History of Montenegro

Reign of Đurađ II Balšići
Battle of Kosovo
1385 Jan 1 - 1403

Reign of Đurađ II Balšići

Ulcinj, Montenegro

The successor of Balša II, Đurađ II Stracimirović Balšić, ruled Zeta from 1385 to 1403; he was Balša's nephew and son of Stracimir. He also had difficulties controlling the local feudal lords, with no control over the fiefs of the entire Upper Zeta. In addition, the feudal lords around Onogošt (Nikšić) accepted the Venetian protection. The most prominent of those lords was Radič Crnojević, who controlled the area between Budva and Mount Lovćen. Moreover, a number of Arbanas feudal lords, particularly Lekë Dukagjini and Paul Dukagjini joined the conspiracy against Đurađ II.


With this in mind as well as the constant danger from the Turks, Đurađ II maintained strong family ties with the Serbia's main lord of the time, Prince Lazar. To help Prince Lazar defend the Serbian lands from Ottoman invasion, Đurađ II sent his troops along with Ban Tvrtko I Kotromanić's forces (with whom he had a dispute over Kotor) to meet the Ottoman army at Kosovo Polje. Despite Sultan Murad I's death, the Serbian army suffered a defeat at the epic Battle of Kosovo in 1389. According to the sources, Đurađ II did not participate in the battle, being in Ulcinj in Southern Zeta.


In later years, Đurađ II played skillful diplomatic games to enhance the rivalry between the Ottomans and the Venetians. To that purpose, he offered Skadar to both hoping that eventually he would be able to keep it. After two years of fighting, Turks and Venetians agreed to leave it to Đurađ II, who was neutral in the conflict. Similarly, the rivalry between Venetians and Hungarians brought a benefit to him. After a serious defeat of his forces by Turks near Nicopolis, the Hungarian King Sigismund gave him the title of Prince of Arbania and the control over the islands of Hvar and Korčula.


In the feud between Đurađ Branković and his uncle, Stefan Lazarević (son of Prince Lazar), who later received the title of Byzantine Despot, Đurađ II sided with Stefan. Due to Đurađ's support, Stefan defeated Turkish forces led by Đurađ Branković in the Battle of Tripolje on Kosovo Field in November 1402.