Macedonia


Macedonia
/mas'i doh"nee euh, -dohn"yeuh/, n.
1. Also, Macedon /mas"i don'/. an ancient kingdom in the Balkan Peninsula, in S Europe: now a region in N Greece, SW Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia.
2. a republic in S Europe: formerly (1945-92) a constituent republic of Yugoslavia. 2,113,866; 9928 sq. mi. (25,713 sq. km). Cap.: Skopje.

* * *

officially Republic of Macedonia

Country, southern Balkans region, southeastern Europe.

Area: 9,928 sq mi (25,713 sq km). Population (2003 est.): 2,056,000. Capital: Skopje. Two-thirds of the population are Slavic Macedonians, and about one-fifth are ethnic Albanians. Languages: Macedonian, Albanian. Religions: Serbian Orthodoxy, Islam. Currency: denar. Located on a high plateau studded with mountains, Macedonia has few mineral resources and is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Agriculture is central to its economy, the leading products including tobacco, rice, fruit, vegetables, and wine; sheep herding and dairy farming are also important. Macedonia is a republic with one legislative house; its head of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. The Macedonian region has been inhabited since before 7000 BC. Under Roman rule, part of the region was incorporated into the province of Moesia in AD 29. It was settled by Slavic tribes by the mid-6th century AD and was Christianized during the 9th century. Seized by the Bulgarians in 1185, it was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1371 to 1912. The north and centre of the region were annexed by Serbia in 1913 and became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) in 1918. When Yugoslavia was partitioned by the Axis Powers in 1941, Yugoslav Macedonia was occupied principally by Bulgaria. Macedonia once again became a republic of Yugoslavia in 1946. After Croatia and Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia, fear of Serbian dominance prompted Macedonia to declare its independence in 1991. In deference to Greece, which has an area traditionally known as Macedonia, the country adopted as its formal title The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and normalized relations with Greece in 1995. Ethnic strife has periodically endangered national stability
e.g., in 2001, when pro-Albanian rebel forces in the north, near the Kosovo border, led guerrilla attacks on government forces.

* * *

▪ 2009

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2008 est.): 2,039,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Branko Crvenkovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski

      Macedonia's bid to join NATO was vetoed on April 2, 2008, by Greece during the alliance's summit in Bucharest, Rom. Prior to the summit, a round of intense UN-mediated talks between Skopje and Athens over Macedonia's name had failed to produce any results. Though talks continued later in 2008, both sides stuck to their previous positions.

      In March the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA/PDSh) left the government to protest the refusal of the main ruling party, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO–DPMNE), to recognize Kosovo's independence and to demonstrate disagreement on interethnic issues; this left the government without a parliamentary majority. On April 12 the parliament voted to dissolve itself and called new elections.

      In the June 1 elections, the VMRO–DPMNE of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski allied with 18 small parties and emerged as the winner, with 47% of the vote and 63 of the 120 seats in the new parliament. The Sun Coalition for Europe, led by the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), received 23% and 27 seats. Among the ethnic-Albanian parties, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI/BDI) won 12% and 18 seats, and the DPA/PDSh captured 8% and 11 seats. One seat went to the Party for a European Future (PEI). Election day was overshadowed by violence in ethnic-Albanian areas, which left one person dead. As a result of the violence and other irregularities, the polls were partially invalidated, and repeat elections were held on June 15 in 187 precincts. Another round of balloting was held on June 29 in 15 precincts where the June 1 and June 15 rounds were invalidated. On October 20, nine ethnic Albanians were sentenced to terms of between five and six and a half years in prison for their role in the violent incidents.

      On July 4, Gruevski and DUI/BDI leader Ali Ahmeti reached an agreement to form a coalition government that would also include the PEI. On July 11, Gruevski presented his new government to the parliament, which approved it without debate, owing to a temporary boycott by the SDSM and the PDSh.

      On July 17, Pres. Branko Crvenkovski (of the SDSM) announced that he would not seek another term in 2009, citing disagreement with the government on many policy issues. In September the SDSM held its eighth party congress, at which Radmila Sekerinska was replaced as party leader. Strumica Mayor Zoran Zaev was elected acting party chairperson until May 2009, when Crvenkovski's presidential term ended. Although Zaev was arrested in the summer of 2008 on charges of having misappropriated €8 million (about $10.1 million) in public funds, Crvenkovski pardoned him.

      On July 10 the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia acquitted former interior minister Ljube Boskovski of having taken part in war crimes during the 2001 interethnic conflict. His co-defendant, former police officer Johan Tarculovski, was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment.

      Macedonia's GDP was expected to grow about 5% in 2008. Inflation, however, was expected to rise to 7%, and unemployment was anticipated to remain high. In November the European Commission noted progress in some areas in Macedonia, but did not give the green light for the start of EU accession talks.

      On December 9, former prime minister Vlado Buckovski and former chief of staff Metodi Stamboliski were sentenced to 3 years in prison for abuse of power and corruption. Nikola Kljusev, Macedonia's first postindependence prime minister (Jan. 27, 1991–Aug. 17, 1992), died on January 16 at the age of 80.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2008

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2007 est.): 2,044,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Branko Crvenkovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski

      Continued friction between ethnic Albanian and ethnic Macedonian parties as well as within the ethnic Albanian political spectrum characterized Macedonian politics for much of 2007. On January 27 the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) and its partner, the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD), announced a boycott of the parliament, which it claimed was undermining the 2001 Ohrid Agreement. The PPD returned to the parliament after agreeing on May 20 to join the government; the party was assigned the Ministry of Local Self-Government in June. The BDI ended its boycott on May 29, after winning concessions from the government, including a commitment that certain laws could be passed only if supported by a majority of ethnic Albanian MPs. The Democratic Party of Albanians (PDSH) threatened to leave the government for not having been consulted on the talks but ultimately stayed on. On June 25 ailing PDSH leader Arben Xhaferi stepped down; he was replaced by his deputy Menduh Thaçi.

      On August 30 the government unveiled a plan to add 13 seats to the parliament to represent smaller national minorities and the diaspora. The plan was rejected by the BDI. A fistfight over the issue on September 25 between two MPs from the BDI and the PPD led to a blockade of the parliament by armed militants; a special police force unit was called in to break it up. Some 1,500 ethnic Albanians gathered in Skopje on September 28 to protest alleged “state terror” against the Albanian community.

      The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on April 16 opened the trial of former interior minister Ljube Boskovski and a senior police officer. The two defendants were charged with the murder of seven ethnic Albanians in the village of Ljuboten in August 2001.

      On August 20 the parliament stripped former prime minister Vlado Buckovski of his immunity for his alleged involvement in 2001 in an arms deal, which allegedly cost the state €3 million (about $2.6 million). On July 31 retired chief of staff Gen. Metodi Stamboliski was arrested in connection with the case.

      The European Union on January 30 declined to set a date for the start of accession talks with Macedonia, and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said on February 8 that the EU was disappointed at the slow pace of reform in the country. Pres. Branko Crvenkovksi, for his part, said on March 24 that he expected talks to start in 2008. Macedonia was one of five Balkan countries that signed an agreement on September 18 with the EU on easing visa restrictions. The disagreement with Greece over Macedonia's name remained unresolved for yet another year, although diplomats of both countries agreed on May 16 to start a fresh round of talks. On November 1 UN mediator Matthew Nimetz submitted new proposals to both sides.

      Macedonia's economy showed some signs of further improvement, with 4.7% year-on-year GDP growth in the second quarter of 2007. The government projected 2–3% inflation and a budget deficit of less than 1%. Unemployment, however, continued to be one of the main problems plaguing Macedonia. On January 1 a flat-rate income tax of 12% was introduced, and corporate tax rates were also reduced to 12%.

      On October 16 Macedonia's most popular pop star, Tose Proeski (Proeski, Tose ), died in a car crash in Croatia. His death, at the age of 26, precipitated a day of national mourning.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2007

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2006 est.): 2,041,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Branko Crvenkovski
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Vlado Buckovski and, from August 27, Nikola Gruevski

      Parliamentary elections were held in Macedonia on July 5, 2006. The coalition led by the Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) emerged as the strongest bloc, winning 45 of the 120 mandates. The coalition “Together for Macedonia,” headed by the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), finished second, with 32 mandates. Two parties that had broken away from the VMRO-DPMNE and the SDSM, the VMRO-People's Party of former prime minister Ljubco Georgievski and the New Social Democratic Party (NSDP) of former speaker of the parliament Tito Petkovski, won 6 and 7 seats, respectively. Among the ethnic Albanian parties, the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI) in coalition with the Party for Democratic Prosperity won 17 seats, and the Democratic Party of Albanians (PDSH) took 11. The Democratic Reconstruction of Macedonia and the Party for European Future won one seat each.

 Representatives of the international community had previously named free and fair elections as a key condition for Macedonia's accession to NATO and the European Union. While the campaign saw several violent incidents, mostly in Albanian-inhabited areas, and election day was marred by isolated serious irregularities, the elections were widely assessed as democratic.

      Following protracted coalition negotiations, VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski managed to put together a government that included the VMRO-DPMNE, the PDSH, the NSDP, the Liberals, and the Socialists (the last two of which had run as part of the VMRO-DPMNE coalition). The BDI condemned Gruevski's decision to exclude it from the government, set up roadblocks and staged street protests, and said that it would refuse to recognize the new government as legitimate. The new slate won a vote of confidence 68–22 on August 26, and Gruevski formally took office as prime minister the following day.

      The new government announced as its top priorities Euro-Atlantic integration, the fight against corruption and organized crime, further economic reforms, and attraction of more foreign direct investment. Macedonia's economy continued to make only slow progress in 2006, however. GDP growth was expected to be 4%, and inflation was forecast to be a low 1.5%. The main problem remained an extremely high unemployment rate of 37–38%.

