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MontenegroMontenegro, whose local name is Crna Gora, is translated to mean "black mountain." This name was first used in the 1400s, but only in more recent years has it been used to refer to the entire region of the modern country. The English name of Montenegro has the same meaning, but comes from the Italian words: monte, which means "mountain" and the more historic word negro, which means "black."

Crna Gora / Црна Гора


Montenegro is a mountainous country (as the name would imply) that has created many cultural variations. The mountains have divided the people as various groups of people have settled various valleys. Today many of the people in these mountain valleys are closely related ethnically, but culturally are very different, from speaking different languages to following different religions.

The people that settled the mountain valleys of Montenegro were primarily ethnic Slavs, although the Albanians and Roma (Gypsies) also made their ways here to some degree. The people generally lived simple lives off the lands; in many ways sharing a lifestyle. However, over time these people grew significantly different in terms of culture. Most of the people in the northwest were Catholic, while the Albanians and Bosniaks are Muslims, and the majority are Eastern Orthodox Christian. These religious differences were inspired by outside influences, which also introduced differing foods, dress, beliefs, and cultures among the people.

Over time each of these groups of people developed their own cultures and lifestyles. Although still based on the lands, the lifestyles changed due to religion, diet, and more. Culturally, the people grew further and further apart, but being somewhat isolated in the mountains, there was little conflict due to these differences.

As political conflicts ebbed and flowed over time so too did alliances. Often times the Serbs and Montenegrins united due to their many similarities, but at other times unity cast a wider net and included nearly everyone. What has been fairly consistent though is the people's ability to maintain peace, particularly in comparison to the region as a whole. When battles and wars were magnified, the Montenegrins tended to wait.

Today the Montenegrins remain diverse culturally, yet united politically. The people all have differing cultures and lifestyles as they have taken few moves to define themselves or exclude others. This has also led to a lack of identity and a failure to define or understand who they are. Many of the ethnic Albanians, Serbs, and Bosniaks identify as such, but the ethnic Montenegrins are only now beginning to understand who they are as they seem to be in a slow process to define themselves, their culture, their lifestyle, and their identity.

The flag of Montenegro is dominated by their coat of arms. The coat of arms includes a large double headed eagle to symbolize the unity between church and state. On the shield the eagle is holding is a lion, which is the symbol of episcopal authority.

Name: Montenegro
Independence: June 3, 2006
Capital: Podgorica
Currency: Euro
Population: 653,474 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Montenegrin & Serbian
Language: Montenegrin
Religion: Christian Orthodox

Information for Montenegro was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks