Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 



 


 



United Nations General Assembly hall

 

 


Montenegro
 

 

Overview
Montenegrin Crna Gora
European country located in the west-central Balkans.

Area: 5,333 sq mi (13,812 sq km). Population (2005 est.): 618,000. The administrative centre is Podgorica; the capital is Cetinje. The country’s name (“Black Mountain”) refers to its ancient stronghold near the Adriatic Sea, Mount Lovćen, which rises to 5,738 ft (1,749 m). Montenegro’s landscape ranges from arid hills to forests and fertile valleys. The majority of its population are Montenegrins who follow the Eastern Orthodox Church; there are sizable Bosniac and Albanian minorities. Among the country’s industries are metallurgy, mining, and the manufacture of consumer goods; agricultural pursuits include raising grains and animal husbandry. Tourism is an economic mainstay. Montenegro was established as a republic with the constitution of 1992 and is governed by independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Under the Roman Empire the region was part of the province of Illyricum. Settled by Slavs in the 7th century, it was incorporated into the Serbian empire in the late 12th century. It retained its independence following the defeat of the Serbs by the Ottoman Empire in 1389 at the Battle of Kosovo. Often at war with the Ottomans and Albanians, it began an alliance with Russia early in the 18th century. In the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, it cooperated against the Ottoman Empire. It supported Serbia during and after World War I. It was then absorbed into Serbia; the union became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (from 1929, Yugoslavia). During World War II Montenegro was occupied by the Italians and was the scene of heavy fighting. In 1946 the federal constitution of the new Yugoslavia made Montenegro one of Yugoslavia’s six nominally autonomous federated units. In 1992, one year after the breakup of Yugoslavia, Montenegro and Serbia combined as the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 2003, following agitation for independence in Montenegro, the Serbian, Montenegrin, and Yugoslav parliaments ratified a new constitutional agreement that maintained the federation, under the name Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006 Montenegro achieved complete separation from Serbia.

Profile
Official name Crna Gora (Montenegro)
Form of government multiparty republic with one legislative house (Parliament [81])1
Chief of state President
Head of government Prime Minister
Capital Podgorica; Cetinje is the old royal capital
Official language Montenegrin
Official religion none
Monetary unit euro (ˆ)2
Population estimate (2008) 626,000
Total area (sq mi) 5,333
Total area (sq km) 13,812
1New constitution effective from Oct. 22, 2007.

2Montenegro uses the euro as its official currency, even though it is not a member of the EU.

Main
Montenegrin Crna Gora

country located in the west-central Balkans at the southern end of the Dinaric Alps. It is bounded by the Adriatic Sea and Croatia (southwest), Bosnia and Herzegovina (northwest), Serbia (northeast), Kosovo (east), and Albania (southeast). Montenegro’s administrative capital is Podgorica, though its cultural centre is the historical capital and older city of Cetinje. For much of the 20th century Montenegro was a part of Yugoslavia, and from 2003 to 2006 it was a component of the federated union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Land
The country’s names—both Montenegro (from Venetian Italian) and Crna Gora—denote “Black Mountain,” in reference to Mount Lovćen (5,738 ft [1,749 m]), its historical centre near the Adriatic Sea and its stronghold in the centuries of struggle with the Turks. Alone among the Balkan states, Montenegro was never subjugated. The old heartland of Montenegro, in the southwest, is mainly a karstic region of arid hills, with some cultivable areas—e.g., around Cetinje and in the Zeta valley. The eastern districts, which include part of the Dinaric Alps (Mount Durmitor, 8,274 ft [2,522 m]), are more fertile and have large forests and grassy uplands. The drainage system of Montenegro flows in two opposite directions; the Piva, Tara, and Lim rivers follow northerly courses, the Morača and Zeta rivers southerly ones.


Relief
The terrain of Montenegro ranges from high mountains along its borders with Kosovo and Albania, through a segment of the Karst region of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only 1 to 4 mi (2 to 6 km) wide. The coastal plain disappears completely in the north, where Mount Lovćen and other peaks rise abruptly from the inlet of the Gulf of Kotor. The coastal region is noted for seismic activity.