       EU foreign ministers on July 17 pledged to continue supporting Macedonia's EU membership aspirations but also repeated their calls for accelerated reforms. The new government, for its part, called on the EU to set a date soon for the start of membership talks. The government tried unsuccessfully to resolve a dispute over Macedonia's border with the Serbian province of Kosovo, which refused to recognize a 2001 agreement between the former Yugoslavia and Macedonia and laid claims to parts of Macedonia's territory. The disagreement with Greece over Macedonia's name also remained unresolved, as no new proposals to find a compromise were launched in 2006. The standoff between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox churches continued. Bishop Jovan, the highest-level Macedonian cleric to join the Serbian church, remained in prison, serving out a sentence for embezzlement and incitement of religious and ethnic hatred.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2006

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2005 est.): 2,034,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Branko Crvenkovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski

      Local elections held in Macedonia on March 13 and 27, 2005, were marred by serious, albeit isolated, irregularities. The coalition “Together for Macedonia,” led by the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, the main governing party, emerged as the strongest single bloc; its coalition partner, the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, and the main opposition party, the Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organization—Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), also scored well. Trifun Kostovski, a businessman running as an independent with the backing of VMRO-DPMNE, replaced the Liberal Democratic Party chairman, Risto Penov, as mayor of Skopje.

      The dispute between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox churches continued as the Serbian Orthodox Church decided to recognize only the breakaway Archbishopric of Ohrid as canonical. On June 23 an appeals court in Bitola confirmed a lower-court verdict sentencing Bishop Jovan, the highest-level cleric to join the Serbian church, to 18 months in prison for embezzlement and for inciting religious and ethnic hatred. The Supreme Court on September 16 turned down the bishop's appeal against his sentence. The case put a strain on relations between Skopje and Belgrade.

      On February 25 Croatian prosecutors charged former interior minister Ljube Boskovski with murder in connection with the killing of seven immigrants in 2002. After Boskovski was also charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on March 14, the Croatian authorities handed him over to the ICTY. Three former senior police officers and a fourth man charged in connection with the killing of the immigrants were acquitted in April for insufficient evidence. On June 27 three former ethnic Albanian rebel commanders were sentenced to seven years in prison each for bomb attacks during ethnic tensions in 2003.

      On July 15 the parliament passed a law allowing national minorities to fly their flags on official occasions alongside the Macedonian flag in communes where they constituted the majority of the population.

      On February 14 the Macedonian government presented to the European Commission its official answers to the EU's questionnaire on Macedonia's preparedness to start membership talks. While the government voiced its optimism about the prospects for membership, European officials struck a more cautious tone, saying talks depended on progress achieved by the candidate country. Following the European Commission's recommendation in November, EU leaders granted Macedonia the status of candidate country at a December summit, although no timetable was given for the talks.

      The dispute with Greece over Macedonia's name remained unresolved. A compromise proposal by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz to use the name Republika Makedonija–Skopje without translation in international relations was rejected by the Macedonian side. A new proposal that Nimetz proposed in October was rejected by the Greek side.

      The issue of the demarcation of Macedonia's borders with Kosovo also remained unsettled despite repeated talks between the Macedonian government, officials of Serbia and Montenegro, Kosovar politicians, and representatives of the United Nations mission UNMIK. In May EU officials announced that the EU had no plans to extend further its Proxima police mission in Macedonia after its mandate expired in December 2005.

      On May 20 Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski announced a large-scale government program to revive the country's economy, which continued to be in a precarious state despite an expected growth in GDP of 3.8% and a slight drop in unemployment.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2005

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2004 est.): 2,035,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
Presidents Boris Trajkovski, Ljubco Jordanovski (acting) from February 26, and, from May 12, Branko Crvenkovski
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Branko Crvenkovski, Radmila Sekerinska (acting) from May 12, Hari Kostov from June 2, Sekerinska (acting) from November 18, and, from December 17, Vlado Buckovski

      Macedonia was thrown into a state of shock on Feb. 26, 2004, when Pres. Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (See Obituaries (Trajkovski, Boris ).) According to the official Bosnian investigation report, the plane in which Trajkovski, six of his staff, and two crew members had been traveling went down in bad weather owing to pilot error. On March 6, one day after Trajkovski's state funeral, the Constitutional Court declared the end of his term in office, paving the way for early presidential elections.

      The first round of the presidential elections was held on April 14. Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia and Sasko Kedev of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party of Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) advanced to the second round, leaving behind two ethnic Albanian candidates. Former interior minister Ljube Boskovki (VMRO-DPMNE) was barred from running as an independent because he had not fulfilled a constitutional residency requirement, while the chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians, Arben Xhaferi, withdrew. Crvenkovski won the runoff on April 28 with 62.7% of the vote and was sworn in as president on May 12. Interior Minister Hari Kostov succeeded him as prime minister; Kostov's government was sworn in on June 2 after the parliament voted confidence in it. On November 15 Kostov resigned, citing corruption and nepotism within one of the coalition partners as the reason. He was replaced by Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski, who also took over as SDSM chairman. Buckovski's government was approved by a parliamtentary vote of confidence on December 17.

      The main domestic issue was the government's local-government reform plan, which included the reduction of the number of municipalities. Because the necessary redistricting would have changed the ethnic balance of many municipalities, the plan met with resistance from local communities and opposition parties. Amid protests—some violent—the government parties agreed on a redistricting plan, and the parliament approved the new Law on Territorial Organization on August 11. A coalition of ethnic Macedonian parties and nongovernmental organizations demanded and got a referendum, which was called for November 7. The referendum failed owing to insufficient turnout.

      On January 21 the parliament passed a law legalizing the Albanian-language university in Tetovo and transforming it into a state university. The dispute between the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) and its Serbian counterpart remained unresolved, and some monasteries and clerics left the MPC to join the revived Serbian archbishopric of Ohrid. Bishop Jovan, the highest-ranking cleric to join the Serbian Orthodox Church, was sentenced on August 19 to 18 months in jail for inciting religious and ethnic hatred. On March 22 the Macedonian government submitted its application for European Union membership. The Stabilization and Association Agreement between Macedonia and the EU took effect on April 1. On November 4 the United States recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name.

      Macedonia's economy remained in a precarious situation, with negative GDP growth (−3.6% in the first quarter of 2004), an unemployment rate above 35%, a drop in industrial production of more than 20%, and a trade deficit of about $600 million in the first half of the year. Throughout the year civil servants, schoolteachers, and railway workers, among others, staged strikes and protests against the government's economic policy.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2004

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2003 est.): 2,056,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Boris Trajkovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski

      In 2003, two years after Macedonia almost descended into civil war, relations between ethnic Macedonians and the sizable ethnic Albanian minority were again put to the test. A series of bomb explosions—in Struga in February, in Skopje and Kumanovo in June, and again in Skopje in August—a shoot-out in Skopje on July 9 that left five people dead, and the abduction of two policemen near Kumanovo the same month were the main incidents. The shadowy separatist Albanian National Army claimed responsibility for many of these acts. In addition, there were violent clashes between ethnic Albanian and ethnic Macedonian youths in Tetovo and elsewhere. These incidents strained relations between the ruling parties. There were also positive developments in the field of interethnic relations as well, however, including the legalization of the Albanian-language Tetovo University, further moves to increase the official use of Albanian, and attempts to boost the percentage of ethnic Albanian army officers. On May 28 the parliament passed a law granting amnesties to those who handed over guns within the framework of a 45-day nationwide weapons-collection program that started on November 1.

      Pres. Boris Trajkovski on April 7 pardoned former interior minister Dosta Dimovska and a former high-ranking Interior Ministry official, both of whom had been implicated in a 2001 wiretapping scandal. While Trajkovski defended his controversial pardons, Dimovska resigned as head of the Macedonian Intelligence Agency in an attempt to defuse tensions between Trajkovski and the government. In early November Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski replaced the ministers of finance, economy, justice, and transport and communications.

      On March 31 the European Union launched Operation Concordia, which replaced NATO's Allied Harmony peacekeeping mission. In July the six-month mandate of the 400-strong mission was extended to December 15, and then on September 29 EU foreign ministers agreed to replace Concordia with a 200-strong police mission. Relations between Macedonia and its neighbours remained stable, although pending issues such as the dispute between Skopje and Athens over Macedonia's name remained unresolved. Macedonia strengthened cooperation with Albania and Croatia, particularly in the fields of security, defense, and infrastructure projects.

      After the government supported the United States in the war against Iraq and granted U.S. troops use of Macedonian military facilities, the parliament on April 22 approved the deployment of a small military contingent to Iraq, which embarked in early June. On June 30 Macedonia and the U.S. signed a bilateral agreement prohibiting the handover of each other's citizens to the International Criminal Court; the agreement was ratified by the Macedonian parliament on October 16. On April 4 Macedonia became the 146th member of the World Trade Organization.

      Macedonia's economy was expected to grow by about 3% in 2003, with low inflation and a target budget deficit of 2.5% of GDP. Unemployment of around 30% and social problems led to a series of strikes throughout the year, however. In late July the German WAZ media group announced that it had purchased majority stakes in three major Macedonian-language daily newspapers, giving it a near monopoly, especially as the state-owned publishing house Nova Makedonija went into liquidation in October.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2003

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2002 est.): 2,036,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Boris Trajkovski
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Ljubco Georgievski and, from November 1, Branko Crvenkovski

      In 2002 Macedonia tried to overcome the consequences of the previous year's armed conflict between the ethnic-Albanian National Liberation Army (UCK) and state security forces. Implementing the August 2001 Ohrid agreement, the parliament passed several key pieces of legislation aimed at improving relations between Macedonia's two largest ethnic communities. These included a new law in January on local self-government that transferred some powers from the central government to the municipal level, an amnesty law in March, and a package of language laws in June that established Albanian as the second official language.

      Throughout the first half of 2002, ethnically mixed police units accompanied by international monitors returned to villages previously held by the UCK. The last nighttime curfew was lifted on July 11. Although violent incidents continued throughout the year, ethnic Albanian politicians and NATO rejected allegations by government officials that a new Albanian guerrilla organization was responsible.

