Charles Seignobos, A Political History of Europe, since 1814, ed. S. M. Macvane,
H. Holt and Company, New York, 1900, pp. 663-664; excerpt from chapter XXI The Christian Nations of The Balkans, subchapter
Servia and Montenegro, passages Montenegro
Tchernagora, better known by the Italian name Montenegro, is a small, almost
inaccessible country lying in the range of mountains that skirts the eastern
Adriatic. It had maintained itself as a practically independent district
within the Ottoman Empire. Its inhabitants, Orthodox Serbs, nominally Turkish
subjects, formed a small nation of armed mountaineers, governed by a family
of national and religious leaders who succeed each other from uncle to nephew,
with the title of Vladika or prince-bishop. It was a democracy of warriors;
the women cultivated the land and the men practised arms. The neighbourhood
of Herzegovina gave Montenegro a political rôle; the Vladikas became
allies of Russia, which used the Montenegrins to rouse the Christian Serbs
of Herzegovina and to make raids upon the Turks.
In 1851 Danilo, on succeeding his uncle, dropped the title of Vladika, married,
and founded the dynasty of the princes of Montenegro. The Sultan sent an
army against him, which the Tsar obliged him to recall ( 1852). Then, in
return for the attitude he had taken in the Crimean war, the Prince of Montenegro
received an annual subsidy from the Tsar. Danilo was killed by a private
enemy in 1860 and was succeeded by his nephew Nikita.
Montenegrin political life consisted of little more than the almost continual
struggle against the Mussulmans, which came to open war during the Herzegovina
insurrections (1862 and 1876). Russia repaid Montenegro's services in the
campaign of 1877 by making the Sultan cede to her a larger and more populous
territory than the whole former principality, with a port which assured her
communication with Europe (1878). But the Albanian Mussulmans who occupied
the country refused to give it up; and Montenegro got possession of it only
after a long war and the famous demonstration of the European fleets before
Of domestic political life there has been extremely little. The prince, once
officially independent of the Sultan, has remained an absolute sovereign,
controlling the budget, exercising all the powers, appointing even Church
officials. But he has covered the patriarchal system with European forms.
The administrative Statute of 1879 established a legislative Council of State
of 8 members, half chosen by the prince, the other half elected by the people.
A legal code of the French sort has been adopted. The organization has remained
military, the people divided into tribes, each with its elective elders and
its military chief. But the princely family of Montenegro, by means of marriages
with the reigning families of Russia (1889) and Italy (1896), has entered
the society of European dynasties.