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The sovereign state of Montenegro is located in southeastern Europe on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, which forms its southwest border, while Croatia is to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania to the southeast.

Its capital is Podgorica, and the official language is Montenegrin. The name means "Black Mountain," and it is a reference to the dark mountain forests which are found throughout the country.

The Roman province of Dalmatia, which was populated by the Illyrian tribes, consisted of part of what is now Albania, a large portion of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo. The region was called Illyricum by the Romans and Illyrian by the Greeks.

Around the middle of the first century, the province was dissolved and in its stead were two provinces: Dalmatia in the southern part and Pannonia in the northern part. This would one day be Montenegro.

The Roman empire fell in the late fifth century, and as it did, the coast of Dalmatia was frequently invaded by the Goths, Avar, and other semi-nomadic marauders. The Slavs moved into the region in the seventh century. Venice ruled Dalmatia during the tenth century. By the fifteenth century, it was the Republic of Venice from 1498.

From 1496 to 1878, parts of Montenegro fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, but the resistance of the people prevented all of the country from falling. Montenegro had a different form of autonomy in the Empire, so clans were able to keep much of their freedom. But the Montenegrins were unhappy under their control, and they were involved in numerous uprisings.In 1623, again in 1687, and once again in 1712, Montenegro was almost constantly at war with the Ottoman Empire. It was unusual for the Ottomans to not completely dominate a region, but with Montenegro, it was so. The adamant resistance of the citizens was a factor in that failure, as was the treacherous terrain. At various times, parts of the country were ruled by the Republic of Venice, while others by First French Empire, and still others ruled by Austro-Hungary.

The Great Turkish War, sometimes called the War of the Holy League, began in 1683. This was actually a series of wars. The Ottoman Empire was on one side, and the Holy League, which included Poland-Lithuania, the Habsburg Empire, Venice and Russia on the other. The war was won by the Holy League, and the Ottoman Empire lost huge amounts of territory including Poland, Hungary, and the Balkans.

In 1878, under the rule of Nicholas I, Montenegro was recognized as an independent county. Diplomacy, particularly with the Ottoman Empire as well as modernization, were both in full bloom.

In 1905, a constitution was drafted, but it came to a standstill once disagreements arose between the two major factions, the People's Party which supported democratization and union with Serbia, and the True People's Party who supported monarchy. In 1855, the constitution was finally proclaimed.

In 1910, Montenegro became the Kingdom of Montenegro after the Balkan Wars which lasted from 1910 to 1913. This war caused the Ottoman Empire lose all of their Balkan land. During World War I, the Kingdom of Montenegro was one of the Allied Powers. From 1914 to 1918, Austro-Hungary occupied Montenegro. During that period of time, King Nicholas fled, setting up a government-in-exile in Bordeaux.

After World War I, Nikola was deposed by a national assembly, and Montenegro was annexed to Serbia. Then, a few weeks later, on December 1, 1918, Serbia merged with what had been the South Slav territories of Austro-Hungary, becoming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovens; and in 1929, it was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

In the spring of 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded and partitioned by the Axis powers. Benito Mussolini annexed Montenegro to the Kingdom of Italy. The occupation by Italy left the country nominally autonomic. The Communist Party and the affiliated Youth League organized 6,000 members and prepared all for guerrilla warfare. On July 13, 1941, the first armed uprising in Nazi-occupied Europe took place in Montenegro. It was surprisingly successful, and on July 20, more than 32,000 men and women joined in the battle. The rebellion lasted full-steam until the middle of August when the Italian army, 67,000 strong, suppressed were brought in from Albania, though the guerrilla fighting went on until December.

During the ensuing month, approximately 5,000 Montenegrins died, and 7,000 were wounded, and more than 2,000 soldiers of the Italian army were killed or captured. Despite their valiant efforts, however, the rebels, however, are unable to regain control of any of the major cities or towns.

Montenegro has been an independent constitutional republic since June 3, 2006.



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