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Montenegro (mŏnˌtənēˈgrō), Serbo-Croatian Crna Gora, officially Republic of Montenegro, republic (2015 est. pop. 628,000), 5,332 sq mi (13,810 sq km), W Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by Croatia in the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the northwest, Serbia in northeast, Kosovo and Albania in the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea in the southwest. Podgorica is the capital and largest city.

Land, People, and Economy

Situated at the southern end of the Dinaric Alps, Montenegro is almost entirely mountainous, with a small coastline along the Adriatic. It consists of two regions: the barren karst of Montenegro proper, on the west, is separated by the Zeta River and its plain from the higher Brda region, on the east, which has forests and pastures. Lake Scutari, the nation's largest lake, is at the southern end of the karst and forms part of the Albanian border. In addition to the capital, principal cities are Cetinje, Nikšić, and Kotor, the only Adriatic port.

The Montenegrin people, who make up less than half of the population, share a language, many customs, and an Orthodox faith with the Serbs; nevertheless, they are a separate ethnic nationality with a distinct history. Serbs make up about a third of the population. Of the roughly 70% of the population that is Orthodox, 70% are members of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the rest members of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (a newly established body that is not recognized by other Orthodox churches). Other minorities include Bosniaks, who are largely Muslim and live mainly in the Sanjak, or Sankžak, region (which straddles the border with Serbia), and Albanians, also largely Muslim. The official language under the constitution adopted in 2007 was defined as Montenegrin (formerly considered the Ijekavian dialect of Serbian). Standard Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, and Croatian are also spoken and are officially recognized languages.

Historically, the raising of sheep and goats have been important occupations in Montenegro. Agriculture, mainly in the Zeta valley and near Lake Scutari, is poorly developed, with only about 6% of the country cultivated. Grains, tobacco, potatoes, citrus, olives, and grapes are grown. Industry is also relatively underdeveloped, except for agricultural processing and steel and aluminum mills. Montenegro has significant deposits of bauxite, iron, and petroleum. There is also significant tourism along the coast. In the 1990s, smuggling is said to have supplied about a third of the government's revenues. There is high unemployment, and the country has a severe trade deficit. Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary, and Germany are the main trading partners.


Montenegro is governed under the constitution of adopted in 2007. The president, who is the head of state, is popularly elected for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is proposed by the president with the approval of the legislature. Members of the unicameral legislature, the 81-seat Assembly, are popularly elected to serve four-year terms. Administratively, Montenegro is divided into 24 municipalities.


From the 14th to the 19th cent. the principal activity of the fiercely independent Montenegrin people was fighting the Turks, who never entirely conquered their mountain stronghold. In the 14th cent. the region constituting present Montenegro was the virtually independent principality of Zeta in the Serbian empire. After Serbia was defeated by the Turks in the battle of Kosovo Field (1389), Montenegro continued to resist and became a refuge for Serbian nobles who fled Turkish rule. The sultans did not recognize Montenegrin independence, but, although they thrice destroyed Cetinje, they never succeeded in making Montenegro tributary. However, the princes of Montenegro ruled only a small part of the present republic, the rest being governed by Turkey after 1499 and by Venice, which held Kotor.

From 1515 until 1851 the rule of Montenegro was vested in the prince-bishops (vladikas) of Cetinje; these were assisted by civil governors. Social organization, geared almost exclusively to the needs of war, was largely military and patriarchal. With Danilo I, who ruled from 1696 to 1735, the episcopal succession was made hereditary in the Niegosh family, the office passing ordinarily from uncle to nephew, because the bishops could not marry. Danilo I also inaugurated (1715) the traditional alliance of Montenegro with Russia; the emperors of Russia were henceforth considered as at least the spiritual suzerains of the vladikas.

Peter I, who reigned from 1782 to 1830, defied both France and Austria when the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797) transferred the Venetian possession of Kotor to Austria, but he failed to obtain the coveted port. However, in 1799, Sultan Selim III recognized the independence of Montenegro. Peter I instituted internal reforms and sought to end the blood feuds and lawlessness that had become a traditional way of life. He was canonized as a saint after his death. Peter II (reigned 1830–51), a gifted poet, continued his predecessor's work of reform and fostered a revival of learning and culture; aside from occasional border warfare, he lived in relative peace with his neighbors, Turkey and Austria. Danilo II, who succeeded him, secularized his principality in 1852 and transferred his ecclesiastic functions to an archbishop.

Under Nicholas I (reigned 1860–1918) Montenegro was formally recognized as an independent state at the Congress of Berlin (1878), which increased its territory and gave it a narrow outlet on the Adriatic. In 1910, Nicholas proclaimed himself king. He fought Turkey in the Balkan Wars and took Shkodër in 1913, but was forced by the pressure of the European powers to evacuate the city. Montenegro did, however, receive part of the territory claimed by newly independent Albania.

