Niko I Dadiani
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
|Niko I Dadiani|
Late 19th-century portrait of Niko Dadiani
|Prince of Megrelia|
|Reign||30 August 1853 – 4 January 1867|
|Successor||Deposed by the Russian Empire|
|Spouse||Countess Maria Alexandrovna Adlerberg|
|Issue||Niko II Dadiani, Prince of Megrelia
Princess Ekaterina Dadiani
Princess Salomé Nikolaievna Obolenskaya
|Father||David Dadiani, Prince of Megrelia|
|Mother||Ekaterine Dadiani, Princess of Megrelia|
23 January 1847|
|Died||1 January 1903
|Religion||Georgian Orthodox Church|
Niko I (Nikolas) Dadiani (4 January 1847, Zugdidi – 23 January 1903, Saint Petersburg) was the last ruling prince of the Western Georgian Principality of Megrelia in southeast Europe. After Russia's formal abolition of his principality (1866), he served as a general in the Imperial Russian Army.
Niko was born to Prince David of Megrelia and his wife Ekaterine, née Chavchavadze. He was seven years old when his father died and his mother assumed control of the principality as a regent. During the confrontation of Megrelia with invading Turkish forces in the times of the Crimean War, Niko enlisted in the army and stood by his mother who refused to surrender to the Ottomans. When his mother moved to Saint Petersburg Niko accompanied her and later moved to Paris, where he received his education. He was married to Countess Maria Adlerberg, the daughter of Count Alexander Adlerberg, a Russian aristocrat and Minister of the Imperial Court (and brother-in-law of Amalie Adlerberg).
Abolition of the Principality
In 1866, the principality of Megrelia was abolished by the Russian Emperor but Niko retained the title of His Serene Highness Prince of Megrelia. As compensation for his losses, Prince Dadiani received one million roubles from the Russian Government, which helped him save the dynastic estates, including the Dadiani Mansion. Being relieved of the duties he previously had as a ruling prince, Niko found himself a successful career in the Imperial Army. He was awarded a golden sword for bravery during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), being promoted to the status of Major General in 1878. Following the death of his mother, Niko inherited her estate and at that point became the richest landowner in the entire Caucasus. In that period, Dadiani had an interest in charity and in 1885 he gifted his personal library to the "Society for the Spreading of Georgian Literacy". He also opened several schools and clinics which served the poor population of Samegrelo and which promoted the preservation of the Georgian language.
- Prince Niko was known to be friends with Nicholas Alexandrovich, Tsarevich of Russia.
- In 1886, the Russian Government nominated Niko to replace the deposed Alexander, Prince of Bulgaria. The bid, however, was unsuccessful as the Bulgarian regency rejected his candidacy and elected Ferdinand I of Bulgaria instead.
- He worked on spreading literacy in Georgia, donating a wealth of old books from his dynastic library.
- He had a daughter Menik from an extramarital affair with Caesaria Chicovani.