, Ermal Kuqo, took his crown.
Another offer for the state to join the Albanian state occurred after its loss to Macedonia in the Albania-Macedonia war. This too was turned down by the Despot. The Despot lived in fear of both the Macedonians and the Greeks, who both had some sort of ambition towards the region. Towards this end, the defenses erected by his father were constantly being improved, and the population trained to defend the area.
Greek forces, after invading its neighbors, first moved on Ersekë on February 6th, 2012. They were, however, small in number, and easily repulsed. More troops came back on the 14th, and breached the border defenses. However, these forces were halted at the mountain passes around the town of Leskovik, where Muzakan troops held them off for two weeks. On the 29th, they sent a representative to the Greeks under a white flag, seeking to make an arrangement. One was agreed on - membership for the Lordship in the Federation, provided large reforms were made. They then surrendered, and a Greek civil team took over administrative duties for the duration.
Ersekë is an authoritarian monarchy. During its period of independence, all that happened in the state was at the order of the Prince.
Following their surrender agreements with the Greek Federation, the Prince gave up much of his authority to a Greek administrative team led by General Fotios Krevaikas of the Greek Air Force. The team established a constitutional government in preparation for the small state being given membership in the Federation. The state remains largely authoritarian in the fashion of Morea.
Of all the survivor-states of Albania, Ersekë was probably the one most organized militarily. Stone fortresses are been erected in the passes at the border of the former state, and rubble in the city itself has been used towards this endeavor, as well as constructing a walled castle in Ersekë.
These fortresses were garrisoned by the roughly hundred men in the Royal Guard, and reinforced by peasant militia as needed.
This defense works proved very effective, as it allowed them to keep the Greeks at bay long enough so that the two could work out an arrangement rather than Ersekë be conquered like the rest of the region.
Ersekë is a very poor area. Their farms and forests just barely feed the population, and besides a small amount of mining for metals used to make tools, almost no other activity occurs, though if investment was made into the area than there could be.
Ersekë was, given its size, fairly insignificant internationally.
However, both the Greeks and Albania held claims on the region, meaning that it was likely to become some sort of dispute in the near future, given that the Greek Federation has a large number of trained soldiers that are not needed for fighting Sicily at the present time. This proved true in early 2012, when the Greeks took control of the area.