New Nations

In the 20th century, due to political reasons, several national groups rejected their Serbian origins. Thus today on the Balkans we have: the Macedonians, the Bosnians and the Montenegrins. Conditions for their secession were created in the post-war socialist Yugoslavia, whose ideological and political goal was to weaken the Serbian national power.


Besides Croatian language, by establishing new nations, Serbian language got its new versions: Bosnian and Montenegrin languages. However, there are no actual differences between them. Their names are primarily for political and not linguistic reasons.


The Serbs considered themselves a nation of “three laws” or “three religions”:  the Orthodox, the Roman Catholic and the Muslim. The people living in the ancient Dubrovnik were of Serbian nationality but Roman Catholics by religious affiliation. In the centuries under the Ottomans, quite a substantial number of people converted to Islam. Later on, their religious conflicts led to complete alienation. Religious separation was the first principle of modern day separation of the Serbian national body.


In 1971, the Muslim were recognised as a separate nation in socialist Yugoslavia.  Until then, the people of Muslim religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Rаška region declared to be the Yugoslavs, or either the Serbs or the Croats, whereas a “Muslim” used to be solely a religious affiliation. When in 1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina became an independent country, the majority of Muslims adopted a name for themselves, the Bosnians (Bоšnjаci). And their Serbo-Croatian language, adopting some words from the Arabic and Turkish, was named   Bosnian.

The Macedonians are the people whose independence was least disputed due to their separate Macedonian language, which as a literary one, quite different from Serbian, got its official form only in 1945. It was one of the three official languages in socialist Yugoslavia, and the Macedonians, for the first time, became a constitutive people. Prior to that, the “Macedonian Question” denoted disputes among the neighbouring countries, which the Serbs, the Bulgarians and the Greeks had about the national affiliation of the people living in the Macedonian region Vardar basin after the liberation from the Turks. In 1991, after a referendum, Macedonia became an independent country, as the only one to secede from Yugoslavia without any armed conflicts. However, Greece opposed the international recognition of Macedonia under that particular name, as it denotes a much broader area, the territory of one of the Greek states, which in its greater part still belongs to Greece.

The Montenegrins are the people whose national identity poses most problems.  Almost half of the population consider themselves as Serbs. A concept that the Montenegrins are a separate nation came about after the WWII, as a way to weaken the Serbian national body. Then, a great number of the Montenegrin population adopted their separate national identity, only to return to their Serbian origins some time later. In 2006, Montenegro proclaimed its independence after the referendum yielded rather tight results, and an official language became Montenegrin.