Montenegro’s section of the Karst lies generally at an elevation of 3,000 ft (900 m) above sea level—although some areas rise to 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The lowest segment is in the valley of the Zeta River, which is at about 1,500 ft (450 m). The river occupies the centre of Nikšić Polje, a flat-floored, elongated depression typical of karstic regions, as is the predominantly limestone underlying rock, which dissolves to form sinkholes and underground caves.

The high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe and average more than 7,000 ft (2,000 m) in elevation. Notable is Bobotov Peak in the Durmitor Mountains, which reaches 8,277 ft (2,523 m) and is the country’s highest point. The Montenegrin mountains were the most ice-eroded section of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.


Drainage
Montenegro’s surface runoff in the north is carried away by the Lim and Tara river systems, which enter the Danube via the Drina River, which forms the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In southern Montenegro, streams flow toward the Adriatic. Much of the drainage of the karstic region is not on the surface but travels in underground channels.

Lake Scutari (known in Montenegro as Skadarsko Jezero), the country’s largest lake, lies near the coast and extends across the international border into northern Albania. It is 25 mi (40 km) long and 10 mi (16 km) wide, with a total surface area of 140 sq mi (360 sq km), and some three-fifths of it lies within Montenegrin territory. The lake occupies a karstic polje depression, the floor of which lies below sea level. Montenegro’s mountainous regions are noted for their numerous smaller lakes.


Soils
A distinctive feature of Montenegro is the accumulations of terra rossa in its coastal area. This red soil, a product of the weathering of dolomite and limestone rocks, is also found in depressions in the Karst. Mountainous areas above the plateaus have typical gray-brown forest soils and podzols.


Climate
Montenegro’s lower areas have a Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Temperature varies greatly with elevation. Podgorica, lying near sea level, is noted for having the warmest July temperatures in the country, averaging 81 °F (27 °C). Cetinje, in the Karst region and at an elevation of 2,200 ft (670 m), has an average temperature that is 10 °F (5 °C) lower. Average January temperatures range from 46 °F (8 °C) at Bar on the southern coast to 27 °F (−3 °C) in the northern mountains.

Montenegro’s mountainous regions receive some of the highest amounts of rainfall in Europe. Annual precipitation at Crkvice, in the Karst above the Gulf of Kotor, is nearly 200 inches (5,100 mm). Like most areas along the Mediterranean Sea, precipitation occurs principally during the cold part of the year, but in the higher mountains a secondary summer maximum is present. Snow cover is rare along the Montenegrin coast, averaging 10 days in karstic polje depressions and increasing to 120 days in the higher mountains.


Plant and animal life
One-third of Montenegro, principally in the high mountains, remains covered with broad-leaved forest. However, bare rock characterizes most of the southern Karst zone, where soils generally are absent. This area remained forested through Classical times, with oaks and cypresses predominating, but removal of forests for domestic fuel and construction led to widespread soil erosion and, ultimately, to replacement of the woodlands by the Mediterranean scrub assemblage known as maquis.

Sparsely populated Montenegro is noted as a habitat for numerous mammals, including bears, deer, martens, and wild pigs (Sus scrofa). It has many predatory wild animals, including wolves, foxes, and wildcats. The country also has a rich variety of birds, reptiles, and fish.


People
Ethnic groups
Differences between Montenegrins and Serbs are a matter of continuing controversy. Although isolated from each other for centuries during the Ottoman period, when Albanian families came to dominate the intervening Kosovo region, both groups retained their Orthodox religious traditions and many other common cultural attributes—including the Cyrillic alphabet. Because of such obvious commonalities, most Serbs see Montenegrins as “Mountain Serbs,” and many—but certainly not all—Montenegrins see themselves as Serb in origin.


Languages and religion
Nevertheless, during the long period of separation, Montenegrins developed characteristics and institutions of their own. For example, they did not adhere to the Serbian Orthodox church but were led by their own metropolitan until the Montenegrin church was absorbed into the Serbian patriarchate in 1920. In addition, Montenegrin pronunciation is closer to Croatian than to Serbian. A strong nationalist movement grew alongside Montenegrin resentment of Serbian attempts to minimize their distinctiveness. Many (but by no means all) Montenegrins joined Bosnians, Croatians, and Serbians in insisting that what is spoken in each of their respective countries is a language distinct from neighbouring languages, despite mutual intelligibility. Thus, they prefer that their language be called Montenegrin.


