Online Encyclopedia

MONTENEGRO

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 769 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
MONTENEGRO, a country of south-eastern Europe, forming an independent kingdom situated upon the western side of the Balkan Peninsula, and possessing a small coast-line on the Adriatic Sea. The name is the Venetian variant of the Italian Monte Nero, and together with the Albanian Mal Esiya, the Turkish Kara-dagh, and the Greek Mavro Vouno, reproduces the native, or Serb, Tzrndgora, " the Black Mountain "; it is derived from the dark appearance of Mount Lovchen, the culminating summit of Montenegro proper, of which the northern and eastern declivities, those which are viewed from the country itself, are in shadow for the greater part of the day.' The dusky pine forests, which once clothed the mountain and of which remnants exist on its northern slope, contributed to its sombre aspect. Up to the end of the 15th century, when its territory became restricted to the mountainous districts immediately north and east of Mount Lovchen, the kingdom was known as the Zenta or Zeta, but the name Tzrnagora was probably used locally in this region from the time of the earliest Slavonic settlements. Montenegro extends between 41° 55' and 430 21' N., and between 18° 30' and 2o° E.; its greatest length from north to south is about loo m.; its greatest breadth from east to west about 8o m. It is bounded by the Adriatic Area and y BoundaNes. on the S., the seaboard extending for 28 m.; by the Primore, a strip of the Dalmatian littoral, on the S.W. and W.; by the Austrian (formerly Turkish) provinces Cf. the similarly-named Pzrna Planina in eastern Montenegro, Tcherni Vrkh, the culminating summit of Mount Vitosh in Bulgaria, and Mavro Vouno in the island of Salamis. Various other explanations of the name Montenegro, mostly of a fanciful character, have been put forward: see Kurt Hassert, " Der Name Montenegro " in Globus, No. 67, pp. 111-113 (Leipzig, 1895)., of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the N W. and N.; by the Ottoman empire both in the sanjak of Novibazar, on the N. and N.E., and also in the vilayets of Kossovo and Scutari on the N.E., E. and S.E. Its area, as officially estimated after the treaty of Berlin had been enforced in 188o, amounts to 3255 sq. m., or considerably less than half the size of Wales. The present frontier, which was not finally delimited till 1881, ascends the Boyana river from its mouth as far as Lake Sass (Shas), then follows the river Megured to the summit of Mount Bratovitza, reaching Lake Scutari at a spot opposite the island of Goritza Topal. Crossing the lake north-east to a point a little south-east of Plavnitza, and leaving the territory of the Hoti and Kiementi tribes to the south, and the districts of Kutchka Kraina to the north, it passes north of the districts of Plava and Gusinye and reaches the western end of the Mokra Planina, where it turns to the north-west. After crossing the Lim at its junction with the Skula, it coincides with the old frontier for some distance; then reaching the Tara at Maikovatz, it follows the course of that river to its junction with the Piva: turning southwards, it reaches the old frontier once more at Klobuk, and, passing between the district of Grahovo and the Krivoshian Mountains, approaches to within a few miles of the Bocche di Cattaro: then, following the maritime mountain ridges for a considerable distance, it rejoins the coast a little south of Spizza. Physical Features.—Montenegro, which forms the meeting-point of the Dalmatian, Bosnian and Albanian ranges, seems at first a mere chaos of mountains. It is, however, naturally divided into three parts, each with its own character. (1) Fertile and well-watered plains, not unlike those of Lombardy, border the river Zeta, and after its junction with the Moratcha extend along the course of that river to Lake Scutari. A fringe of similar lowland forms the maritime plain extending between the Sutorman range and the mouth of the Boyana. (2) Westward, under the shadow of Lovchen, is the Katunska, or " Shepherds' Huts," the cradle of Montenegrin liberty. This region presents a surface of hard crystal-line rock, bare and calcined, with strata sinking to the south-west at an angle often of 700. The rocks have been split by atmospheric agencies into huge prismatic blocks, and the cracks have been gradually worn into fissures several fathoms deep. In some places the interior of the stony mass is hollowed out into galleries and caves, some of great length; during the rainy season subterranean landslips frequently produce local earthquakes, extending over an area of to or 12 m. The small basins of Cettigne and Niegush are practically the only cultivable districts in this region. (3) Over the entire north stretch the massive mountain chains which link the Herzegovinian Alps to those of Albania, the scenery recalling that of Switzerland or the Tirol. In the north-west there are finely wooded tracts extending north of Nikshitch to the Dormitor mountain group. The Dormitor district contains rich grassy uplands