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Montenegro – Important Ottoman Cartography




Extremely rare – the finest printed Ottoman map of Montenegro and the surrounding region ever created, the culmination of forty years of advanced military and boundary surveys, produced by the Ottoman Military Survey Office in Istanbul in 1875, on the eve of the Montenegrin–Ottoman War 1876 to 1878, which marked the Turks’ last stand in the land they called Karadağ and the complete independence of the Montenegrin nation.


Lithograph originally coloured in outline and dissected into 24 sections and mounted upon original white linen, accompanied by a contemporary black linen slipcase with gilt lettering (Very Good, just some very light toning, slipcase partly split), 105 x 105 cm (41.5 x 41.5 inches).



This stellar map is the finest printed Ottoman map of Montenegro and the surrounding regions ever created and is predicated upon the finest military and civilian sources.  One of the great masterpieces of the cartography of the Balkans, it was compiled by the Ottoman Military Survey Office in Istanbul and published in 1875, on the eve of the Montenegrin–Ottoman War of 1876 to 1878, during which Montenegro defeated the Ottoman armies to secure its full intercedence after almost 400 years of Turkish rule.  The map was made exclusively for the use of senior Ottoman military officers and administrators who would had the misfortune of overseeing the conflict on behalf of the Sublime Porte.

The map is centred upon what was then the Principality of Montenegro, a small autonomous state that was still a de jure part the Ottoman Empire.  The mountainous, landlocked country was then dramatically smaller than the modern republic of Montenegro; Ottoman Montenegro had a land area of only 4,405 km², versus the 13,812 km² of today’s state.  Importantly, key areas of today’s country, such as the Adriatic coast, including the ports of Cattaro (Kotor) and Bar, as well Podgorica (the national capital) were then not part of the country.  Ottoman Montenegro then consisted merely of the highlands surrounding the small capital city of Cetinje.  The contemporary boundaries of Montenegro are very carefully demarcated upon the map, by pricked lines, following very precise scientific surveys executed by international teams of professional engineers.

The scope of the map extends to the northwest as far as Dubrovnik (today in Croatia) and down south as far as Shkodër (Albania) and up north and east to take in parts of Hercegovina, Serbia and Kosovo.

The map is dramatically more detailed and accurate than any existing maps of the region, especially with respect to its depiction of Montenegro.  Every town and small village is carefully labelled, while all roads are delineated.  The aspects of elevation in this heavily mountainous region are expressed through delicate hachures.  The map is an extremely sophisticated, even an ideal, tool to aid military movement or civil administration.

The cartographic inset in the upper left features the vicinity of the Battle of the Ostrog Monastery in 1862, whereupon the Ottoman army crushed the Montenegrin forces, before occupying Cetinje.  This was perhaps included, in part, to harken back to better days for the Ottomans, urging them to repeat this achievement in the expected showdown to come (which was not to be!).

Historical Context: Montenegro’s Struggle for Full Independence

Montenegro is a Slavic Orthodox Christian country that from the late 15th Century to the 1878 was a de jure part of the Ottoman Empire.  Although its enjoyed extensive autonomy over its internal affairs, by the mid-19th Century Montenegro continually pressed for its full independence from the Sublime Porte, sometimes resorting to armed conflict.

The modern cartography of Montenegro commenced in 1836, when Colonel Fedor von Karacsay, a Hungarian military engineer, who was then the Austrian garrison commander of the nearby port of Cattaro (Kotor), was permitted to map the country by its ruler Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, with whom had formed a personal friendship.  This resulted in the publication of Karacsay’s Carte du Pays de Montenegro dressée d’après les opérations géodétiques sur les lieux et recherches les plus soigneuses (Vienna, circa 1838), the first broadly accurate map of Montenegro.  While not a precisely accurate rendering, because Karacsay did not have time to conduct a full range of systematic trigonometrical surveys, it is nevertheless a highly impressive work whereupon the geographical identity of Montenegro came into view for the first time.

