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Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Montenegro

Ethnicity

Nearly half the population of Montenegro claims to be ethnically Montenegrin, while Serbs make up about a third of the country; there are also significant numbers of Bosniaks, Albanians, and Roma (gypsies). However, from an ethnic perspective the Montenegrins, Serbs, and Bosniaks are arguably identical. The different terms of how these people identify comes more in the way of religious affiliation and culture than ethnicity. This makes the country fairly homogenous genetically, but divided in terms of identity. Additionally, the Montenegrins, Serbs, and Bosniaks claim slight ethnic differences from one group to the next, which is likely true to some degree, so they see each other as different ethnic groups despite the close similarities. The Montenegrins and Serbs are southern Slavic people, the Albanians are quite distinct ethnically with no true close relations, and the Roma are more closely related to the people of India.

Language

Montenegrin is the official language of Montenegro, but Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin are essentially identical so nearly every person speaks the same language although it may be called any number of things (most commonly known as Serbo-Croatian in English). In addition to these languages, Montenegrin is also closely related to the other Southern Slavic languages, including Slovenian. Montenegrin is often times written in both the Latin script and Cyrillic script, but is moving more towards using the Latin script.

English is a growing second language in Montenegro and many young people speak at least some English. However, learning second languages in Montenegro is a relatively new idea and few people speak a second language, especially the country's adult population.

Religion

Most of Montenegro's population is Orthodox, although there is a significant Muslim minority. Most of the Muslims are ethnic Albanians or Bosniaks (Muslim Bosnians).

Orthodoxy is a Christian religion that claims to be the most loyal to the Christian faith and religion as it was described by Jesus and the Gospels in the New Testament. Christianity, including Orthodoxy, was founded after the death of Jesus in about 30-33 AD; various branches of Orthodoxy were officially recognized by governments long before Catholicism was recognized in the Roman Empire.

Orthodoxy and Catholicism have many of the same beliefs; both believe that there is a single God who created everything and a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins. However, Orthodoxy is decentralized so each bishop oversees their local country or region, giving each orthodox country a different leader. In this way, no bishop has more power than any other, meaning the tenants and interpretations of the faith remain relatively unchanged. These beliefs are based on the teachings of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, in particular the life and teachings of Jesus, which is found in the gospels (in the New Testament).

This page was last updated: May, 2014