Independence Day in Montenegro Date in the current year: May 21, 2024

Independence Day in Montenegro Montenegro is one of the youngest independent countries in the world. It declared its independence from the State Union on the basis of an independence referendum that took place in 2006. The anniversary of the referendum, May 21, its celebrated as Montenegro Independence Day.

During the Early Middle Ages, the territory of present-day Montenegro comprised three Serb principalities: Duklja, Travunia, and Rascia. The name Montenegro (“Black Mountain”) started being used for the country during the rule of the House of Crnojević in the 15th century. In 1496, Montenegro was occupied and annexed by the Ottoman Empire.

In the 16th century, Montenegrin clans were granted freedom of certain restrictions imposed on other parts of the Ottoman Empire. Despite their autonomy, the Montenegrins raised a number of rebellions against the Ottoman rule throughout the 17th century. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Great Turkish war, Montenegro gained de facto independence, although parts of its territory were controlled by the Republic of Venice and its successors, the First French Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1878, the independence of Montenegro was de jure recognized by the Treaty of Berlin. It became a kingdom in 1910. During World War I, the Kingdom of Montenegro joined the Allied Powers and was occupied by Austro-Hungary for two years.

Following the war, the Kingdom of Montenegro united with the Kingdom of Serbia. Several days later, they merged with the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed “Kingdom of Yugoslavia” in 1929).

During the Second World War, Fascist Italy occupied the territory of Montenegro and established the Italian government of Montenegro. Following the surrender of Italy in 1943, Montenegro was occupied by Germany. In 1944, Yugoslav partisans liberated Montenegro and the rest of Yugoslavia. After the war, Montenegro became a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992, Serbia and Montenegro together established a federation named the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Despite its name, the new state wasn’t recognized as the sole legal successor to Yugoslavia. In 2003, its name was changed to “The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro”, commonly known as Serbia and Montenegro.

On May 21, 2006, an independence referendum was held in Montenegro. About 55.5% of voters supported independence. The results of the referendum were officially confirmed on May 31, and the independence of Montenegro was formally proclaimed in on June 3. However, it is the anniversary of the referendum that is celebrated as the country’s independence day.

Independence Day is one of Montenegro’s two national holidays. The other is Statehood Day celebrated on July 13. It commemorates the day in 1878 when the Congress of Berlin recognized Montenegro, Romania and Serbia as completely independent states.

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