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Northern Macedonia History

Macedonia - national flagMacedonia - national flag

The flag was officially introduced in 1995 and shows the rising Sun. The model for this Sun can be seen in several medieval churches in Macedonia, and it also appears in the country's coat of arms from 1946. The red color symbolizes the people's struggle for freedom, and the Sun stands for light, youth, joy and freedom.

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Macedonia - prehistory

The country has been populated by a peasant culture that belongs to the oldest in Europe, the Starčevo culture, from approximately 6200 to 5400 BC, whose town mounds are known from Anza and Porodin. This was followed by the Vinča culture, approximately 5400-4500 BC

The Copper Stone Age and Bronze Age are less well lit. Some imported items reveal connection with Mycenaean Greece. From the late Bronze Age, approximately 1200-700 BC, both settlements, burial sites and metal depots are known, showing northbound connections with the urnmark and Hallstatt cultures.

From the beginning of the Iron Age, approximately 700 BC, there is clear evidence of connection with Greece. Rich princely tombs from approximately 500 BC, equipped with Greek luxury goods, has been excavated at Trebenište in southern Macedonia. Most of Macedonia was subject to the reign of Philip II and Alexander the Great in 346-335 BC. The Greek expansion led for the founding of cities and the introduction of coinage (see also the article on Macedonia in antiquity). The country was in 148 BC. part of the Roman province of Macedonia, under Emperor Diocletian the province of Moesia to finally become part of the Byzantine Empire by the division of the Roman Empire in 395.

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Macedonia - history

Macedonia is a new state that only became independent in 1992. The area had until then been disputed between other states, and Greece was for a time reluctant to recognize the country at all because of its name.

Northern Macedonia Country History

The Byzantine period

In the early 600-t. the whole area was flooded by Slavic immigrants, and only some of the cities remained in Byzantine hands. Around 800, a Byzantine province of Macedonia seems to have been formed, but its extent is not known with certainty. Macedonia covered in 900-1100-t. probably ancient and present-day Thrace; thus Adrianople (now Edirne) was reckoned) for Macedonia's largest city. I 900-t. the center of gravity of the Bulgarian Empire was moved to Macedonia, and Tsar Samuel (d. 1014) had his residence in Ohrid, where the Bulgarian ecclesiastical headquarters, the Patriarchate, was also located. Samuel was the first great ruler of Bulgaria. Today he is described by the Slavic Macedonians who rule over a Macedonian empire. To the Byzantines, however, he was a Bulgarian, and the emperor who destroyed his empire, Basileios II, was nicknamed the Bulgarian Killer. After the incorporation of Samuel's kingdom into the Byzantine Empire, the designation for the theme, province that included Macedonia, became Bulgaria.

The Byzantines maintained Ohrid as an important ecclesiastical and cultural center, and 1000-1300-t. was a heyday of Macedonian church architecture and art. Conditions in 1200-1300-t. was marked by violent upheavals with battles between Crusaders, Byzantines, Bulgarians, Serbs and eventually Ottomans. With the Ottoman conquest of Thessaloniki in 1430, Macedonia's incorporation into the Ottoman Empire ended.

Macedonia during the Ottoman Empire

From 1690 originates an Austrian diploma referring to two "Macedonians" with Slavic surnames; it is the oldest example of the term Macedonian used about slaves from Macedonia. However, it seems to have been a stand-alone phenomenon. In a call from 1875 to revolt against the Ottomans, the population is addressed as "slaves".

After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, the Ottoman Empire retained Macedonia, which covered the present Greek province of Macedonia, the modern republic of Macedonia, and some of southwestern Bulgaria. The population of the area was ethnically and religiously very composed. The Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek churches were represented and there were numerous Muslim Albanians and Turks. In addition, a group of revolutionary slaves wanted to make the whole of Macedonia the state of Macedonian slaves.

In 1893, Macedonian nationalists founded the Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, known in Western Europe as IMRO. The organization was nationalist and socialist and tried 2.8.1903 to seize power in Macedonia through a popular uprising. The uprising was crushed by the Ottomans, but became a symbol of the Slavic-Macedonian nationalists.