When World War I broke out (1914), the Montenegrins invaded Albania. Montenegro declared war on Austria in Aug., 1914, but late in 1915 it was overrun by Austro-German forces, and Nicholas went into exile. In Nov., 1918, a pro-Serb assembly declared Nicholas deposed and effected the union of Montenegro with Serbia. Under the centralized, Serbian-dominated government of what became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Montenegro largely ceased to exist. In 1922 the Serbian Orthodox Church was declared the official church and the Montenegrin branch was outlawed. After World War II, Montenegro was reestablished as (1946) one of the six republics of Yugoslavia, and its territory was enlarged with the addition of part of the Dalmatian coast.

As Yugoslavia began to disintegrate in the early 1990s, Montenegro and Serbia were the only republics in which the electorate kept the Communists in power and voted to remain in the Yugoslavian federation. Although Montenegro backed the Serbs militarily early in the civil war, it moved away from armed engagement and vigorously protested being grouped with Serbia when UN trade sanctions were imposed in 1992. The sanctions crippled shipping and tourism and caused economic hardship. When they were temporarily lifted in 1995, Montenegro privatized businesses and pursued a market economy.

Milo Djukanović, a supporter of increased sovereignty or independence for the republic, was elected president of Montenegro in 1997. Although many Montenegrins desired independence from Serbia, many others opposed it. Montenegro was not heavily attacked by NATO during the Kosovo crisis of 1999, but many Montenegrins sympathized with Serbia. Relations with Serbia, which grew increasingly strained in 1999 and 2000, eased after Vojislav Koštunica became (Oct., 2000) Yugoslav president, but Djukanović did not waver in his support for a looser Yugoslav federation or independence. In Nov., 1999, Montenegro adopted the German mark as legal tender along with the dinar; the mark (the euro, after Mar., 2001) became the sole currency in Nov., 2000. Djukanović's Democratic party of Socialists (DPS) won the largest bloc of seats in the Apr., 2001, elections, but failed to win a parliamentary majority.

After failed talks later in the year on the future of the Yugoslav federation, the Montenegrin and Yugoslavian presidents agreed that Montenegro would hold a referendum on independence in May, 2002. That referendum was postponed, however, by the signing in Mar., 2002, of a pact that called for restructuring the federal government. The accord led to a constitution establishing the “state union” of Serbia and Montenegro in Feb., 2003. Both republics gained increased autonomy under the new constitution; the federal government was responsible primarily for foreign policy and defense.

In Nov., 2002, Djukanović resigned as president to become prime minister. The December and February presidential elections were legally inconclusive due to low turnout. After the election law was amended to require only a majority of those voting to win the presidency, Filip Vujanović, an ally of the prime minister's, was elected in May, 2003. A proposal (Feb., 2005) by the president and prime minister that Montenegro and Serbia each recognize the other as an independent nation was rejected by Serbia as a violation of of the 2002 accord, which postponed any such move until 2006. In May, 2006, however, Montenegrin voters approved (by slightly more than 55%) independence, with ethnic Serbs strongly opposing the move.

In June, 2006, Montenegro formally declared its independence, and in the September elections following independence, Djukanović's DPS-led coalition won a majority of the seats in parliament. Djukanović resigned as prime minister the following month; Željko Šturanović, the justice minister, was chosen as his successor. A new constitution was adopted in Oct., 2007, but the Serb and Albanian opposition parties did not vote for it. Šturanović resigned in Jan., 2008, for health reasons, and Djukanović succeeded him as prime minister the following month. President Vujanović was reelected in Apr., 2008.

The Mar., 2009, elections again gave the DPS-led coalition a parliamentary majority. Djukanović resigned as prime minister in Dec., 2010, possibly as a result of European Union pressure (he had been accused of criminal activities); the finance minister, Igor Lukšić, succeeded him. The DPS-led coalition fell short of a majority in the Oct., 2012, elections, forcing it into a coalition with small ethnic minority parties; Djukanović was confirmed as prime minister in December. In the Apr., 2013, presidential election, Vujanović was narrowly reelected, but the opposition disputed the results and alleged that there were irregularities in the vote. The narrow victory was seen as a blow to the government.

In Jan., 2016, Djukanović's government lost the support of its long-time coalition partner, the Social Democratic party, but remained in power with the support of the opposition Positive Montenegro party. In May a new DPS-led government that included several opposition parties was formed. Also that month, the country signed an accession agreement with NATO, which led to its joining the alliance in 2017. In the Oct., 2016, elections, the DPS won a plurality; the opposition again denounced the result as rigged. Djukanović's government accused Serbian and Russian nationals of an attempted coup on election day, and two opposition politicians and 12 others, mostly Serbians but also two Russians tried in absentia, were later convicted (2019) of the plot. After the election, Djukanović announced he would not serve as prime minister; his deputy, Duško Marković, succeeded him. In Apr., 2018, Djukanović was elected president of Montenegro.

