Montenegro – A Brief History


Today Montenegro is known for beautiful beaches, coastal towns along the Adriatic, an amazing summer holiday destination, medieval villages and majestic mountains.

It sits nestled between bordering countries; Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.

Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia from 1918 until 2003 and finally an independent country in 2006.



Before WWI, Montenegro was part of a small independent kingdom with close ties to Serbia. In 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia and Montenegro soon joined Serbia in the fight. Montenegro sided with the Triple Entente, in line with King Nicholas’ pro-Serbian policy.

In 1916 the Austro-Hungarian army overpowered Montenegro and Austria-Hungary occupied Montenegro from January 1916 to October of 1918.



Following WWI Montenegro became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. This later became known as Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. And again in 1945, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro each become a republic in the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito.


Dissolution of Yugoslavia

In 1991 Montenegro supported the union with Serbia after Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia declared independence. At the same time Milo Djukanovic became the Prime Minister of Montenegro.

One year later both Montenegro and Serbia joined the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after all out republics had declared independence.


Milo Djukanovic

Milo Djukanovic went on to become President in 1997, beating a pro-Milosevic candidate in the presidential election. He publicly separated Montenegro from the conflict that was occurring between Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, that was attracting international attention and eventually stopped by NATO bombing.

As Milosevic was ousted in Serbia in 2000, Montenegro was increasingly looking towards independence.

By 2002 they had adopted the Euro as their currency and, under EU mediation, officially changed their name to Serbia and Montenegro, instead of Yugoslavia. The government was divided on the new union and Djukanovic gave up the presidency to become the coalition prime minister in a bid for independence.



The independence referendum was held on 21st May 2006 and a few days later on 3rd June, they declared their independence.

Montenegro emerged as a sovereign state in 2006 following a referendum in which 55% of the population voted for independence. That marked the end of the union of Serbia and Montenegro that was created in 2003 with the remnants of the former Yugoslavia and lasted only 3 years.

Serbia responded by declaring itself the independent sovereign successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro.

In 2008 Montenegro formally recognised Kosovo’s self-declared independence in a move that upset Serbia, as the Montenegrin Ambassador was expelled from Belgrade, but appeared to please the EU.

In 2013 the European Parliament announced that Montenegro is on the right track to achieve EU membership and in 2017 they joined NATO.

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