      In June the parliament adopted a new election law based on proportional representation. In the September 15 parliamentary elections, the coalition For Macedonia Together, which united the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and several parties representing smaller national minorities, won half of the 120 seats. The coalition of the ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity received 33 seats and the Socialist Party of Macedonia one. Of the Albanian parties, the newly formed Democratic Union for Integration (BDI), led by former UCK political commander Ali Ahmeti, won 16 seats, the governing Democratic Party of Albanians 7, and other Albanian parties 3. Previous attempts to form an electoral alliance of the ethnic-Albanian parties had failed. In its first session on October 3, the new parliament elected Nikola Popovski (SDSM) as its speaker. A new government led by SDSM Chairman Branko Crvenkovski and made up of the SDSM, LDP, and BDI was approved by Parliament on November 1.

      NATO's Amber Fox peacekeeping mission was extended until December 15; attempts to replace it with a mission led by the European Union had failed.

      While Skopje and Athens failed to resolve their dispute over Macedonia's name, they extended the interim agreement regulating bilateral relations on September 12. On May 23 both sides signed a military cooperation agreement. In late July Greece pledged $73.6 million in financial aid. On March 12 an international donors' conference had pledged $515 million in aid. Macedonia failed to reach agreement with the IMF on a new standby agreement, however. In October Macedonia joined the World Trade Organization.

      Macedonia's Orthodox Church faced a crisis. A proposed agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church that would have subordinated the Macedonian to the Serbian church caused a split in the Holy Synod. Bishop Jovan of Veles-Povardarie, dismissed by the Macedonian church in July after placing himself under the authority of the Serbian church, was named exarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church for Macedonia on September 24.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2002

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2001 est.): 2,046,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Boris Trajkovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski

      In 2001 Macedonia's fragile interethnic balance collapsed. Fighting between government security forces and the self-styled ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (UCK) brought the country to the verge of all-out civil war and cast doubts over its very future.

      A bomb attack on a police station in the village of Tearce on January 22 was followed by armed clashes between government forces and UCK fighters near Tanusevci in February. Fighting soon erupted in and around Tetovo, the country's second largest city, with a largely ethnic Albanian population. Throughout the spring and summer, government forces and rebels were fighting around Tetovo, Skopje, and Kumanovo. More than 100 persons lost their lives, often indiscriminately, in the early months of the year, and large numbers of persons were displaced within the country as a result of the fights. Many Albanians also fled across the border to Kosovo. Anti-Albanian riots occurred in several towns.

      Government threats throughout the spring to launch counteroffensives led only to short-lived cease-fires. Meanwhile, UCK demands for negotiations on the future status of Macedonia were rejected by the government. The international community, which initially condemned the UCK attacks, later called on the government to address the problems of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian community.

      On May 13 a government of national unity was formed that included all relevant parties from both ethnic groups. Negotiations between ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian parties brought little result, nor was Western shuttle diplomacy between the government and the UCK eminently successful. July and August saw renewed fighting and killings of soldiers and civilians. Ethnic Macedonians stormed the parliament building on June 25, and one month later rioters attacked Western embassies, accusing the West of pro-Albanian bias. Finally, European Union (EU) and U.S. mediators assembled the leaders of the main political parties in Ohrid for peace talks. The Ohrid Agreement, signed on August 13, provided for constitutional amendments raising the status of the ethnic Albanian community, increased local self-government, the disarmament of ethnic Albanian rebels to be followed by an amnesty, and increased participation of ethnic Albanians in state structures, including the police. On November 16 the parliament approved 15 constitutional amendments pertaining to the Ohrid Agreement.

      In August the North Atlantic Council decided to deploy 3,500 troops to collect UCK weapons, and a month later NATO began “Amber Fox,” the 1,000-troop-strong follow-up mission designed to protect Western monitors in Macedonia. While UCK weapons were being successfully collected, parliamentary debates on constitutional amendments were delayed repeatedly by legislators from both ethnic groups and were not concluded on schedule. Complaining that the Macedonian government and parliament had failed to meet their part of the peace plan, the EU twice cancelled a planned donors' conference. Finally, Parliament also decided to postpone holding early elections. On November 23, the Social Democrats and two smaller parties left the government, but Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski managed to form a new cabinet.

      The interethnic conflict severely hurt Macedonia's economy and resulted in a sharp drop of industrial output, agricultural production, and imports and exports; widening trade and budget deficits; and increasing unemployment.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2001

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(2000 est.): 2,041,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
President Boris Trajkovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski

      For Macedonia the year 2000 brought relative political consolidation, but the country's economy remained a source of concern. On July 27 the cabinet was reduced from 27 to 17 members. In the new group Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and seven ministers belonged to the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), while the Democratic Alternative (DA) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) had five and four members, respectively, including one deputy prime minister each.

      On August 25 eight parliamentary deputies of VMRO-DPMNE defected to the newly formed VMRO–True Macedonian Reform Option (VMRO), although two later reversed their decision. The deputies' move was followed by mob scenes outside their houses, demonstrations that many believed were orchestrated. Claims by the VMRO-VMRO that more deputies would join failed to materialize after the party's poor showing in the local elections.

      Local elections were held on September 10 and 24. The opposition tried to turn them into a referendum on the government and to force general elections, but the results were inconclusive. The opposition won more votes than the VMRO-DPMNE/DA coalition, but the ruling parties won most of the runoffs, especially in rural areas, and secured a majority of the mayoralties. The elections were marred by a high number of irregularities and by violent incidents in which at least one person was killed. On November 23 the DA left the government. Prime Minister Georgievski managed to put together a new coalition by including the Liberal Party and a number of independent members of the parliament.

      Interethnic relations remained tense. On January 11 three policemen were killed in the ethnic Albanian village of Aracinovo, allegedly the centre of a smuggling network. On March 31 four Macedonian soldiers were abducted on the border with Kosovo (Yugos.); they were freed only after Macedonian authorities released on bail an ethnic Albanian wanted for murder. Throughout the year a number of serious incidents took place on the Kosovo border.

      No breakthrough was reached with Greece on the issue of Macedonia's name. Relations with Bulgaria remained good but were overshadowed by a decision of Bulgaria's Constitutional Court to ban an ethnic Macedonian party. On May 27 Georgievski and Kosovar leader Hashim Thaqi held talks on future cooperation and the possible opening in the respective capitals, Skopje and Pristina, of offices for representation. This was received badly by Yugoslavia, as were allegations that Belgrade's ambassador to Macedonia was meddling in the country's internal affairs. On November 24, on the sidelines of the Zagreb summit meeting, Macedonia and the European Union signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement.

      In September the Macedonian government started returning to its former owners property that had been nationalized by the communist regime. In April the majority of Stopanska Banka, the country's largest bank, was opened to international investors. On the whole, however, the economic situation remained precarious as the government found no solutions for high unemployment or measures to deal with the biggest loss-making enterprises.

Stefan Krause

▪ 2000

Area:
25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)
Population
(1999 est.): 2,023,000
Capital:
Skopje
Chief of state:
Presidents Kiro Gligorov and, from November 19 (acting) Savo Klimovski
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski

      For the first half of 1999, political life in Macedonia was mostly determined by the Kosovo crisis. As early as late March, when NATO launched its attacks on Yugoslavia, an estimated 20,000 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo had fled to Macedonia. This was the maximum number the government had previously said it could accept. As the Kosovar Albanians started fleeing their homes in ever-larger numbers and were systematically driven out of Kosovo, however, Macedonia was forced to accept more and more. In total, during the military conflict about 335,000 refugees crossed into Macedonia. About 88,000 were transferred to third countries, but when the conflict ended, almost 260,000 refugees remained. Most returned to Kosovo as soon as the crisis was over, and most of the refugees still in Macedonia in the autumn were Serbs and Roma (Gypsies) from Kosovo, the latter mostly new arrivals.

      The Kosovo crisis also took an economic toll on Macedonia, especially since trade collapsed with Yugoslavia, its largest trade partner. International institutions and foreign governments pledged considerable amounts of money to help Macedonia overcome the crisis, but only part of it arrived. Relations with the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), which continued to maintain a sizable presence in Macedonia, soured after a KFOR vehicle caused an accident on August 28 in which Macedonian Minister Without Portfolio Radovan Stojkovski was killed.

      Presidential elections took place on October 31 and November 14. In the first round, which was contested by six candidates, Tito Petkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) came out on top with 32.7% of the vote. Boris Trajkovski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) was second with 20.9%. In the runoff, Trajkovski won 52.9% and Petkovski 45.9%. There were widespread irregularities, however, mostly in areas inhabited by ethnic Albanians, and the elections were annulled in 230 polling stations. A repeat vote on December 5, also marred by irregularities, yielded almost the same results. Nonetheless, the SDSM withdrew its complaints and focused instead on pressing for the resignation of the government and early parliamentary elections.

      Relations between the Macedonian majority and the sizable ethnic Albanian minority remained stable throughout the year, despite the refugee crisis. On July 6 Archbishop Mihail, the head of the Macedonian Orthodox church, died. (See Obituaries (Mihail, Archbishop ).) He was succeeded on October 9 by Archbishop Stefan of Bregalnica.

      In January the Macedonian government decided to recognize Taiwan; China promptly broke off relations and vetoed the extension of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force stationed in Macedonia, which ceased operations on March 1. In late February Macedonia and Bulgaria signed a declaration normalizing relations and a number of other bilateral agreements. Bulgaria also donated 150 tanks and 150 pieces of artillery to Macedonia. Relations with Greece and Albania remained good, but no breakthrough was reached on the issue of Macedonia's name, which continued to prevent a complete normalization of relations with Greece.

      As a result of the Kosovo conflict, Macedonia's economy saw no improvement. Gross domestic product growth was estimated to have remained level, although inflation remained very low. Unemployment was alarmingly high, and industrial production fell as imports of raw material from Yugoslavia ceased.

