Bosniaks are an ethnic group in Montenegro, first introduced in the 2003 census for political reasons. According to the last census from 2011, the total number of Bosniaks in Montenegro was 53,605 and they comprised 8.65% of population. Bosniaks are the third largest ethnic group in the country, after Montenegrins and Serbs.
Bosniaks largely trace their origin to voluntary or forced conversion from Serbian Orthodox Christianity in the centuries after the Ottoman invasion of Serbia in 14th and 15h centuries. This is also evidenced by the colloquial term Poturica, used by other ethnic groups in the Balkans. The term Bosniak was first used in Montenegro at the 2003 census, prior to this the term Moslem was used.
Two thirds of Sandžak Bosniaks trace their ancestry to the regions of Montenegro proper, which they started departing first in 1687, after Turkey lost Boka Kotorska. The trend continued in Old Montenegro after 1711 with the extermination of converts to Islam ("istraga poturica"). Another contributing factor that spurred migration to Sandžak from the Old Montenegro was the fact that the old Orthodox population of Sandžak moved towards Serbia and Habsburg Monarchy (Vojvodina) in two waves, first after 1687, and then, after 1740, basically leaving Sandžak depopulated. The advance of increasingly stronger ethnic Montenegrins caused additional resettlements out of Montenegro proper in 1858 and 1878, when, upon the Treaty of Berlin, Montenegro was recognized as an independent state. While only 20 Bosniak families remained in Nikšić after 1878, the towns like Kolašin, Spuž, Grahovo, and others, completely lost their Bosniak population. The clan-organized Montenegrin army forcibly converted about 12,000 Bosniaks and Albanians to Christianity from the areas of Southern Sandžak, and Metohija, in 1912, upon capturing those lands from the Turks in the Balkan Wars. Practically all of the converts, less a couple of families, converted back to Islam in 1913, when, under international pressure, the public announcement was made giving them freedom to profess the faith of their choosing. The last major interethnic incident occurred in 1924 in Šahovići and Pavino Polje (present day municipality of Bijelo Polje in Sandžak), when Montenegrin peasants massacred hundreds of Bosniaks, under the pretext that Bosniak outlaws murdered a local Montenegrin hero, presumably under false pretense.