NICHOLAS I. (1841-1921), king of Montenegro, was born at Njegus, the ancient home of the Njegug-Petrovic dynasty, on Sept. i, 1841. His father, Mirko Petrovie, was brother of the Vladika Danilo II. who had declined episcopal office, married and declared the succession hereditary in the direct male line. As, however, Danilo II. left no male issue, and Mirko declined the suc cession, Nicholas became heir to the throne of Montenegro. He was educated in Trieste and at the Academy of Louis le Grand in Paris, returning to Montenegro on the assassination of his uncle (Aug. 13, 1860). He took part in the campaign against Turkey of 1862, which, after Austria's intervention, was followed by a pro longed peace. In 1868 he travelled to St. Petersburg (Leningrad) to meet the tsar Alexander II., who received him with favour, and afterwards regularly supplied him with subventions of arms and money, referring to him on a memorable occasion as his "only friend." During the Near Eastern crisis of 1876 (see EASTERN QUESTION), Nicholas declared war on the Porte, and winning brilliant successes in this and the following wars at Vueidd, Pod gorica and Nikeie, captured Antivari and Dulcigno. The Congress of Berlin (q.v.) brought Montenegro formal recognition as a sovereign State and doubled her area, besides giving her an outlet on the sea at Antivari. Nicholas now entered on a long period of peace largely filled with intrigues with and against his son-in law, Peter, later King Peter I. of Serbia (q.v.) regarding a possible later Yugoslav state to comprise both Serbia and Montenegro. On Dec. 19, 1900, Nicholas assumed the title of Royal Highness.
In 1905 he was forced by public opinion, which was revolting against his despotic methods, to grant a constitution. He was at
once involved in quarrels with his political opponents, culminat ing in the scandalous but obscure "Cetinje bomb plot" of 1905. On Aug. 28, 1910, encouraged by Austria, who helped to estrange him further from Serbia, Nicholas assumed the title of king. In the Balkan Wars (q.v.) he was the first to declare war on Turkey, but although these wars gave Montenegro an accession of territory, the dynasty lost prestige, its unpopularity and with it the movement for the union of Serbia with Montenegro, increased. In the World War Montenegro threw in her lot with Serbia ; Nicholas, however, maintained touch with Austria, from whom he begged a separate peace (Jan. 13, 1916). On Jan. 19, Nicholas fled to Italy and France. The breach widened between him and his people, and the "Great National Assembly" on Nov. 26, 1918, proclaimed his deposition and that of his dynasty. The old ex-king passed the remainder of his days in Italy. He died at Antibes on March 1, 1921.
A rude but often benevolent despot of the fighting type, Nicholas was also a poet of talent. His works include Balkanska Tsaritsa and Knyaz Arvaniti (dramas) ; Haidana, Potini Aben serage and Pesnik i Vila (poems), Skuplijene Pesme and Nova Kola (songs). In Nov. 186o, Nicholas married Milena (1847 1923) daughter of the voivode Petar Vukotie. On the death of Nicholas, his eldest son Danilo was proclaimed by the small monarchist party king of Montenegro (Mar. i, 1921), but abdi cated on Mar. 7, 1921, in favour of his nephew Michael, eldest son of Prince Mirko (b. Sept. 1, 1908).