Montenegro ( or ; or ; Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east and Albania to the south-east. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Prijestonica, meaning the former Royal Capital City.
In the 10th century, there existed three Slavic principalities on the territory of Montenegro: Duklja, roughly corresponding to the southern half, Travunia, the west, and Rascia, the north. In 1042, archon Stefan Vojislav led a revolt that resulted in the independence of Duklja and the establishment of the Vojislavljević dynasty. Duklja reached its zenith under Vojislav's son, Mihailo (1046–81), and his son Bodin (1081–1101). By the 13th century, Zeta had replaced Duklja when referring to the realm, which at the time was part of the Serbian Grand Principality of the Nemanjić dynasty.
With the fall of the Serbian Empire in the late 14th century, southern Montenegro (Zeta) came under the rule of the Balšić noble family, then the Crnojević noble family, and by the 15th century, Zeta was more often referred to as Crna Gora (Venetian: ). As the Crnojević dynasty disintegrated, Montenegro was ruled by its Bishops until 1696, and then by the House of Petrović-Njegoš until 1918. From 1918, it was a part of Yugoslavia. On the basis of a independence referendum held on 21 May 2006, Montenegro declared independence on 3 June of that year.
Montenegro is classified by the World Bank as a middle-income country. Montenegro is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Montenegro is currently an official candidate for membership in the European Union and official candidate for membership of NATO.
Pliny, Appian and Ptolemy mentioned the Docleatae as living in the maritime region, holding the town of Doclea (old Podgorica). In 9 AD the Romans conquered the region. Slavs colonized the area in the 6th century, and had by the 10th century formed a semi-independent principality called Duklja, that was predominantly tied to Medieval Serbia, and to lesser degree, Byzantium, and Bulgaria.
Duklja gained its independence from the Byzantine Empire in 1042. Over the next few decades, it expanded its territory to neighbouring Rascia and Bosnia and also became recognised as a kingdom. Its power started declining at the end of the 11th century and by 1186, it was conquered by Stefan Nemanja and incorporated into Serbian realm. The newly acquired land, then called Zeta, was governed by the Serbian Nemanjić dynasty. After the Serbian Empire collapsed in the second half of the 14th century, another family (the Balšićs) came to prominence.
In 1421, it was annexed to the Serbian Despotate but after 1455 another noble family from Zeta, the Crnojevićs, ruled Montenegro until 1499, making it the last free monarchy of the Balkans before it fell to the Ottomans, who annexed it to the sanjak of Shkodër. For a short time Montenegro existed as a separate autonomous sanjak in 1514–1528, another version of which existed again between 1597 and 1614.
Ottoman rule and Metropolitanate
In the 16th century Montenegro developed a form of unique autonomy within the Ottoman Empire with Montenegrin clans being free from certain restrictions. Nevertheless the Montenegrins refused to accept Ottoman rule and in the 17th century raised numerous rebellions, culminating with the defeat of the Ottomans in the Great Turkish War at the end of that century.
Montenegro became a theocracy led by the Metropolitans, flourishing since the Petrović-Njegoš became the traditional prince-bishops (whose title was "Vladika of Montenegro"). The Venetian Republic introduced governors that meddled in Montenegrin politics; when the republic was succeeded by the Austrian Empire in 1797, the governors were abolished by Prince-Bishop Petar II in 1832. His predecessor Petar I contributed to the unification of Montenegro with the Highlands.
Principality of Montenegro
Under Nicholas I, the Principality was enlarged several times in the Montenegro-Turkish Wars and was recognised as independent in 1878. Under the rule of Nicholas I, diplomatic relations were established with the Ottoman Empire. Minor border skirmishes excepted, diplomacy ushered in approximately 30 years of peace between the two states until the deposition of Abdul Hamid II.
The political skills of Abdul Hamid and Nicholas I played a major role on the mutually amicable relations. Modernization of the state followed, culminating with the draft of a Constitution in 1905. However, political rifts emerged between the reigning People's Party that supported the process of democratization and union with Serbia and those of the True People's Party who were monarchist.
