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Montenegrins (Montenegrin: Crnogorci / Црногорци, pronounced [tsr̩nǒɡoːrtsi] or [tsr̩noɡǒːrtsi], lit. '"Black Mountain People"') are a South Slavic ethnic group native to Montenegro.

Flag of the Kingdom of Montenegro

He rule

He ruled as a bishop, but he also stood firm to see that Montenegro must be modernised. He built schools, roads, raised the Church, expanded the capital of Cetinje. After his death and funeral, he was succeeded by his nephew Prince Danilo Petrović who ruled as the first secular ruler, with the title of Knjaz. Since then, Knjaževina (Principality) of Montenegro was no longer a Prince-Bishopric, but a secular monarchy. This led to the opinion of the Turkish court that this change can lead to a major change in Montenegro, and a desire for "independence". In 1852, Omer-pasha sent a large army against the Montenegrins. A small Montenegrin army led by Prince Danilo's brother, Duke (Vojvoda) Mirko, defended 30 remaining fighters in the monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Ostrog for 9 days. This is taken as the greatest heroic force of the people in those areas. One year later, Omer-pasha again tried to conquer Montenegro, but with the great heroism of Vojvoda Mirko, the Montenegrins performed the greatest victory over the Ottomans in the new century, after which Montenegro gained essential autonomy, the highest degree to independence, and a few decades later, full independence. Prince Danilo dies in 1860, and Danilo's adoptive son came to the throne, biological son of Vojvoda Mirko, Nikola Petrović. He remained remembered in Montenegro as the greatest ruler, owing in large part to the fact that he was the first modern-day King of Montenegro and that it was under him that Montenegro's independence had been recognised. He is of great importance for the Montenegrin people in general, because he has fought against the Ottomans in the territory of Montenegro, Herzegovina, and Bosnia, and the people often called him "Emperor of the Heroes". Immediately after coming to power, a war for the liberation of the Montenegrin people in Herzegovina started in 1862, in which Principality of Montenegro entered, but later it turned out that she entered extremely unprepared and soon after that peace was made. After returning from Russia, the then emperor Alexander II enlightened him, and immediately upon his arrival he began to work hard for the urbanisation of the country. He revised the army completely, built many courts and schools, and Montenegro began to look like a European state. In 1876, with the Principality of Serbia and the Obrenović dynasty, he started a war, in history known as "War for the Liberation of the Serbian People".

A couple of years before the war, Prince Nikola Petrović with the Serbian prince Mihailo Obrenović made an alliance in Venice, where beside the military alliance, a contract was signed on the dynastic heritage of the new future unified joint state. It was said that the plan is for Serbia to go back to its historical borders (On the management of the Empire) from the Timok River to the Una peak. The Montenegrin federal unit would be an integral part of the new common state, and in it Petrović dynasty would have the title of the princes, while the Obrenović dynasty<

A couple of years before the war, Prince Nikola Petrović with the Serbian prince Mihailo Obrenović made an alliance in Venice, where beside the military alliance, a contract was signed on the dynastic heritage of the new future unified joint state. It was said that the plan is for Serbia to go back to its historical borders (On the management of the Empire) from the Timok River to the Una peak. The Montenegrin federal unit would be an integral part of the new common state, and in it Petrović dynasty would have the title of the princes, while the Obrenović dynasty would wear a royal crown. The Montenegrins performed great victories, and by the end of the war at the Berlin Congress in 1878, the Principality of Montenegro received recognized independence, and became an internationally recognized state. This act raised the then two Serbian states to the ranks of independence, and it meant encouragement for all Serbs to completely resist the Turkish occupation in all Serbian countries. After the war, Prince Nikola wrote all his famous works, and the most famous work is the folk anthem "Onamo' namo! ", According to many, the most beautiful Serbian song about Kosovo. In 1910, then Prince Nikola, with the permission of the great powers of the Kingdom of Serbia and King Peter, proclaimed another Serbian kingdom in the Balkans: the Kingdom of Montenegro. The flag of the new state has become a flagrant national flag (a Serbian tricolor with the coat of arms of Petrović-Njegos dynasty), while with the old flag, it is equally used in the people and the popular "crusader" flag of Montenegrins. Knjazevina (Principality) of Montenegro, with the address of Russia, announces the war on Japan. Naturally, the participation of Montenegrins in this war was more symbolic, as the gratitude of Montenegro to Russia for generous help. In the Balkan Wars, the Kingdom of Montenegro and the Kingdom of Serbia participated in the liberation battles in the old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohija, and Raška) and Macedonia. Thus, a common border was established between the two new-age "Serb" states, and the dream of King Nikola about the liberation of the "Serbian cradle" (Kosovo) was realised. At the beginning of the First World War, Montenegro immediately declared war on Austria-Hungary, after Serbia, but in 1916 it had to capitulate after all forces held a rally on the direction of Serbian withdrawal through Albania. After the passage of the Serbian government and the king, the crushed Montenegrin army sacrificed itself for the future of the Serbian state. King Nikola, already ill and in his late years, left his homeland. He went to France, where he died.