Settlement patterns
Fluctuations between a Serbian and a Montenegrin identity have been reflected in census figures. In 1981, for example, more than two-thirds of the residents of Montenegro identified themselves as Montenegrin, while only a tiny percentage reported themselves as Serb. By the early 1990s those proportions had changed to about three-fifths and one-tenth, respectively. The largest non-Serb minorities are Bosniacs (Muslims) and Albanians, the former concentrated in the northern mountains and the latter along the Adriatic coast. Nearly three-fourths of the population of the coastal community of Ulcinj is Albanian.

In the 1940s about seven-eighths of Montenegrins were classified as rural, but over ensuing decades this proportion changed dramatically. By the 1980s only about one-eighth lived in rural areas. Montenegrin villages are found mainly in the polje depressions of the Karst. Houses are most often constructed of stone, frequently without mortar.


Economy
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
Although farming dominated Montenegro’s economy until the mid-20th century, the country is endowed with only limited areas of suitable soil and climate. Only one-tenth of the land is farmed, with about two-fifths of this devoted to grains. In upland areas the principal agricultural activity is sheepherding. With woodlands covering about three-tenths of Montenegro, forestry is economically important. Despite the country’s significant seacoast, commercial fishing is negligible.


Power and resources
Bauxite, the principal raw material for aluminum, is Montenegro’s chief metallic resource. It is found principally near Nikšić. Significant hydroelectric power is produced at the Piva River plant on a tributary of the Drina and at the Peručica installation on the Zeta River. Montenegro also has a thermoelectric plant, which burns lignite mined near the town of Pljevlja.


Manufacturing
About one-tenth of Montenegro’s manufacturing labour force is employed in the steelworks at Nikšić, the country’s largest industrial facility despite a location generally unsuited to steelmaking. (Lacking local sources of both coking coal and iron ore, the works long depended on imports of pig iron from Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.) Podgorica, where agricultural products (including tobacco) are processed, provides even more manufacturing jobs than Nikšić. Refrigerators are manufactured in Cetinje.


Finance and trade
Established in 1993, the Central Bank of Montenegro is responsible for monetary policy, the development of a sound banking system, and payment operations. The German mark was declared the sole means of payment in Montenegro in November 2000, and in 2002 Montenegro’s official currency became the euro, the EU’s single currency. A stock market began operating in 1996. Most enterprises in Montenegro have begun privatization, and it is expected that most of these will eventually trade on the exchange.


Labour and taxation
Because of the small numbers of nonagricultural workers, labour union activity is minor and local. Montenegrin taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, excise duties, sales taxes, property taxes, taxes on financial transactions, and use taxes. While part of Yugoslavia, Montenegro was constitutionally required to remit a portion of its revenue to federal institutions but stopped doing so in 1998.


Tourism
Montenegro’s 150 mi (240 km) of seacoast have long been a major tourist destination. Attractive landscapes, picturesque old stone houses, and beaches draw both domestic and foreign tourists. The kings of prewar Yugoslavia had a summer palace near Miločer, and the postwar regime transformed the ancient fishing village of Sveti Stefan into a luxury resort. The city of Ulcinj—whose architecture has been influenced by the Greeks, Byzantines, Venetians, and Asians—is an important tourist destination.


Transportation and telecommunications
Montenegro’s first railroad was a short line connecting the port of Bar with Virpazar on Lake Scutari. During the period between World War I and World War II, another rail line was constructed between Podgorica and Nikšić. Improvements continued during the communist era, including extension of a rail link in 1986 to the newly constructed Albanian system. The completion of the long-planned route between Bar and Belgrade in 1976 extended Montenegro’s rail lines considerably. About three-fifths of the country’s roads are classified as modern.

The country’s sole maritime port is the small community of Bar. Closed briefly in the early 1990s, it reopened in 1996.

Under Yugoslav regimes, Montenegro developed a modern telecommunications system. Unlike the Serbian telecommunications infrastructure, Montenegro’s was not damaged during NATO’s bombing campaign in 1999. Indeed, the system was augmented by access to European satellites and increased Internet availability.