Over the next thirty or so years several wars and insurrections occurred in Montenegro, as well in neighbouring regions such as Albania and Hercegovina.  The Ottoman armies that travelled northwards to confront these challenges were accompanied by skilled military engineers who made stellar manuscript maps that were taken back to Istanbul, where they were stored at the Ottoman Military Survey Office.  Likewise, the Montenegrin court commissioned maps for both cadastral and military purposes.  Evidence suggests that especially fine maps were made under the auspices of Henri Delarue, a French mathematician and geodesist, who once worked at the Paris Observatory, and who served as the secretary to the Montenegrin court during the late 1850s.  Moreover, the Austrian military, which ruled neighbouring Dalmatia made many excellent surveys that touched upon the Montenegrin borderlands.

As the issue of Montenegro’s boundaries with its neighbours was a severe ongoing source of diplomatic and military tension, in 1858 the great European powers set up a Boundary Commission to map the country’s frontiers to the highest scientific standards.  International teams of professional engineers, employing the most advanced equipment, were deployed along the borderlands.  While the work was often interrupted by warfare, as well as violent attacks from civilians who resented the ‘intrusion’ upon their lands, by the late 1860s, the commission surveyors had succeeded in mapping much of Montenegro’s peripheries to stellar geodetic standards.

In the summer of 1875, the Serbian community in Hercegovina (which was closely allied to Montenegro) broke out in what became known as the Herzegovina Uprising (1875-8).  This caused a dramatic escalation in tensions between the Sublime Porte and Cetinje.  Correctly anticipating that the situation in the region was soon to explode into a broader conflict, the Ottoman military commissioned the present map.

The highly skilled draftsmen at the Ottoman Military Survey Office combed through all the Ottoman military manuscript maps made over the last few decades, selecting only the best and most accurate representations of each area.  They had access to all the copies of the Montenegro Boundary Commission surveys, which were of peerless quality.  They also consulted the Austrian surveys of the adjacent coastal areas, and likely also Montenegrin manuscript maps captured when the Ottoman army occupied Cetinje in 1862.

By carefully combining these stellar sources, they created the era’s finest map of the Montenegro and the surrounding lands, marking the apogee of the Ottoman cartography of the region.  It ranks as one of the greatest maps of any part of the Balkans ever made, and it would not be superseded for some years.

As the unparalleled accuracy of the present map made it militarily sensitive, only a small, number of examples would have been issued, exclusively for the use of senior Ottoman military commanders and civil administrators.   When Montenegro rebelled against the Sublime Porte for the last time, in what became known as the Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1876-8), Ottoman commanders would surely have carried examples of the present map into the field where it would have been vitally useful.  Nonetheless, overwhelmed by the greater conflict that became the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877-8, the Ottomans were decisively defeated in Montenegro.  At the Treaty of Berlin (1878) they were compelled to recognize Montenegro’s complete independence.  Thus, the present map is a glorious artefact from the Turks’ last stand in the land they called Karadağ.


A Note on Rarity

The present map is exceedingly rare; we have not been able to trace references to any other examples.  The map would have been issued by the War Ministry Press in only a very small print run exclusively for high-level official use.  While examples of the map would have been much valued during their time, the survival rate of such large works is incredibly low.


Historical Context: The Sublime Porte and the Rise of an Independent Montenegro

Montenegro is a Slavic, Orthodox Christian country centred in what is the interior of today’s republic.  It was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the late 15th Century.  The Sublime Porte eventually organized the territory into the Vilayet (Province) of Montenegro, although the local populous continually resisted Constantinople’s authority.

From 1696, Montenegro was ruled by the Prince-Bishops (Metropolitans / Vladika) of Cetinje, of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty, who exercised considerable autonomy under the aegis of the Ottomans.  From 1711, the prince-bishops’ authority over the region was augmented, and the country became internally self-governing, although it had to submit to Ottoman authority in external and military affairs.

