The History of Podgorica - Part III
Two interesting descriptions from the middle of the XIX century give the best picture of former Podgorica. French consul in Skoddar describes Podgorica as the main place of the region with 950 homes of which 1/3 is orthodox and the total number of citizens is about 6. 540. One English traveler on his passing through Serbia and Montenegro notes that Podgorica is a very nice place, with a good market, merchants and buyers from the entire Montenegro, Herzegovina, and even Skoddar itself. XIX century is the period of liberation of Podgorica, even though the central sultan authority makes strong efforts to keep its strong influence no just over the “raja” (non Muslim people) but also over the rebels of the Turkish commanders themselves. A murder of a distinguished Turkish citizen provoked a first greater diplomatic clash in the real sense of that word. After the slaughter of Montenegrins in Podgorica and Zeta and war oriented passions, a delegate commission was formed in order to establish the guilt. Liberty war from 1875. – 1878. had a success, so in 1878. Podgorica was annexed to Montenegro. The importance of the town, led to the that, that the Turkish Empire attempted to deceive this decision, but on the 27th of January in 1879. Turkish military with a certain part of the citizenship leaves Podgorica, and in the town enters Montenegrin army, welcomed with shouting and joy of the Orthodox population. Canons have marked the surrendering of the town.
With the cessation of the Turkish reign in Podgorica great ethnical and socially – cultural changes are made. The immigrants from the neighboring areas get land, and near the end of the XIX century a new town is erected, at the right bank of the Ribnica. The town develops quickly, gets wider streets and its real square at which there was a monument erected to Montenegrin fighters. Podgorica becomes a strong market. Trades and crafts are developing, and the money bureau is founded, the first Zeta savings bank, which soon changes its name into Podgoricka banka (PODGORICA’S BANK). At that time, at the beginning of the XX century Podgorica began to draw attention of the foreign capital funds, and the Italian capital fund erects the Tobacco Factory.
Economic prosperity led to the development of the cultural life. Obligatory primary school education is introduced for both sexes and confessions. The reading room starts functioning as well as the singing association “Branko”. The first newspaper appears, and in 1907 the Lower High school is founded, which will soon grow into an eight grade school.
During the reign of Prince Nikola I, Podgorica is turned into an administrative – political center of Montenegro. This town seemed for him as the only one which has suitable features for transferring the capital from Cetinje into it, but he didn’t dare to do that, because of the still actual and unstable military circumstances.