A religious law passed in Dec., 2019, controversially required churches to prove that they held title to their property prior to 1918, a requirement seen as threatening the Serbian Orthodox Church. In the Aug., 2020, parliamentary elections, the DPS won a plurality, but the opposition coalition secured a narrow majority of the seats. The coalition, consisting of Peace Is Our Nation (a pro-Serbia, populist coalition), For the Future of Montenegro (a center-right coalition), and United Reform Action (a Green party) and united primarily by their opposition to Djukanović and the DPS, formed a largely technocratic government headed by Zdravko Krivokapić in December.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Crna Gora), Socialist Republic of Montenegro (Socijalistička Republika Crna Gora), a republic in Yugoslavia. Situated in the southeastern part of the Dinaric Alps and washed by the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro covers an area of 13,800 sq km and has a population of 575,000 (1977). Montenegrins, who speak Serbo-Croatian, constitute more than two-thirds of the population, which also includes Bosnians, Serbs, and Albanians. The capital is Titograd.

A socialist republic, Montenegro has voluntarily joined with other, equal socialist republics to form a federated state, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Its present constitution was adopted in 1974. The supreme governing body is the republic Skupština (assembly), which consists of three chambers—the Council of Associated Labor, the Sociopolitical Council, and the Council of Communes. The government (cabinet) of the republic is the Executive Council.

Natural features. A large part of Montenegro is occupied by the Dinaric Alps, which rise to 2,522 m on Mount Durmitor. The Montenegrin Karst Plateau lies in the southwest. The marginal ridges of the highland descend precipitously toward the Adriatic, leaving only a narrow strip of coast. The northern shore of Lake Scutari is fringed by a lacustrine plain. The prevailing temperate continental climate gives way to a Mediterranean climate along the coast. The precipitation ranges from 1,600 mm to 1,800 mm annually, increasing to 3,000 mm near the coast. The mountain slopes are covered with coniferous and mixed forests. Mediterranean shrub vegetation grows along the Adriatic coast.

Historical survey. Inhabited from Paleolithic times, Montenegro was settled in the Bronze and Iron ages by Illyrians, who were conquered by the Romans in the first century B.C.In the next century the territory became part of the Roman province of Dalmatia, and in 297 it was included in the province of Praevalitana. (Called Dioclea until the 11th century, when it was renamed Zeta, the land acquired its present name in the 15th century.) In 493 some of the area was absorbed into the Ostrogothic state, and in 536 it fell under Byzantine control. In the seventh century Montenegro was settled by Slavs, who were converted to Christianity in the ninth century.

During the reign of Prince Vladimir (c. 970–1016) the area came under the rule of the Bulgarian king Samuil, but in 1018 Byzantium reasserted its hegemony. Under Prince Vojislav (1031–51), Montenegro freed itself from Byzantine control and annexed Travunija and Zahumlje. In 1077, Prince Mihailo assumed the royal title. During the reign of King Bodin (c. 1082 to c. 1101), all of Serbia was incorporated into Zeta. Feudal relations developed in the country, and the coastal cities of Kotor, Budva, Bar, and Ulcinj prospered. Montenegro was absorbed into the Serbian Nemanja state under Stefan Nemanja (ruled c. 1170–96), regaining its independence only in 1366 after the death of Stefan Dušan.

The succeeding native rulers—the Balšić princes (1361–1421) and the Crnojević princes (1422–1528)—were compelled to fight against Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Between 1396 and 1443 Venice gained control over the Montenegrin coastal cities, and in 1479 Turkish forces seized Scutari and established themselves in the plains region. In 1499, Montenegro was officially included in the Ottoman Empire, but the Montenegrins stubbornly refused to recognize the authority of the conquerors. Feudalism had made little headway in the country, where much of the land was controlled by extended families called zadrugas. The zadrugas banded together to form clans, which in turn formed tribes ruled by elders called knezes and vojvodas.

In an effort to assert their independence, the Montenegrins sided with Venice in the Venetian-Turkish War of 1645–69 and in the Holy Alliance’s war against the Ottoman Empire (1683–99). Bishop Danilo Petrović-Njegoš (ruled 1697–1735), who founded the Njegoš dynasty, killed or expelled the pro-Turkish feudal lords, that is, Montenegrin noblemen who had converted to Islam. Under Danilo a judicial body was created for all of Montenegro, called the Court of Bishop Danilo, and the country established closer ties with Russia. In 1711 the Montenegrins responded to Tsar Peter I’s call to join the war against the Ottoman Empire. By the Treaty of Passarowitz (Požarevac, 1718), which concluded the war between the Ottoman Empire on the one hand and Austria and Venice on the other, Venice received a number of coastal communities, depriving Montenegro of access to the sea.