Landlocked Montenegro was hemmed in by neighbours, the people of which often had ‘complicated’ relations with the Montenegrins – it was tough neighbourhood!  The great Adriatic port of Cattaro (Kotor) was controlled by the Republic of Venice, the Ottomans’ old nemesis.  To the south was Ottoman Albania; while the Montenegrins had sometimes formed alliances with certain tribes in the Shkodër area, they were often at odds with the Albanians.  On the other hand, the ethnic Serbians in Hercegovina to the north, and Serbia to the northeast, were the cultural brothers of the Montenegrins, and it was in these directions that Cetinje both looked for and gave support.

Metropolitan Petar I Petrović-Njegoš (reigned 1784 – 1830) was a strong leader who boldly challenged Ottoman authority while modernizing the country.  While not going so far as to technically declare Montenegro’s independence from Constantinople, he won several military confrontations against Ottoman forces, expanding his principality’s boundaries.  Importantly, he was the first modern Montenegrin leader to successfully leverage his country’s ties, in a political and military sense, to Serbia and its rising independence movement, while seeking Russian backing as a counterweight to the Sublime Porte.

In the years following the Congress of Vienna (1814-5), which reordered European politics in the wake of the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, Montenegro transitioned from being a backwater into a key piece on the grand continental chessboard.  The Ottomans regarded Montenegro as a renegade province that while, in and of itself, was far more trouble than it was worth, it nevertheless straddled their valued possessions of Albania and Bosnia & Hercegovina.  Accordingly, the outright succession of Montenegro could not be permitted.  Moreover, during the prevailing Ottoman Tanzimat Era (1839-76), the Sublime Porte strived to tighten its authority over its European possessions, a programme which naturally clashed with the prevailing direction of Montenegro.  Under these circumstances, tension, if not outright military conflict, between Montenegro and the Ottomans was inevitable.

Beyond its ethnic affinity for Montenegro, Russia saw the principality as one of the Sublime Porte’s greatest geopolitical vulnerabilities and was determined to support Cetinje’s ambitions as much as possible to any point just short of becoming directly involved any war in the Western Balkans.

Habsburg Austria, which had assumed control of Dalmatia, including the port of Cattaro (Kotor), which the Montenegrins quietly coveted, was usually eager to avoid conflict, as that would imperil its difficult-to-defend coastal possessions.  However, during the 1850s, supposed incursions by Montenegrins and Herzegovinian rebels into Austrian territory, as well as Cetinje’s alleged links to anti-Habsburg Slavic activists in Dalmatia, caused tensions to rise almost to the boiling point.

In early 1858, the Austrians attempted, with limited success, to incite the ethnic Croatians living around Cattaro and Ragusa to create a buffer zone protecting these ports from the escalating conflict in Hercegovina and Montenegro.  Moreover, tensions between France and Austria played out in the region as both nations came to oppose each other in the short, but sharp, Second Italian War of Independence (1859).

Meanwhile, Britain, from its bases in Malta and Corfu was the dominant naval power in the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean.  While not particularly interested in Montenegro, in and of itself, in the era of ‘The Great Game’ Whitehall was utterly paranoid about any possibility that Russia could gain control of a port on the Mediterranean.  As a bellwether ally of Constantinople, it worked to frustrate Montenegro’s independence movement, lest the country be used as a forward Russian base; however, it was careful to do this softly so as not to alienate Slavic entities in the Balkans.

Since 1851, Montenegro was ruled by Metropolitan Danilo Petrović-Njegoš (1826-60), a dashing and courageous leader who was determined to modernize his country and finally gain its complete and formal independence from the Ottoman Empire.  In 1852, emboldened after a successful diplomatic mission to St. Petersburg, he declared himself the Knjaz (Prince) Danilo I, secularizing his role in a more progressive fashion.  He quickly galvanized his authority upon beating back a Turkish invasion of his county during the Ottoman-Montenegrin War of 1852-3.  In 1855 established ‘Danilo’s Code’, the country’s secular constitution, and began to build the bureaucratic systems necessary for the country’s (hopefully imminent) independence.

