Piperi (Serbian Cyrillic: Пипери) is one of seven traditional Highland tribes (Brđani, "highlanders", from Brda) and a historical region in northeastern Montenegro, spanning a region between the Morača and Zeta rivers, reaching the northern suburbs of the Montenegrin capital Podgorica. The Piperi are regarded as one of the most bellicose tribes during the wars with the Ottoman Empire, in the history of Montenegro.
Piperi were first mentioned in Venetian documents at the beginning of the 15th century. Mariano Bolizza recorded in 1614 that the Piperi had a total of 270 houses, of Serbian Orthodox faith. The 700 men in arms were commanded by Radoslav Božidarov. Giovanni Bembo, the Doge of Venice (1615–1618), had defeated the Serb pirates (Uskoks), whom the Austrians had employed against the Republic of Venice; they were forced to take refuge at Nikšić and Piperi, and established themselves in the villages and tribes, under the later leadership of the Petrović-Njegoš family that held the office of Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan of Cetinje (later Vladika, Prince-Bishop) after 1694. They fought Osman Pasha in 1732, and Mahmut Pasha in 1788. They are mentioned as a "Serbian Orthodox clan" in a historical and geographical survey from 1757 and a letter sent by the Clan federation to Russia from 1789. Documents, especially the letter of Ivan Radonjić from 1789, show that the Montenegrins were identified as Serbs, and that the Banjani, Kuči, Piperi, Bjelopavlići, Zećani, Vasojevići, Bratonožići were not identified as "Montenegrins" but only as Serb tribes. They were all mentioned only in a regional, geographical, and tribal manner, and never as an ethnic category. In 1796 they fought Mahmut Pasha again, in the Battle of Martinići (in modern Danilovgrad). They fought Tahir Pasha around 1810.
Prince-Bishop Petar I (r. 1782-1830) waged a successful campaign against the bey of Bosnia in 1819; the repulse of an Ottoman invasion from Albania during the Russo-Turkish War led to the recognition of Montenegrin sovereignty over Piperi. Petar I had managed to unite the Piperi and Bjelopavlići with Old Montenegro. A civil war broke out in 1847, in which the Piperi, Kuci, Bjelopavlici and Crmnica sought to confront the growing centralized power of new prince of Montenegro; the secessionists were subdued and their ringleaders shot. Amid the Crimean War, there was a political problem in Montenegro; Danilo I's uncle, George, urged for yet another war against the Ottomans, but the Austrians advised Danilo not to take arms. A conspiracy was formed against Danilo, led by his uncles George and Pero, the situation came to its height when the Ottomans stationed troops along the Herzegovinian frontier, provoking the mountaineers. Some urged an attack on Bar, others raided into Herzegovina, and the discontent of Danilo's subjects grew so much that the Piperi, Kuči and Bjelopavlići, the recent and still unamalgamated acquisitions, proclaimed themselves an independent state in July, 1854. Danilo was forced to take measurement against the rebels in Brda, some crossed into Turkish territory and some submitted and were to pay for the civil war they had caused.
Petar II Petrović-Njegoš founded the police force (gvardija) throughout the Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro, as part of his transformation from a tribal federation to a proper state; 26 existed in Piperi.
Jovan Erdeljanović, a renowned Serbian ethnographer, stated that the four main bratstva (clans) of Rogami (a region corresponding to ancient Duklja), the Rajkovići, Stamatovići, Vučinići and Vukanovići, had become pobratim (blood brothers) and that they all venerated Archangel Michael as their patron saint (the Serbian Orthodox tradition of slava).
Piperi was one of the tribes that constituted the "Greens" (Zelenaši), a political faction that saw the unification of Montenegro to Serbia in 1918, as the annexation of Montenegro, and instead supported an independent Montenegro. The Greens instigated the Christmas Uprising on January 7, 1919, which was crushed by Serbian troops.
During World War II the majority of the tribe supported the Yugoslav Partisans. The Montenegrin committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party was dominated by Piperi clansmen prior to the war, and they were instigators of the July 1941 uprising. One of the most famous Piperi communists was Dr. Vukasin Markovic, a personal associate to Lenin, who came back after the October revolution from Russia to Montenegro, planning to stage a Soviet revolution. After its failure and his arrest, he fled to the USSR, where he assumed party duties.
The eponymous founder, vojvoda Pipo, lived in the 15th century. According to legend, there were five brothers- Pipo, Vaso, Ozro, Kraso, and Oto, who become forefathers of the Montenegrin tribes Piperi, Vasojevići and Ozrinići, and the Albanian tribes Krasniqi and Hoti).
- Jevrem Brković, Montenegrin writer
- Balša Brković, Montenegrin writer, son of Jevrem
- Arso Jovanović, Yugoslav Partisan commander during World War II
- Blažo Jovanović, Yugoslav communist and president of Montenegro
- Savić Marković Štedimlija, pro-Croatian Montenegrin ideologist and Ustasha regime collaborator
- Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia
- Milutin Vučinić, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Montenegro in Exile
- Boro Vučinić, Montenegrin politician and former defense minister
- Ivan Milutinović, (1901—1944) was a Yugoslav partisan general who died during World War II in Yugoslavia.
- Bolizza, 1614
- Ranke 1853, p. 422
- Vujovic 1987, p. 172
- Vukčević 1981, p. 46
... да Бан>ани, Дробн>аци, Кучи, Пи- пери, Б)елопавлићи, Зепани, Васо^евићи, Братоножићи нијесу Црно- горци. Они су сви поменути само као регионални односно географски и племенски појмови а никако као етничка категорща, при чему се ш^му Црна Гора не даје никакво преимућство над другима, осим што ^е Црна Гора ставлена на прво мјесто.
- Miller, p. 142
- Miller, p. 144
- Miller, p. 218
- Zlatar, p. 465
- Zlatar, p. 575
- Banac 1988, With Stalin against Tito, p. 171
- Erdeljanović, Jovan. "Kuči, Bratonožići, Piperi". 1981. Belgrade: Slovo Ljubve, 1981. p. 244
- Zlatar, Zdenko. "The poetics of Slavdom: the mythopoeic foundations of Yugoslavia", Volume 2
- William Miller (12 October 2012). The Ottoman Empire and Its Successors 1801-1927. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-26046-9.
- Leopold von Ranke, Cyprien Robert, "The history of Servia, and the Servian revolution: With a sketch of the insurrection in Bosnia", H. G. Bohn, 1853, p. 422
- R-J. V. Vesović, 1935, "Pljeme Vasojevići", Državna Štampa u Sarajevu, Sarajevo
- M. P. Cemović, 1993, "Vasojevići" (IInd edn), Izdavacki cavjet Zavicajnog udruzenja Vasojevicia, Beograd
- Mariano Bolizza, report and description of the sanjak of Shkodra (1614)
- Banac, Ivo (March 1988). The national question in Yugoslavia: origins, history, politics. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-9493-2.
- Banac, Ivo (1992), Protiv straha : članci, izjave i javni nastupi, 1987-1992 (in Croatian), Zagreb: Slon, OCLC 29027519
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- Dimitrije-Dimo Vujovic, Prilozi izucavanju crnogorskog nacionalnog pitanja /The Research of the Montenegrin Nationality/ (Niksic: Univerzitetska rijec, 1987), p. 172.