During the reign of Petar I Petrović-Njegoš (1781–1830), Montenegro’s ties with Russia were greatly strengthened. After the Austro-Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91, the Montenegrins began their drive for independence by defeating the army of the Scutari vizier Mahmud Pasha Bušatli at the battle of Kruse on Sept. 22, 1796. During the Napoleonic wars and the rise of the national liberation struggle of the Serbian people (1804–15), the Montenegrins sided with Russia and Serbia. In 1813 they gained control of Boka Kotorska, which was returned to Austria at the Congress of Vienna (1814–15). Petar II Petrović Njegoš (ruled 1830–51) strengthened the central government and established the Administrative Senate (1831). Petar’s successor, Danilo (ruled 1851–60), proclaimed Montenegro a hereditary principality in 1852.

During the Bosnia-Hercegovina uprising of 1875–78, Montenegro gave the rebels military and material aid, and in 1876 it joined Serbia in declaring war on the Ottoman Empire. Achieved as a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, Montenegro’s independence was confirmed by the Berlin Congress of 1878, which recognized Montenegro’s jurisdiction over the areas of Podgorica, Kolašin, Niksšć, Žabljak, Bar, and Ulcinj but significantly reduced the territory awarded to Montenegro earlier that year by the Treaty of San Stefano.

Capitalist development, which began in the first half of the 19th century, gained momentum in the last third of the century. Several changes took place in the superstructure: in 1879 the Senate was replaced by the State Council, ministries, and the High Court, and in 1888 the Property Code was adopted, introducing some norms of bourgeois law. The first labor organization, the Workers’ Alliance, was formed in 1903. Under the influence of the Russian Revolution of 1905–07, opposition to the autocratic regime of Prince Nikola (ruled 1860–1918) mounted, leading to the formation of the People’s Party in 1906. The constitution of 1905 established the Skupština (assembly) as a permanent body. Proclaimed a monarchy in 1910, Montenegro joined the Balkan League in 1912 and took part in the Balkan Wars of 1912–13. As an ally of the Entente in World War I, Montenegro was occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces from January 1916 until the autumn of 1918. Looking to Russia and France for support, the majority of bourgeois émigrés formed in March 1917 the Montenegrin Committee of National Unification, which in August accepted the Corfu Declaration.

Under the impact of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, Montenegrins launched a mass movement for national and social liberation and for unification with Serbia on a democratic basis. Meeting in Podgorica in November 1918, the Great People’s Skupština adopted a resolution calling for union under the aegis of the Serbian king. On Dec. 1, 1918, Serbia, Montenegro, and the Yugoslav (South Slav) areas of former Austria-Hungary united to form the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. In the new state Montenegro was a backward agrarian hinterland. Bent on creating a Greater Serbia, the ruling elite hindered the economic growth of Montenegro and tried to impose Serbian customs on the inhabitants. After the coup of 1929 and the establishment of a military-monarchist dictatorship in Yugoslavia, Montenegro ceased to exist as an independent administrative unit.

In April 1941, Montenegro was overrun by fascist troops along with the rest of Yugoslavia. The Italian occupying forces designated the area a governorate. During the National Liberation War in Yugoslavia (1941–45), led by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (founded 1919), Montenegro became one of the centers of armed resistance. The July 13,1941, uprising against the occupying forces is now celebrated as the Day of the Uprising of the Montenegrin People. A national democratic governing body, the National Liberation Committee, was formed on July 21, 1941. The Regional Antifascist National Liberation Council of Montenegro and Boka, formed in November 1943 in Kolašin, was reorganized as the Antifascist National Liberation Skupština of Montenegro in July 1944. Montenegro was completely liberated from the fascist occupying forces and their accomplices by the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia on Dec. 31, 1944. The People’s Government of Montenegro and a supreme legislative and executive body, the People’s Skupština of Montenegro, were established in April 1945.

When the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (FPRY) was proclaimed on Nov. 29, 1945, Montenegro became one of its six national constituent republics. The status and sovereign rights of the People’s Republic of Montenegro (PRM) as an equal member of the federation were guaranteed by the constitution of the FPRY, adopted in January 1946, and by the constitution of the PRM, promulgated in December 1946. Like the rest of Yugoslavia, Montenegro underwent profound socioeconomic transformations that enabled it to embark on socialist construction. The achievements in socialist construction, based on self-government, have been recorded in two successive constitutions of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Republic of Montenegro, promulgated in 1963 and 1974. The leading ideological and political force of the SRM is the League of Communists of Montenegro, an integral part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Montenegro belongs to the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Yugoslavia.

A. E. MOSKALENKO (through the 18th century) and I. G. IANU

Economy. With 2.6 percent of Yugoslavia’s population, Montenegro in 1975 accounted for 1.8 percent of the national income, 1.5 percent of the country’s gross industrial output, and 1.5 percent of its agricultural output. According to the 1971 census, 21.3 percent of the economically active population was engaged in industry and construction, compared to about 3 percent in 1939, and 43.3 percent was employed in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, as against more than 80 percent in 1939. Industry provides more than half and agriculture one-sixth of the national income. The industrial output increased by a factor of 14 from 1945 to 1974.