During this period, one of the biggest in Montenegrin victories over the Ottomans occurred at the Battle of Grahovac. Grand Duke Mirko Petrović, elder brother of Knjaz Danilo, led an army of 7,500 and defeated the numerically superior Ottomans who had 13,000 troops at Grahovac on 1 May 1858. The glory of Montenegrin victory was soon immortalized in the songs and literature of all the South Slavs, in particular the Montenegrins in Vojvodina, then part of Austria-Hungary. This forced the Great Powers to officially demarcate the borders between Montenegro and Ottoman Empire, de facto recognizing Montenegro's independence. Montenegro's independence was recognized by Ottoman Empire at Treaty of Berlin in 1878.
The first Montenegrin constitution was proclaimed in 1855; it was also known as the Danilo Code.
Kingdom of Montenegro (1910–1918)
In 1910 Montenegro became a Kingdom and as a result of the Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913 (in which the Ottomans lost all Balkan land), a common border with Serbia was established, with Shkodër being awarded to a newly created Albania. In World War I in 1914 Montenegro sided with Serbia against the Central Powers, suffering a full scale defeat to Austria-Hungary in early 1916. In 1918 the Allies liberated Montenegro, which was subsequently merged with Serbia.
Unification and Christmas Uprising
During World War I (1914–1918) Montenegro was allied with the Allied Powers. From 15 January 1916 to October 1918, Montenegro was occupied by Austria-Hungary. During occupation, King Nicholas fled first to Italy and then to France, and the government transferred its operations to Bordeaux. When the Allies liberated Montenegro, the Podgorica Assembly was convened and voted to ban the king from returning and to unite the country with the Kingdom of Serbia on 1 December 1918. In the Christmas Uprising, a large part of the Montenegrin population, known as the Greens, rebelled against this decision to unify with Serbia and, led by captain Krsto Zrnov Popović, fought against the pro-unification forces, Whites.
The royal family was rehabilitated in 2011, by the government and today is headed by Crown Prince Nicholas II who has his own foundation.
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
In 1922 Montenegro formally became the "Oblast of Cettinje" of the Zeta Area in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, annexing for the first time the coastal areas that were former Albania Veneta. In a successive restructuring, in 1929 it became a part of a larger Zeta Banate of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia that reached the Neretva river.
Nicholas's grandson, the Serb King Alexander I dominated the Yugoslav government. Zeta Banovina was one of nine bannovinas which formed the Kingdom and was named after the Serbian Medieval Principality Zeta. It consisted of the present-day Montenegro and parts of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia.
Kingdom of Montenegro (1941–1944)
In 1941, Benito Mussolini occupied Montenegro and annexed it to the Kingdom of Italy. The Queen of Italy, Elena of Montenegro influenced her husband Victor Emmanuel III to suggest that Mussolini make Montenegro independent of Yugoslavia. After the spring of 1942, much of the Sandžak region, which was included in the state of Montenegro, was not actually controlled by its government. The area of the Bay of Kotor (the Venetian Cattaro) was annexed to the Dalmatian province of Italy until September 1943. After the departure of the Italians, Montenegro remained under the direct control of German troops, with a terrible and bloody guerrilla war ravaging the area. In December 1944 the German troops withdrew and Josip Broz Tito's Partisans assumed control.
Montenegro within Socialist Yugoslavia
Montenegro, like the rest of the Yugoslavia, was liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans in 1944. The first uprising in Axis-occupied Europe happened on 13 July 1941 in Montenegro, when Montenegrins stood up against the fascists and joined Communist partisans. Notable Partisans from Montenegro include Arso Jovanović, Sava Kovačević, Svetozar Vukmanović-Tempo, Milovan Đilas, Peko Dapčević, Vlado Dapčević, Veljko Vlahović, Blažo Jovanović, Pavle Kapičić and Ivan Milutinović. Montenegro became a constituent of the six republics of the communist Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), its capital became Podgorica renamed Titograd in honour of President Josip Broz Tito. After the war, the infrastructure of Yugoslavia was rebuilt, industrialization began and the University of Montenegro was established. Greater autonomy was established until the Socialist Republic of Montenegro ratified a new constitution 1974.
