History of Macedonia

Located in the center of the Southern Balkans, north of Greece, and west of Thrace, the history of Macedonia tells how the Macedonians were a distinct nation, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally different from their neighbors. The name "Macedonia" is the oldest existing name of a country on the continent of Europe. The history of Macedonia gives us an over view from the time when that old European civilization flourished in Macedonia between 7000 and 3500 BC to the time of the Macedonian partition till they got their independence.

Medieval History

In the late 6th century AD, the south Slavic tribes settled in the territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia which was under the Byzantine control. They were known as the 'Sklavines' by the Byzantine Greek historians. The Slavic tribes absorbed the preexisting Greek, Latin, Illyrian and Thracian-speaking inhabitants. By the 9th century through the evangelizing work of the Saints Cyril and Methodius and their disciples, the people of the territory converted to Christianity with the first Bulgarian Empire assuming control of most of the area.

Campaigns were launched by the Bulgar group round 680 AD in the region of the Thessaloniki. The 7th century saw the capture of over 110,000 Slavs by Justinian II and his troops, transferring them to Cappadocia. By 836/837 there were no remaining Byzantine records of the 'Sklavines', with them being assimilated into the First Bulgarian Empire. Full control was reassumed by the Byzantines of the Balkans by the early 11th century, but the birth of the Second Bulgarian Empire came with the decline of the Byzantine by the late 12th century. Political difficulties brought the empire back in the hands of the Byzantine control but in the 14th century it became part of the Serbian Empire. A few decades later though it came under the Ottoman control under whose rule it was to remain for five centuries.

For the next 500 years the region remained a part of the Ottoman Empire gaining a substantial Turkish minority, especially in the religious sense of Muslim. The uprising and the forming of the Krushevo Republic are considered the corner-stone and forerunners to the ultimate establishment of the Republic of Macedonia.

Modern History

This phase of Macedonian history is referred to as the 'Partitioned Macedonia', with the wider region of Macedonia getting divided between the Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia following the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia had no administrative autonomy and was then named 'Južna Srbija' (Southern Serbia) or 'Stara Srbija' (Old Serbia).

By the end of the World War I, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Kingdom was officially renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 and divided into provinces called 'banovinas'. Yugoslavia was taken-over by the Axis Powers and the Vardar Banovina was divided between Bulgaria and Italian-occupied Albania in 1941. Many who opposed the regime of the occupying powers joined the Communist resistance movement of Josip Broz Tito. Macedonia's history saw the establishment of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after the end of the World War II. Tito became Yugoslavia's president and the People's Federal Republic of Macedonia became one of the six republics of the Yugoslav federation. In 1963 the federation was renamed as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Later in 1991 it dropped the "Socialist" from its name, peacefully seceded from Yugoslavia.

On 8th September, 1991 a referendum was held establishing its independence from Yugoslavia, under the name of the Republic of Macedonia. Few minor changes to its border with Yugoslavia were agreed upon to resolve problems of the demarcation line between the two countries. In the Kosovo War in 1999 some 360,000 ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo took refuge in the country, and later fought for the independence for the Albanian-populated areas of the Republic.

Finally with NATO's intervention peace was restored and the government agreed to devolve greater political power and cultural recognition to the Albanian minority with the Albanians recognized all Macedonian institutions. The country was officially recognized as a European Union candidate state in 2005, under the reference "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".


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