Most of the industries are engaged in the extraction and refining of mineral raw materials and the processing of agricultural products. The bauxite mines near Nikšić yield approximately one-fifth of Yugoslavia’s output. Lead and zinc ore is extracted near Pljevlja and Ivangrad, and lignite and salt (along the coast) are also mined. Hydroelectric power plants have been built on the Zeta River. Other industrial facilities include a metallurgy combine in Nikšić (steel, rolled metal), an aluminum combine in Titograd, wood-products combines in Mojkovac, Ivangrad, and Titograd, electrical engineering plants in Cetinje, shipyards in Kotor, and textile, food, and tobacco enterprises in Titograd, Kotor, and Bar.

The chief branch of agriculture is pasture livestock raising, chiefly sheep and low-yield cattle. The republic’s more than 500,000 sheep account for about 6 percent of the country’s total number. Mountain pastures and meadows cover 40 percent of Montenegro’s area and arable land, 6 percent. Corn, wheat, barley, and potatoes are grown in the Scutari Basin, the river valleys, and the intermontane basins. The republic produces large quantities of plums, figs, pomegranates, and almonds, about four-fifths of the country’s oranges, some two-thirds of its tangerines, and half of its lemons. There are also olive groves and vineyards.

Montenegro’s largest seaports are Bar and Kotor. The main railroad runs from Belgrade to Bar (opened in 1976), and there is a good network of highways. The principal airport is in Titograd. The republic has seaside health resorts and other tourist attractions.


Cultural affairs and public health. In 1975, 97 percent of the Montenegrin population was literate. In the 1974–75 school year the republic’s 643 basic eight-year schools had a combined enrollment of about 91,500 pupils. That year more than 9,400 students were enrolled in the republic’s 16 Gymnasiums, which offer a complete secondary education. Vocational schools, technical schools, and other special schools were training more than 15,700 students, and some 5,500 students were attending the republic’s five higher educational institutions. A university was founded in Titograd in 1973.

The majority of research institutions are located in Titograd. They include the republic’s highest scientific institution, the Montenegro Academy of Sciences and Arts (founded 1976), the History Institute, the Institute of Geological and Chemical Research, the Institute of Hydrometeorology, and the Seismological Station. In Kotor there is an institute of marine biology.

In 1975, Montenegro had 11 research and specialized libraries, 19 public and 476 school libraries, one museum, four drama theaters (one professional, one amateur, and two children’s theaters), and 30 motion-picture theaters. A radio station and a television studio operate in Titograd. In 1975 the republic issued 46 newspapers with a total circulation of 5,077,000, 15 magazines with a total circulation of 229,000, and 140 book and pamphlet titles with a total printing of 552,000 copies.

In 1974 health care was provided by eight hospitals, 94 outpatient clinics, 52 dental offices, 13 tuberculosis dispensaries, 24 gynecological clinics, 20 polyclinics for preschool children, and 14 polyclinics for schoolchildren. There were 31 pharmacies. Montenegro’s best-known seaside health resorts are Herceg Novi and Bar.

Literature. The development of Montenegrin literature has not been adequately elucidated in Yugoslav literary scholarship. Whereas some literary scholars regard Montenegrin literature as an integral part of Serbian literature, others insist that it developed along separate lines. In general, Montenegrin literature developed through close interaction with other Yugoslav, particularly Serbian, literature, a circumstance fostered by ethnic and linguistic kinship, common historical and cultural traditions, and the ties between Montenegrin and Serbian cultural and literary figures. However, the extent of literary interaction has not been uniform at different stages of the literary process: the striving for autonomy was more marked in the second half of the 19th century, and the tendency toward fusion with Serbian literature was more pronounced in the first half of the 19th century and the period between the two world wars. In socialist Yugoslavia the further consolidation of the national literary forces has been accompanied by a strengthening of the multifaceted contacts with other Yugoslav literatures.

Montenegro’s rich folklore tradition originated in the distant past. Religious works, saints’ lives, and prayer books have survived from the Middle Ages. The most important works of the 17th and 18th centuries are the manuscripts of A. Zmajević (1624–94) and I. A. Nenadić (1709–84), the History of Montenegro (1754) by V. Petrović (1709–66), and the Epistles of Petar I Petrović-Njegoš (1747–1830).

Most scholars date the beginning of modern Montenegrin literature from the end of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. Its founder was the poet and statesman Petar II Petrović-Njegoš (1813–51), whose works continued the heroic tradition of the folk epic. Njegoš evoked a poetic picture of Montenegrin life and extolled the struggle of the Montenegrins and Serbs for liberation from Ottoman oppression. His finest work, the dramatic epic Mountain Garland (1847), is animated by the idea of the unification of the South Slavs. Njegoš also played a prominent role in the development of early romanticism in Serbian literature.

