A map of Montenegro Montenegro is one of Europe’s newest countries: it became independent again in 2006 when its people voted for it to become separate from Serbia. It was previously independent in 1878–1918; between 1918 and 1992 it was a state within a bigger country called Yugoslavia. Much of Montenegro is craggy and mountainous. The highest peaks rise close to the Serbian and Albanian borders. Around half of the country is covered by thick forests; some are ancient forests where the trees have been left undisturbed for 500 years or more. Along the coast is a narrow plain with a hot, sunny Mediterranean climate. Inland, the high altitude means that, while the summers are warm, the winters are bitterly cold.
Most of the country’s people are Montenegrins, descended from Slavic peoples who settled the region in the 6th century. The others are mainly Serbs, Bosniaks and Albanians. The languages spoken by Montenegrins, Serbs and Bosniaks are very closely related—they can all understand one another easily. For much of their history, there have been tensions between ethnic Montenegrins and Serbs. These surfaced once again in the 1990s when Montenegro began its push for independence from Serbia.
Montenegro’s president, Milo Djukanovic, has been sworn in as president seven times.
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