The former Yugoslavian republic of Montenegro gets its name from the Medieval era, when the Republic of Venice once controlled that country’s coastal areas and Italianized the local language’s name of the land (“Crna Gora” – which translates into “Monte Negro”, or “black mountain” in Italian).
Of course, like other countries that face the Adriatic Sea (like Croatia), Montenegro’s history goes as far back as the Romans (when they started occupying it around 9 AD), later becoming part of the Byzantine Empire (when the country was known as Duklja). The Republic of Venice, interested in occupying coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas for commercial reasons (going as far as Cyprus), dominated Montenegro’s coastal areas (including the seafaring town of Kotor) from 1420 to 1797. Given the turmoil happening in the rest of the Balkans during the medieval period, the rest of Montenegro became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1496. By the demise of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century, the inland portions of Montenegro were already freed from Ottoman rule.
Throughout much of the 19th century, Montenegro, as an independent country, still endured occasional skirmishes with the Ottomans, and would see its sovereignty seized by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire during World War I. After that war, Montenegro ended up becoming part of the constitutional monarchy of the “Kingdom of Yugoslavia” (bringing it together with other Balkan republic, such as Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia). Montenegro endured more political turmoil in World War II, when it was occupied by Italian Axis forces (under its dictator Benito Mussolini – making Montenegro a puppet regime under the “Kingdom of Montenegro”, until it was liberated by Yugoslav partisans in 1944).
When that war ended in 1945, Montenegro became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito (composing not only of Montenegro, but Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia). When Socialist Yugoslavia was dissolved in the early 1990s, Montenegro remained part of the smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with Serbia. During the rest of the 1990s, Montenegro was occasionally caught up with fighting involving Serbia and nearby countries like Bosnia and Kosovo. By 2003, the country was renamed “Serbia and Montenegro” – reflecting the loose political union with the powers that be in Belgrade (the Serbian capital). In 2006, the local Montenegrin population vote for independence from its union with Serbia. Five years later (2011), the country restored the Royal House of Montenegro (in effect, enabling a limited parliamentary monarchy
The Yugoslav wars in the 1990s hurt Montenegro’s efforts to promote its tourism (including its picturesque coastal areas, and mountainous north region) in the past. However, in recent times, with such woes long forgotten, tourism has made a huge comeback — generating a growing portion of the country’s GDP (14.4% in 2013, according to World Travel & Tourism Council/WTTC). Montenegro’s most natural attraction is its 293 km. long coast along the Adriatic Sea – with destinations like the historic port city of Kotor and beach resorts like Budva lending a Mediterranean flair to this Balkan state. In addition, these coastal destinations (such as Kodor – which was once a Venetian outpost) have a number of tourist-worthy historical sites.