Since Clark Weeks has been to Montenegro a number of times because that is where his wife’s family is from, he as decided to let people know a little more about the country. Today it is a brief history of the country of Montenegro, one of the newer countries in the world and yet a very old region.
It is very rare to come across a straightforward Balkan history and Montenegro is no exception. Boundary lines in present-day Montenegro have been drawn and re-drawn since time immemorial. Montenegro finally became an independent country in 2006 when it gained independence from Yugoslavia.
Early history records show that the area that we call Montenegro was first inhabited by the Illyrians. During the Bronze age, the Illyrians made conquests through the Mediterranean and set up trade practices. The Illyrian kingdom was finally won over by the Romans in the 2nd Century BC. The region is seen as mentioned in the Roman Empire’s history chronicles where it is known as the territory of Duklja or Doclea.
The Middle Ages
It was the Slavs who entered this region in the 7th century and gave it the name of Doclea. They are also credited for the spread of Christianity. Soon Christianity became the main religion of the Montenegro region. In the 9th century, the Slavs also managed to establish this territory as an independent dukedom of Doclea. The 11th century saw Byzantine occupation as the Serbian realm fell. In 1077 it was recognized as an independent kingdom by the catholic world. However, this was short-lived. By the 12th century, the kingdom became a subject of Rascia.
The coasts of this diverse land of modern-day Montenegro were controlled by Venice from 1420 to 1797. A portion of this area was also under the realm of the Ottoman empire till as late as 1912. The last portion of Montenegro became partially independent in 1516 and gained the status of a theocratic state. This independent Montenegro elected a Vladika that would be considered as the ruler of the country. Until 1969, the Vladika was elected. This system was then replaced with a hereditary system. Throughout history, Montenegro has been under constant attack from invaders like the Venetians and the Ottomans. However, the region stood its ground and successfully succeeded in maintaining itself as a partially independent state throughout much of history.
Nicholas I is considered as its most prominent leader in the modern period. Under him, the country not only was granted the status of a kingdom but also established its first-ever constitution in 1905. However, king Nicholas is also seen as abandoning the country during the 1st world war. In 1941, during the second world war, Montenegro came under Italian occupation. It was also during this time that Montenegro got involved in a civil war. After World War II, Montenegro was established as a republic of Yugoslavia. In spite of being the smallest republic in terms of area and population, Montenegro gained economic strength.
While Montenegro saw nearly seven incarnations as different occupants adorned its lands throughout history, the one thing that remained consistent was its striving for freedom. On May 21, 2006, the republic sought a referendum and most of its citizens voted for independence. This varied history has made it an interesting destination that attracts numerous travelers every year. Clark Weeks recommends that you visit Montenegro between June and September. …