By the mid-19th century Turkey was in the throes of the "Eastern Question," as the peoples of the Balkans, including Albanians, sought to realize their national aspirations. To defend and promote their national interests, Albanians met in Prizren, a town in Kosova, in 1878 and founded the Albanian League of Prizren. The league had two main goals, one political and the other cultural. First, it strove (unsuccessfully) to unify all Albanian territories--at the time divided among the four vilayets, or provinces, of Kosova, Shkodra, Monastir, and Janina--into one autonomous state within the framework of the Ottoman Empire. Second, it spearheaded a movement to develop Albanian language, literature, education, and culture. In line with the second program, in 1908 Albanian leaders met in the town of Monastir (now Bitola, Macedonia) and adopted a national alphabet. Based mostly on the Latin script, this supplanted several other alphabets, including Arabic and Greek, that were in use until then. The Albanian League was suppressed by the Turks in 1881, in part because they were alarmed by its strong nationalistic orientation. By then, however, the league had become a powerful symbol of Albania's national awakening, and its ideas and objectives fueled the drive that culminated later in national independence. When the Young Turks, who seized power in Istanbul in 1908, ignored their commitments to Albanians to institute democratic reforms and to grant autonomy, Albanians embarked on an armed struggle, which, at the end of three years (1910-12), forced the Turks to agree, in effect, to grant their demands. Alarmed at the prospect of Albanian autonomy, Albania's Balkan neighbours, who had already made plans to partition the region, declared war on Turkey in October 1912, and Greek, Serbian, and Montenegrin armies advanced into Albanian territories. To prevent the annihilation of the country, Albanian national delegates met at a congress in Vlor'. They were led by Ismail Qemal, an Albanian who had held several high positions in the Ottoman government. On Nov. 28, 1912, the congress issued the Vlor' proclamation, which declared Albania's independence.