Stefan Krause

▪ 1999

      Area: 25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 2,023,000

      Capital: Skopje

      Chief of state: President Kiro Gligorov

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Branko Crvenkovski and, from November 30, Ljubco Georgievski

      Parliamentary elections were held in Macedonia on October 18 and November 1. Under a new election system, 35 deputies were elected on proportional lists and the remaining 85 under a single-mandate-constituency system. The nationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity won 49 seats, and its coalition partner, the newly formed Democratic Alternative, 13. The ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia garnered 27; their coalition partners, the Socialist Party, took one; and the Liberal Democratic Party got 4. The two major Albanian parties had formed an electoral alliance; the Party for Democratic Prosperity (a government party for six years) won 14 seats and the Democratic Party of Albanians 11. One seat went to the Union of Roma.

      IMRO-DPMNU and two other parties formed a coalition under Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski on November 30. Among his priorities Georgievski named economic reform, reduction of unemployment, the fight against corruption and organized crime, and integration into European and transatlantic structures.

      Although relations between the Macedonian majority and the sizable ethnic Albanian minority remained problematic, there were no major incidents. The crisis in Kosovo bore on Macedonian Albanians, however, as they supported their brethren in the adjacent Serbian province. The government claimed that units of the Kosovo Liberation Front were also active in Macedonia.

      Mindful of the Kosovo crisis, Pres. Kiro Gligorov and then-Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski called for U.S. or NATO troops to be stationed in Macedonia after the mandate of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) expired. On July 21 UNPREDEP's mandate was extended to Feb. 28, 1999, and its strength was increased from 750 to more than 1,000 members. NATO's Partnership for Peace held large-scale maneuvers in September. Macedonia's small army was upgraded, with Germany supplying 60 armoured personnel carriers in October.

      The economy experienced significant gross domestic product growth for the first time since independence. Inflation remained low, but unemployment and the very low rate of direct foreign investment were problems. In June seven people were sentenced for the collapse of a pyramid scheme in 1996 in which 23,000 people lost a total of about $65 million.

STEFAN KRAUSE

▪ 1998

      Area: 25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 1,984,000

      Capital: Skopje

      Chief of state: President Kiro Gligorov

      Head of government: Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski

      Ethnic tensions were on the rise in Macedonia in 1997. Early in the year ethnic Albanian and ethnic Macedonian students demonstrated over the pros and cons of Albanian-language teaching at Skopje University's pedagogical faculty; in early May the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Albanian-language instruction. That same month the government indicted officials of the predominantly Albanian towns of Gostivar and Tetovo for flying the Albanian national flag from public buildings illegally. The Assembly passed a law on July 8 enabling ethnic minorities to use their national symbols under certain circumstances but barring them from flying their flags from public buildings.

      On the following day three ethnic Albanians were killed and dozens more were wounded in clashes with the police in Gostivar. Mayor Rufi Osmani was sentenced to 13 years 8 months in jail on September 17, convicted of "fanning national, racial, and ethnic intolerance, inciting rebellion, and disregarding the Constitutional Court" for allowing Albanian and Turkish flags to fly from the Gostivar town hall. Even while acknowledging the problems faced by the Albanian minority, in late September, Elisabeth Rehn, special envoy to the UN Commission on Human Rights, recommended that Macedonia be excluded from her mandate because of its improved human rights record.

      Amid growing public dissatisfaction with the government, a major reshuffle took place on May 27. Among those replaced were Deputy Prime Minister Jane Miljovski and Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski, both prominent reformers. Frckovski was replaced by Defense Minister Blagoj Hand-ziski, who was succeeded by Lazar Kitanovski.

      Only minor economic changes were registered in 1997. The economy continued to grow, and inflation and the budget deficit remained acceptably low. Other indexes, such as Macedonia's trade deficit and un-employment, remained uncomfortably high, however.

      In early March the national bank suspended operations of Macedonia's largest savings house, and as a result, about 30,000 clients lost an estimated total of $28 million-$80 million. The government promised compensation of $12 million, and trials of top financial officials began in October. In June the national bank depreciated the denar 16% against the German mark.

      Tensions over the status of Macedonia's Albanian minority continued to prejudice relations with Albania. Macedonia's relationship with Greece was stable, and, even though the disputed issue of Macedonia's name remained unresolved, the year saw the first exchange of ministerial visits between the Balkan neighbours. In December the UN Security Council voted to extend the mandate for its peacekeeping force, UNPREDEP, to August 1998.

STEFAN KRAUSE

      This article updates Macedonia, history of (Macedonia).

▪ 1997

      A landlocked republic of the central Balkans, Macedonia borders Yugoslavia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. Area: 25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 1,968,000. Cap.: Skopje. Monetary unit: denar, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 40.60 denars to U.S. $1 (63.96 denars = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Kiro Gligorov; prime minister, Branko Crvenkovski.

      In early February 1996 a crisis involving the two biggest parties in the ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia and the Liberal Party, resulted in the coalition's breakup despite Pres. Kiro Gligorov's appeals for unity. Differences between the coalition partners centred on privatization, with the Liberals being accused of profiting from the sale of Macedonia's most attractive and lucrative enterprises. On February 10 Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski dismissed the four Liberal ministers and extensively reshuffled his Cabinet. The Social Democrats emerged as the strongest party from the first postindependence local elections on November 17 and December 1, but the nationalist opposition made gains, winning, among others, the Skopje mayoralty. Ethnic Albanian parties also fared well.

      Friction continued over the independent Albanian-language university in Tetovo, which the government regarded as illegal. In July demonstrations against the jailing of the university's dean, Fadil Sulejmani, and other Albanian activists resulted in clashes with the police.

      In the economy high unemployment remained a problem, and foreign trade declined. An epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease forced the authorities to order the slaughter of several thousand animals.

      Macedonia's international position improved significantly with the signing with Yugoslavia on April 8 of an agreement establishing diplomatic relations. On October 7 the two countries abolished custom fees of up to 7.5%. Despite several rounds of talks, there was no breakthrough with Greece on the question of Macedonia's name, but liaison offices were opened in January, and visa fees were cut significantly in February. Relations with Albania worsened, however, mostly over the Tetovo University crisis. In September, German Pres. Roman Herzog became the first head of state of a European Union member country to visit Macedonia. (STEFAN KRAUSE)

      This article updates Macedonia, history of (Macedonia).

▪ 1996

      A landlocked republic of the central Balkans, Macedonia borders Yugoslavia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. Area: 25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 2,104,000. Cap.: Skopje. Monetary unit: denar, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 39.30 denars to U.S. $1 (62.13 denars=£1 sterling). President in 1995, Kiro Gligorov; prime minister, Branko Crvenkovski.

      The most dramatic event in Macedonia in 1995 was the October 3 attempted assassination by car bomb of Pres. Kiro Gligorov, who had just returned to Skopje from a visit to Belgrade, Yugos. Although severely injured, Gligorov survived and was recovering well at year's end, but the running of the country was temporarily taken over by Stojan Andov, speaker of the Sobranje (parliament). Ljubomir Frckovski, the interior minister, resigned his post on October 26, assuming responsibility for security lapses. He claimed that international criminal interests were behind the attempt, but no arrests had been made by the end of the year. If the assassination attempt was intended to destabilize the country, it was largely unsuccessful.

      Macedonia's domestic situation remained volatile, with the Albanian minority continuing to demand a greater role for itself in the country's educational system. An independent ethnic Albanian university was established on February 15 at Mala Recica, a village near the town of Tetovo. The government had called the project "illegal." On April 22 the Party for Democratic Prosperity, which had members in the Cabinet, changed its name to the Party for Democratic Prosperity of Albanians in Macedonia.

      Macedonia's external position strengthened significantly in 1995. On September 13 Stevo Crvenkovski, the foreign minister, initialed an agreement in New York with Karolos Papoulias, his Greek counterpart, under which Greece would lift its trade embargo against Macedonia, which it had instituted in February 1994, in return for Macedonia's renouncing the use of the star of Vergina as its national symbol. The issue of the republic's name was left to be settled later. On October 15 Greece lifted its trade blockade. In the same month, Macedonia was admitted into the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. A month earlier, on September 27, it had been received into the Council of Europe under the name of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. On April 13 an agreement was signed with Turkey on cooperation in the technical and military spheres.

      In 1995 Macedonia's industrial output stagnated, with unemployment at an average of 28%. The annual inflation rate was around 18%, and average per capita income stood at $700. (K.F. CVIIC)

      This updates the article Macedonia, history of (Macedonia).

▪ 1995

      A landlocked republic of the central Balkans, Macedonia borders Yugoslavia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. Area: 25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 2,089,000. Cap.: Skopje. Monetary unit: denar, with (Aug. 1, 1994) a free rate of 41.95 denars to U.S. $1 (66.72 denars = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Kiro Gligorov; prime minister, Branko Crvenkovski.

      In the presidential and parliamentary elections held on October 16, Kiro Giligorov was reelected president with a 52.4% share of the vote. Following the second round of parliamentary elections on October 30, the ruling Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM) led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski formed a coalition government with the Liberals, the small Socialist Party, and the Party of Democratic Prosperity, the main ethnic Albanian party. The coalition was called the Alliance of Macedonia (SM). On November 13 a further election was held to decide who would occupy 10 unfilled seats. On November 28 the president ordered Crvenkovski to form still another government. Its members were expected to come from parties constituting the SM.

      The results of the internationally monitored census announced on November 15 provoked claims of unfair manipulation from the Albanian and Serb minorities. Political tensions rose in December as a result of the Macedonian Albanians' decision to press for the foundation of an Albanian-language university in Tetovo.

      Continuing its campaign against Macedonia, Greece on February 16 instituted a full economic blockade, barring its port of Thessaloniki and the entire northern border to traffic to and from Macedonia. Some 80% of Macedonia's trade and all of its oil went through Thessaloniki. On April 6 the European Commission took Greece to the European Court of Justice over the action, but Greece continued the blockade anyway.

      In November Macedonian engineers completed the first section of an oil pipeline that would link the country to Serbia and thence to Russia. Also in November Macedonia concluded an agreement on military cooperation with the United States, which continued to maintain a small UN detachment on Macedonian territory. (K.F. CVIIC)

      This updates the article Macedonia, history of (Macedonia).