Romantic poetry flourished from the second half of the 19th century until World War I. Its leading exponents were S. Perović-Cuca (1830–57), Nikola I Petrović (1841–1921), and M. Šobajić (1836–1917). Prose was largely limited to ethnographic fiction, such as the Stories of Montenegro and the Coast (1875) by S. Mitrov Ljubiša (1824–78), and memoirs, of which the best known were those of M. Miljanov (1833–1901). Two noteworthy historical plays were written: Balkan Empress by Nikola I Petrović (1884) and Emperor’s Way (1894) by R. Rogano-vic Crnogorac (1859–1900). The literature of the period, essentially folkloric and romantic, celebrated the patriarchal way of life, the historical past, and heroism.

Despite the national conflicts that existed in the military-monarchist dictatorship that was established in Yugoslavia in January 1929, the number of Montenegrin writers grew steadily. The genre and thematic framework of literature expanded, and prose underwent intensive development. In the early 1930’s, Montenegrin literature, like the other Yugoslav literatures, came under the influence of “social realism,” a literary movement that championed realism and drew inspiration from revolutionary ideology. Social realist poetry reached a high level in the collections Kulak (1936) and Fiery Doves (1937) and the narrative poem New-comers (1937) by R. Zogović (born 1907), the collections Forests (1938) and Fiery Mornings (1941) by M. Banjević (1905–68), the collection Two Rivers (1938) by J. Djonović (born 1909), and the narrative poem Through Blue Twilight (1929) and the collection Land (1934) by M. Vukovic (1910–46).

The social and psychological palette of prose also became richer, and the first novels appeared. The life of the Montenegrin people was realistically portrayed by R. Ratković (1903–54), noted for his novel Nevidbog (1933), D. Djurović (born 1901), whose short-story collection Among the Mountain People (1936) and novel The Land of Duklja (1939) were widely acclaimed, and N. Lopičić (1909–45), best known for his short-story collection Peasants (1939). Many Montenegrin writers took part in the War of National Liberation in Yugoslavia.

After Montenegro’s liberation from the fascist occupying forces and their collaborators on Dec. 31,1944, and the establishment of a people’s government the next year (a socialist republic was created in 1963), literature entered a remarkably fruitful period of development. The intensive growth and further consolidation of Montenegro’s literary forces was reflected in the founding of the literary magazines Creation (1946) and National Culture (1951) and in the formation of the Society of Montenegrin Writers (1956).

The main literary figure since the 1950’s, M. Lalić (born 1914) has vividly depicted the national liberation struggle and revolution in his novels The Wedding (1950), Vicious Spring (1953), The Rupture (1955), The Round-up (1960), and Leleja Mountain (1962). The national problems of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are treated in Lalić’s historical novel Military Luck (1973). Other outstanding prose works of this period include the short-story collections Long Moments (1956) and Playing With Fire (1966) by S. Asanović (born 1931), the novels Fast and Deep (1959) and Watershed (1968) by Č. Vuković (born 1920), and the short-story collection Facing the Truth (1961) and the novella Mouthful of Dirt (1974) by Branimir Šćepanović (born 1937). These works deal with the national liberation war and contemporary life, focusing on moral, ethical, and psychological problems.

Among the finest public achievements of the postwar period are Zogović’s collections Stubborn Stanzas (1947), Articulated Word (1965), and Personal, Purely Personal (1971), Djonović’s collections Mountain Streams (1947) and Yearning for the Road (1961), and Banjević’s narrative poem Sutjeska (1946) and his collection Till It Sparks (1961). Other important verse collections include Poems (1947), Nets (1955), and Forgotten Snows (1958) by D. Kostić (born 1917) and Whirlpool (1950) and Ribbons in the Valley (1955) by R. Vešović (born 1921). A quest for new themes and forms distinguishes the poems of M. Kralj (born 1933), S. Perović (born 1932), Blažo Šćepanović (1934–66), and J. Brković (born 1933). The leading contemporary playwrights are Brković, V. Ivanović, Ž. Komanin (born 1935), and B. Radović. Literary criticism is represented by B. Milačić (born 1920), M. Stojović (born 1927), and R. Rotković (born 1931).

Architecture and art. The Neolithic pottery discovered at Crvena Stijena, with its simple modeled ornamentation or painted geometric designs, closely resembles the Neolithic ware found in Serbia and Rumania. Archaeological investigations have uncovered Illryian fortified settlements and necropolises dating from the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. In the period of Greek and Roman conquests, Montenegro fell within the orbit of classical culture, whose traditions survived in a simplified form during the Byzantine period (sixth century A.D.) and after the coming of the Slavs in the seventh century. There are remains of Roman fortifications, dwellings, basilicas, and architectural fragments with fine carving at Duklja (Dioclea), near Titograd.

