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The Eighteenth Century

Vladikas from the Petrović clan (1697-1851) - Copyright © by montenet.org
Vladikas from the Petrović clan (1697-1851)

The eighteenth century was to see the development of the embryonic Montenegrin state based on a tiny territory centered on Cetinje. It was also to develop as a theocracy led by the 'Vladika', a man who was at the same time bishop and prince and who was to hail from the Petrović clan. These were also the years when Montenegro was to develop close relations with Russia, briefly accept as ruler ' Šćepan Mali' ('Stephen the Small'), an imposter claiming to be the murdered Russian tsar Peter III, and when Austria was to feature ever more prominently as an actor in Montenegrin politics. These were years of change but despite that, cautions Roberts, "the developments that had taken place during the eighteenth century" still left the country "an essentially conservative society in which the tribal chiefs played a predominant part."

Few ordinary Montenegrins knew much of the world beyond Kotor [Venetian from 1420 to 1797] and most lived in isolated hamlets. There were no schools. The extent of tribesmen's insularity and backwardness had been demonstrated by their readiness to accept the false tsar and, except during

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