▪ 1994

      A landlocked republic of the central Balkans, Macedonia borders Yugoslavia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. Area: 25,713 sq km (9,928 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 2,063,000. Cap.: Skopje. Monetary unit: denar (sole legal tender from May 7, 1993), with (Oct. 4, 1993) an official rate of 27 denars to U.S. $1 (41.04 denars = £ 1 sterling). President in 1993, Kiro Gligorov; prime minister, Branko Crvenkovski.

      In 1993 Macedonia managed to achieve what had eluded it in 1992: in April it was granted membership in the United Nations, albeit under the compromise name of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. By the end of the year, all members of the European Union except Greece had taken steps to establish diplomatic relations with Macedonia. Relations with Serbia remained tense, however. Serbia strongly criticized the election of a new patriarch of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, said in Belgrade to be an anti-Serb Macedonian nationalist. Relations with Albania deteriorated after a number of border incidents.

      In November, Pres. Kiro Gligorov and the government narrowly averted being toppled in the parliament by the ultranationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO), which was pressing for the exclusion of ethnic Albanians from the country's coalition government. Then the Interior Ministry announced that arms manufactured in Albania had been seized in Skopje and two other cities. The deputy minister of health, an ethnic Albanian, who had allegedly kept ammunition in his office, disappeared, but six other suspects were arrested.

      Macedonia's economy, despite UN sanctions imposed on its main trading partner, Yugoslavia, maintained a degree of stability. Still, inflation reached a monthly rate of 70-80% by the end of the year; industrial production for the year was 33% lower than in 1992; and severe drought reduced agricultural output by about one-third. (K.F. CVIIC)

      This updates the article Macedonia, history of (Macedonia).

* * *

Introduction
Macedonian  Makedonija , officially  Republic of Macedonia , Macedonian  Republika Makedonija 

      country of the southern Balkans. It is bordered to the north by Kosovo and Serbia, to the east by Bulgaria, to the south by Greece, and to the west by Albania. The capital is Skopje.

      The republic is located on the part of the southern Balkan Peninsula traditionally known as Macedonia, which is bounded to the south by the Aegean Sea and the Aliákmon River; to the west by Lakes Prespa and Ohrid, the watershed west of the Crni Drim River, and the Šar Mountains; and to the north by the mountains of the Skopska Crna Gora and the watershed between the Morava and Vardar river basins. The Pirin Mountains mark its eastern edge. Since 1913 this geographic and historical region has been divided among several countries, and only about two-fifths of its area is occupied by the independent state that calls itself Macedonia. In this article, the name Macedonia refers to the present-day state when discussing geography and history since 1913 and to the larger region as described above when used in earlier historical contexts.

      Macedonia owes its importance neither to its size nor to its population but rather to its location across a major junction of communication routes—in particular, the great north-south route from the Danube River to the Aegean formed by the valleys of the Morava and Vardar rivers and the ancient east-west trade routes connecting the Black Sea and Istanbul with the Adriatic Sea. Although the majority of the republic's inhabitants are of Slavic descent and heirs to the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Christianity, 500 years of incorporation into the Ottoman Empire have left substantial numbers of other ethnic groups, including Albanians and Turks. Consequently, Macedonia forms a complex border zone between major cultural traditions of Europe and Asia.

      Ottoman control was brought to an end by the Balkan Wars (1912–13), after which Macedonia was divided among Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Following World War I, the Serbian segment was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929). After World War II, the Serbian part of Macedonia became a constituent republic within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The collapse of this federation in turn led the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia to declare its independence on December 19, 1991. Greece subsequently voiced concerns over the use of the name Macedonia, and the new republic joined the United Nations under the name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The land

Relief
 Geologically, Macedonia consists mainly of heavily folded ancient metamorphic rocks, which in the west have been eroded to reveal older granites. In the central region are found sedimentary deposits of more recent age. Traversing the country from north to south is a series of active fault lines, along which earthquakes (earthquake) frequently occur. The most severe of these in recent history was a shock of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale at Debar in 1967. Skopje was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1963.

      The mobility of the Earth's crust has also created two tectonic lakes, Prespa (Prespa, Lake) and Ohrid (Ohrid, Lake), in the southwest and has resulted in the formation of several mineral and hot springs.

 Macedonia is largely mountainous, with many peaks rising above the treeline at 6,600 feet (2,000 metres) above sea level. The highest elevation is at Mount Korab (9,032 feet, or 2,753 metres), on the Albanian border. Near the Šar Mountains in the northwest, the country is covered with forest. Where this has been cleared (and often in the past overgrazed), the thin skeletal soils have been subjected to dramatic erosion and gullying. There are also several broad and fertile valleys that provide good potential for agriculture.

Drainage
      The greater part of Macedonia (87 percent of its area) drains southeastward into the Aegean Sea, via the Vardar River and its tributaries. Smaller parts of this basin drain into Lake Doiran (Macedonian: Dojran) and into the Aegean via the Strumica and Struma rivers (Struma River). The remaining 13 percent of Macedonian territory drains northward via the Crni Drim River toward the Adriatic.

      The convoluted and fractured geology of the area imposes upon many of these rivers erratic courses that frequently drive through narrow and sometimes spectacular gorges. Such formations facilitate the damming of rivers for electric power generation.

Climate
      Macedonia stands at the junction of two main climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the continental. Periodically, air breaks through mountain barriers to the north and south, bringing dramatically contrasting weather patterns; one example is the cold northerly wind known as the vardarac. Overall there is a moderate continental climate: temperatures average 32° F (0° C) in January and rise to 68°–77° F (20°–25° C) in July. Annual precipitation is relatively light, between 20 and 28 inches (500 and 700 millimetres). Rainfalls of less than 1 inch in the driest months (July–August) rise to nearly 4 inches in October–November.

      Because of differences in local aspect and relief, there may be considerable variation in the climate, with the eastern areas tending to have milder winters and hotter, drier summers and the western (more mountainous) regions having more severe winters.

Plant and animal life
      The mountainous northwestern parts of Macedonia support large areas of forest vegetation. On the lower slopes this is principally deciduous woodland, but conifers grow at elevations as high as 6,600 feet. Some areas of forest have been cleared to provide rough summer pasture. The forests support a variety of wildlife, including wild pigs, wolves, bears, and lynx. The dry and warm summers result in a rich insect life, with species of grasshopper much in evidence, along with numerous small lizards.

Settlement patterns
      Successive waves of migration, as well as economic and political modernization, have left their mark in a diversity of settlement patterns. The highlands are still tended by shepherds living in remote hamlets and mountain refuges. Throughout the agricultural areas, farmers live as they have for centuries in nucleated villages. Several small market towns are of great antiquity. In Roman times Bitola was a commercial centre known as Heraclea Lyncestis. Ohrid became a major administrative and ecclesiastical centre in the early Middle Ages. The coming of the Turks in the 14th century promoted the growth of Skopje as a governmental and military centre and created large agrarian estates, which were later socialized by the communists and given over to extensive mechanized cultivation. This latter process has been responsible for the growth, since 1945, of Kavardarci and Veles.

      Industrialization in the second half of the 20th century had a dramatic impact upon population distribution. The population of Skopje has been boosted to roughly one-quarter of the population of the republic, its attractiveness as a pole for migration having been enhanced both by its location across a transcontinental transportation route and by its status as the republican capital. Acting as reasonably effective counterforces to the pull of Skopje are the growth of tourism around Ohrid and high rates of natural increase among Albanians in the northwest. Depopulation of the countryside has been particularly marked east of the Vardar, owing to tardy economic development.

The people

Ethnicity and language
       Macedonia has inherited a complex ethnic structure. The largest group, calling themselves Macedonians (about two-thirds of the population), are descendants of Slavic (Slavic languages) tribes that moved into the region between the 6th and 8th centuries AD. Their language is very closely related to Bulgarian and is written in the Cyrillic script. Among the Macedonians, however, are significant minorities of much older settlers. The most numerous of these (more than one-fifth of the population) are the Albanians, who claim to be descendants of the ancient Illyrians. They are concentrated in the northwest, along the borders with Albania and Kosovo. Albanians form majorities in at least 3 of Macedonia's 32 municipalities (especially Tetovo and Gostivar) and very significant minorities in 7 others. Another vestige of old settlement is the Vlachs (Vlach), who speak a language closely related to Romanian. The majority of the Vlachs in the republic live in the old mountain city of Kruševo. The Turkish (Turkic peoples) minority are mostly scattered across central and western Macedonia; they are a legacy of the 500-year rule of the Ottoman Empire. Also associated with this period are Roma (Rom) (Gypsies) and people who report their ethnicity as Muslim.

      In language, religion, and history, a case could be made for identifying Macedonian Slavs with Bulgarians (Bulgar) and to a lesser extent with Serbs. Both have had their periods of influence in the region (especially Serbia after 1918); consequently, there are still communities of Serbs (especially in Kumanovo and Skopje) and Bulgarians.

Religion
      The issue of ethnicity is made particularly sensitive by its tendency to coincide with religious allegiance. The various Slavic groups are usually Orthodox Christians (Eastern Orthodoxy), whereas Turks and the great majority of both Albanians and Roma are Muslims. Altogether, more than one-quarter of the population are of the Islāmic (Islāmic world) faith.

Demographic trends
      Historically, the Balkans experienced high rates of natural increase that declined remarkably in the 20th century in response to industrialization and urbanization. In Macedonia these processes have involved the Slavic Christian population to a much greater extent than the Muslims. Among rural Muslims rates of increase have remained very high: in the case of Turks and Muslim Slavs they are 2.5 times those of the Macedonian majority, and among Albanians and Roma they are 3 times as high. These differentials have been a source of political tension, although to a lesser extent than they have been in, for example, Kosovo. Nevertheless, the collapse of the Yugoslav federation in 1991 brought severe economic and political strains that made ethnicity and religion subjects of growing anxiety in Macedonia.