The Montenegrins maintained their de-facto independence from the Ottoman Empire during the Ottoman's reign over most of the Balkan region (Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, etc.). The Montenegrins were gathered around the Metropolitans of the Cetinje Metropolitanate, which led to further national awakening of the Montenegrins all around. The creation of a theocratic state and its advancement into a secular and independent country was even more evident in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

The rule of the House of Petrović in the 18th and 19th century unified the Montenegrins and established strong ties with Russia and later with Serbia (under Ottoman occupation), with occasional help from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That period was marked by numerous battles with Ottoman conquerors as well as by a firmer establishment of a self-governed principality.

In 1878, the Congress of Berlin recognised Montenegro as the 26th independent state in the world. Montenegro participated in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, as well as in World War I on the side of the Allies.

After the liberation of the Serbian and other Yugoslav (South Slavic) peoples, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was proclaimed, but the "Venetian Agreement" between the then Prince Nikola and Prince Mihailo Obrenović was breached. With the unification with the Kingdom of Serbia, Montenegro was to have autonomy under the prince's dynasty Petrović-Njegoš. Due to this act, the Montenegrin public was divided on two sides. The first, majority party, better known as Bjelaši ("The Whites"), advocated unconditional unification with the Serbian Kingdom under the Karađorđević dynasty, while Zelenaši ("The Greens"), in a minority, advocated a conditional union that would respect the Venice Treaty. In Podgorica on October 26, 1918, the Podgorica Assembly unanimously voted that Montenegro unconditionally unites with Serbia into Yugoslavia, without any autonomy. Due to this decision, the few Greens are persecuted, and their rebellion is suppressed in the coming years. In 1929, with the proclamation of the Zeta Banovina with its headquarters in Podgorica, the territory of the former Montenegro with eastern Herzegovina and Metohija gained autonomy in the form of banovina (province), and the ruler of the region became a ban, whom the king personally appoints. King Aleksandar Karađorđević ordered the construction of a chapel in Lovćen in 1925, and the remains of, as many would say, "the wisest Serb" Prince-Bishop Petar II Petrović Njegoš were transferred there in a grandiose ceremony. At the beginning of the Second World War, the army in the Zeta Banovina area made great success against the Italian occupation of the army, expelling the Italian army to Shkodra in Albania. After the breakup of the Yugoslav state, Montenegro gets a puppet government led by Sekula Drljević, who will be expelled from the country later.

Montenegro unconditionally joined Serbia on November 26, 1918 in a controversial decision of the Podgorica Assembly, and soon afterwards became a part of the Podgorica Assembly, and soon afterwards became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia. A number of Montenegrin chieftains, disappointed by the effective disappearance of Montenegro, which they perceived to have resulted from political manipulation, rose up in arms during January 1919 in an uprising known as the Christmas Rebellion, which was crushed in a severe, comprehensive military campaign by 1922–23. Annexation of the Kingdom of Montenegro on November 13, 1918 gained international recognition only at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris, held on July 13, 1922.[15] In 1929 the newly renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia was reorganised into provinces (banovine) one of which, Zeta Banovina, encompassed the old Kingdom of Montenegro and had Cetinje as its administrative centre.

Between the two world wars, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia opposed the Yugoslav monarchy and its unification policy, and supported Montenegrin autonomy, gaining considerable support in Montenegro. During World War II, many Montenegrins joined the Yugoslav partisan forces, although the portion joining the chetniks was also significant. One third of all officers in the partisan army were Montenegrins. They also gave a disproportionate number of highest-ranked party officials and generals. During WWII Italy occupied Montenegro (in 1941) and annexed to the Kingdom of Italy the area of Kotor, where there was a small Roman community (descendants from the populations of the renaissance-era Albania Veneta).

When the second Yugoslavia was formed in 1945, the Communists who led the Partisans during the war formed the new régime. They recognised, sanctioned, and fostered a national identity of Montenegrins as a people distinct from the Serbs and other South Slavs. The number of people who were registered as Montenegrins in Montenegro was 90% in 1948; it had been dropping since, to 62% in 1991. With the rise of Serbian nationalism in the late 80's the number of citizens who declared themselves Montenegrin dropped sharply from 61.7%, in the 1991 census, to 43.16% in 2003. For a detailed overview of these trends, see the Demographic history of Montenegro.

The Yugoslav state recognised Montenegrins as a separate nation, different from Serbs and other Slavs, and gave them their own statistical code at the 1948 population census, where about 90% of Montenegrin citizens declared themselves Montenegrin.

Initially, after the fall of Communism in the early 1990s, the idea of a distinct Montenegrin ethnic identity had been taken over by independence-minded Montenegrins. The ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) (rebranded Communist Party), led by Prime Minister Milo Đukanović and President Momir Bulatović, was firmly allied with Slobodan Milošević throughout this period and opposed such movements.