Importantly, Danilo was determined to not only gain Montenegro’s independence, but to expand its territory to include parts of neighbouring jurisdictions that had a Slavic Orthodox majority.  The desire to realize ‘Greater Montenegro’ was not only done out of an emotional sense of irredentism, but also out of a realization that the principality’s current boundaries were insufficient to support its future defence and economic development.  Notably, Montenegro wanted to assume control over parts of southern and eastern Hercegovina, as well as gaining a window to the sea at the port of Bar.  Many Montenegrins also dreamed of one day annexing Kotor and parts of Northern Albania including Shkodër, although it was dangerous to openly express such sentiments.

However, Danilo had a major problem.  Russia’s calamitous involvement in the Crimean War (1853-6), whereby St. Petersburg was throttled by an alliance of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire, ensured that she was in no position to provide effective support to Montenegro.  The prince knew that his ambitions for his tiny state would be snuffed out without the sponsorship of a major global power.

France was then ruled by Emperor Napoleon III (reigned, 1852-70), who, inspired by the example of his uncle and namesake, executed an ambitious and aggressive foreign policy.  France mounted military interventions in a variety of locations across the globe, while working to augment its ‘soft power’ (i.e. economic and diplomatic) in other places, such as the Balkans.

France had a vital interest in the affairs of the Western Balkans.  She saw herself as natural ally of various of the region’s stakeholders (for example, Roman Catholics) and in an era when shipping was still key, these lands occupied a strategically vital position, guarding the entrance to the Adriatic Sea.  While France was the Sublime Porte’s oldest Western ally, ever since François I and Suleiman the Magnificent forged an accord in 1536, it was not against manipulating the relationship for its own gains, sometimes to the great detriment of Constantinople.  The vacuum created by Russia’s travails represented an unprecedented opportunity to move into the Balkans in a big way, displacing St. Petersburg as the main external influence upon the region.  France was able to use its role as a ‘cultural superpower’ to its advantage; many key Balkan figures were Francophiles, and some had even lived and studied in France.  In some cases, the affinity for the French language and culture cut across what would be natural political allegiances.  Despite their ethnic brotherhood with Russia, several important Serbian and Montenegrin figures had a great affection for France.

Anticipating new opportunities, in 1853, the Quay d’Orsay re-opened a vice-consulate in Scutari (Shkodër), a major trading centre in Northern Albania (this post would be upgraded to a full consulate in 1855).  The consulate was to be the base for France’s designs to gain influence in the region, having auspices over all diplomatic operations in Northern Albania, Montenegro and Hercegovina.

As a sign of the importance of the new post at Scutari, the French foreign ministry appointed strong figures to serve as consul general.  These individuals included Hyacinthe Hecquard (served 1854 to 1861), an explorer, ethnographer and former army officer who had gained great praise for his work in Western Africa; and Gabriel Aubaret (served 1868-70), a naval officer, linguist, explorer and the future President of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration.  While new to the Balkans and the diplomatic corps, the seculturally sensitive and level-headed diplomats quickly formed close bonds with key stakeholders.

Hecquard was given a very difficult assignment that was constantly subject to extreme variables beyond his control.  He was to try to make Montenegro a client state of France, so marginalizing Russia, without raising the ire of the Sublime Porte.  As the present archive will demonstrate, while the objective was aided by the fact that Danilo was receptive to Paris’s overtures, and Russia was on the back-foot, it was imperilled by Montenegro’s insatiable desire for self-determination and territorial expansion, which was opposed by the Ottoman’s Tanzimat programme.  As was often the case in the Balkans, even the best laid plans could take a dramatically unexpected course.

Danilo, while maintaining close bonds of ethic kinship with Russia, realized that St. Petersburg was then unable to provide him with the material support he required.  He was favourably disposed towards France and tried to forge new bonds with Paris but without unsettling Russia or the local hard-line Slavic nationalist movement that was naturally suspicious of France.

