Nikola Bošković (pronounced [nǐkola bôʃkoʋit͡ɕ], 1642 – 18 September 1721) was a Ragusanmerchant, whose travels in Ottoman Raška were included in Illyricum sacrum. He is best known as the father of Roger Joseph Boscovich (Ruđer Bošković).
Franjo Rački wrote, based on a manuscript from the Franciscan library in Dubrovnik, that Nikola was the son of a Boško from Orahovo (Orahov Do, near Popovo polje, then Bosnia Eyalet, Ottoman Empire, present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina), and that the family had adopted the surname Bošković after his father.Šime Ljubić,[failed verification – see discussion] and later Milenko S. Filipović and Ljubo Mićević, wrote that his father’s name was actually Matijaš (or Matija) which could be seen from marital permission which he gave to Nikola.
Boško Bošković father of Nikola Bošković was mentioned in the document from 1690 (“Bosikus Boscouich de Popouo mihi cancellario optime notus”) from which is evident that family surname Bosković is much older and was surname of his ancestors long time before they arrive to Dubrovnik.
He had a brother, Petar (d. 1724).
Nikola came to Ragusa (Dubrovnik), Republic of Ragusa, as a boy when his parents had sent him to become an apprentice to wealthy Ragusan merchant Rad Gleđević, who then dispatched him to Yeni Pazar (Novi Pazar) in the Ottoman Empire (in the Sandžak region of today’s Serbia) to learn from the local traders. Bošković returned to Dubrovnik as a very wealthy man. His father then also moved to Dubrovnik.
His travels through “Raška” (Old Serbia) were written down by a Jesuit priest Riggeputti as Relazione della Provincia della Rassia, who was collecting material for his work Illyricum Sacrum, a history of Christianity in the Balkans. Bošković described the historical and sacral monuments of Raška including Orthodox monasteries and royal palaces, and also commented on the “sad state” of the Roman Catholic Church in these lands under the Ottoman rule. After settling down in Dubrovnik, Nikola married a daughter of a local noble of Italian origin, Paola Bettera (Pavica Betera). The two had eight children, the second youngest, Ruđer Bošković (Roger Boscovich), being the most famous.