Government and society
Government
Montenegro is a parliamentary republic that gained full independence from Serbia in June 2006, following a referendum in May in which just over the required 55 percent of Montenegrins voted to secede from the federation. Montenegro is governed by independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president is the head of state, elected directly for a period of five years. The national assembly of Montenegro has 78 members and is led by a prime minister. Its judicial branch includes a constitutional court composed of five judges with nine-year terms and a supreme court with justices that have life terms.


Local government
Montenegro’s local government has 20 communes that range in size from about 18 to more than 770 sq mi (50 to 2,000 sq km) and in population from 5,000 to more than 130,000.


Education
Eight years of primary education are compulsory in Montenegro, beginning at age seven. Four years of secondary education also are available, divided between two types of schools: general secondary schools, which prepare students for universities, and vocational schools, which offer training that usually leads to admission to two-year technical colleges. The University of Montenegro, located in Podgorica, was founded in 1974.


Cultural life
Daily life and social customs
Montenegro’s traditional culture revolves around clans, groups of patrilineally related families that at one time maintained tribal identities on their own traditional territories. Increasing integration into the Yugoslav state, including general provision of public education, brought an end to clan autonomy, but clans themselves remain an important element in Montenegrin social life. A continuing object of complaint has been rampant clan nepotism in the staffing of governmental bureaucracies.

Faced with incessant threats from Ottoman armies and rival groups, clans traditionally emphasized personal courage in combat as a major virtue. This was reflected in the disproportionate role, before the republican secessions of the early 1990s, of Montenegrins in Yugoslavia’s armed forces. Montenegrins constituted a high proportion of noncommissioned and commissioned officers in the Yugoslav People’s Army, including about one-fifth of its generals. Another factor explaining this influence is the limited economic opportunities available in Montenegro itself.


The arts
Montenegro is perhaps best known to the outside world for its rich architectural heritage and medieval murals. Among the most notable structures are the Romanesque cathedral of St. Tryphon in Kotor, the 16th-century Husein-Pasha Mosque in Pljevlja, and the Baroque church of Our Lady of the Rocks on an islet in the Bay of Kotor. This region was recognized in 1979 by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The old town of Budva was of particular importance until it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1979; since rebuilt, it now serves as a beach resort and amusement park.

Montenegro’s medieval murals date back to the 10th century. A 13th-century mural depicting the life of St. Elias, located in the Moraca monastery, is perhaps most notable. In subsequent centuries, Montenegrin artists sometimes showed the influence of western European styles such as the Baroque, but traditional art forms such as icon painting, wood carving, and textile weaving also continued unabated. By the turn of the 20th century, western European styles—generally inherited many years after their popularity in artistic capitals such as Paris—began to dominate. At mid-century Milo Milunović used aspects of Post-Impressionist technique to depict the landscape of Montenegro, while in the postwar period Petar Lubarda used Expressionist techniques to portray his homeland. In the late 20th century a younger generation of artists blended international trends and styles with Montenegrin imagery and political concerns. Beginning in the 1990s, new forums for exhibition, such as the Montenegro Cetinje Biennial, allowed work by Montenegrin artists to be seen by an increasingly large number of people.

Montenegrin literature has its roots in folk literature sung to the accompaniment of the gusla (a type of folk fiddle). As elsewhere in Europe, monasteries were the centres of literacy and, not surprisingly, religious leaders produced the first written works. Early manuscripts include Miroslavljevo jevandjelje (1186–90; “Miroslav’s Gospel”), transcribed from an earlier Macedonian text. Only a 17th-century Latin-language copy remains of the first written work of Montenegrin literature, Kraljevstvo Slovena (1177–89; “The Kingdom of the Slavs”), by Pop (Father) Dukljanin of Bar. Thirty-eight years after Johannes Gutenberg’s invention (in 1494), the first state-owned printing press was established in Cetinje. In that year the Ostoih (“Book of Psalms”) was printed; it is believed to be the first book printed in Cyrillic from the South Slavic region. Without question the greatest poet of the region is Petar Petrović Njegoš (Peter II), who also is celebrated widely among Serbs.

Music, too, has an ancient history in Montenegro. A bone whistle from the Paleolithic Period (Old Stone Age) found in what is now Montenegro is the oldest musical instrument in all of Europe. Early church chants, as well as a number of organs built in the coastal region, testify to a lively tradition of church music. The above-mentioned Miroslavljevo jevandjelje gives the Old Slavic names of traveling musicians. Significant contemporary composers include Borislav Taminjzic (1933–92) and Zarko Mirkovic.

