The history of Northern Macedonia begins in ancient times. The historic Macedonia posed today by Northern Macedonia, the province of Macedonia in northern Greece and Blagoevgrad of Venice in Bulgaria. In the 580s, Macedonia was subject to Slavic rule. In the Middle Ages, the area was alternately subject to the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire, while it was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1392 to 1912–1913.

Towards the end of the 19th century, movements arose to create a separate state in the province of Macedonia. The land was divided between Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia after the Balkan Wars in 1912–1913. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Macedonia. The Serbian-controlled part entered Yugoslavia in 1918. During World War II, Serbian-controlled Macedonia was divided between Bulgaria and Italian-occupied Albania. The borders were largely set after the war and the Serbian-controlled Macedonia was established as a people ‘s republic within Yugoslavia; The Socialist Republic of Macedonia.

On September 8, 1991, Macedonia became an independent state following a referendum. In 2019, the country changed its name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, following a prolonged name conflict with Greece.

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History of Northern Macedonia

Ancient Macedonia

The area that can be referred to as the geographical or historical Macedonia is today made up of the Republic of Northern Macedonia (formerly called FYROM, “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, or ” Vardar- Makedonia”), the province of Macedonia in Northern Greece (“Aegean Macedonia ”) with the city of Thessaloniki, and the Blagoevgrad province of Bulgaria (“ Pirin -Makedonia ”).

The area has always been important for trade and transport, and therefore disputed. Through Macedonia, the important road from Aegean to the Danube area runs.

It is disputed whether ancient Macedonians were Greeks, as the Greeks claim, or whether they were a native Indo-European people closely related to the Greeks. At the heart of ancient Macedonia was the plain of Thessaloniki Bay. The Kingdom of Macedonia was founded in the 6th century BCE. by Perdikkas 1.

Slavic and Byzantine dominions

In the late 500s and early 600s, Macedonia was conquered by Slavic tribes who immigrated from the north and assimilated the former population. In 680 they needed turkotatariske Bulgarians over the Danube, and Byzantium had to recognize a Bulgarian state. Later the Bulgarians were assimilated by the slaves, only the name remained. During the Bulgarian Khan Boris 1 (852–889) Macedonia became part of the Bulgarian Empire.

In 865, Boris turned Christianity into state religion. The Slavic apostles Kyrillos and Methodios of Thessaloniki created, on assignment from Constantinople, a slavic writing language that soon gained a foothold in Bulgaria. Among their students, the cities of Preslav in Bulgaria and Ohrid in Macedonia became the most important cultural centers. The learned Kliment made Ohrid a literary and religious center around 900.

Under Boris’ son, Simeon, the first Bulgarian medieval kingdom reached its peak, but was defeated by Byzantine in 927. Tsar Samuil (976-1014) restored a Slavic (western Bulgarian or Macedonian) kingdom with Ohrid as its capital. In Macedonian history writing, this is seen as the first independent Macedonian state.

After protracted wars, the Byzantine Empire conquered dominion throughout the area in 1018. In the 13th century, Bulgaria again emerged as a powerful state (the second Bulgarian kingdom). In the 1300s, Macedonia was part of the Serbian medieval state. Serbian king Dušan Nemanja was crowned emperor in 1346 in Skopje, which he made to his capital. But in the 1300s, Ottoman Turks began their attacks on the Balkan Peninsula. The Serbian army was killed in 1389 in the Battle of Kosovo Plain.

In 1392 Skopje was conquered by the Turks, in 1430 Thessaloniki fell, and for 500 years the area was part of the Ottoman Empire.

Ottoman dominion

Macedonia was one of the first areas in the Balkans to be incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, and one of the last to disband (1912–1913). In the first phase of the Ottoman conquest, from 1354, a strong military and administrative structure was introduced into the occupied territories.

During the Turkish rule, the traditions of the medieval Slavic empires were broken. The population in Macedonia was very composed, Slavs, Turks, Armenians, Greeks and romansktalende valakere. Many Sephardic Jews settled in Macedonia after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Thessaloniki became a predominantly Jewish city. The Slavic population was a poor peasant population. They were illiterate and subject to Muslim landlords. Most continued to be Christians (Orthodox), and their identity was often associated with ecclesiastical affiliation.

In 1766, the Patriarchate of Ohrid was abolished, and the Greek influence increased. From 1870 a Bulgarian church was organized, which helped give the people a Bulgarian affiliation. In the second half of the 19th century, opposition to Turkish rule grew. Russia wanted influence in the Balkans and emerged as the Slavic peoples defender. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, Russia established at the peace of San Stefano a Greater Bulgaria that encompassed all of Macedonia, but at the Berlin Congress in 1878, the Western great powers agreed that Macedonia be returned to Turkey.

