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History of Montenegro

Modern Montenegrin history begins in the 400 and 500s when the Slavs entered the region, but for most of the next 500 years remained under the rule of, first Rome, then Byzantium.

In 1042 present-day Montenegro gained independence from the Byzantium Empire, but from the late 1100s it became a Serbian possession on and off until 1499 when the entire region was overrun by the Turks. In the 1600s the Montenegrins rebelled against the Turks and as the Ottoman Empire slowly shrank, Montenegro gained its freedom until around 1800 when the Austrians took over. In 1878 Montenegro again gained independence and worked well with their neighbors, including the Turks to keep the peace.

In 1912 and 1913 the Balkan Wars broke out to finally end Ottoman Turkish domination over the Balkan Peninsula. The first of these wars united Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece against the Turks, which ended with a Turkish defeat. War however broke out the following year with the new Turkish government, and again the Balkan countries won this war to finally end Turkish dominance in the region.

At the outbreak of World War I Montenegro sided with Serbia against the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and after the war Montenegro continued to side with Serbia as one country. In 1922 this union grew as it added Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, and numerous other territories to form Yugoslavia.

After Yugoslavia fell apart in 1992, Montenegro decided to remain tied to Serbia as one country, although opinions throughout the nation were divided. As neighboring Croatia separated itself from Yugoslavia, Montenegro joined Serbia to fight this, while also trying to expand their borders.

Following the war, opinions for independence were again divided until 2006 when the people of Montenegro decided to seek independence and Serbia immediately recognized this act. Despite this friendly division, tensions have not always been perfect and with each year Montenegro seems to lean more to the European Union (EU) and away from Serbia.

This page was last updated: March, 2013