In ancient times the region of Krujë was inhabited by the Illyrian tribe of the Albani, while the town is located near the Iron Age Illyrian site of Zgërdhesh. Some scholars have identified the site with the main settlement of the Albani, Albanopolis, while others identified Albanopolis with Krujë itself. During the Illyrian Wars the area of Krujë was captured by the Roman Republic.
On 28 November 1443 Skanderbeg gained control over Krujë by deceiving its subaşi with forged sultan's letter. In 1444 Skanderbeg incorporated it in the League of Lezhë, the confederation of the Albanian principalities. From 1450 until 1477 Krujë was defended successfully by the Albanian troops four times against the Ottoman army, which eventually captured it in 1478 during the fourth Siege of the city. During the first siege of Krujë in 1450, the 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers of the League of Lezhë under Vrana Konti and Skanderbeg defeated an Ottoman force of about 100,000 men led by Sultan Murad II, who had tried to bribe Konti to surrender the castle of the town. In the following decade Krujë was first besieged in 1466 and then in 1467 unsuccessfully by Ballaban Pasha and Sultan Mehmed II, whose total troops were about 150,000. After Skanderbeg's death in 1468, the city's garrison was supplemented by troops of the Republic of Venice. In 1476 the town was once more besieged by a ten-thousand-man army under Gedik Ahmed Pasha; however, the local garrison led by proveditor Pietro Vetturi fended off the Ottoman besiegers, who retreated after the arrival of reinforcements under Francesco Contarini and Nikollë Dukagjini. The city was eventually conquered by the Ottomans in 1478 after being besieged for over a year. This success was viewed by the Ottomans as a good omen that the siege of Shkodra would also be successful.
During the rise of nationalism in the Ottoman Empire Krujë became the battlefield of various anti-Ottoman rebellions also related with the imposition of new taxes. In 1906 the people of Krujë revolted once more against the Ottoman Empire.
Throughout the Albanian Revolt of 1912, that led to the creation of the Albanian Vilayet and later in the Declaration of Independence of Albania Krujë, which was captured on 14 August, was one of the major anti-Ottoman centers.
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