The locality of Ulcinj according to historical facts is thought to be the first settlement dated in prehistoric era. Many geological sites and archeological explorations conducted at the locality of the Ulcinj municipality indicate to the existence of the remains of a settlement from the bronze age. The remains of the tools from carved stone, various fragments of ceramics, the remains of dishes and baked clay and other, indicate the existance of an ancient settlement from the developed Bronze age, remains of which may be found at the locality known as Ceret.
From the scientific assumptions, a conclusion is drwn that the first settlement was placed at the Northwest of the Kruce Bay, at a small island named Stari Ulcinj (Old Ulcinj. On the eastern end of the island, which is 44 meters high, the remains of a thick wall which is 1,5 meters have been discovered, the length of which is 7 meters. it is thought that in an earthquake, among the many which have been in this area, the settlement completely sank under the water. the fery tale tells that this settlement was founded by seafarers called Kolhidians.
One period of Ulcinj’s history was closely connected to the Trakians. the remains of mogil, Ilyrian burial grounds, testify to the existence of an ancient Ilyrian settlement and the Ilyrian population, or the members of Olciniatas tribe. Mogil are most common at the Ceret locality which is found close to the salt pans. Judging by the archeological findings, historic Ulcinj was even then a developed community with a dominant military presence.
According to the mentions by Tit Livie (59 17 B.C.), who wrote about the then most recent altrecation between the Romans and the Ilyrians, the Romans have overtaken Ulcinj, the last of Ilyrian strongholds on the Adriatic coast in 186 year B.C. At the end of the military campaign against them, the Roman consul Lucija Ancie, gathered the leaders of the Ilyrian tribes in Skadar (Shkoder, Albania) in 167 B.C. and anounced the decision of the Roman Senate to terminate the Ilyrian kingdom and subdivide the conquered lands into three sections, of which one was marked as coastal section. Ulcinj was within the boundary of this section. Even though the the ghighting between the Romans and Ilyrians, the city was left very damaged, and the Romans didnt dicide to built an new settlement, but they decided to rebuilt the old one, and later even improve the old structures. Many pf Ilyrian population of that
time in Ulcinj was similated or romanized during the time of the Roman administration.
During the Roman rule Ulcinj underwent major economic and cultural development, mostly because it was located on a naval route from Dyrrachio (Durres) and Epidaurus (Cavtat). In that period Ulcinj was given the status “opida civium Romanorum”. which means that to Ulcinj was granted the special privileged status.
According to some sources, the reason why this status was given to Ulcinj, was the large amount of treasure which Romans have token, after the conquered it. It is thought that it was something around 27 loads of Gold, 19 loads of silver, 13.000 denars and 120.00 silver Ilyrian coins.
After the reforms of emperor Diocletian in 297, the territory of Ulcinj was set apart from the Dalmatian province and made part of a nely formed state”Praevalis”. The reson for the separation of the Prevalis where poor lines with center of the Dalmatian province SOlina. Apart from Ulcinj, other cities which where made apart from Praevalis where Ljes, Duklja and Shkodra.
After the fall of the state of Zeta in 1405, Ulcinj is taken over by the Venetians and they rule for 150 years. Ulcinj was under Turk reign until 1571, when it definitely falls into hands of a heavy Turkish hand. Compared to the adjacent towns on the Coast, Ulcinj has fairly late fell into the reign of Otoman control, 90 years after the fall of Herceg Novi (1482 – 1483)
As during the reign of Venetian Republic Ulcinj had an evidential fortification, strategic, naval and economic and political significance, the Turkish conquerors continued to develop strategic goals. Still, during the era of the Turkish reign over the town, Ulcinj gains a completely Oriental look. Mosques, Turkish baths, drinking fountains, watch – towers, inns and burial chambers are being built. Everything in towns is adjusting to the new masters. Ulcinj was also famous as a place of a long and rich naval and merchant tradition. In this town sailing reached its top rise in XVII, XVIII, and during the XIX century. The naval trade of people from Ulcinj with their own boats took place in bigger harbors and trading centers of the Adriatic coast, Levant and the Mediterranean. During the era of Turkish reign (1571 – 1880) Ulcinj with its trading fleet has become the main pillar of Otoman Empire on the Mediterranean. Brave and skilful mariners from Ulcinj have poorly acknowledged the state reign of the Turks. Until the proclamation of Mehmed Busatlija for the Grand Vizier of Skadar, Ulcinj was like a small republic. It is written that the Grand Vizier of Skadar in deceit, to restrain the piracy, which at that time grew more and more, in port Valdanos sank liners form Ulcinj, after which people from Ulcinj officially recognize the Turkish reign. During the era of the Montenegrin reign (1880 – 1918) in Ulcinj, 107 sailing boast were registered. People from Ulcinj were skilful mariners and good ship wrighters.
In the XVII century the fleet of Ulcinj had 500 two – master ships, which sailed across the Mediterranean Sea. Many wars have imperiled the development of the Ulcinj fleet. In the XIV century Ulcinj was known by 400 pirates from Malta, Tunis, and Algeria who have inhabited Ulcinj after the Kanidian war (1669), so Ulcinj has turned into a dangerous pirate nest, which remained a characteristic of the town during the XVII and XVIII century as well.
After almost 300 years, at the beginning of the 1878 Ulcinj is freed from the Turks, and after the decision in Berlin congress on the November 10 1880, Ulcinj is annexed to the Principality of Montenegro. The First World War Ulcinj waited as an integral town of the former Montenegrin Principality. Even though the King and the Prince of the Montenegro, Nikola I Petrovic Njegos, at the beginning of the XX century moved one part of the Christian citizenship, in Ulcinj Islamic citizenship, that was loyal to the Principality of Montenegro, still prevailed.
As in many other towns of the Montenegrin Coast in Ulcinj too the vortex of the Second World War was felt. In the year 1941 German and Italian troupes conquered the entire Montenegro, and stayed in it until the crash of Nazism at the end of 1944, when partisan troupes liberated the utmost south town on the Montenegrin Coast – Ulcinj.
Beside its rich cultural and historical heritage this ancient town is famous for its multiethnic and multinational structure of the citizens who through history was united and offered
resistance to the conqueror, especially during the Second World War. On those, for Ulcinj very important historical days, remind many commemorative plaques and busts all over town.
After the Second World War the renewal of all towns on the Montenegrin Coast as well as Ulcinj began. The great tourist potential which Ulcinj with the surroundings has even today, was and remained a great chance for a successful development of the most important economic branch in Montenegro – tourism..
Today, Ulcinj is a famous multiethnic and tourist town in the South of Montenegro, which from year to year marks greater and greater number of domestic and foreign tourists.