Between 1878 and 1912, neighboring states Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria cast their eyes on Macedonia, which they wished to incorporate into their states. Serbia wanted access to the sea, while Bulgaria wanted to restore «St. Stefano-Bulgaria “. Greece wanted to incorporate the southern part. Macedonia during this period became a piece of the superpower, with the Western powers, including the United Kingdom, accusing Turkey of abusing its Christian subjects. By sending teachers, priests and guerrillas, neighboring states tried to assert their influence in Macedonia and make the population Bulgarian, Serbian or Greeks. Gradually, a Macedonian national feeling emerged. Among the Albanians, an Albanian national movement emerged that first demanded increased self-government within the Ottoman Empire.

In 1893, an “Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organization” (IMRO, Slavonic VMRO) was established in Thessaloniki, which was a liberation movement aimed at Turkish rule. In part, IMRO was Bulgarian-friendly, but eventually the goal became full Macedonian autonomy within a Balkan federation (“Macedonia for the Macedonians”). The leader, Goce Delčev, who is today honored as the great freedom fighters of the Macedonians, was killed by the Turks in 1903, just before an extensive uprising against the Turks (the “St. Elias Day Uprising”) was initiated. The “Kruševo Republic” existed from 3rd to 11th. August 1903, but a great Turkish force broke down the uprising.

During the first Balkan war in 1912, the Turks were expelled from Macedonia. The Second Balkan War ended in 1913, with Macedonia being divided between Serbia and Greece, while Bulgaria received only a minor part. ” Vardar -Makedonia” was part of the Kingdom of Serbia until the First World War.

Only after the outbreak of the war in 1912 did Albanian demands for increased autonomy within an Ottoman framework, Albanian leaders expressed independence. On November 28, 1912, they declared the establishment of an independent Albanian state that included the Albanian-inhabited parts of western Macedonia.

In the Greek part, Aegean Macedonia, the population structure was radically changed in the early 1920s when many Greeks from Bulgaria and especially Turkey settled in the area, while many slaves went to Bulgaria and Turks to Turkey.

When the new South Slavic state, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) was created in 1918, Vardar-Macedonia was considered as “Southern Serbia”. Official language was Serbian, and all calls to Macedonian language or identity were suppressed. The Macedonians’ dislike of Serbian repression led to sympathy for Bulgaria, and the desire for autonomy was strong.

Sub-Republic of Yugoslavia (1944–1992)

When Yugoslavia was occupied by Germany and Italy in April 1941, Vardar-Macedonia was incorporated into a Greater Bulgaria under German control. The Bulgarian occupation as an occupying power in Vardar-Macedonia provoked a strong anti-Bulgarian attitude. The basis was thus laid down for the Yugoslav politician Tito’s Communist Party in 1943 to adopt the Macedonians as their own nation, and in 1944 Vardar-Macedonia officially became a sub-republic, the “Socialist Republic of Macedonia”, in the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. Macedonian was adopted as the official language.

After 1945, a large-scale nation building was started. Macedonian culture was systematically expanded, and soon the Socialist Republic of Macedonia had all national cultural institutions, such as the university, academy of science and national theater.

During the Greek Civil War (1945–1949), the relationship between Yugoslavia and Greece became tense, with many from Slavic background participating in the rebels’ side and receiving support from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. The relationship with Bulgaria was normal until the break between the Soviet leader Stalin and Tito in 1948. Tito cooperated with the Bulgarian Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov on a Balkan federation, and the Bulgarian Communist Party recognized its own Macedonian language in Pirin- Macedonia. Later the party went back on this. The relationship between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia became very tense due to the Macedonian question. Bulgaria accused Tito of creating an artificial nation, claiming that the Macedonians were really Bulgarians. The Cold War sharpened the contradictions.

The Socialist Republic of Macedonia showed its independence to the Serbs by declaring the Macedonian Orthodox Church independent in 1967, without the Serbian Orthodox Church recognizing the detachment. Serbian nationalists still regarded the Macedonians as Serbs. The relationship between the Orthodox Macedonians and the Muslim minorities – the Albanians, the Turks and the Islamized Macedonians (Torahs) – was tense. During the 1980s, relations with Albanians in particular became worse. The Gypsies got better conditions in Yugoslav Macedonia than in perhaps any other country.

After the catastrophic earthquake in Skopje in 1963, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia underwent a large-scale reconstruction and industrialization. But within Yugoslavia, Macedonia was the poorest sub-republic, with a standard of living almost at the national level. Despite transfers from the wealthier sub-republics, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia continued to be economically backward, and was hit by the Yugoslav economic crisis of the 1980s.


When Yugoslavia disintegrated around 1990, Macedonia at long last sought to maintain a unified Yugoslavia. However, when Slovenia and Croatia disbanded in June 1991, it was not a viable option for Macedonia to remain in a Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia with President Slobodan Milošević as head. Macedonia also declared itself an independent republic, the Republic of Macedonia (often called FYROM, from 2019 Northern Macedonia), after a referendum was held on September 8. New Constitution passed September 17, 1991.

The Macedonian Declaration of Independence did not trigger any attack by the Yugoslav army, which, after negotiations, withdrew in April 1992.

History of Northern Macedonia
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