The Illyrians are known to have inhabited the area of Montenegro before it was occupied by Slavonic peoples. In between, the people of this area were subject to Roman occupation between the 2nd Century B.C. and the 5th Century A.D. After that there were invasions by the Goths and then the Avars in the 5th and 6th Centuries A.D.
Once the Slavs arrived the area became more settled and by the 9th Century A.D. the Dukedom of Doclea or Duklja was established. By the 900s a number of Kingdoms had started to spring up in the wider region and the inevitable ebbs and flows of invasions and retractions took place.
By the 10th Century Venice was starting to become a major regional power and inevitably they traded with and dominated the area. The area along the modern day Montenegrin coastline was pretty much controlled by the Venetians from around 1420 until the late 1700s. Inland it was a different story; the Ottomans had control of much of the inland territory from the late 1400s until 1700.
In 1699 the Montenegrins used the War of the Holy League to try and break away from the Ottomans, but it was only in 1878 that the Montenegrins defeated the Ottomans and were left to rule themselves.
It was Nikola I who stabilised the new state, doubled its territory and in 1905 introduced the country’s first constitution.
Early in the First World War the Montenegrins sided with the Serbians against the Germans and Austro-Hungarians. They suffered from invasion and siege and were only liberated late in the war by the Allies. Nikola I was accused of seeking a peace with the enemy and was deposed and the Great National Assembly of the Serb People in Montenegro decided that Montenegro should join the Kingdom of Serbia in 1918. This was not received well by everyone and led to the Christmas Uprising against the government. The rebellion was put down but remnants fought a guerrilla war against government forces until the late 1920s.
In 1918, therefore, Montenegro became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which embraced six nations and in 1929 the Kingdom was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
At the start of the Second World War the Italians invaded and the general chaos involved people fighting a civil war, those who supported the Axis powers and those who supported the Allies. After the war, in 1945, Montenegro became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) which was led by Marshall Josip Broz Tito until his death in 1980.
Montenegro remained part of Yugoslavia until 1992 when it started to break up. The vacuum was filled with a multi-party political system and the Communist party changed its name to the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS).
In 1990 in the first elections in the new state the Communists took 83 of the 125 seats in the Parliament. In April 1992 in a referendum the people of Montenegro opted to stay with Serbia in a loose union. In 2006 a further referendum was held and this time a narrow majority of 55.5% of the voters decided to declare independence. A new constitution was agreed and ratified in 2007.
After their name change the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS) went on to win all seven general elections to the present day (1992, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2009) in one guise or another, although there have been a couple of occasions when they have had to share power.
The President is elected by direct vote for a five year term.
The unicameral Parliament of Montenegro has 81 seats with members elected for a four year term.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Montenegro at joint 64th out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 45 (where 100 is least corrupt).