The Treaty of Paris (March 30, 1856), which concluded the Crimean War and regulated the new system, which was to govern the Balkans, made no concession towards Montenegro’s independence.  In fact, the conference issued on official communiqué that asserted that Montenegro was an inalienable part of the Ottoman Empire.  Despite France’s sympathy for Montenegro, it was then simply not advantageous for Paris to risk insulting the Sublime Porte by requesting the inclusion of any formal measure in Cetinje’s favour.

The Ottoman eyalet of Hercegovina, which bordered Montenegro to the north, had a mixed Muslim and Orthodox Christian population.  It was long a troubled land, as both communities had at times fought against each other, as well as rebelled against Ottoman rule.  During this period, the country was rocked by the Hercegovina Uprising, an Orthodox rebellion led by Luka Vukalović (1823-73), that first broke out in 1852.  The Ottoman Army had so far been unable to suppress the revolt, while Serbia and Montenegro provided support to Vukalović.  Montenegro not only shared an ethnic kinship with the Orthodox Herzegovinians, but also hoped to eventually annex parts of the eyalet.

Danilo made a fateful decision to directly join Vukalović’s uprising.  From December 1857 onwards, he sent Montenegrin forces to fight alongside the rebels, guaranteeing a dramatic deterioration in relations between Cetinje and Constantinople.  Moreover, Austria came to take a hostile attitude towards Montenegro, as it believed that the instability in Hercegovina threatened the security of its geographically vulnerable ports of Cattaro and Ragusa.  Danilo upped the ante in the early months of 1858, when he sent a sizable army under Duke Ivo Radonjić that significantly strengthened Vukalović’s movement.

Hecquard had a real problem on his hands.  He personally sympathized with the Montenegrin cause, but feared that Danilo might overextend himself, provoking an extreme military response from Constantinople.  Recently, the Ottomans had been somewhat restrained in their approach, hoping to merely to contain the situation in Hercegovina and Montenegro, as opposed to sending in a massive army to utterly crush the resistance.  Moreover, he feared that Austria might also feel compelled to mount a military response if it felt that its hegemony was at risk; Cattaro had a large Montenegrin population that might rebel under the right circumstances.  The temperature needed to be brought down, lest things spiral out of control.

In the late 1850s, France played a major role in arranging for the creation of an official Commission of the Great European Powers (in this case, France, Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria and the Ottoman Empire).  The goal of the body was to come up with a compromise that would tone down Montenegro’s’ demands for outright independence and to end Vukalović’s uprising.  While it would not officially recognize Montenegro’s independence, it would tacitly approve its complete de facto sovereignty.  Moreover, it would agree to extend Montenegro’s borders to include some of the disputed borderlands of Hercegovina and Albania, while formally surveying said boundaries such that Cetinje’s gains would be clearly guaranteed.

The Commission was first convened in April 1858, and for a moment, it seemed as if all the stars were aligned to create a peaceful, diplomat solution.  However, as was usually the case in the Balkans, things did not turn out that way.

There is still considerable debate amongst historians as to how events unfolded in Montenegro in the spring and summer of 1858.  While it is agreed that Danilo was intent upon aggressively pressing his principality’s bid for independence, with increased national boundaries, it is not clear if he intended for his forces to become embroiled in a direct large-scale conflict with the Ottoman Army.  It is quite likely t the prince merely intended to keep the pressure high in order to achieve concessions for the Ottomans, but that ‘maverick’ actions by his subordinates and allies had unintended consequences.

It must be noted that in addition to the tensions along the Herzegovinian border, Montenegro and the Ottomans were also skirmishing along their ill-defined Albanian boundary; a state of affairs that also threatened to break out into full-on war.  Moreover, Cetinje had to deal with inter-tribal conflicts within the Montenegro itself.

On May 4, 1858, General Hussein Pasha, leading an Ottoman army of 7,000 (later reinforced to number over 13,000) crossed the border form Hercegovina into Montenegro, making camp upon the plateau of Grahovac.  Hussein Pasha was responding to the bold provocations of the Montenegrins who made repeated forays into Ottoman territory to support of Vukalović’s rebels.  The Ottomans likely crossed the line merely to intimidate the Montenegrins into backing down from their intervention in Hercegovina; they likely had no intention of mounting a full invasion Montenegro.

