Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Numerous historical documents confirm that Montenegrins have felt that they have Serbian ethnic identity; on Internet, these are mostly collected at njegos.org. As examples:
- During Petar I Petrovic Njegos's rule, basic textbook in state schools was called "The Serb elementary reading book"; new edition was published during Petar II Petrovic Njegos's rule too.
- During reign of Danilo Petrovic Njegos , the pupils had classes of Serb Grammar; Montenegrin History; and Serb History.
- Program of geography in Theological-techers school consisted of "studying the Serb lands independent, subjugated and occupied as well as main cities, places and villages in entire Serbdom".
- The geography textbook for 3rd grade of elementary school, in 1911, said:
- In Montenegro live only true and pure Serbs who speak Serbian language... Besides Montenegro there are more Serb lands in which our Serb brothers are living... Some of them are free as we are and some subjugated to foreigner.
- Numerous school certificates, passports and similar documents preserved mark the bearer's nationality as "Serbian" (despite of the faith)
- The 1909 census, undertaken by the Principality of Montenegro, recorded that Serbs were 95% of the population.
The origins of Montenegrin national independence are traced to the distinct state that the people of Montenegro enjoyed during the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans. Montenegro was an completely independent principality for several centuries (not in the Ottoman domain, like Serbia).
The 19th century national romanticism among the South Slavs caused an increasing unification between these peoples, most so between the Montenegrins and the Serbians, which became increasingly considered as two parts of a single Serbian nation.
Both Montenegro and Serbia remained separate until 1918, when both kingdoms became part of the newly-forged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia. The royal Yugoslav government made the national unification of the Montenegrins and the Serbians into a policy, although this unconditional merger — or forceful annexation — under the crown of the Serbian dynasty, was seen by some of the Montenegrins as an imposition, given that Montenegro was denied an equal status in the new Yugoslav kingdom. A number of Montenegrins rose up in arms in 1919 in a struggle better known as the Christmas Rebellion.
Several world leaders recognized that the Serbian rule over Montenegro was an imposition, including the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. When delivering his Fourteen Points for peace on January 8, 1918 in the U.S. Congress, which the Great Powers later ratified, Wilson also commented:
- "Romania, Serbia and Montenegro must be restored. Relations between the Balkan states must be settled in a friendly way, along paths which have been historically decreed to them. To these different states will be given international guarantees, which will secure political and economical independence, as also the whole integrity of their territory."
Western newspapers also reported of the brutal occupation by Serb forces.
The Communist Party of Yugoslavia opposed the Yugoslav monarchy and its unification/annexation policy, and supported Montenegrin independence due to their state tradition and the undemocratic imposition of Serbian rule over Montenegro. Simmering discontent in Montenegro was akin to the rising dissatisfaction in Croatia and Slovenia with the autocratic rule from Belgrade. This caused the Communist Party to gain much popularity, despite the fact that the Montenegrin state tradition came to existence after the joint states of the medieval Serbs had existed for a long time.
When the second Yugoslavia was formed in 1945, the Communists who led the Partisans during the war became the new régime. They recognized, sanctioned and fostered a national identity of Montenegrins, i.e. as a people distinct from the Serbs. The number of people who were registered as Montenegrins in Montenegro was at 90% in 1948, but it has been dropping since, to 62% in 1991, and to 40% in 2003. For a detailed overview of these trends, see Demographic history of Montenegro.
After the fall of Communism, the idea has been taken over by independence-minded Montenegrins and opposed by the pro-Belgrade Serbs in Montenegro. Since the mid-1990s and a de facto defeat of Serbian nationalist ideas in the Yugoslav wars, the Montenegrins elected a new leadership that distanced itself from authoritarian policies of the Serbian president Slobodan Milošević. At the same time, Milošević remained a figure of inspiration for many of the pro-Serb parties in Montenegro, which continued as a strong political force. Montenegro has since been rather polarized over this issue.
The population of Montenegro is presently roughly divided on ethnic and political issues between the group composed of the Montenegrins by nationality, the Montenegro Muslims and the Montenegro Catholics; and the group composed of the Montenegro Serbs. The former group forms a slim majority over the latter and has repeatedly won national elections.
The Muslim and Catholic minorities support the idea of Montenegrin nationality likely due to their own efforts of self-determination, their experience with the autocratic policies of Belgrade, and because their links to the Orthodox Serbs are weak.
Various notable people in Montenegro support Montenegrin independence and by extension don't consider Montenegrins to be Serbs. Noted supporters include Montenegro's President Filip Vujanović, Prime Minister Milo Đukanović, the Speaker of Montenegro's Parliament Ranko Krivokapić . Of the minorities, these include the historical scientist Šerbo Rastoder (a Slavic Muslim from Berane declared as a Bosniak), a Roman Catholic priest don Branko Sbutega (from Kotor, declared as a Croat), journalist Esad Kočan (a Slavic Muslim).
A number of Montenegrins live in outside of Montenegro, primarily in Serbia, and still maintain Montenegrin lore, family ties and tribal affiliation. They remain nominally Montenegrins by these standards, yet at censa they declare themselves mostly as Serbs. Some have risen to high cultural, economic and political positions and are widely known as Serbs while few know that they are Montenegrins; for example, even Slobodan Milošević is a Montenegrin, the first generation of his family to be born in Serbia. Meanwhile, his brother, the ambassador Borislav Milošević , declares himself a Montenegrin. Radovan Karadžić, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serbs, is another Montenegrin widely known as a Serb.
- Njegos.org Culture and History of Montenegro (a site supporting the pro-Serbian view)
- Montenegro.org History of Montenegro
- The Njegos Network: Montenegro News & Studies
- The Montenegrin Association of America: Links to Geography, History, Religion, Literature, language, Culture, Music, Politics, etc...
- Montenegro by the National Geographic Society (November 1908)
- How the Montenegrin State and Kingdom Was Abolished in 1918
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details