The economy

Socialist development
      Along with the rest of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia underwent an impressive economic transformation after 1945—in this case within the framework provided by Yugoslavia's system of “socialist self-management.” Even so, Macedonia remained the poorest of the Yugoslav republics and was included throughout the communist period in the list of regions that merited economic aid from wealthier parts of the federation. While this status undoubtedly brought much investment, several projects were located without adequate attention to the supply of materials or access to markets. A prime example was the choice of Skopje as the site for a steel industry. Within the Yugoslav framework, Macedonia built up important capacities in the production of sheet and strip metal, ferrous alloys, zinc, lead, and copper. Textile fibres and finished textiles, pharmaceuticals, and construction materials were among the most successful products of manufacturing industries. Meanwhile, agriculture remained central to the Macedonian economy, especially the production of tobacco, rice, fruit, vegetables, and wine. Tourism became a significant feature during the 1980s.

The private sector
      Although socialized production dominated industrial and commercial life after the communists' rise to power in 1945, the private sector remained important in agriculture, craft production, and retail trade. Seventy percent of agricultural land was held privately, accounting for 50 percent of output. However, privately owned enterprises were typically traditionalist in structure and outlook, and, even after the liberalization of the communist system in 1991, they were unable to develop a dynamic economic role.

Trade
      Following the onset of the Yugoslav civil war in 1991, the economic position of Macedonia became very precarious. The republic had previously depended heavily on Yugoslav rather than foreign markets, and its participation in Yugoslavia's export trade was heavily skewed toward the countries of the former Soviet bloc, which were concurrently undergoing economic crisis. United Nations sanctions against Serbia added to these difficulties by throttling the transport of goods through Macedonia. Also, an acrimonious dispute with Greece over the name of the republic frustrated Macedonia's quest for international recognition, thereby deterring foreign investment and delaying economic reform.

Communications
      The location of the republic across the Morava-Vardar route from Belgrade, Serbia, to Thessaloníki, Greece, has endowed it with reasonably modern road and rail links on a northwest-southeast axis. However, the historic rail link with Greece through Bitola and other branch lines are much in need of modernization. Essentially, national infrastructure needs have been met only where these coincide with international requirements. For this reason, communications are particularly poor in the east, which conducts little trade with the outside. The development of tourism in the Mavrovo-Ohrid area has ensured new road building in the west, and an airport at Ohrid supplements facilities at Skopje.

Administration and social conditions

The constitution
      The constitution of 1991 established a republican assembly (called the Sobranie) consisting of a single chamber of 120 seats competed for in multiparty elections. There is an explicit separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive: the prime minister and cabinet ministers, for example, do not have seats in the assembly. The executive, under the prime minister, is the most powerful branch, with the legislature and judiciary acting principally as checks and balances to the government's activity. Whereas deputies are elected by a majority of those voting, the constitution insists that the president be elected by a majority of those on the electoral register. The presidency resembles the German rather than the French institution, the president serving principally as a symbolic head of state.

      The republic is divided into 32 opštine (municipalities) to which are delegated many important social, judicial, and economic functions.

Education
      Primary education is universal and compulsory for eight years from the age of seven. It may be conducted in languages other than Macedonian where there are large local majorities of other ethnic groups. A further four years of secondary education are available on a voluntary basis in specialized schools, which often represent the particular economic strengths or needs of a locality. There is a single university, in Skopje, with satellite facilities in other cities.

Cultural life
      Great effort has been invested in the support of Macedonian language and culture, not only through education but also through the theatre and other arts as well as the media of mass communication. The republic has its own radio and television service. The small population and the poverty of the republic make it difficult to sustain diversity in the field of culture, and the majority of cultural institutions (with the exception of those intended for ethnic minorities) are located in Skopje. Macedonia has made its mark on the international cultural scene with some conspicuous successes, especially the Struga poetry festival and the plays of Goran Stefanovski.

History
      As described in this article's introduction (Macedonia), the name Macedonia is applied both to a region encompassing the present-day Republic of Macedonia and portions of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece and to the republic itself, the boundaries of which have been defined since 1913. In the following discussion, Macedonia is used generally to describe the larger region prior to 1913 and the area of the present-day republic thereafter.

The ancient world
      The Macedonian region has been the site of human habitation for millennia. There is archaeological evidence that the Old European civilization flourished there between 7000 and 3500 BC. Seminomadic peoples speaking languages of the Indo-European family then moved into the Balkan Peninsula. During the 1st millennium BC the Macedonian region was populated by a mixture of peoples—Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians, Celts, and Greeks. Although Macedonia is most closely identified historically with the kingdom of Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC and the subsequent expansion of that empire by his son Alexander III (Alexander the Great) (the Great), none of the states established in that era was very durable; until the arrival of the Romans, the pattern of politics was a shifting succession of contending city-states and chiefdoms that occasionally integrated into ephemeral empires. Nevertheless, this period is important in understanding the present-day region, as both Greeks and Albanians base their claims to be indigenous inhabitants of it on the achievements of the Macedonian and Illyrian (Illyria) states.

      At the end of the 3rd century BC, the Roman (ancient Rome)s began to expand into the Balkan Peninsula in search of metal ores, slaves, and agricultural produce. The Illyrians were finally subdued in AD 9 (their lands becoming the province of Illyricum), and the north and east of Macedonia were incorporated into the province of Moesia in AD 29. A substantial number of sites bear witness today to the power of Rome, especially Heraclea Lyncestis (modern Bitola) and Stobi (south of Veles on the Vardar River). The name Skopje is Roman in origin (Scupi). Many roads still follow courses laid down by the Romans.

      Beginning in the 3rd century, the defenses of the Roman Empire in the Balkans were probed by Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Avars, and other seminomadic peoples. Although the region was nominally a part of the Eastern Empire (Byzantine Empire), control from Constantinople became more and more intermittent. By the mid-6th century, Slavic tribes had begun to settle in Macedonia, and, from the 7th to the 13th century, the entire region was little more than a system of military marches governed uneasily by the Byzantine state through alliances with local princes.

The medieval states
      In that period the foundations were laid for modern competing claims for control over Macedonia. During the 9th century the Eastern tradition of Christianity was consolidated in the area. The mission to the Slavs (Slav) has come to be associated with Saints Cyril and Methodius, whose great achievement was the devising of an alphabet based on Greek letters and adapted to the phonetic peculiarities of the Slavonic tongue. In its later development as the Cyrillic alphabet, this came to be a distinctive cultural feature uniting several of the Slavic (Slavic languages) peoples.

      Although the central purpose of the missionaries was to preach the Gospel to the Slavs in the vernacular, their ecclesiastical connection with the Greek culture of Constantinople remained a powerful lever to be worked vigorously during the struggle for Macedonia in the 19th century. The people who form the majority of the inhabitants of the contemporary Macedonian republic are clearly not Greeks but Slavs. However, this ecclesiastical tradition, taken together with the long period during which the region was associated with the Greek-speaking Byzantine state, and above all the brief ascendancy of the Macedonian empire (c. 359–321 BC) continue to provide Greeks (Greece, history of) with a sense that Macedonia is Greek.

      Yet, although the inhabitants of the present-day republic are Slavs, it remains to be determined what kind of Slavs they are. Among the short-lived states jostling for position with Byzantium were two that modern Bulgarians claim give them a special stake in Macedonia. Under the reign of Simeon I (893–927), Bulgaria emerged briefly as the dominant power in the peninsula, extending its control from the Black Sea to the Adriatic. Following a revolt of the western provinces, this first Bulgarian empire fell apart, but it was partially reintegrated by Samuel (reigned 976–1014), who set up his own capital in Ohrid (not the traditional Bulgarian capital of Preslav [now known as Veliki Preslav]) and also established a patriarchate there. Although the Byzantine state reasserted its authority after 1018, a second Bulgarian empire raised its head in 1185; this included northern and central Macedonia and lasted until the mid-14th century.

      Possible links between Macedonians and Bulgars during the seminomadic period of the arrival of the Slav peoples in the Balkans are unclear and probably impossible to determine. Modern Bulgarians have based their claims to the historical unity of the two peoples principally on two considerations. First, they emphasize the lack of clear distinctions between early variants of the old Slavonic languages, explaining later developments that were peculiar to the Macedonian tongue as reflecting subsequent Serbianization. Consequently, Macedonian is interpreted as a dialect of Bulgarian. Bulgarians also point out that, throughout the rise and fall of the early Bulgarian empires, control over a great part of Macedonia was a common factor. A supplementary but important point is the continuing role of Ohrid as a symbolic centre of ecclesiastical life for both peoples.

      During the second half of the 12th century, a more significant rival to Byzantine power in the Balkans emerged in the Serbian Nemanjić Dynasty. Stefan Nemanja became veliki župan, or “grand chieftain,” of Raška in 1169, and his successors created a state that, under Stefan Dušan (reigned 1331–55), incorporated Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, all of modern Albania and Montenegro, a substantial part of Bosnia, and Serbia as far north as the Danube. Although the cultural heart of the empire was Raška (the area around modern Novi Pazar) and Kosovo, as the large number of medieval Orthodox churches in those regions bear witness, Dušan was crowned emperor in Skopje in 1346. Within half a century after his death, the Nemanjić state was eclipsed by the expanding Ottoman Empire; nevertheless, it is to this golden age that Serbs today trace their own claims to Macedonia.

      The Ottoman Empire originated in a small emirate established in the second half of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia. By 1354 it had gained a toehold in Europe, and by 1362 Adrianopole (modern Edirne, Turkey) had fallen. From this base the power of this Turkic-speaking and Islamic state steadily expanded. From a military point of view, the most significant defeat of the Serbian states took place in the Battle of the Maritsa River (Maritsa River, Battle of the) at Chernomen in 1371, but it is the defeat in 1389 of a combined army of Serbs, Albanians, and Hungarians under Lazar at Kosovo (Kosovo, Battle of) Polje that has been preserved in legend as symbolizing the subordination of the Balkan Slavs to the “Ottoman yoke.” Constantinople itself did not fall to the Turks until 1453; but by the end of the 14th century the Macedonian region had been incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. Thus began what was in many respects the most stable period of Macedonian history, lasting until the Turks were ejected from the region in 1913.