dotted with numerous small lakes, from which it derives its name of Yezera (the lakes) ; the rivers Tara and Piva flow through magnificent gorges clothed with rich forests, and unite near the extreme north of the frontier. On the north-east are the high but rounded Brda Mountains, covered with virgin forest or Alpine pastures, and broken here and there by jagged dolomitic peaks. In the district of the Vasoyevitchi, which surrounds the little town of Andriyevitza, is the fine double peak of Kom, and, a little to the south-west, the summit of Maglitch, commanding a magnificent view over the woody d valley of Gusinye to the great Prokletia range in Albanian. The contrast between the rich undulating landscape of the northern regions and the sterile calcined rocks of Montenegro proper is very remarkable. The Montenegrin mountain system is divided into four masses: (1) the group enclosed by the Tara and Piva rivers with Dormitor, one of the highest mountains in the peninsula (9146 ft.), Yablo- Mountain nov Vrkh (7113 ft.), and the Vrkhove Pochoratz (66ot System andit.); (2) the group between the Zeta and the Moratcha Geological with Ostri-Kuk (7546 ft.), Vlasulya (7533 ft.), Brnik Formation. (686o ft.) and Maganik (6621 ft.) ; (3) the ranges between the Moratcha and Tara with Sto (7323 ft.) and Gradishte (7156 ft.) ; and (4) those between the upper Tara and the upper Lim with Kom, the second highest mountain in the country (Kom Kutchki, 8032 ft., Kom Vasoyevitchki, 7946 ft.), separating the districts of the Vasoye- vitchi on the north-east from that of the Kutchi on the south-west, and Visi tor (6936 ft.) on the frontier. In Montenegro proper the only prominent summit is Lovchen (5653 ft.), between Cettigne and the western frontier. Between Lake Scutari and the sea is the Sutorman range with the fine pyramidal summit of Rumiya (5148 ft.) 1 This mountain must be distinguished from the higher Maglitch (7699 ft.), on the northern frontier, near the junction of the rivers Tara and Piva.overhanging Antivari. The prevailing formations of the north and east are Palaeozoic sandstones and schists, with underlying trap Throughout Montenegro the following have been identified- (I) Palaeozoic schists, (2) Wirfen strata of Lower Trias, (3) Trap of the Palaeozoic and Wirfen strata, (4) Triassic limestone, (5) Jurassic limestone, (6) Cretaceous limestone, (7) Flysch, in part certainly Eocene, (8) Neogenic or younger Tertiary formations. The watershed-between the Adriatic and the Black Sea crosses the country from west to east in a very irregular line, the southern districts being drained by the Zeta-Moratcha river system, which finds its way to the Adriatic by Lake Rivers and Scutari and the Boyana, while the streams from the Lakes. northern districts form the headwaters of the Drina, which reaches the Danube by way of the Save. The Zeta, rising in Lake Slano, near Nikshitch, is remarkable for its subterranean passage beneath a mountain range 1000 ft. high. At Ponor, not far from that town, the water vanishes in a deep chasm, reappearing at a distance of several miles on the other side of the mountains. Its whole course to its junction with the Moratcha is about 30 M. Rising in the Yavorye Planina, the Moratcha sweeps through mountain gorges till it reaches the plain of Podgoritza; then for a space it almost disappears among the pebbles and other alluvial deposits, nor does it again show a current of any considerable volume till it approaches Lake Scutari. In the neighbourhood of Dukle2and Leskopolye it flows through a precipitous ravine from 5o to loo ft. high. In the dry season it is navigable from the lake to Zhabliak. The whole course is about 6o m. Of the left-hand tributaries of the Moratcha the Sem or Tzem deserves to be mentioned for the magnificent canon through which it flows between Most Tamarui and Dinosha. On the one side rise the mountains of the Kutchi territory on the other the immense flanks of the Prokletia range—the walls of the gorge varying from 2000 to 4000 ft. of vertical height. Lower down the stream the rocky banks approach so close that it is possible to leap across without trouble. The Sem rises in northern Albania, and has a length of 70 M. The Rieka issues full-formed from an immense cave south-east of Cettigne and falls into Lake Scutari. The three tributaries of the Drina which belong in part to Montenegro are the Piva, the Tara, and the Lim, respectively 55, 95 and 140 m. in length. The Tara forms the northern boundary of the kingdom for more than 50 m., but the Lim flows beyond the border after the first 30 M. of its course. The western half of Lake Scutari, or Skodra, belongs to Montenegro; 2 Duklea is the name still borne by the ruins of the Roman Doclea, often, but wrongly, written Dioclea, from its association with the Emperor Diocletian. the eastern, with Scutari itself, to Albania. It is a magnificent sheet of water, measuring about 135 sq. m., with an average depth of two to three fathoms. The northern end is studded with picturesque islands. The level of Lake Scutari underwent several changes in the 19th century; notably when the Drin, an Albanian river, which before 183o entered the Adriatic near San Giovanni di Medua, changed its course so as to join the Boyana just below its exit from the lake. This raised the level of the lake, flooding the lower valleys of its tributary streams and permanently enlarging its area. A few small lakes are scattered among the mountains, and it is evident that their number was formerly much greater. Montenegro proper (i.e. the departments of Katunska, Rietchka and Lieshanska) is almost absolutely waterless, the only stream being the Rieka, which probably drains the Cettigne basin by an underground outlet. Its lower course is practically an inlet from Lake Scutari, and is navigable up to the town of Rieka. The upland plain of Cettigne, now water-less, was doubtless the bed of a lake at no very distant (geological) period; it is still sometimes flooded after heavy rains. The scarcity of water largely contributed to the successful defence of the country against Turkish invasion : the few springs are hidden in deep crannies among the rocks, and the inhabitants are accustomed to preserve melted snow for use during the summer. On the other hand, the Brdal and north-eastern districts are abundantly watered. The maritime district possesses two small streams. Climate.—The climate generally resembles that of northern Albania; it is severe in the higher regions, and comparatively mild in the valleys, while in the maritime districts of Antivari and Dulcigno it may be compared with that of central Italy. The mean annual temperature is about 58° F. Snow lies for most of the year on many heights, and in some of the darker gorges it is never thawed. The high basin of Cettigne (2093 ft.) is deeply covered with snow during the winter months, and the capital is sometimes almost inaccessible; in summer the days are hot, but the nights are cool and frequently chilly. The climate is generally healthy except in a few marshy districts. Flora and Fauna.—The Alpine vegetation of the summits gives way to pine forests in the sub-Alpine zone (about 6000 ft.) ; below these the beech, and then the oak, the walnut, the wild pear, and wild plum make their appearance; the fig-tree, the mulberry, and the vine grow in the middle Zeta and Moratcha valleys, the myrtle, orange, laurel and olive in the lower Moratcha region, and more abundantly in the Tzrmnitza and maritime districts. In the forest districts the beech is the prevailing tree up to a height of about 5000 ft. The chestnut forms little groves in the country between the sea and Lake Scutari but never ascends more than moo ft. Pomegranate bushes grow wild, and in many parts of the south cover the foot of the hills with dense thickets, the crimson blossoms of which are one of the special charms of the spring landscapes. The leavey of the sumach (Rhus cotinus), which flourishes in the warmer districts, are exported for use in dye-works; the Pyrethrum cinerariaefolium supplies material for the manufacture of insect-powder; the fruit of the wild plum (Corn'us mascula), as well as the grape, is employed for the production of raki or rakiya, a mild spirit, which is a favourite beverage with the people. Bears are still found in the higher forests; wolves, and especially foxes, over a much wider area. A few chamois still roam on the loftiest summits, the roebuck is not infrequent in the backwoods, the wild boar may be met with in the same district, and the hare is abundant wherever the ground is covered with herbage. There are one or two species of snakes in the country, including the poisonous Illyrian viper (Vipera ammodytes). Esculent frogs, tree frogs, the common tortoise, and various kinds of lizards are all common. Scorpions and numerous reptiles infest the arid rocks of the Katunska. The list of birds includes golden eagles and vultures, twelve species of falcons, several species of owls, nightingales, larks, buntings, hoopoes, partridges, herons, pelicans, ducks (ten species), nightjars, &c. Immense flocks of water-fowl haunt the upper reaches of Lake Scutari. The rivers abound with trout, tench, carp and eels; the trout of the Moratcha are especially fine. More important from an economic point of view is the scoranze (Leuciscus alburnus: Servian uklieva), a kind of sardine, which supplies an article of food and merchandise to a considerable portion of the population. The fish, which enter the Rieka inlet of Lake Scutari during the winter, are taken with nets during a few weeks in the spring, when the fishing season is inaugurated with a religious service; they are salted and exported in large quantities to Trieste and the Dalmatian coast. The annual take is valued at £4000. The sea-fisheries are of less value. As regards mineral resources, traces of iron, copper and coal are said to exist; there is a natural petroleum spring in the neighbourhood of Virbazar. Agriculture and Stock farming.—Except in the lowlands, which serve as the granary of Montenegro, furnishing wheat, maize, barley, rye; potatoes and capsicums, there is little tillage. Methods and implements are alike primitive. In the Katunska the peasants are glad to enclose the smallest spaces of the fertile red soil which is 1 The name Brda (literally " mountains ") signifies in ordinary speech the mountain-group east of the Zeta which was incorporated in the principality in 1796. It figures in the prince's title, but is not otherwise used in official documents.left after rain in the crevices of the rocks, and one may see harvests only a few yards square. The vineyards produce excellent grapes, but wine production, which might become an important industry, is at present limited to home consumption. Tobacco is largely cultivated, especially in the neighbourhood of Podgoritza; the annual produce amounts to 550,000 lb. Stock-raising is more largely carried on than agriculture. In the north droves of swine fatten on the mast of the beech woods; goats and large flocks of sheep, celebrated for their thick fleeces, thrive on the high pastures, and the lower slopes afford excellent grazing for larger stock. The native breed of cattle is small, but among other efforts made to improve it a stock-farm is maintained by Prince Nicholas near Nikshitch. The horses, as elsewhere in the Balkan Peninsula, are diminutive, wiry and intelligent. Bee-keeping is practised in the Kutchi districts, and mulberries are grown for silkworms. Commerce and Industries.—The exports, valued at £80,265 in 1906, include cattle (large and small), smoked and salted meat known as castradina, cheese, undressed hides, scoranze, sumach, pyrethrum, tobacco and wool. The imports, valued in the same year at £239,505, consist mainly of manufactured articles, such as iron utensils and weapons, soap, candles, &c., and colonial products. In 1904, when Montenegro renounced its commercial treaties, the old 8 % ad valorem duty levied on imports was in many cases raised to 25 %. This caused much discontent among the people, who had been growing steadily poorer since 1900; and many families emigrated. The exportation of cattle is greatly hindered by the high tariff imposed on the Austrian frontier, which is productive of much illicit trading. There are practically no manufactures: the men disdain industrial employment, while the women are occupied by household duties or work in the fields. A brewery and a cloth factory, however, exist at Nikshitch, a soda-water factory at Cettigne, and an olive-oil refinery at Antivari. The coarser cloth worn by the peasants is home-made; the finer kind worn by the wealthier class is imported. Communications.—The progress of trade and the development of the natural resources of the country must largely depend on improved means of communication. In this direction considerable progress has already been achieved. Montenegro possessed in 1907 228 M. of excellent carriage roads, admirably engineered and maintained. The remarkable zigzag road from Cattaro to Niegush and Cettigne was completed in 1881; it was afterwards prolonged to Rieka, Podgoritza, Danilovgrad (where a fine bridge across the Zeta was erected in 1870), and Nikshitch. Another road connects Podgoritza with its port, Plavnitza, on Lake Scutari; a third runs from Antivari to Rieka, and unites the sea-coasts with the richest districts of the interior. The ports of Antivari and Dulcigno are insufficiently sheltered, but are capable of considerable improvement; both are places of call for the Austrian Lloyd steamers, and a regular service between Antivari and Bari on the Italian coast is maintained by the " Puglia " Steamship Company. The Boyana is navigable by sea-going vessels as far as Oboti (122 M. from its mouth), where cargoes from Scutari must be transferred to small river craft. Important harbour works were inaugurated in 1905 at Antivari by the Italo-Montenegrin Compagnia d'Antivari, which in the same year began the construction of a railway from that port to Virbazar on Lake Scutari. Four steamers belonging-to the same company ply on the lake. Postal and telegraphic communication is fairly complete. There were, in 1906, 16 post offices and 20 telegraph stations, with 412 miles of wire. The number of letters posted in that year was 91,250. The telegraph is much used by the people: the number of telegrams sent in 1906 was 54,750. Population.—In 1882 the population of Montenegro was estimated as low as 16o,000 by Schwartz. A more usual estimate is 230,000. According, however, to information officially furnished at Cettigne, the total number of inhabitants in ',goo was 311,564, of whom 293,527 belonged to the Orthodox Church; 12,493 were Moslems and 5544 were Roman Catholics; 71,528, or 23%, were literate and 240,036, or 77%, were illiterate. The total number in 1907 was officially given as 282,000. The population is densest in the fertile eastern districts; Montenegro proper is sparsely inhabited. Emigration is greatly increasing, especially to America; the number of emigrants is given as 6674 in 1905 and 4346 in 1906. The bulk of the inhabitants belongs to the Serbo-Croatian branch of the Slavonic race. There were about 5000 Albanians resident in the country in 'goo, besides a small colony of gipsies, numbering about Boo, a few of whom have abandoned their nomadic life and settled on the soil. The Moslems, whose thrift and industry have won encouragement from the Crown, greatly decreased for some years after 188o owing to emigration. The capital of Montenegro is Cettigne (3200 inhabitants in 1goo, 5138 in 1907). The chief commercial centres are Podgoritza (12,347) and Nikshitch (6872), with the ports of Antivari (2717) and Dulcigno (5166). These towns are described under separate headings. Danilovgrad (1226) on the Zeta was founded in 1871 by Prince Nicholas and named after his predecessor, Danilo II. In the vicinity is Orialuka, the prince's palace, with its mulberry nurseries. Spuzh (r000), a little lower on the east bank of the Zeta, possesses a fortified acropolis. Niegush or Nyegosh (1893), on the road from Cettigne to Cattaro, is the ancestral abode of the ruling family, which originally came from Niegush in Herzegovina. Zhabliak (1200), near Lake Scutari, was the capital until late in the 15th century. It was a Venetian stronghold. Rieka (1768), near the northern end of Lake Scutari, derives some commercial importance from its position. Grahovo (r000), in the extreme west, is famous for the Turkish defeats of 1851 and 1876. Other small towns are Kolashin, Virbazar and Andriyevitza. The Montenegrins present all the characteristics of a primitive race as yet but little affected by modern civilization. Society National is still in that early stage at which personal valour Character- is regarded as the highest virtue, and warlike prowess 'sties. constitutes the principal, if not the only, claim to pre-eminence. The chiefs are distinguished by the splendour of their arms and the richness of their costume; women occupy a subject position; the physically infirm often adopt the profession of minstrels and sing the exploits of their countrymen like the bards of the Homeric age. A race of warriors, the Montenegrins are brave, proud, chivalrous and patriotic; on the other hand, they are vain, lazy, cruel and revengeful. They possess the domestic virtues of sobriety, chastity and frugality, and are well-mannered, affable and hospitable, though somewhat contemptuous of strangers. They are endowed in no small degree with the high-flown poetic temperament of the Serb, race, and delight in interminable recitations of their martial deeds, which are sung to the strains of the glisla, a rudimentary one-stringed fiddle. Dancing is a favourite pastime. Two characteristic forms are the slow and stately ring-dance (kolo),1 in which women sometimes participate, though it is usually performed by a circle of men; and the livelier measure for both sexes (oro), in which the couples face one another, leaping high into the air, while each man encourages his partner by rapid revolver-firing. The oro is the traditional dance in the Katunska district. Women chant wild dirges, generally improvised, over the dead; mourners try to excel one another in demonstrations of grief; and funerals are celebrated by an orgy very like an Irish " wake." Like most imaginative peoples, the Montenegrins are extremely superstitious, and belief in the vampire, demons and fairies is almost universal. Among the mountains they can converse fluently at astonishing distances. The physical type contrasts with that of the northern Serbs: the features are more pronounced, the hair is darker, and the stature is greater. The men are tall, often exceeding 6 ft. in height, muscular, and wonder-fully active, displaying a cat-like elasticity of movement when scaling their native rocks; their bearing is soldier-like and manly, though somewhat theatrical. The women, though frequently beautiful in youth, age rapidly, and are short and stunted, though strong, owing to the drudgery imposed on them from childhood; they work in the fields, carry heavy burdens, and are generally treated as inferior beings. Like the Albanians, the Montenegrins take great pride in personal adornment. The men wear a red waistcoat, embroidered with gold or black braid, over which a long plaid is sometimes thrown in cold weather; a red girdle, in the folds of which pistols and yataghans are placed; loose dark-blue breeches and white stockings, which are generally covered with gaiters. The opanka, a raw-hide sandal, is worn instead of boots; patent leather long boots are sometimes worn by military officers and a few of the wealthier class. The head-dress is a small cap (kapa), black at the sides, in mourning for Kossovo; red at the top, it is said, in token of the blood shed then and afterwards. On the top near the side, five semicircular bars of gold braid, enclosing the king's initials, are supposed to represent the five centuries of Montenegrin liberty. There 1 The ring, dance, known as the kolo (literally, " wheel ") in all Serb countries, corresponds with the Bulgarian horo (to be distinguished from the Montenegrin oro), and is almost universal throughout the Balkan Peninsula; it is seldom, however, danced in the rocky Katunska district, where level spaces are rare.
End of Article: MONTENEGRO
[back]
MONTEMAYOR (or MONTEMOR), JORGE (1520?-156x)
[next]
MONTEPULCIANO

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.