MONTENEGRINS settled in Cleveland during three periods: the turn of the century (1890-1914), after World War II (1945-1922), and after the dissolution of Socialist Yugoslavia in 1992 (Montenegro became officially independent from the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro in 2006). Most Montenegrin immigrants who arrived in the first wave were uneducated peasants. Their economic condition was the lowest in southeastern Europe, with fighting between them and their MUSLIM neighbors ravaging the land, and blood feuds between clans often generating more hostility toward fellow Montenegrins than toward their enemy, the TURKS. Political dissatisfaction prompted still more emigration.
As ORTHODOX South Slavs, both the Montenegrins and the SERBS have been closely connected linguistically, culturally, spiritually, and historically. In Cleveland and other major urban centers in the U.S., most Montenegrins became absorbed into the larger Serbian community over time. Following World War II, a small number of Montenegrins immigrated to the U.S. Only a few settled in Cleveland, constituting the smallest South Slav immigrant community in the city. More recent immigrants (also small in numbers) arrived after the dissolution of Socialist Yugoslavia in 1992. The exact number of Montenegrins in Greater Cleveland is impossible to ascertain due to the fact that many identify as part of the larger Serbian community.
Updated by the ECH staff
Nicholas J. Zentos
Lorain County Community College
Cuyahoga Community College
Georgevich, Dragoslav. Serbian Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland (1977).
Works Project Admin. The People of Cleveland (1942).