Along the Montenegrin coast there are several annual arts festivals each summer that cater to tourists. Perhaps most significant is a theatre festival in Budva. The Montenegrin National Theatre, with a recently enlarged and renovated building, operates in Podgorica.


Cultural institutions
Despite a relatively small population, Montenegro has developed a wide range of cultural institutions. These include theatres, art galleries, museums, and libraries, as well as an independent Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cetinje, the historical capital of Montenegro, boasts many historic buildings, including the five-complex National Museum of Montenegro, which maintains separate art, ethnographic, and historical museums. The city is also home to the Cetinje Monastery, which is the repository of an important collection of medieval manuscripts. The archives in Kotor contain historical documents that are of interest to researchers. There are also museums of note in Perast and Herceg Novi. Nikšić and Podgorica both house well-stocked art galleries, each of which is located in a historic castle.


Sports and recreation
The government emphasizes physical education and sports. Fishing and hunting are popular. The state also has set aside substantial areas for recreation, including three national parks: Durmitor, Biogradska Gora, and Lovćen. Durmitor National Park was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1980.


Media and publishing
Scores of newspapers, including Pobjeda (“Victory”), are published in Montenegro. Local presses publish a few hundred books each year. There are several radio stations and a television studio and transmitter in the country.

Thomas M. Poulsen
Ed.




History

Illyrians, Romans, and Slavs
Before the arrival of the Slav peoples in the Balkans during the 6th century ad, the area now known as Montenegro was inhabited principally by people known as Illyrians. Little is known of their origins or language, but they are claimed today as ancestors by the modern Albanians. Along the seaboard of the Adriatic, the movement of peoples that was typical of the ancient Mediterranean world ensured the settlement of a mixture of colonists, traders, and those in search of territorial conquest. Substantial Greek colonies were established on the coast during the 6th and 7th centuries bc, and Celts are known to have settled there in the 4th century bc. During the 3rd century bc an indigenous Illyrian kingdom emerged with its capital at Skadar (modern Shkodër, Albania). The Romans mounted several punitive expeditions against local pirates and finally conquered this kingdom in ad 9, annexing it to the province of Illyricum.

The division of the Roman Empire between Roman and Byzantine rule—and subsequently between the Latin and Greek churches—was marked by a line that ran northward from Skadar through modern Montenegro, symbolizing the status of this region as a perpetual marginal zone between the economic, cultural, and political worlds of the Mediterranean peoples and the Slavs. As Roman power declined, this part of the Dalmatian coast suffered from intermittent ravages by various seminomadic invaders, especially the Goths in the late 5th century and the Avars during the 6th century. These soon were supplanted by the Slavs, who became widely established in Dalmatia by the middle of the 7th century. Because the terrain was extremely rugged and lacked any major sources of wealth such as mineral riches, the area that is now Montenegro became a haven for residual groups of earlier settlers, including some tribes who had escaped Romanization.


Zeta
The Slav peoples were organized along tribal lines, each headed by a župan (chieftain). In this part of the Adriatic littoral, from the time of the arrival of the Slavs up to the 10th century, these local magnates often were brought into unstable and shifting alliances with other larger states, particularly with Bulgaria, Venice, and Byzantium. Between 931 and 960 one such župan, Česlav, operating from the županija of Zeta in the hinterland of the Gulf of Kotor, succeeded in unifying a number of neighbouring Serb tribes and extended his control as far north as the Sava River and eastward to the Ibar. Zeta and its neighbouring županija of Raška (roughly modern Kosovo) then provided the territorial nucleus for a succession of Serb kingdoms that in the 13th century were consolidated under the Nemanjić dynasty. (See Serbia: Medieval Serbia.)

Although the Serbs have come to be identified closely with the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Christianity, it is an important indication of the continuing marginality of Zeta that Michael, the first of its rulers to claim the title of king, had this honour bestowed on him in 1077 by Pope Gregory VII. It was only under the later Nemanjić rulers that the ecclesiastical allegiance of the Serbs to Constantinople was finally confirmed. On the death of Stefan Dušan in 1355, the Nemanjić empire began to crumble, and its holdings were divided among the knez (prince) Lazar Hrebeljanović, the short-lived Bosnian state of Tvrtko I (reigned 1353–91), and a semi-independent chiefdom of Zeta under the house of Balša, with its capital at Skadar. Serb disunity coincided fatefully with the arrival in the Balkans of the Ottoman armies, and in 1389 Lazar fell to the forces of Sultan Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo.

After the Balšić dynasty died out in 1421, the focus of Serb resistance shifted northward to Žabljak (south of Podgorica). There a chieftain named Stefan Crnojević set up his capital. Stefan was succeeded by Ivan the Black, who, in the unlikely setting of this barren and broken landscape and pressed by advancing Ottoman armies, created in his court a remarkable, if fragile, centre of civilization. Ivan’s son Djuradj built a monastery at Cetinje, founding there the see of a bishopric, and imported from Venice a printing press that produced after 1493 some of the earliest books in the Cyrillic script. During the reign of Djuradj, Zeta came to be more widely known as Montenegro (this Venetian form of the Italian Monte Nero is a translation of the Montenegrin Crna Gora, “Black Mountain”).


Under the prince-bishops
In 1516 a shift occurred in the constitution of Montenegro that many historians regard as having ensured its survival as an independent state. The last of the Crnojević dynasty retired to Venice and conferred the succession on the bishops of Cetinje. Formerly, the loyalty of minor chieftains and of the peasantry to their rulers had been unstable. It was not unusual for political control throughout the Balkans to pass from Slav rulers to the Turks, not because of the defeat of the former in battle but because of the failure of local magnates to secure the support of their subjects. In Montenegro the position of vladika, as the prince-bishop was known, brought stability to that country’s leadership. The link between church and state elevated it in the eyes of the peasantry, institutionalized a form of succession, and excluded the possibility of compromising alliances with the Turks.

Nevertheless, this period was a difficult one for the small, landlocked Montenegrin state, which was almost constantly at war with the Ottoman Empire. Cetinje itself was captured in 1623, in 1687, and again in 1712. Three factors explain the failure of the Turks to subdue it completely: the obdurate resistance of the population, the inhospitable character of the terrain (in which it was said that “a small army is beaten, a large one dies of starvation”), and the adept use of diplomatic ties with Venice.

From 1519 until 1696 the position of vladika was an elective one, but in the latter year Danilo Nikola Petrović was elected to the position (as Danilo I) with the significant novelty of being able to nominate his own successor. Although Orthodox clergy are generally permitted to marry, bishops are required to be celibate; consequently, Danilo passed his office to his nephew, founding a tradition that lasted until 1852.

Two important changes occurred in the wider European context of Montenegro during Danilo’s reign: the expansion of the Ottoman state was gradually reversed, and Montenegro found in Russia a powerful new patron to replace the declining Venice. The ebbing of the Ottoman tide proved significant for Montenegrin religious identity, which appears to have been particularly unstable throughout the 18th century. In spite of the establishment of a theocratic, Orthodox state and the legendary mass slaughter of those who had converted to Islam (the “Montenegrin Vespers” of Christmas Eve, 1702), there is considerable evidence that Montenegrin lineages shifted in a very fluid manner not only between the Roman Catholic and Muslim faiths but also between Montenegrin and Albanian identity. It seems that, given the uncertainty over who held power in the region, diversity was often regarded as a kind of collective insurance policy. Montenegro’s Orthodox identity gradually stabilized, however, as Turkish power declined. Catholicism retained a toehold in the area, and only in modern times have Catholics identified themselves as Croats.

The replacement of Venice by Russian patronage was especially significant, since it brought financial aid (after Danilo I visited Peter the Great in 1715), modest territorial gain, and formal recognition in 1799 by the Ottoman Porte of Montenegro’s independence as a state under Petar Petrović Njegoš (Peter I). Russian support at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, following the final defeat of Napoleon, failed to secure for Montenegro an outlet to the sea, even though Montenegrins had participated in the seizure of the Gulf of Kotor from French control in 1806.


