This place of almost unequalled beauty used to be the smallest of the constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia. It borders on Serbia in the north/east, Abania to the south, and Bosnia-Herzegovina to the north/west. There is a long coastline, one of its chief contributions to aesthetic pleasure, lying on the Adriatic.
The south/western part of Montenegro is a soft stone plateau, and the eastern part encourages agriculture and forestry. Here sheep/goat-raising forms an essential part of the agricultural scene.
Montenegro was the only Slavic nation not to be part of the Ottoman Empire. Instead, it engaged in the Balkan Wars at the turn of the twentieth century under Petrovic Njegos and managed to extend territory. But Nicholas Petrovic Njegos was deposed after the First War in 1918, and Montenegro became nothing more than a province of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. It was a very big country indeed, the scene of bitter and finally useless fighting in World War II between frustrated Allies and the Germans, and then found itself most unwillingly ruled by the communist Marshal Tito in 1946.
These simple words in black and white cannot begin to describe the horrors of these second Balkan Wars, or the dreadful, unthinking manoevres exercised by the Allies in the 1940s – badly managed, with no knowledge of history, no foresight, and a fear of the Soviet Union that led to most of Eastern and Central Europe existing under the yoke.
However, a strong spirit of independence remained in Montenegro despite the victory of the Communist Party in the first multi-party elections of December, 1990. Then came the Yugoslavian disintegration (there can be no other word) and Montenegro associated itself with Serbia, its neighbour, a decision confirmed by a referendum in 1992.
In that same year Serbia and Montenegro unilaterally declared themselves a separate nation, with the grand title of The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This was not approved by many countries, for reasons of their own. Meanwhile the Serbian part of the Federation was engaged in a civil war of great bloodiness with Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992 – 95).
Friction between Montenegro and most other Balkan nations led to its total independence declared in 2006. The capital Podgorica and its grand Hotel Splendid were used in many scenes for the film Casino Royale.
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