In response, Grand Duke Mirko Petrović-Njegoš (1820-67), Danilo’s older brother, backed by Herzegovinian rebel forces.  In what became known as the Battle of Grahovac (May 11-13, 1858), the Montenegrin-Herzegovinian force scored a shocking defeat upon a much larger and better equipped Ottoman army.  A limited engagement on May 11 succeeded in forcing the Ottomans off the heights that rose from the plateau.  At that point, it seems that neither side wanted to continue the battle, as both felt impaired.  The Ottomans had lost the advantage of the terrain, yet their force was still dramatically larger and better armed, so could still crush the Montenegrins under most circumstances.  On May 12, a ceasefire was agreed, as Danilo’s representative, attempted to negotiate the Ottomans’ orderly withdrawal from the area, under the supervision of the International Boundary Commissioners, who were coincidentally camped nearby.

The Ottomans believed that they had secured an agreement for the safe retreat of their army.  However, as the Ottomans departed, vulnerable as they made their way through rough terrain, Mirko’s force suddenly attacked, utterly routing the Ottomans.

The events at Grahovac sent shockwaves throughout the Balkans.  While the battle did not result in the end of Montenegrin-Ottoman conflict, and nor did is imminently lead to Montenegro’s full sovereignty, the event has gone down in history as the moment that solidified Montenegro’s national consciousness and preordained its independence.

Grahovac was followed by a period of low-grade conflict that lasted until the Montenegrins inflicted another defeat upon the Ottomans, at the Battle of Kolašin (July 28, 1858), whereupon the fighting died down such that the Commission could continue its work.  On November 8, 1858, the Commissioners met in Constantinople to ratify a preliminary agreement that demarcated Montenegro’s borders, not only with Hercegovina, but also with Albania.  However, while this accord was initially greeted with favour by all parties, the international community subsequently became distracted and the boundaries were never properly surveyed, leaving the situation in a worrying state of ambiguity.

France and the rest of the European diplomatic community were becoming caught up in the tension that would lead to the Second Italian War of Independence (April-July 1859), whereby France would support Italian forces in their victory against Austria.  Not wanting to concern itself with a conflict in the Balkans, the powers placed tremendous pressure upon both Danilo and the Sublime Porte to cease hostilities and to accept the provisional findings of the Commission.  While Vukalović continued his rebellion, in a low-grade fashion, in Hercegovina, for the next couple years peace held out between Montenegro and the Ottomans.

The distraction of the affairs in Italy ensured that Danilo came to feel that France would not be the long-term sponsor he had hoped for.  While he was still favourably inclined towards Paris, he was disappointed that France did not insist that the events of 1858 result in the international recognition of Montenegrin independence.  While Grahovac made Danilo a pan-Slavic hero and dramatically raised the profile of his country, Montenegro was still a landlocked statelet under constant threat of Ottoman invasion, leaving it scarcely better off than it was before.  In this context, Danilo reembraced Russia, which had recovered some of its potency in the period since the Crimean War.

Danilo was assassinated while visiting Cattaro, on August 13, 1860.  While the exact motives of his Montenegrin killer, Todor Kadić, are not clear, it is thought likely that they had more to do with matters of inter-tribal rivalry as opposed to being part of grand political design.

Danilo was succeeded on the throne by his nephew, Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš (1841 – 1921), who would rule Montenegro for the next 58 years.  While a Paris-educated francophile, Nikola was also a close friend of Russia, which encouraged him towards pursuing an extreme course.