In medieval Montenegro, Italian and Dalmatian cultural influences coalesced with those of Serbia and Byzantium. In the ninth and tenth centuries modest single-aisled cruciform or three-apse churches were constructed of cut or broken stone. The Romanesque churches of the 11th century preserved traits of pre-Romanesque architecture. The churches built in the coastal regions in the 12th and 13th centuries were either three-aisled basilicas with flat wooden ceilings or cross vaults (Cathedral of St. Tripun in Kotor, from 1166) or single-aisled structures with semicircular vaults (Church of St. Paul in Kotor, 1263–66), sometimes surmounted by a dome resting on a low drum supported by squinches or pendentives (Church of St. Luke in Kotor, late 12th century). Covered with pitched tile roofs, such churches often had blank walls, an arched bell tower on the western facade, and a carefully delineated western portal with a rose window above it. The altar section was separated from the rest of the church by a stone barrier decorated with fine carving in which interlace patterns were mingled with zoomorphic and floral motifs echoing classical traditions (Ulcinj, Bar).

While Montenegro was part of the Nemanja kingdom, its interior regions were influenced by the Raška architectural school (seeSERBIA). The severe single-aisled churches that were built in the Raška style in the 12th and 13th centuries had lateral additions resembling low transepts and domes set on a cubical base (church of the Morača Monastery, 1252). Among the Montenegrin architects who worked in Serbia was Vit of Kotor, who designed the church of the Dečani Monastery. In the coastal architecture of the 14th to 16th centuries individual Gothic elements, such as contours of windows and vaults, were combined with Romanesque forms (churches and houses in Svač, Bar, and Kotor).

The influence of Carolingian art may be seen in the earliest examples of Montenegrin monumental painting, the frescoes in the Church of St. Michael near Ston (11th and 12th centuries), incorporating portraits of the Zeta princes. The pictorial art of the 13th and 14th centuries, blending Romanesque and Gothic elements with Byzantine iconographic motifs, is best exemplified in the Evangelistary of Prince Vukan (1202) and the ciborium in the Cathedral of St. Tripun in Kotor (1362). The frescoes in the church of the Morača Monastery (1252), similar to Serbian art, are notable for their refined and expressive linear style.

The Ottoman invasion and centuries of national oppression had a detrimental effect on the development of Montenegrin culture. Down to the 20th century most towns consisted of a crowded mass of low stone buildings. The Renaissance and baroque styles had little impact on secular architecture, being discernible only in certain details of such structures as the palaces in Kotor, Bar, Perast, and Dobrota. The baroque reached its peak in the 17th and 18th centuries in the churches of Boka Kotorska, designed chiefly by Italian architects. A noteworthy example is the Church at Prčan, begun in 1790. Local architects tended to graft baroque traits onto the Romanesque and Byzantine traditions, as illustrated by the church of the Sava Monastery near HercegNovi (1777–99, N. Foretic).

The leading painters of the 15th and 16th centuries, Lovro Marinov and Vicko Dobričević, working mainly in Dalmatia, assimilated Renaissance trends. Another major painter of this period was T. Vuković. Baroque sculpture, both altar reliefs and statues, was generally produced by foreign artists. Outstanding local painters of the 17th to 18th centuries included Dj. Mitro-fanović, A. Vujičić, and T. Kokolja, who executed wall paintings, pictures, and portraits in the style of the late Venetian Renaissance. The painters of the Rafailović family combined late Byzantine traditions with baroque techniques. Even miniature painting followed late Byzantine canons down to the 19th century.

After the liberation of Montenegro from Ottoman oppression in 1878, the local nobility built imposing urban mansions in the late Empire style (Danilov Palace in Cetinje, 1894–95). In the 1870’s Podgorica (present-day Titograd) was built on a grid layout. The eclectic style was best represented in the neo-Byzantine Church of St. Nicholas in Kotor (1910). In the cities, architects continued to build simple and severe two- or three-story dwellings of rough stone with tile roofs and small windows and doors.

A national school of art emerged in the second half of the 19th and first third of the 20th centuries. In the portraits, compositions on themes from national history, and genre scenes of P. Poček, A. Bokarić, M. Gregović, and the watercolorist I. Šobajić naïve realism coexisted with academicism. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, M. Milunović and P. Lubarda produced landscapes and genre scenes in the style of post impressionism. The line engravings and paintings of I. Novaković reflected a critical view of society. Stylized generalization marked the sculpture of R. Stijović.

A radical change took place in Montenegrin culture after the establishment of people’s rule. A new capital, Titograd, was built on the ruins of Podgorica, destroyed during World War II. Town planning was initiated, and model plans for housing projects were developed with the participation of architects from other Yugoslav republics. The housing construction of the late 1950’s and 1960’s is best exemplified in the five-story modular panel buildings in Titograd. Schools, hospitals, and consumer services establishments were built using prefabricated reinforced-concrete frames.

Along the Adriatic old cities have been modernized, and new cities with comfortable spa facilities have been built, among them Budva, Trsteno, Jaz, Mogren. The old island city of Sveti Stefan has been converted into a hotel-city. Successes have been achieved in the construction of hotels, motels, and administrative buildings using standardized structural elements; examples include the hotels in Cetinje and Herceg Novi, the administrative building in Kotor, and the Beko department store in Titograd. A quest for national distinctiveness characterizes the buildings of the architect S. Radević, noted for their expressive detail, their textural contrasts, achieved by combining concrete with local stone and river pebbles, and their organic link with the landscape (Podgorica Hotel in Titograd).