      Half a millennium of contact with Turkey had a profound impact on language, food habits, and many aspects of daily living in Macedonia. Within the empire, administrators, soldiers, merchants, and artisans moved in pursuit of their professions. Where war, famine, or disease left regions underpopulated, settlers were moved in from elsewhere with no regard for any link between ethnicity and territory. By the system known as devşirme (the notorious “blood tax”), numbers of Christian children were periodically recruited into the Turkish army and administration, where they were Islamized and assigned to wherever their services were required. For all these reasons many Balkan towns acquired a cosmopolitan atmosphere. This was particularly the case in Macedonia during the 19th century, when, as the Serbian, Greek, and Bulgarian states began to assert their independence, many who had become associated with Turkish rule moved into lands still held by the Sublime Porte. Whatever distinctive characteristics Macedonians may or may not have had before the coming of the Turks, it is undoubtedly the case that, by the outbreak of the Balkan Wars, they (along with the Muslims of Bosnia) were the European people most closely tied to Ottoman culture.

      The economic legacy of Turkish rule is also important. During the expansionist phase of the empire, Turkish feudalism consisted principally of the timar system of “tax farming,” whereby local officeholders raised revenue or supported troops in the sultan's name but were not landowners. As the distinctively military aspects of the Ottoman order declined after the 18th century, these privileges were gradually transformed in some areas into the çiftlik system, which more closely resembled proprietorship over land. This process involved the severing of the peasantry from their traditional rights on the land and a corresponding creation of large estates farmed on a commercial basis. The çiftlik thus yielded the paradox of a population that was heavily influenced by Ottoman culture yet bound into an increasingly oppressive economic subordination to Turkish landlords.

The independence movement
      Conflict and confusion deepened in Macedonia in the closing decades of the 19th century. As the Turkish empire decayed, Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria all looked to benefit territorially from the approaching carve-up of Macedonia. At the same time, these indigenous states all became in different ways stalking horses for the aspirations of the European Great Powers. The weapons employed in this conflict ranged widely; they included opening schools in an attempt to inculcate a particular linguistic and confessional identity, controlling ecclesiastical office, exerting influence over the course of railway building, diplomatic attempts to secure the ear of the Sublime Porte, and even financing guerrilla bands.

      Partly in response to the intensity of these campaigns of pressure and even terror, a movement called the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was founded in 1893, at Resana (Resen) near Ohrid. The aim of IMRO was “Macedonia for the Macedonians,” and on August 2 (July 20, Old Style), 1903, it raised the banner of revolt against the Turks at Kruševo and declared Macedonian independence. The Ilinden, or St. Elijah's Day, Uprising was brutally crushed, but the Macedonian Question thereafter aroused intense international concern. The Great Powers made several attempts to impose reform on the Porte, including sending their own officers to supervise the gendarmerie—in effect, the first international peacekeeping force.

War and partition
      In spite of their conflicting interests, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bulgaria in 1912 concluded a series of secret bilateral treaties that had as their explicit intention ejecting the Turks from Europe. They took advantage of an uprising by the Albanian population to intervene in October 1912 and, following their defeat of the sultan's armies, partitioned the remaining Turkish possessions (including Macedonia) among them. The Treaty of London (May 1913), which concluded this First Balkan War (Balkan Wars), left Bulgaria dissatisfied; but, after that country's attempt to enforce a new partition in a Second Balkan War, the Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) confirmed a pattern of boundaries that (with small variations) has remained in force ever since. Although the region was again engulfed in war in 1914 and Bulgaria occupied large parts of Macedonia, the partition of 1913 was reconfirmed at the end of World War I in 1918.

      During the interwar years, intensive campaigning took place in all areas of Macedonia to impose identities on the population that suited the interests of the controlling states. In an attempt to secure its status as South Serbia, “Vardar Macedonia” was subjected to an active colonization program under land-reform legislation. Following the forcible ejection of Greeks from Turkey during the 1920s, thousands of Greek settlers were given land in “Aegean Macedonia.” Both Serbia and Greece took advantage of the displacement by war or expulsion of many former Turkish landowners.

      During that period a link was consolidated between politicized agricultural labourers (especially tobacco workers) on the large Macedonian estates and the nascent Communist (communism) Party—a link that survived the proscription of the party in Yugoslavia after 1921. Partly because of its communist associations, the movement for Macedonian independence was then sustained largely underground until the outbreak of World War II.

The republic
      When war overtook the Balkans again in 1941, the kingdom of Yugoslavia was again divided, this time between the Axis powers and their allies. Yugoslav Macedonia was occupied principally by Bulgaria, the western part being joined to a united Albania under Italian control. The ethnic complexity of the region, together with its history of division and manipulation by outsiders, left the local population demoralized and confused. The need to reconcile communist internationalism with the desire for national self-determination posed problems of extreme political sensitivity for resistance groups. In 1945 the area was reincorporated into Yugoslavia, this time under communist control. In an attempt to correct the mistakes of the first Yugoslavia, in which a heavily centralized regime had been dominated by the Serbian dynasty, administration, and armed forces, the second Yugoslavia was organized as a federation, and Macedonia was established as one of its six constituent republics.

      The consolidation of communist control after the expulsion of the Axis powers was relatively rapid and effective in Yugoslavia. In Greece, however, civil war between communist and royalist forces lasted until 1949, when, under international pressure, Yugoslavia agreed to end support for the Greek guerrillas. Because of the close links between communism and ethnic Macedonians living in Greece (Greece, history of), many Macedonian Slavs (Slav) then migrated from there and settled in the new Macedonian republic.

      The autonomy of the republic was perhaps more cosmetic than real, although great efforts were made to boost a sense of cultural identity among Macedonians. A Macedonian language was codified and disseminated through education (including the first Macedonian university), the media of communication, and the arts. An important symbol of the independence of the Macedonian republic was the creation of an autocephalous Macedonian Orthodox church. Since the 1890s a great deal of dissatisfaction had been expressed in Macedonia with the unsympathetic attitude of the Serbian church, with which Orthodox Macedonians had long been affiliated. There is little doubt, however, that autocephalous status would never have been achieved without the vigorous support of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The archbishopric of Ohrid was restored in 1958, and autocephaly was declared in 1967. Although national churches are typical in the Orthodox communion, in the case of the Macedonians it became the root of a great deal of hostility on the part of neighbouring Orthodox (Eastern Orthodoxy) peoples.

      Macedonia's economic development lagged behind that of the more-developed republics throughout the communist period, yet Macedonians remained among the most loyal supporters of the Yugoslav federation, which seemed to offer their best guarantee against claims on their territory by other countries and against secessionist sentiments on the part of internal minorities. This loyalty survived the strain both of the suppression of liberal Marxism and of disputes over republican autonomy between 1968 and 1974. Macedonian politicians persistently sought to broker solutions to the final constitutional crisis and to the breakup of the League of Communists and the Yugoslav federation itself after 1989.

      Although the first multiparty elections, held in November and December 1990, brought to prominence a nationalist party (also calling itself IMRO), it was only with great reluctance that the independence of Macedonia was declared one year later. Greece immediately objected to the name of the new republic, insisting that “Macedonia” had been used by Greeks since ancient times and that its appropriation indicated a revival of claims on Greek Macedonia. The Macedonian republic argued in turn that Slavs had lived in the area for 14 centuries and had used the name Macedonia for hundreds of years. As a compromise, Macedonia joined the United Nations in 1993 under the name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Further international recognition followed, though the name remained contentious into the 21st century. After independence, political life became a matter of delicately balancing the demands of social-democratic parties (former communists), Macedonian nationalists, and ethnic minorities (principally Albanians). Ethnic tensions periodically erupted into violence, notably in 2001, when ethnic Albanians mounted a major armed insurgency that was finally diffused after outside mediators brokered peace talks. In addition, NATO deployed a peacekeeping force in the country for some 18 months.

Additional Reading

Geography
Joseph Obrebski, Ritual and Social Structure in a Macedonian Village, ed. by Barbara Kerewsky Halpern and Joel M. Halpern (1977), is a brief research report of rare quality. The Macedonian Literary Language (1959) is an official account of its development. An official view of ecclesiastical development is Doné Ilievski, The Macedonian Orthodox Church: The Road to Independence (1973). The following are of particular importance in understanding the significance of ethnicity: Jovan Trifunoski, Albansko Stanovništvo u Socijalističkoj Republici Makedoniji (1988), on Albanians in Macedonia; C.N.O. Bartlett, The Turkish Minority in Yugoslavia (1980); H.R. Wilkinson, Maps and Politics: A Review of the Ethnographic Cartography of Macedonia (1951); and Loring M. Danforth, The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World (1995).

History
Stoyan Pribichevich, Macedonia, Its People and History (1982); and Institute Of National History, Skopje, A History of the Macedonian People (1979; originally published in Macedonian, 1972), are distinguished for their specific focus on Macedonia. The competition for the partition of Macedonia is described in Elisabeth Barker, Macedonia: Its Place in Balkan Power Politics (1950, reprinted 1980). A classic study of the Macedonian independence movement is Krste P. Misirkov, On Macedonian Matters (1903, reissued 1974; originally published in Serbo-Croatian, 1903). The World War II period is dealt with in Stephen E. Palmer, Jr., and Robert R. King, Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question (1971). The transition from communist rule to a multiparty, independent state is illuminated by John B. Allcock, “Macedonia,” in Bogdan Szajkoswki (ed.), Political Parties of Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Successor States (1994), pp. 279–291.John B. Allcock

▪ ancient kingdom, Europe
      ancient kingdom centred on the plain in the northeastern corner of the Greek peninsula, at the head of the Gulf of Thérmai. In the 4th century BC it achieved hegemony over Greece and conquered lands as far east as the Indus River, establishing a short-lived empire that introduced the Hellenistic Age of ancient Greek civilization.

      The cultural links of prehistoric Macedonia were mainly with Greece (ancient Greek civilization) and Anatolia. A people of unknown ethnic origins who called themselves Macedonians are known from about 700 BC, when they pushed eastward from their home on the Haliacmon (Aliákmon) River under the leadership of King Perdiccas I and his successors. By the 5th century BC the Macedonians had adopted the Greek language and had forged a unified kingdom. Athenian control of the coastal regions forced Macedonian rulers to concentrate on bringing the uplands and plains of Macedonia under their sway—a task finally achieved by their king Amyntas III (Amyntas III (or II)) (reigned c. 393–370/369).