Nikola’s support of Vukalović’s rebellion become incautious, which greatly angered the new Sultan Abdülaziz I.  In 1861, instead of sending ‘B Team’ forces to deal with the Montenegrins, the Sublime Porte dispatched Field Marshal Omar Pasha Latos (1806-71), who was not only the best soldier in the Ottoman Empire but one of the world’s most impressive field commanders.  Omar Pasha, an ethnic Serb who had converted to Islam, possessed extensive familiarity with the region, having supressed a Muslim rebellion in Hercegovina with phenomenal ruthlessness in 1851.  Unlike many contemporary Ottoman commanders, who had habit of acting impetuously, Omar Pasha was methodical and patient.  The albeit spirited and clever Montenegrin army stood little chance, as Omar Pasha would likely not make any mistakes that they could capitalize upon in order to compensate for their inferior manpower and artillery.

In what was known as the Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1861–62), Omar Pasha’s forces, after encountering surprisingly effective initial resistance, simply overwhelmed the Montenegrins like a juggernaut.  In the decisive engagement, the Ottoman defeated Grand Duke Mirko’s forces at the Battle of the Ostrog Monastery, before going on the take Cetinje.  Nikola was faced with total defeat and for a moment it looked as if Montenegro might be a country no more.  However, Omar Pasha was under orders to treat the Montenegrins with magnanimity.  The Sublime Porte wanted merely to ‘prove a point’, hoping that would secure an enduring peace with the Montenegrins; they saw the conflict as a tiresome distraction from more important matters.

The terms of the Treaty of Scutari (August 31, 1862), which ended the war were amazingly generous to Montenegro.  The country was permitted to keep its pre-war boundaries and would be allowed to retain  its internal autonomy; however, it had to recognize Ottoman suzerainty.  At the same time, Omar Pasha ensured that the Vukalović’s rebellion in Hercegovina was utterly crushed, eliminating a natural source of friction between Cetinje and Constantinople.

A chastened Nikola learned a valuable lesson.  He realized that he had acted with youthful over exuberance and for the next fourteen years endeavoured to be more cautious.  Relations between Montenegro and the Ottomans generally remained peaceful, allowing Nikola to strengthen his nation and its army.

Montenegro finally received the big break it had long desired when the Ottoman Empire was thrown into chaos upon its bankruptcy in October 1875.  In what was known as the Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1876-8), Nikola teamed up with a new generation of Herzegovinian rebels to give the Ottoman forces in the region a run for their money.  The conflict, which dovetailed into the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877-8, saw the Ottomans collapse on all fronts.  The Montenegrins won the key Battle of Vučji Do (July 18, 1877) and proceeded to run the table, winning victory after victory, even conquering Bar, giving the country access to the sea.

The Treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878) and reiterated the Treaty of Berlin (July 13, 1878) confirmed Montenegro’s official and complete independence from the Ottoman Empire, as well as doubling its territory from 4,405 km² to 9,475 km².  After all the dramatic turns of the preceding decades, Montenegro had commenced new chapter where it could chart its own destiny.

We could only find one institutional example (David Rumsey Map Collection).


References: David Rumsey Map Collection, PUB 10417.000: Cf. [Background:] Henri DELARUE, Le Monténégro, histoire, description, moeurs, usages, législation, constitution politique (Paris: B. Duprat, 1862); Bejtullah D. DESTANI, Montenegro: Political and Ethnic Boundaries 1840-1920, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Archive Editions, 2001); Hyacinthe HECQUARD, Histoire et description de la Haute-Albanie ou Guégarie (Paris: A. Bertrand, [1859]); Hyacinthe HECQUARD, ‘Mémoire sur le Monténégro’, Bulletin de la Société de géographie, 5ième série, tome IX (April 1865), pp. 305-47; Josip MANDALINIČ, ‘Černá Hora v 50. letech 19. Století období přechodu od teokracie k světské formě vlády, závěrečná fáze procesu konstituování Černé Hory’ (Ph.D. Dissertation, Charles University, Prague, 2012; Maurus REINKOWSKI, ‘Double Struggle, No Income: Ottoman Borderlands in Northern Albania’, in International Journal of Turkish Studies, no. 3, nos. 1–2 (Summer 2003), pp. 239-54; Jean Baptiste Evariste Charles Pricot de SAINTE-MARIE, L’Herzégovine: étude géographique, historique et statistique (Paris: J. Baer, 1875).

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