The king of shapito: how a clown was crowned in Albania
Bearded anecdotes about how politicians look like clowns are already boring, but few people know that there was a funny precedent in history when a professional circus performer actually sat in a government chair. The adventurous story of German citizen Otto Witte may seem fantastic, but it actually happened. The stunt man is an imposter from a tiny tent became the first king of Albania.
This incredible story happened in the summer of 1913, when Albania achieved independence. Immediately there was a question about the appointment of the head of state, and it was decided to “borrow” the king from… the Ottoman Empire. Of course, it looks strange in the light of the fact that Albania was just freed from the Ottoman yoke, but at the same time the country did not have its own dynasty.
Halim Eddine, the nephew of the Turkish Sultan, was to lead the country. The news of the imminent arrival of the monarch was published in the press, and Albania froze in anticipation of a miracle. The miracle happened, however, turned out to be more of a trick. It was given out by two shapito artists-Otto Witte and Max Schlepsig. The first entertained the audience with jokes, the second swallowed swords. As circus performers, they did not enjoy much success, so they decided to conduct an unprecedented adventure, which promised significant dividends.
Everything else happened like in a movie. At first, Otto was made up by pasting on his mustache and dressing him in Turkish attire. After that, they sent a telegram about their arrival in the name of Halim himself. At the appointed hour, Otto Halim descended from the ship’s ladder, and the Albanians received him with glee. Already on August 5, the newly crowned monarch was crowned and given access to the state Treasury. To please the Lord, he was given a harem with beautiful concubines.
Otto was a very determined ruler. Immediately after his coronation, he declared war on Montenegro. His reign lasted only 5 days, as the real Turkish Sultan sent a dispatch to Albania stating that the impostor was accepted, since his nephew had not even left the country yet. However, Otto Witte managed to escape and was never found in the country.
After his escapade, Otto Witte returned to Germany, where he lived a happy life until old age, and in his individual card was recorded that he worked as a circus Manager and the king of Albania.