- This article is about the republic in Serbia-Montenegro, Europe. See also: Montenegro, Brazil or Montenegro, Colombia.
The Republic of Montenegro (Serbian: Црна Гора, Crna Gora, meaning "black mountain") is a small, mountainous republic in the Balkans, on the Adriatic Sea. According to its constitution, it is a democratic, social, and ecological state.
Throughout a number of centuries Montenegro was a de facto independent principality ruled by a succession of dynasties and rulers. The country obtained de jure international recognition of its independence, following the Eastern Crisis (1875-1878), at the Congress of Berlin. On 28 August 1910, Montenegro's ruler Prince Nikola Petrović Njegoš proclaimed himself King. Between 1945 and 2003, Montenegro was a Republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia respectively. It is now one of two constituent parts of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.
Internationally, it borders Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republika Srpska), and Albania. Within the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro it borders Serbia (including the southern Serbian province Kosovo and Metohia).
The principal cities and towns of Montenegro are: the capital Podgorica (139,100 inhabitants), Nikšić (61,700), Pljevlja (18,800), and Bijelo Polje (17,100). The former royal capital and the seat of the throne is Cetinje.
Main article: History of Montenegro
Main article: Geography of Montenegro
The Montenegrin surface ranges from high peaks along its borders with Kosovo and Albania, a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only one to four miles wide. The plain stops abruptly in the north, where Mount Lovcen and other mountains plunge abruptly into the inlet of the Boka Kotorska.
Montenegro's Karst region lies generally at elevations of 1,000 meters above sea level - however some parts rise to 2,000 meters. Zeta River valley is the lowest segment at an elevation of 500 meters.
The rough mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. They average more than 2,000 meters in elevation. One of the country's notable peaks is Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountain, which reaches a height of 2,522 meters. The Montenegrin mountain ranges were among the most ice-eroded parts of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.
- Longest beach: Velika Plaza , Ulcinj - 13,000 m
- Highest peak: Bobotov Kuk (Durmitor Mt.) - 2,522 m
- Largest lake: Lake Skadar - 391 km² (surface)
- Deepest canyon: River Tara - 1,300 m
- Biggest fyord: Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor)
- National parks: Durmitor - 390 km², Lovcen - 64 km², Biogradska Gora - 54 km², Lake Skadar - 400 km²
- UNESCO World Heritage sites: Durmitor and Tara River canyon, old city of Kotor
See also: List of cities in Montenegro
Main article: Demographic history of Montenegro
Ethnic composition according to the 2003 census:
NB: Montenegrin and Serb identities are not exclusive and the size of each group varies wildly with each census, due to political events and as people view themselves, on balance, as more one than the other. For example, a "Montenegrin" may view himself as a "Serb" as well, and vice versa. Of course, in both groups there are those who view themselves as belonging to one group exclusively.
According to the constitution of Montenegro, the official language is Serbian of the Ijekavian standard. As of 2003, 63.49% of the population declare Serbian their mother tongue, while almost 22% declare Montenegrin language. The used dialects are the same, and very similar to those used by Serbs in Republika Srpska (in Bosnia and Herzegovina) with slight nuances.
Over 74% of Montenegrins are Eastern Orthodox Christians, belonging to the Serb Orthodox Church. A canonically-unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church was established in 1993. However, its following is small to the point of non-existence and it has not been recognised by any other Orthodox Church. 110,000 Muslims make up 17.74% of Montenegro's population. They are divided into three main groups: ethnic Albanians and Slavic Muslims split among Bosniaks and Muslims. Albanians are a separate group, speaking their own language (5.26%) and living mostly in the east, especially in Ulcinj, where they form the majority of the population. Bosniaks are slavic muslims speaking the Bosnian language living mostly in the north. Finally, there are a few Catholic inhabitants, who live mostly in the coastal areas, particularly Boka Kotorska.
Union with Serbia
On the last referendum on remaining in Yugoslavia in 1992, 95.96% of the votes were cast for keeping the federation with Serbia, although the turnout was at 66% because of a boycott by the Muslim and Catholic minorities as well as of pro-independence Montenegrins. Proponents of independence claim that the poll was organized in undemocratic conditions, with widespread propaganda from the state-controlled media in favour of a pro-federation vote.
In 1996, Milo Đukanović's government de facto severed ties between Montenegro and Serbia (back then still under Milošević). The tensions between the two states still simmer regardless of the political changes in Belgrade. Montenegro formed its own economic policy and switched to the Deutsche Mark as its currency as proposed by foreign economic advisors at the time. It is currently exclusively using the euro, though it is not formally part of the Eurozone. Serbian Dinar is not legal tender in Montenegro and is only accepted at a few tourist resorts.
The current and previous government of Montenegro are carrying out pro-independence policies. They postponed the census twice (from 2001 to 2002 and then November 2003). They also postponed the independence referendum countless times, which caused many independence supporters to lose faith in the government's will for independence.
In 2002, Serbia and Montenegro came to a new agreement regarding continued cooperation. In 2003, the Yugoslav federation was replaced in favor of a looser state union named Serbia and Montenegro and the possible referendum for Montenegro's independence was postponed until 2006.
The status of the state union between Serbia and Montenegro is probably going to be decided when the three-year-set moratorium on an independence referendum ends.
Montenegro's parliament on July 12, 2004, adopted a new flag, national day, and anthem, as part of a push for the republic's independence from the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The flag of the former Montenegrin monarchy: the gold coat of arms of the King Nikola on red field with a gold border (the initials НI of King Nikola, however, are left out), shown above, was adopted as the official flag of Montenegro on July 12th 2004 by the Parliament of Montenegro.
The national day of 13 July marks the date in 1878 when the Congress of Berlin recognised Montenegro as the 27th independent state in the world and the start of the first popular uprising in Europe against the Axis Powers on 13 July 1941 in Montenegro.
Parliament selected one of the best known Montenegrin folk songs, "Oh the Bright Dawn of May", as the national anthem. The decision was opposed by the Serb opposition parties in Montenegro and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade - who claim that two verses of the specific version chosen by the Montenegrin government were originally arranged by Nazi collaborator Drljević in the early 20th century.