During the Bosnian War and Croatian War (1991–1995) Montenegro participated with its police and paramilitary forces in the attacks on Dubrovnik and Bosnian towns along with Serbian troops. It conducted persecutions against Bosniak refugees who were arrested by the Montenegrin police and transported to Serb camps in Foča, where they were executed.[16]

At the beginning of the Yugoslav crisis in the 1990s, the JNA army was trying to prevent the break up of Yugoslavia by military attacks. Part of the army from the then SR of Montenegro is attacking Herzegovina and Dubrovnik, and keeps Dubrovnik under siege for almost eight months. In this period, the Montenegrins have an old sense of national affiliation, and at a referendum almost 100% of the respondents who voted on the referendum declare that they want to stay in the new state the neighbourhood of Serbia and Montenegro, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the siege of Dubrovnik, the Serbian (Montenegrin) paramilitary formation invents the saying: "From Lovćen a fairy salutes, where are you Serbian Dubrovnik!" (Serbian: "Са Ловћена вила кличе, ђе си српски Дубровниче!"), which has been taken many times as a verse with a negative connotation, because of the city being besieged for so much time. After the abolition of communism and the creation of a new state, the federal unit of the Republic of Montenegro receives a new flag and the coat-of-arms, where the flag was a classic Montenegrin national flag (a Serbian tricolour with blue colour), while the coat of arms of the Coat of Arms is taken from the historical emblem of Petrović. Then, the great fighters for the joint FRY, Momir Bulatović and Milo Đukanović, together with Slobodan Milošević, rule the state union. The paths of Milo Đukanović and Momir Bulatović diverge before the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and Milo Đukanović begins to change attitudes drastically, starting first with the political attitudes and afterwards the national and religious. In 1997 a full-blown rift occurred within DPS, and Đukanović's faction won over Bulatović's, who formed a new Socialist People's Party of Montenegro (SNP). The DPS distanced itself from Milošević and gradually took over the independence idea from the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro and the SDP, and has won all elections since. In the fall of 1999, shortly after the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the Đukanović-led Montenegrin leadership came out with a platform for the re-definition of relations within the federation that called for more Montenegrin involvement in the areas of defence and foreign policy, though the platform fell short of pushing for independence. After Milošević's overthrow on October 5, 2000, Đukanović for the first time came out in support of full independence. Montenegro started increasingly moving away from Serbia, and in 2003, the Parliament of Montenegro sought amendments to the Constitution. With these amendments, and the Federal Unit of Montenegro was allowed to call a referendum on independence, which took place on 21 May 2006.

When the referendum was announced, independence was obtained by a narrow majority. However, the bar was set high in order to avoid any dispute after the vote, with the requirement for a 55% of votes in favour of independence. Since the proclamation of independence, the policy of making a new ethnic identity is even more intensified by

When the referendum was announced, independence was obtained by a narrow majority. However, the bar was set high in order to avoid any dispute after the vote, with the requirement for a 55% of votes in favour of independence. Since the proclamation of independence, the policy of making a new ethnic identity is even more intensified by official Montenegro, often used for political purposes, whereas the citizens still remain divided on the issue of ethnic identity.

Montenegrins speak Montenegrin, an Ijekavian variant of the Shtokavian dialect of the pluricentric Serbo-Croatian language. Neo-shtokavian Eastern-Herzegovinian sub-dialect is spoken in the North-West (largest city Nikšić), and old shtokavian Zeta sub-dialect is spoken in the rest of Montenegro, including capital Podgorica and the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje, and eastern Sanjak.

The Zeta dialect features additional sounds: a voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative (/ɕ/), voiced alveolo-palatal fricative *(/ʑ/, (occurring in other jekavian dialects as well) and a voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative (/ɕ/), voiced alveolo-palatal fricative *(/ʑ/, (occurring in other jekavian dialects as well) and a voiced alveolar affricate (dz, shared with other old-štokavian dialects). Both sub-dialects are characterised by highly specific accents (shared with other old-štokavian dialects) and several "hyper-ijekavisms" (i.e. nijesam, where the rest of shtokavian area uses nisam) and "hyper-iotations" (đevojka for djevojka, đeca for djeca etc.) (these features, especially the hyper-iotation, are more prominent in the Zeta sub-dialect), that are common in all Montenegrin vernaculars.

On the sociolinguistic level, the language has been classified as a dialect of Serbo-Croat. The Montenegrin constitution currently defines Montenegrin as the official language. Since the campaign for independence, a movement for recognition of the Montenegrin language as wholly separate from Serbian and other standard variants of Serbo-Croat (Bosnian, Croatian) has emerged, finding the basis for separate language identity mostly in the above-mentioned dialectal specifics. In the 2011 census, 42.88% of Montenegrin citizens stated that they speak the Serbian language, while 36.97% stated that they speak Montenegrin. Most of the young people under 18 in Montenegro, 39.23 percent, say they speak Montenegrin, while 37.47% call their mother tongue Serbian, as shown in the census held from 1 to 15 April 2011.[17]

Most Montenegrins are Serbian Orthodox, predominantly belonging to the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral of the Serbian Orthodox Church as well as its four other eparchies (dioceses) that are active in parts of Montenegro and neighbouring countries, namely the Eparchy of Budimlja and Nikšić, the Eparchy of Mileševa, and the Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. A minority are adherents of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is not canonically recognised by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

According to the census of 2011, people that declared Montenegrin as their ethnicity declared the following religious identity: