“Our sad nation”, as Naiad used to say, sad because for centuries we have lived in a community resembling a military camp. No one had the time to dedicate themselves to building institutions, war was an everyday occurrence. Every day was a fight for survival. Constant casualties, destruction, exile.
That lack of continuity of the institutions is still being felt today, and will be felt for a long time.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit Dalmatia, to see the less touristy places that aren’t by the sea. On my way through Imotski, on the cemetery, I came across a memorial. It said, “Here rest the ancestors of the glorious Jovan Sundečić, secretary of the last king of Montenegro”. In the numerous displacements that occurred due to the Cretan and Morean Wars, as well as other conflicts, they left the Nikšić parish and made their way to Imotski and settled with many more Montenegrin families who had to flee themselves. They then named a whole area “Crnogorci” (Montenegrins), this is how one of the two ethnonyms came to be, of course there are many more montenegrin toponyms across the world, from Alaska to Chaco and the Land of Fire, all along the Adriatic coastline as well as other places.
Today many people from Montenegro pass through the Republic of Croatia on their way to western Europe without knowing that near Vegorac and Zagvozde is a place with a unique ethnonym just like La Montenegrina in Argentina (those are the only two), nor are they aware that in that area, in Krvodol to be precise exists the Monastery Crnogorci (Montenegrins) dedicated to St. Vasilije Ostroški. It was reconstructed in 2001 by locals of Montenegrin descent.
Text and photos: Gordan Stojović