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Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš (Serbian Cyrillic: Никола I Петровић-Његош; 7 October [O.S. 25 September] 1841 – 1 March 1921) was the ruler of Montenegro from 1860 to 1918, reigning as prince from 1860 to 1910 and as the country's first and only king from 1910 to 1918.

Early life

Nikola was born in the village of Njeguši, the home of the reigning House of Petrović. His father, Mirko Petrović-Njegoš, a celebrated Montenegrin warrior, was elder brother to Danilo I of Montenegro, who left no male offspring. After 1696, when the dignity of vladika, or prince-bishop, became hereditary in the Petrović family, the sovereign power had descended from uncle to nephew, the vladikas belonging to the order of the black clergy (i.e., monastic clergy) who are forbidden to marry. A change was introduced by Danilo I, who declined the episcopal office, married and declared the principality hereditary in the direct male line. Mirko Petrović-Njegoš having renounced his claim to the throne, his son was nominated heir-presumptive, and the old system of succession was thus incidentally continued.

Prince Nikola, who had been trained from infancy in martial and athletic exercises, spent a portion of his early boyhood at Trieste in the household of the Kustic family, to which his aunt, the princess Darinka, wife of Danilo II, belonged. The princess was an ardent francophile, and at her suggestion the young heir-presumptive of the vladikas was sent to the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. Unlike his contemporary, King Milan of Serbia, Prince Nikola was little influenced in his tastes and habits by his Parisian education; the young highlander, whose keen patriotism, capability for leadership and poetic talents early displayed themselves, showed no inclination for the pleasures of the French capital, and eagerly looked forward to returning to his native land.

Nikola was a member of the "United Serbian Youth" (Уједињена омладина српска) during its existence (1866–1871).[1][2] After the organization was prohibited in the Principality of Serbia and Austro-Hungary, the "Association for Serb Liberation and Unification" (Дружина за ослобођење и уједињење српско) was established by Nikola, Marko Popović, Simo Popović, Mašo Vrbica, Vasa Pelagić, and more, in Cetinje (1871).[3][4][5]

Prince of Montenegro

Prince Nicholas in 1909.

While still in Paris, Nikola succeeded his assassinated uncle Danilo I as prince (13 August 1860). In November 1860 he married Milena, daughter of a vojvoda named Petar Vukotić.

In the period of peace which followed Nikola carried out a series of military, administrative and educational reforms. The country was embroiled in a series of wars with the Ottoman Empire between 1862 and 1878. In 1867 he met the emperor Napoleon III at Paris, and in 1868 he undertook a journey to Russia, where he received an affectionate welcome from the tsar, Alexander II. He afterwards visited the courts of Berlin and Vienna. His efforts to enlist the sympathies of the Russian imperial family produced important results for Montenegro; considerable subsidies were granted by the tsar and tsaritsa for educational and other purposes, and supplies of arms and ammunition were sent to Cetinje. In 1871 Prince Dolgorukov arrived at Montenegro on a special mission from the tsar, and distributed large sums of money among the people. In 1869 Prince Nikola, whose authority was now firmly established, succeeded in preventing the impetuous highlanders from aiding the Krivosians in their revolt against the Austrian government; similarly in 1897 he checked the martial excitement caused by the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War.

King Nicholas I with his wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren and sons- and daughters-in-law in 1910.

In 1876 Nikola declared war against Turkey; his military reputation was enhanced by the ensuing campaign, and still more by that of 1877/78, during which he captured Nikšić, Bar and Ulcinj. The war resulted in a considerable extension of the Montenegrin frontier and the acquisition of a seaboard on the Adriatic. Nikola justified the war as a revenge for the Battle of Kosovo (1389). In 1876 he sent a message to the Montenegrins in Herzegovina:

Under Murad I the Serbian Tsardom was destroyed, under Murad V it has to rise again. This is my wish and wish of all of us as well as the wish of almighty God.

The Congress of Berlin in 1878 recognised the independence of Montenegro, and in the succeeding decades Montenegro enjoyed considerable prosperity and stability. Education, communications and the army expanded greatly (the latter with support from Imperial Russia). In 1883 Prince Nikola visited the sultan, with whom he subsequently maintained the most cordial relations; in 1896 he celebrated the bicentenary of the Petrović dynasty, and in the same year he attended the coronation of the Tsar Nicholas II; in May 1898 he visited Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.

King of Montenegro

Styles of
King Nikola I
Royal Monogram of King Nicholas I of Montenegro.svg
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

In 1900 Nikola took the style of Royal Highness.

According to Bolati, the Montenegrin court was not grieving that much over the murder of King Alexander Obrenović, as they saw him as an enemy of Montenegro and obstacle to the unification of Serb Lands. "Although it wasn't said openly, it was thought that the Petrović dynasty would achieve [the unification]. All procedures of King Nikola shows that he himself believed that".[6]

King Nicholas I triumphantly enters Shkodra on April 30, 1913, after the siege.
Njeguši, the home of the reigning House of Petrović. His father, Mirko Petrović-Njegoš, a celebrated Montenegrin warrior, was elder brother to Danilo I of Montenegro, who left no male offspring. After 1696, when the dignity of vladika, or prince-bishop, became hereditary in the Petrović family, the sovereign power had descended from uncle to nephew, the vladikas belonging to the order of the black clergy (i.e., monastic clergy) who are forbidden to marry. A change was introduced by Danilo I, who declined the episcopal office, married and declared the principality hereditary in the direct male line. Mirko Petrović-Njegoš having renounced his claim to the throne, his son was nominated heir-presumptive, and the old system of succession was thus incidentally continued.