Dissolution of Socialist Yugoslavia and forming of FR Yugoslavia
After the dissolution of the SFRY in 1992, Montenegro remained part of a smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia along with Serbia.
In the referendum on remaining in Yugoslavia in 1992, the turnout was 66% with 96% of the votes cast in favour of the federation with Serbia. The referendum was boycotted by the Muslim, Albanian and Catholic minorities as well as the pro-independence Montenegrins. The opponents claimed that the poll was organized under anti-democratic conditions with widespread propaganda from the state-controlled media in favour of a pro-federation vote. There is no impartial report on the fairness of the referendum, as it was unmonitored, unlike in 2006 when European Union observers were present.
During the 1991–1995 Bosnian War and Croatian War, Montenegrin police and military forces joined Serbian troops in the attacks on Dubrovnik, Croatia. These acts of aggression, aimed at acquiring more territory, were characterized by a consistent pattern of gross and systematic violation of human rights.
Montenegrin General Pavle Strugar was convicted for his part in the bombing of Dubrovnik. Bosnian refugees were arrested by Montenegrin police and transported to Serb camps in Foča, where they were subjected to systematic torture and executed.
In 1996, Milo Đukanović's government severed ties between Montenegro and the Serbian regime, which was then under Slobodan Milošević. Montenegro formed its own economic policy and adopted the German Deutsche Mark as its currency and subsequently adopted the Euro, although not part of the Eurozone currency union. Subsequent governments have pursued pro-independence policies and political tensions with Serbia simmered despite the political changes in Belgrade. Targets in Montenegro were bombed by NATO forces during Operation Allied Force in 1999, although the extent of these attacks was very limited in both time and area affected.
In 2002, Serbia and Montenegro came to a new agreement regarding continued cooperation and entered into negotiations regarding the future status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 2003, the Yugoslav federation was replaced in favour of a more decentralized state union named Serbia and Montenegro.
The status of the union between Montenegro and Serbia was decided by the referendum on Montenegrin independence on 21 May 2006. A total of 419,240 votes were cast, representing 86.5% of the total electorate. 230,661 votes (55.5%) were for independence and 185,002 votes (44.5%) were against. The 45,659 difference narrowly surpassed the 55% threshold needed to validate the referendum under the rules set by the European Union. According to the electoral commission, the 55% threshold was passed by only 2,300 votes. Serbia, the member-states of the European Union, and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council all recognised Montenegro's independence.
The 2006 referendum was monitored by five international observer missions, headed by an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)/ODIHR team, and around 3,000 observers in total (including domestic observers from CDT, CEMI, CEDEM and other organizations). The OSCE/ODIHR joined efforts with the observers of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE) and the European Parliament (EP) to form an International Referendum Observation Mission (IROM). The IROM—in its preliminary report—"assessed compliance of the referendum process with OSCE commitments, Council of Europe commitments, other international standards for democratic electoral processes, and domestic legislation." Furthermore, the report assessed that the competitive pre-referendum environment was marked by an active and generally peaceful campaign and that "there were no reports of restrictions on fundamental civil and political rights."
On 3 June 2006, the Montenegrin Parliament declared the independence of Montenegro, formally confirming the result of the referendum. Serbia did not object to the declaration.
Relations between Serbia and Montenegro were strained on 6 September 2007 after Montenegro banned Serbian Orthodox Church leader Bishop Filaret from entering the country. Tension escalated when an adviser to the Serbian prime minister referred to Montenegro as a "quasi-state", prompting Podgorica to seek an apology and lodge a protest with Serbia's government. The Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Božidar Đelić, sent a note of apology to Montenegro following the statement made by Serbian Premier's Aide Aleksandar Simic.