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Petar II Petrovic Njegos, 1830-1851  

Petar II Petrovic NjegosVladika Petar I Petrovic Njegos named his nephew Djordje Savov as his successor. Djordje was studying in Russia and was not keen to become a Bishop. Therefore, the other nephew of Petar I, 17-year Rade Tomow who was also written in his testament, was approved by popular acclamation (31.10.1830) as the new vladika. Guvernadur Radonjic, a vociferous opponent of Petrovic's rule, claimed that Rade was written in the testament not by Vladika Petar I, but by Simo Milutinovic Sarajlija in conspiracy with some clans' heads and monks from the monastery Cetinje. Two years later Guvernadur's correspondence with Austria was intercepted and Guvernadur was tried and sentenced to death for treason. However Vladika Rade gave him amnesty but sent him in exile and burned down all property of Radonjic family on Njegusi. This antagonism between Radonjic and Petrovic family was, thus, resolved in favor of Petrovic's which meant the final victory of Russian influence over Austrian. In 1833 Vladika Rade went to Russia to be ordained into vladika in the presence of Russian czar Nicholas I, who gave him considerable financial help (18 000 rubles) (J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje). 

Petar II Petrovic Njegos is seen by many scholars as the most impressive Montenegrin leader of all times. Prince-Bishop (Vladika) Rade apart from having laid down the foundation of the modern Montenegrin state and the subsequent Kingdom of Montenegro was also one of the most glorified South Slav poets. His affection for poetry, however, did not make him soft hearted. According to Russian Colonel Tatijanov (12.03.1842) Vladika Rade was more cruel than any of his predecessors. The members of the Senate who did not obey the Vladika's will, would have been killed either by Perjaniks of by hired killers. For that purpose he increased number of Perjaniks to 70 (J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje). 

Rijeka CrnojevicaIn domestic affairs, Njegos (as Vladika Rade was called by Montenegrins) was a reformer. In 1832, building on he work of Petar I, Vladika Rade created a formal central government consisting of three bodies, the Senate, the Guardia and the Perjanici. The Senate consisted of 12 representatives (with a salary of 40 talirs) who were the heads of the most influential Montenegrin tribes. That was the first central authority in Montenegro performing the functions of government. The Senate had judicial and executive power and was presided by the Vladika. The Guardia was stationed in Rijeka Crnojevica and had 32 members who were Senate's helping hand in administering law and order. The Perjanici were equivalent of a police force, accountable both to the Senate and to the Vladika.  

A Facsimile of the Montenegrin Passport issued By P. II P. Njegos (1840)In addition to the central government bodies Njegos introduced the first taxes (total of 6 000 talirs per annum) in 1833. Needles to say, having had individual and tribal freedom for centuries, Montenegrins opposed compulsory payments to the central authority. Some tribes were defiant claiming that Montenegrins have always refused to pay taxes to the Turks, and challenging Vladika to come and collect the tax himself. Knowing that a modern state can not function without properly administered tax system, Njegos showed firm hand in dealing with tax evades. It is sometimes claimed that Njegos, through his Perjanics, was very cruel in order to impose the authority of the central government. 

In 1832 The Grand Vizier Mahmut Resid offered to Vladika Rade autonomy for Montenegro similar to one of Serbia under Prince Milos. In exchange for the regions of Skadar, South Adriatic cost and the part of Herzegovina, Mahmut Resid asked Vladika to recognize the authority of the Sultan ('investiturski sultanov fermat') and Sultan's protection of Montenegro from the other powers. Vladika Rade called the offer 'mocking' emphasizing Montenegro independence from Turkish rule. In order to punish Vladika, the Great Vizier organized an attack on Montenegro but was defeated by Piperi and Bjelopavlici near Visocica (J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje). 

The Mitre Received by Njegos from the Russian Tzar (1833)Encouraged by this victory Vladika Petar I attacked Podgorica but the attack was refuted by the Turks. Since his military capabilities were questioned by some tribal heads, the Vladika went to Russia in order to improve his reputation (March 1833). On that trip, Petar II was ordained as a Vladika in Petrograd in presence of tzar Nicholas I. Moreover, he received remnant aid of 10 000 Rubles as well as additional 8 000 Rubles for ?('praviteljstvo')(J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje). 

Biljarda - one of the first building in CetinjeUsing that money Vladika built Biljarda (the first house in Cetinje) for the Senate. In 1833 Vladika founded the first elementary schools in Cetinje and Dobrsko Selo. In 1834, he imported the printing press from Venice. However, 18 years later he ordered melting of the lead parts of printing press in order to make ammunition desperately needed for the fight against Turks. Vladika also built roads and four artesian wells in Crmnicka and Katunska nahijas. He sent several (16) young Montenegrins to be educated in Serbia. The seven who returned were among the few literate people in Montenegro. 

Like his predecessors, Vladika Rade fought successfully many battles against Turkish and Austrian forces. The most famous battles from the period of his reign are battle of Kosovo Lug (22.7.1839) and battle of Dodosi (1850) (J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje).  

Like other rulers from Petrovic family Vladika Rade presumed the leading role of his family in creation of a new pan-Slavic state. He wanted to encourage South Slavs to fight together against Turkish evil. For that purpose he wrote to Serbian Prince (knez) Milos:"I have infinite wish to meet you personally to discuss many matters relevant to Slavic-Serbian people (naroda Sloveno srpskogo)". Nevertheless, Knez Milos was not keen to agree with Vladika suggesting him to live in peace with Turks "with neighbors which can be useful if you are nice to them"(J.Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje).  

Later, after dynastic struggles in Serbia, Vladika tried to unite South Slavs in the fight against Turks by encouraging Ban Jelacic, South Dalmatians, Herzegovians, Metohijans, and Albanians and offering help for the uprising. However, in decisive moments ban Jelacic was more Austrian general than Croatian Ban, and by the end of 1849 European reaction forces celebrated victory over the revolution, signifying a set back to Vladika's plans. Despite this set back, Vladika kept good relations with 'neighbors in trouble' and according to writing of Dubrovnik's poet Medo Pucic  
"Montenegro was shiny sun which dries the tears of surrounding oppressed people (raja) and warm up with a new strength so that they can follow heroic example of Montenegrins, and work on liberation, with a clear idea that the fight would be fruitful because it is inspired with justice and heroism"(Jagos Jovanovic, Stvaranje Crnogorske drzave i razvoj Crnogorske nacionalnosti, 1947, Obod-Cetinje). 

The Cover of the First Edition of 'Mountain Wreath' Printed in Viena in 1837However, another fatal obstacle to Vladika's plans was his illness, and subsequent treatment in Italy from which he never recovered. While he was Italy Vladika made a plan to coin the Montenegrin money in order to facilitate the commerce and exchange of goods in Montenegro. His death came too soon (19.10.1951) preventing realization of many grand ideas. 

Njegos is often said to be not only the greatest Montenegrin poet but also a philosopher. His religious philosophy, in spite of some inconsistencies, is widely acclaimed. Njegos' most famous works include The Mountain Wreath (Gorski Vijenac) , The Ray of the Microcosm (Luca Mikrokozma-a), The False tzar Stephen the Small (Lazni car Scepan Mali), Slobodijada, and Hermit of Cetinje (Pustinjak Cetinjski). His most famous work, The Mountain Wreath, was printed in 1837, in Vienna in a print house of the Armenian monastery. The Mountain Wreath, written in the Montenegrin vernacular, has synthesized much of the wisdom of the people and became a key literary symbol of the nation's long struggle for freedom. There is hardly any Montenegrin who could not quote a proverb or passages from the Mountain Wreath. 

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