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Petar I Petrović Njegoš (St. Peter of Cetinjemarker) (1747-1830) (Serbian Cyrillic: Петар I Петровић Његош, Свети Петар Цетињски) was the ruler of Montenegromarker, the Cetinjemarker Episcop of the Serbian Orthodox Church (Serbian: Владика or Vladika) and Exarch (claimholder) of the Serb Orthodox throne. He was the most popular spiritual and military leader from the Petrović dynasty. During his long rule, Petar strengthened the state by uniting the often quarreling tribes, consolidating his control over Montenegrin lands, introducing the first laws in Montenegromarker (Законик Петра I or Zakonik Petra I) and launching the first program of national liberation and unification of Serbs.

Battles and wars

Against the Ottoman Empire (1785-96)

He had unquestioned moral authority strengthened by his military successes. His rule prepared Montenegro for the subsequent introduction of modern institutions of the state: taxes, schools and larger commercial enterprises.He was made a bishop in 1784. During his trip to Russiamarker (1785), Montenegromarker was attacked by Turkishmarker forces. When Vladika Petar I returned from Russia, he began a war of liberation. At the crucial battle at Krusi (a village in Lješanska nahija) the Turkish Army of 30,000 led by Mahmut-Paša Bušatlija and assisted with seven Frenchmarker officers was defeated with heavy casualties by a force of 6,000 Montenegrins led by Vladika Petar I (3 Oct. 1796). In this famous battle Mahmut-pasha was killed. After the victory Petar enlarged the territory of Montenegro and became virtually independent of the Ottoman Empire.

Against the French Empire (1806-07)

In 1806, the troops of Napoleonic France advanced toward the Bay of Kotormarker in Montenegro. The Montenegrin army led by Vladika Petar I, aided by several Russian battalions and the fleet of Admiral Senjavin pushed them back to Dubrovnikmarker. But soon after, Russian Tsar Alexander I asked Montenegrins to relinquish control of Bokamarker to Austriamarker. However, after Montenegrins retreated to Herceg Novimarker, Alexander changed his mind again, and with a help of Montenegrins conquered Bračmarker and Korčulamarker. In the meantime, France encouraged Turkey to attack Russia, which withdrew its fleet from the Adriaticmarker to defend the Ionian islandsmarker. The Treaty of Tilsit (1807) between Russia and France granted the control of the Bay of Kotor to France.

Against the French and Ottoman Empires (1807-12)

In 1807-1812 Turkish forces supported by France attacked Brda and Montenegro several times, but were defeated. In 1813, the Montenegrin army, supported by Russia and Britainmarker, liberated the Bay of Kotor from the French. However, at the Congress of Vienna, control of the Bay of Kotor was granted to the Austrian Empiremarker and Montenegro's independence was not recognised. Following this disappointment Montenegro entered very difficult times. Thousands of Montenegrins starved to death. Hundreds of Montenegrin families emigrated to Russia and Serbiamarker.

Against the Ottoman Empire (1820)

In 1820, in the north of Montenegro, the highlanders from Moračamarker led by Serdar Mrkoje Mijušković won a major battle against the Turkish force from Bosnia.

Serbian Empire

Petar was the conceiver of a plan to form a new Serbian Empire out of Bosnia, Serbia, Herzegovina and Montenegro with Boka, with Dubrovnikmarker as its Imperial Capital. In 1807, he sent a letter to the Russian General of the Danube Army regarding this subject: "The Russian Czar would be recognized as the Tsar of the Serbs and the Metropolitan of Montenegro would be his assistant. The leading role in the restoration of the Serbian Empire belongs to Montenegro."

Canonisation

He was canonised as Saint Peter of Cetinje by his successor Petar II Petrović Njegoš. The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates him on October 31, Gregorian calendar, which is October 18 in the Julian calendar.

Works

  • The Lore in Verse (Поучење у стиховима)
  • The Sons of Ivan-bey (Синови Иванбегови)
  • Poem to Karageorge (Пјесма Карађорђу)
  • To Serb Christmas Eve (Српско Бадњи вече)


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