Montenegrins

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Montenegrins

 

a nation in Yugoslavia, numbering 508,800 persons (1971 census), most of whom live in Montenegro (355,600) and Serbia (125,300). Montenegrins speak the Stokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian. The majority of believers belong to the Orthodox Church, and the rest are predominantly Muslims.

In terms of culture and way of life, the Montenegrins have much in common with the Serbs. However, the geographic isolation of their mountainous homeland, the centuries of struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire, and the resultant militarization of life hindered Montenegro’s socioeconomic development and helped preserve the patriarchal clan social order. Although the ethnic composition of the Montenegrin clans (Vasojevići, Piperi, Kući, Belopavlići) was somewhat mixed owing to the influx of refugees from other parts of the country and groups of Albanian origin, it was popularly believed that all the members of a clan had a common ancestor and were blood relatives. Livestock raising and farming were the traditional occupations.

After the proclamation of a socialist Yugoslavia in 1945 and the creation of the republic of Montenegro, mechanization and new techniques were introduced in agriculture, and industrial enterprises were established. The former cultural backwardness of Montenegro has been overcome. The indigenous applied arts, notably wood and stone carving, metalworking, and embroidery, are flourishing. Oral poetry, music, and dance continue to develop vigorously. (For more information about the history, economy, and culture of the Montenegrins see MONTENEGRO.)

REFERENCE

Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1964.

M. S. KASHUBA

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