Modernization
The accession of Peter II in 1830 heralded an era of modernization and political integration, in spite of further wars against the Turks. The vestiges of tribal chieftainships were significantly attenuated after a brief civil war was suppressed in 1847. The position of “civil governor” was replaced by a senate, and much progress was made suppressing blood feuding. Upon Peter’s death in 1851, his nephew, Danilo II, introduced a major constitutional change. Because he was already betrothed, Danilo was precluded from becoming vladika; therefore, he assumed the title of gospodar (prince) and, by making it a hereditary office, separated the leadership of state from the episcopal office. Danilo also introduced a new and modernized legal code, and the first Montenegrin newspaper appeared in 1871.

A turning point in the fortunes of Montenegro came when Serbia declared war on Turkey in 1876, a war which Montenegro (under Nicholas I) joined immediately and Russia the following year. Although the territorial gains awarded to Montenegro by the Treaty of San Stefano were reduced at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the state virtually doubled in area, and for the first time its borders were vaguely outlined in an international treaty. Most significantly, Montenegro secured vital access to the sea at Antivari (modern Bar) and Dulcigno (Ulcinj). Although the hostility of the other great powers to a Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean tended to restrict the use of these ports, Montenegro was now far more open to communication with the developing capitalist economies of western Europe. Trade expanded, tobacco and vines were cultivated, a bank was founded, motor roads were built, a postal service was initiated, and in 1908 the first railway (from Antivari to Virpazar on Lake Scutari) was opened. The majority of the investment in these developments was by foreign (especially Italian) interests. Economic openness had its other side, however, in the flow of emigrants, especially to Serbia and the United States.

The steady expansion of educational opportunity and contact with the outside world produced further pressure to modernize the constitution, with the result that the legal code was thoroughly revised in 1888 and parliamentary government introduced in 1905—although Prince Nicholas’s autocratic disposition made for frequent conflict between parliament and the crown; he took the title of king in 1910.

The peaceful economic expansion that the country experienced after 1878 ended with the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, in which Montenegro sided with Serbia and the other Balkan League states to oust Turkey from its remaining European possessions. The Treaty of London (1913) brought territorial gains on the Albanian border and in Kosovo, and it also resulted in a division of the old Turkish sanjak of Novi Pazar between Serbia and Montenegro. This brought Montenegro to its greatest territorial extent and for the first time gave the two Serb states a common border. Discussions began about a possible union between the two countries, but these were interrupted by World War I, when Austrian troops drove Nicholas into exile in Italy. Following the end of hostilities in November 1918, the assembly in Cetinje deposed the king and announced the union of the Serbian and Montenegrin states. Although Montenegrin representatives had little contact with the Yugoslav Committee or with the Serbian government-in-exile of Nikola Pašić during the war, Montenegro was taken into the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Of all the constituent parts of this newly unified state, Montenegro had suffered the greatest proportionate loss of life during the war.


Role in Yugoslavia
In view of the dominant place of the Serb-Croat conflict in Yugoslav politics, almost no attention has been given by historians to the development of Montenegro between the World Wars. Economic development—including foreign investment—followed the lines of political patronage, and therefore little of it filtered into Montenegro. No new rail building took place, no new mineral extraction was initiated, and there was little road construction. Having few large estates to expropriate, it was almost untouched by agrarian reform. Port development in the Gulf of Kotor was largely confined to military facilities; in the words of one historian, Bar in 1938 was “of very little importance.” By almost all indicators of economic well-being, the Zetska banovina (a governorship in interwar Yugoslavia that roughly corresponded to Montenegro) vied for the lowest place with the banovina of Vardarska (comprising parts of Macedonia). Montenegro’s most important export in this period was probably emigrants.

It is difficult to determine whether this neglect had a lasting effect on the Montenegrins, because Yugoslav politics was centralized and free party organization was proscribed under the royal dictatorship after 1929. It is perhaps indicative, however, that the Communist Party thrived as much in such marginalized areas as Montenegro as it did in the large industrial centres of Zagreb and Belgrade.

When Yugoslavia was invaded and partitioned by the Axis powers early in World War II, Montenegro was appropriated by the Italians under a nominally autonomous administration. Spontaneous armed resistance began within a few months, which was divided in its aims and loyalties between communists and their sympathizers and noncommunist bjelaši (advocates of union with Serbia). At the same time, many Montenegrin nationalists (zelenaši), disappointed by the experience of unification, supported the Italian administration. This local conflict was soon entangled within the wider Yugoslav struggle. The local strength of the party gave the communists an effective base in Montenegro. In addition, the area’s remoteness and difficult terrain made it an important refuge for Josip Broz Tito’s Partisan forces during the most difficult stage of their struggle, and it became a relatively safe haven after the fall of Italy.

