History of Montenegro
Reign of Đurađ I Balšići
©Angus McBride
1362 Jan 1 - 1378

Reign of Đurađ I Balšići


Đurađ's rule extended from around 1362 to 1378. He had forged an alliance with King Vukašin Mrnjavčević, having married his daughter Olivera, until Mrnjavčević's fall at the Battle of Maritsa (1371). Đurađ I ran Zeta as a modern ruler of the time. Zeta's institutions were functioning well, while the coastal towns enjoyed considerable autonomy. Commerce was well developed and enhanced by the existence of Zeta's currency, the dinar. Đurađ I allied with his neighbors Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović of Serbia, Ban Tvrtko I Kotromanić of Bosnia, Prince Nikola I Gorjanski and King Louis I of Hungary, to defeat the ambitious Nikola Altomanović in 1373. In spite of this, the defeated and blinded Altomanović found refuge in Zeta until his death. While he was battling in the south of Kosovo, Đurađ's younger brother Balša II married Komnina, a close cousin of Emperor Stefan Dušan's wife, Jelena. Through the marriage, Đurađ II received a generous dowry in land, including Avlona, Berat, Kanina, and some additional strategically important regions. Upon the division of Altomanović's lands (in Herzegovina), the Balšićs took the towns of Trebinje, Konavle and Dračevica. Subsequent dispute over these towns led to a conflict between Zeta and Bosnia, led by Ban Tvrtko I. The fight was eventually won by Bosnia, supported by Hungary, after Đurađ's death in 1378.