Significant postwar artworks include the stylistically free landscapes and still lifes of M. Milunović, V. Leković, and A. Prijić; the monuments of L. Tomanović and V. Stanić; and the dynamic and colorful landscapes and historical compositions of P. Lubarda.

Music. Down to the end of the 19th century, Montenegro had only folk music, and to this day the people have preserved the ancient traditions of singing folk epics, heroic songs (to the accompaniment of the gusle), lyric songs, and ritual songs. Especially impressive are the dramatic ritual laments, particularly the women’s tužbalice, and the poetic pastoral lyric songs. There are various types of round dances accompanied by singing, known locally as oro. The melodies of Montenegrin songs are characterized by a narrow range, a predominance of archaic tunes in natural modes, a frequent use of mixed or variable meter, and a free rhythmic structure. Most of the singing is polyphonic, often featuring dissonant second intervals.

The first musical societies and performing groups were founded in Montenegro in the last quarter of the 19th century. Army bands were organized by A. Šulc in 1871 and F. Vimer in 1889; the Branko Choral Society was formed in Podgorica (present-day Titograd) in 1892; the Njegoš Choral Society was created in Cetinje in 1908; and the Zahumlje Choral Society was established in Nikšić in 1898. One of Montenegro’s first professional musicians was the late 19th-century composer J. Ivanišević, who studied in Prague with Z. Fibich. A music school operated in Cetinje in 1924–25 and from 1932 to 1941.

After World War II a number of music schools were opened, including the Njegoš Music School in Cetinje (founded in 1947 as a primary school and reorganized the next year as a secondary school), the M. Miljanov Music School in Titograd (1950), and the music school in Kotor (1951). Musical life was enriched by the founding of the symphony orchestra and mixed chorus of Radio Titograd and the Oro State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. Several more music organizations were founded in the 1960’s: the amateur Stanko Dragojević Chorus in Titograd, the amateur Nikola Djurković Chorus in Kotor, the Association of Composers and Performing Musicians of Montenegro, and the Union of Cultural and Artistic Societies of Montenegro (Titograd).


Theater. Traces of ancient dramatized rituals, the exact nature of which is not known, survived in certain folk customs that were practiced down to the first half of the 20th century. An important contribution to Montenegro’s theatrical culture was made by Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. His dramatic poem The Mountain Garland (1847) and his narrative poem Tsar Stepan Mali, the Imposter (1951), based on episodes from Montenegro’s historical past, were performed by amateur groups. In addition to amateur productions, Cetinje enjoyed performances by touring companies from Serbia, Croatia, and other regions.

After the liberation of Montenegro from the fascist occupying forces and their collaborators (Dec. 31, 1944), the Montenegro National Theater, comprising an opera and a drama company, was founded in Titograd in 1953. The drama company’s repertoire includes Yugoslav and foreign classics, plays by Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, and works by the contemporary Montenegrin playwrights V. Radović and Z. Komanin and by other Yugoslav writers. The company has also staged works by the Russian playwrights N. V. Gogol, A. N. Ostrovskii, and A. P. Chekhov and the Soviet writer A. N. Arbuzov. The company’s principal directors are B. Erakovic and N. Vavić, and its leading performers are V. Mandić, D. Tomas, Z. Raičević, G. Lengold, P. Begović, D. Malović, B. Vuković, Č. Vukanović, and Z. Stoimirov. Directors from the other Yugoslav republics also participate in the theater’s productions.



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Official name: Republic of Montenegro

 Capital city: Podgorica

Internet country code: .me

Flag description: A red field bordered by a narrow golden-yellow stripe with the Montenegrin coat of arms centered

Geographical description: Southeastern Europe, between the Adriatic Sea and Serbia

Total area: 5,381 sq. mi. (13,938 sq. km.)

Climate: Mediterranean climate, hot dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfalls inland

Nationality: noun: Montenegrin(s); adjective: Montenegrin

Population: 684,736 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Montenegrin 43%, Serbian 31%, Bosniak 8%, Albanian 5%, other (Croat, Roma) 12%

Languages spoken: Serbian (official; Ijekavian dialect), Bosnian, Albanian, Croatian

Religions: Orthodox 74%, Muslim 18%, Roman Catholic 4%

Legal Holidays:

Independence DayMay 21
May DayMay 1
National DayJul 13
Orthodox ChristmasJan 7
Orthodox Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Orthodox Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Second Day of Orthodox ChristmasJan 8
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a constituent republic of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, bordering on the Adriatic: declared a kingdom in 1910 and united with Serbia, Croatia, and other territories in 1918 to form Yugoslavia; remained united with Serbia as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia when the other Yugoslav constituent republics became independent in 1991--92; Union of Serbia and Montenegro formed in 2002. Capital: Podgorica. Pop.: 658 000 (2001 est.). Area: 13 812 sq. km (5387 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005