Prince Nikola, who had been trained from infancy in martial and athletic exercises, spent a portion of his early boyhood at Trieste in the household of the Kustic family, to which his aunt, the princess Darinka, wife of Danilo II, belonged. The princess was an ardent francophile, and at her suggestion the young heir-presumptive of the vladikas was sent to the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. Unlike his contemporary, King Milan of Serbia, Prince Nikola was little influenced in his tastes and habits by his Parisian education; the young highlander, whose keen patriotism, capability for leadership and poetic talents early displayed themselves, showed no inclination for the pleasures of the French capital, and eagerly looked forward to returning to his native land.

Nikola was a member of the "United Serbian Youth" (Уједињена омладина српска) during its existence (1866–1871).[1][2] After the organization was prohibited in the Principality of Serbia and Austro-Hungary, the "Association for Serb Liberation and Unification" (Дружина за ослобођење и уједињење српско) was established by Nikola, Marko Popović, Simo Popović, Mašo Vrbica, Vasa Pelagić, and more, in Cetinje (1871).[3][4]Prince Nikola, who had been trained from infancy in martial and athletic exercises, spent a portion of his early boyhood at Trieste in the household of the Kustic family, to which his aunt, the princess Darinka, wife of Danilo II, belonged. The princess was an ardent francophile, and at her suggestion the young heir-presumptive of the vladikas was sent to the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris. Unlike his contemporary, King Milan of Serbia, Prince Nikola was little influenced in his tastes and habits by his Parisian education; the young highlander, whose keen patriotism, capability for leadership and poetic talents early displayed themselves, showed no inclination for the pleasures of the French capital, and eagerly looked forward to returning to his native land.

Nikola was a member of the "United Serbian Youth" (Уједињена омладина српска) during its existence (1866–1871).[1][2] After the organization was prohibited in the Principality of Serbia and Austro-Hungary, the "Association for Serb Liberation and Unification" (Дружина за ослобођење и уједињење српско) was established by Nikola, Marko Popović, Simo Popović, Mašo Vrbica, Vasa Pelagić, and more, in Cetinje (1871).[3][4][5]

While still in Paris, Nikola succeeded his assassinated uncle Danilo I as prince (13 August 1860). In November 1860 he married Milena, daughter of a vojvoda named Petar Vukotić.

In the period of peace which followed Nikola carried out a series of military, administrative and educational reforms. The country was embroiled in a series of wars with the Ottoman Empire between 1862 and 1878. In 1867 he met the emperor Napoleon III at Paris, and in 1868 he undertook a journey to Russia, where he received an affectionate welcome from the tsar, Alexander II. He afterwards visited the courts of Berlin and Vienna. His efforts to enlist the sympathies of the Russian imperial family produced important results for Montenegro; considerable subsidies were granted by the tsar and tsaritsa for educational and other purposes, and supplies of arms and ammunition were sent to Cetinje. In 1871 Prince Dolgorukov arrived at Montenegro on a special mission from the tsar, and distributed large sums of money among the people. In 1869 Prince Nikola, whose author

In the period of peace which followed Nikola carried out a series of military, administrative and educational reforms. The country was embroiled in a series of wars with the Ottoman Empire between 1862 and 1878. In 1867 he met the emperor Napoleon III at Paris, and in 1868 he undertook a journey to Russia, where he received an affectionate welcome from the tsar, Alexander II. He afterwards visited the courts of Berlin and Vienna. His efforts to enlist the sympathies of the Russian imperial family produced important results for Montenegro; considerable subsidies were granted by the tsar and tsaritsa for educational and other purposes, and supplies of arms and ammunition were sent to Cetinje. In 1871 Prince Dolgorukov arrived at Montenegro on a special mission from the tsar, and distributed large sums of money among the people. In 1869 Prince Nikola, whose authority was now firmly established, succeeded in preventing the impetuous highlanders from aiding the Krivosians in their revolt against the Austrian government; similarly in 1897 he checked the martial excitement caused by the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War.

In 1876 Nikola declared war against Turkey; his military reputation was enhanced by the ensuing campaign, and still more by that of 1877/78, during which he captured Nikšić, Bar and Ulcinj. The war resulted in a considerable extension of the Montenegrin frontier and the acquisition of a seaboard on the Adriatic. Nikola justified the war as a revenge for the Battle of Kosovo (1389). In 1876 he sent a message to the Montenegrins in Herzegovina:

Under Murad I the Serbian Tsardom was destroyed, under Murad V it has to rise again. This is my wish and wish of all of us as well as the wish of almighty God.

The Congress of Berlin in 1878 recognised the independence of Montenegro, and in the succeeding decades Montenegro enjoyed considerable prosperity and stability. Education, communications and the army expanded greatly (the latter with support from Imperial Russia). In 1883 Prince Nikola visited the sultan, with whom he subsequently maintained the most cordial relations; in 1896 he celebrated the bicentenary of the Petrović dynasty, and in the same year he attended the coronation of the Tsar Nicholas II; in May 1898 he visited Congress of Berlin in 1878 recognised the independence of Montenegro, and in the succeeding decades Montenegro enjoyed considerable prosperity and stability. Education, communications and the army expanded greatly (the latter with support from Imperial Russia). In 1883 Prince Nikola visited the sultan, with whom he subsequently maintained the most cordial relations; in 1896 he celebrated the bicentenary of the Petrović dynasty, and in the same year he attended the coronation of the Tsar Nicholas II; in May 1898 he visited Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.

King of Montenegro

Children