Bokelj Croats

Croats are a people who, apart from within the borders of the Republic of Croatia, also live in other countries as a national minority. The Croats of Bokelj are a Croatian national minority living in Montenegro in the area of ​​Boka Kotor, after which they got their name. Boka Kotorska is an area located along the border with Croatia, and consists of several bays (Herzegovina, Tivat, Kotor...). The first inhabitants of Boka Kotor were Illyrians, and later this area was conquered by the Romans. After the great migration of people, the Slavs settled on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, including in Boka Kotor. Throughout history, this area was under the administration of Nemanjić, Turks, Venice and other European powers, and from 1814 until the end of the First World War, Boka was under Austrian administration as part of the Kingdom of Dalmatia . It was not until 1929 that Boka was annexed to the Zeta Banovina, which meant its separation from Croatia and annexation to Montenegro after the Second World War.

During the entire diverse and rich history of Boka Kotorska, Croats were its inhabitants all the time. Ever since Boka was separated from Croatia, the Croats who lived there became a national minority that has remained there to this day, but is shrinking more and more. In 2011, Croats made up about 1% of the total population of Montenegro, which is about 6,000 people, and most of them live in the area of ​​Boka Kotor, mostly in the municipalities of Kotor and Tivat . Croats in Montenegro have their own national council , join associations such as "Dux Croatorum" , publish magazines and broadcast a radio station in the Croatian language, and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia has ensured the holding of Croatian language and culture classes in Kotor and Tivat. since 2004. Boka Kotorska is nicknamed the "Gulf of Croatian Saints" , and the most famous of them is St. Tripun , the patron saint of Kotor whose cathedral dates back to 1116. One of the most famous Croats from Boka Kotor was Croatian film, television and theater actor Predrag Vušović , who was born in Kotor in 1960.

Read more: Croat minority in Montenegro