      Two of Amyntas' sons, Alexander II and Perdiccas III, reigned only briefly. Amyntas' third son, Philip II, assumed control in the name of Perdiccas' infant heir; but having restored order he made himself king (reigned 359–336) and raised Macedonia to a predominant position in Greece.

      Philip's son Alexander III (Alexander the Great) (reigned 336–323; see Alexander the Great) overthrew the Achaemenian (Persian) Empire and expanded Macedonia's dominion to the Nile and Indus rivers. On Alexander's death at Babylon his generals divided up the satrapies (provinces) of his empire and used them as bases in a struggle to acquire the whole. From 321 to 301 warfare was almost continual. Macedonia itself remained the heart of the empire, and its possession (along with the control of Greece) was keenly contested. Antipater (Alexander's regent in Europe) and his son Cassander managed to retain control of Macedonia and Greece until Cassander's death (297), which threw Macedonia into civil war. After a six-year rule (294–288) by Demetrius I Poliorcetes, Macedonia again fell into a state of internal confusion, intensified by Galatian marauders from the north. In 277 Antigonus II Gonatas, the capable son of Demetrius, repulsed the Galatians and was hailed as king by the Macedonian army. Under him the country achieved a stable monarchy—the Antigonid dynasty, which ruled Macedonia from 277 to 168.

      Under Philip V (reigned 221–179) and his son Perseus (reigned 179–168), Macedonia clashed with Rome and lost. (See Macedonian Wars.) Under Roman control Macedonia at first (168–146) formed four independent republics without common bonds. In 146, however, it became a Roman province with the four sections as administrative units. Macedonia remained the bulwark of Greece, and the northern frontiers saw frequent campaigning against neighbouring tribes. Toward AD 400 it was divided into the provinces of Macedonia and Macedonia secunda, within the diocese of Moesia.

Introduction
Bulgarian  Makedoniya , Modern Greek  Makedhonía , Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian  Makedonija 

      region in the south-central part of the Balkan Peninsula that comprises northern and northeastern Greece, the southwestern corner of Bulgaria, and the independent Republic of Macedonia.

Land.
      Macedonia's traditional boundary on the east is the lower Néstos (Mesta in Bulgaria) River and the western slopes of the Rhodope Mountains, which straddle the Greek-Bulgarian frontier. On the north the boundary is marked by the Široka, Skopska Crna Gora, and Šar mountains, bordering southern Serbia. On the west the boundary is marked by the Korab range and by Lakes Ohrid and Prespa, which straddle the Albanian-Macedonian border. The region is bordered on the southwest by the Pindus Mountains and on the south by the valley of the Aliákmon River, which reaches the Gulf of Salonika near Mount Olympus. Including the Chalcidice Peninsula, this stretch of land covers about 25,900 square miles (67,100 square km). About 50 percent lies in Greece, with its centre at the port of Thessaloníki, and 10 percent in Bulgaria, with its centre at Blagoevgrad. The Republic of Macedonia, with its capital at Skopje, occupies the rest.

      The Macedonian region ranges from the high plateaus and mountain peaks of Bulgaria and the Macedonian republic to the wide, flat, and almost treeless floodplains of the lower Vardar and Struma rivers in Greece (where the rivers are known as the Axiós and Strimón, respectively). Since ancient times, Macedonia has had strategic importance as a crossroads linking the Adriatic and Aegean coasts with the Bosporus and the Danube River, respectively. The Byzantine and Ottoman empires, both based in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), considered it essential to hold Macedonia, and in the 19th century the region figured largely in Austria's Drang nach Osten (“Drive to the East”) toward Constantinople and in Russia's attempts to secure passage to the Mediterranean through the Dardanelles. When the national consciousness of the Balkan peoples began to waken, the European Great Powers found that drawing international frontiers along strategic or economic lines could not easily be reconciled with ethnic considerations, and the Macedonian Question became a problem of international magnitude.

History.
      Macedonia owes its name to the ancient kingdom of Macedonia (or Macedon). Centred in the southern part of the region, this kingdom seems to have been largely Greek-speaking, with Thracian and Illyrian admixtures. By the 4th century BC, it had extended its rule northward into the Balkan Peninsula and throughout the Mediterranean. In the 2nd century BC, Macedonia was made into a Roman province.

      When the Roman Empire was divided in the 4th century AD into eastern and western halves, Macedonia became part of the eastern half, which became the Byzantine Empire. By this time the population of Macedonia had been largely Christianized. Macedonia's Greek ethnic composition was overturned by the invasion of Slavic (Slav) peoples into the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. Most of the region subsequently fell under the sway of the first Bulgarian empire in the 9th century. The Bulgarians were Christianized during this period by disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius, whose adaptation of Greek characters to a Slavonic dialect spoken in southern Macedonia eventually became the Cyrillic alphabet. For the rest of the Middle Ages parts of the region were variously ruled by the Byzantine Empire, the second Bulgarian empire, and the Serbian empire. The groundwork was thus laid for the conflicting national claims to Macedonia that emerged in the modern era.

      Macedonia fell under the sway of the Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century, and the area was subsequently colonized by significant numbers of Muslim Turks and Albanians, thus further complicating the region's ethnic fabric. In the late 15th century sizable numbers of Sephardic Jews who had been expelled from Spain settled in the towns of Macedonia (especially Thessaloníki), where they competed with the Greeks for local trade.

      In 1878, after winning the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, Russia by the Treaty of San Stefano compelled the Ottomans to grant independence to Bulgaria and give that revived nation all of Macedonia except Thessaloníki and the Chalcidice Peninsula. This settlement was soon overturned by the major European powers, who in the Treaty of Berlin (Berlin, Congress of) that year returned Macedonia to Turkey, allowing it to keep its Christian administration. For the next three decades Macedonia was coveted by the Greeks, the Bulgarians, and the Serbs, with each claiming closer ethnic or historical ties to Macedonia than the others. The liberation of Macedonia from the Turks was desired by all non-Muslim Macedonians, however, and to this end the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was started in 1893 with a program of “Macedonia for the Macedonians.”

      In 1912 Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece put aside their differences and formed the Balkan League in order to wrest the region from the Turks. They promptly achieved this goal in the First Balkan War (Balkan Wars) (1912–13) but then quarreled with each other over how to divide up Macedonia among themselves. The Serbs, Greeks, and Montenegrins, helped by the Romanians, then fought and won the Second Balkan War (1913) against Bulgaria. The ensuing treaty in 1913 assigned the southern half, or “Aegean Macedonia,” to Greece and most of the northern half (“Vardar Macedonia”) to Serbia; a much smaller portion, “Pirin Macedonia,” went to Bulgaria. Bulgaria sided with the Central powers in World War I and thus was able to occupy all of Macedonia. But the Central powers' defeat in that war resulted in another reduction of Bulgaria's portion of Macedonia, so that it retained only its present-day Pirin share. Vardar Macedonia was incorporated with the rest of Serbia into the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (renamed Yugoslavia in 1929).

      During the period from 1912 to 1923, several population shifts occurred in Macedonia. The largest of these took place under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne (Lausanne, Treaty of) (1923), when 375,000 Turks left Aegean Macedonia and were replaced by 640,000 Greek refugees from Turkey. When the Balkan Peninsula was overrun and partitioned by the Axis powers during World War II, Bulgaria again occupied almost all of Macedonia except for Thessaloníki; this was occupied by the Germans, who sent four-fifths of the city's Jews to their deaths. After the defeat of the Axis in 1945, the internal frontiers of Macedonia were restored roughly to their previous lines. Yugoslav Macedonia was elevated to a separate republic within the communist federation. In 1991 the Macedonian republic declared its independence from Yugoslavia.

modern Greek  Makedhonía 

      , traditional region of Greece, comprising the northern and northeastern portions of that country. Greek Macedonia has an area of about 13,200 square miles (34,200 square km). It is bounded by Albania to the west, independent Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, the Greek region of Thrace to the east, the Aegean Sea to the southeast, and the Greek regions of Thessaly and Epirus to the south. The principal city of the region is Thessaloníki (formerly Salonika).

      Present-day Greek Macedonia was formerly part of the larger region of Macedonia that was dominated by the Ottoman Empire between 1371 and 1912. Greek Macedonia was created as a result of the Second Balkan War (Balkan Wars) in 1913. The region was occupied by Bulgarian troops during most of World War I and by Bulgarians and German troops in World War II, but each time it was returned to Greek sovereignty at the war's end. Macedonia was the site of bitter fighting between leftists and royalists in the Greek Civil War (1946–49).

      Most inhabitants of the region are ethnic Greeks and are heavily concentrated around the city of Thessaloníki, which is Greece's second largest city, the largest port after Piraeus, and the administrative, industrial, and commercial centre of northern Greece. Fewer than 20,000 Muslims remain in the region, these being mostly Pomaks, a Turkicized people speaking a Bulgarian dialect. Vlachs are concentrated in the cities of Thessaloníki and Sérrai, Macedonians (who speak their own South Slavic language) are clustered along the northern border, and there are also small enclaves of Gypsies and Albanians.

      Most of the interior of Greek Macedonia is hilly or mountainous and reaches elevations of about 6,500 feet (2,000 m). The coastal areas along the Aegean Sea and the river valleys of the region constitute the only significant lowlands in all of Macedonia. The plain of Dráma and the valleys of the Strimón and Axiós rivers are the richest farmland in Greece and produce rice, olives, cotton, and tobacco. Fruit and grapes are widely grown, and wine and ouzo are produced. The processing of tobacco and other agricultural commodities and the weaving of textiles are the chief manufacturing industries. Thessaloníki has an international airport and is linked by roads and railways to Athens, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. Tourism centres on the Chalcidice Peninsula and the island of Thasos. Mount Olympus and the monastic site of Mount Athos also lie within the region.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

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