The Montenegrins’ traditional pan-Slavism made them natural allies of the communist plan to reunify Yugoslavia. Consequently, after the war many Montenegrins found themselves in high positions within the military, political, and economic administration—in contrast to their former marginality. This same devotion to the party and to Soviet leadership, as well as to the pan-Slav ideal, was part of the reason why a large number of Montenegrins sided with Stalin in the dispute between the Cominform and the Yugoslav leadership; these people paid for their loyalty in subsequent purges.

The communist strategy of unifying Yugoslavia through a federal structure elevated Montenegro to the status of a republic, thus securing Montenegrin loyalty to the federation. Montenegro became a regular recipient of large quantities of federal aid, which enabled it to embark for the first time on a process of industrialization. In spite of an attempt to develop the Nikšić area as a centre of both bauxite mining and steel production, economic progress was constantly hampered by the republic’s marginality to the communication networks of the federation. The Montenegrin coast did not emerge as an important tourist area until the 1980s.


Federation with Serbia
The breakup of the Yugoslav federation after 1989 left Montenegro in an acutely precarious position. The first multiparty elections in 1990 returned the reformed League of Communists to power, confirming Montenegrin support for the disintegrating federation. The republic therefore joined Serbia in fighting the secession of Slovenia and Croatia, and in 1992 it acceded to the “third Yugoslavia,” a federal republic comprising only it and Serbia. On the other hand, in 1989 the remains of King Nicholas and other members of the former royal family were returned to Montenegro to be reinterred with great ceremony in Cetinje. This sign of the continuing strength of a sense of distinctive Montenegrin identity was matched by lively criticism of the conduct of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, UN sanctions against Yugoslavia seriously harmed Montenegro, especially by undermining its lucrative tourist trade; their impact, however, was somewhat softened by the opportunities created for smuggling, in collaboration with interests in Albania.

John B. Allcock


 

Relations between Montenegro and Serbia began to deteriorate at the end of 1992. An attempt to settle the dispute over Montenegro’s frontier with Croatia in the Prevlaka Peninsula was headed off by interests in Belgrade. Montenegrins became increasingly frustrated with Serbia’s unequal use of power in the new federation and impatient, in particular, with its failure to address economic reform. Disagreements over the conduct of the war in Bosnia and Croatia soon led to the withdrawal of Montenegrin units from the Yugoslav army.

Matters came to a head in October 1997, when the ruling party, the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, split into factions that either supported or opposed Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, and his protégé and close ally Momir Bulatović was defeated by Milorad Djukanović in the republic’s presidential elections. Djukanović began to steer an increasingly independent line of action, and within a year Montenegrin representatives had been withdrawn from most of the federal institutions; he was also critical of the Serbian policy toward Kosovo, fearing that once Milošević had settled accounts with the Albanians, Montenegro would then be forced to submit to a firmer hand in Belgrade. However, Djukanović’s active opposition to Serbian policy did not entirely save Montenegro from NATO military action against Yugoslavia in 1999, as the port of Bar, communication facilities, and military targets were bombed.

Despite widespread support for independence in Montenegro and plans to hold a referendum in the republic on secession in April 2002, Djukanović negotiated an agreement with Yugoslav and Serbian authorities in March calling for Montenegro’s continued federation with Serbia. The agreement, approved by the Yugoslav parliament and the Montenegrin and Serbian assemblies in 2003, renamed the country Serbia and Montenegro, gave wide powers to the governments of Montenegro and Serbia, and allowed each republic to hold a referendum on independence and to withdraw from the union after three years.


Independence
In a referendum held on May 21, 2006, 55.5 percent of Montenegrins (just over the necessary threshold of 55 percent) voted to end the federation of Serbia and Montenegro. On June 3, 2006, Montenegro declared its independence, which was recognized by the Serbian parliament two days later.

Thomas M. Poulsen
John B. Allcock
Ed.

 

 

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