Macedonia's fate was decided by the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, which led to a division of the territory that the Ottomans had left in the Balkans. Serbia and Greece divided most of Macedonia between them, and Bulgaria gained only a small part of the territory. The territory taken by the Serbs, which largely coincides with the present Republic of Macedonia, was incorporated into Serbia under the name of Southern Serbia. That the language was different from that of Serbia was attributed to the primitiveness of the Serbs, which would eventually be eradicated. In the Greek province of Macedonia, the Greek population element was further strengthened when the Greek population left Asia Minor after the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-22.

The Yugoslav period

The Serbian part of Macedonia became on 1 December 1918 part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (from 1929 Yugoslavia). The name of the new country was an emphasis on the fact that the Slavic-speaking Macedonians did not officially exist as an independent people. However, IMRO continued to exist and entered into cooperation partly with Bulgarian circles and partly with Croatian emigrants in Italy. In 1934, an IMRO agent on behalf of the Croatian ustaša movement assassinated the Yugoslav king Alexander in Marseille.

When Yugoslavia disintegrated in 1941 due to the German invasion, Greek Macedonia was occupied by the Germans, while Slavic Macedonia was divided between Bulgaria, which got the most, and Italy, which united western Macedonia with Albania, which in 1939 had been annexed by Italy. During the rest of the war, some Slavic-Macedonian nationalists collaborated with the Bulgarians, while others joined Tito's Yugoslav partisan movement.

In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1945, the former Serbian Macedonia was made a republic with a special state language, Macedonian, which in Yugoslavia was equated with Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian. Yugoslavia supported the Communists in the Greek Civil War 1945-49. In the Greek province of Macedonia, the Slavic-speaking population consistently joined the Communists, and some of them, like many Greek communists, fled to Yugoslav Macedonia in connection with the end of the Civil War.

In the Republic of Macedonia, there were still nationalists who demanded the creation of a Greater Macedonia, and the loudest of them were imprisoned in the 1950's. The Belgrade government did not oppose Macedonia's Communist Party in 1967 supporting the secession of the Macedonian Orthodox Church from the Serbian Orthodox Church. To date (1998) no other Orthodox church has recognized the independence of the Macedonian Church. In 1945-90, much was done to ensure the development of a Macedonian national consciousness, through the literature. The period can be described as a cultural heyday, and today there is no doubt that the Slavic people of the Republic of Macedonia feel like Macedonians. At the same time, there has been a strengthening of the connection between Macedonians and Bulgarians, through significant mutual tourism.

The biggest problem of the Tito era in Macedonia was the economy. The area was one of the most backward in Yugoslavia and large investments were needed. It was not improved by the fact that large parts of Skopje were destroyed by an earthquake in 1963. Not least the western parts of the republic, with a large Albanian population, were poorly developed.

Macedonia becomes independent

During the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Macedonia was reluctant, but in September 1991, a large majority of the population voted for independence, and in 1992, the country became virtually independent when the Yugoslav Federal Army withdrew. In January 1992, Albanians in Western Macedonia held a referendum on independence for the "Republic of Illyria", and the problems of the Albanian minority, which make up at least 22% (Albanians think significantly more) and feel discriminated against, are one of the new state's main problems. The country's president Kiro Gligorov succeededthrough a political alliance with moderate Albanians to ensure political stability, which since 1993 has been supported by a UN force. However, the country has suffered from recognition problems, as Greece refuses to accept the use of the name Macedonia about the republic, which is why it is called in UN language Forms Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, and Bulgaria denies the existence of a particular Macedonian language. speaks Bulgarian. The country has been hit by the Greek trade blockade and also slightly below the international blockade against Yugoslavia 1992-95. As late as 1998, the Republic of Macedonia is a country with a weak economy, strong internal tensions and an unresolved relationship with the outside world, especially Greece.

In the 1998 elections, the Social Democratic-led government lost power, and the nationalist party VRMO-DPMNE formed a government with the Democratic Alternative Party (DA) with Ljupčo Georgijevski (b. 1966) as Prime Minister. In 1999, the ethnic Albanian party DPA joined the governing coalition. Stability was maintained despite the hundreds of thousands of refugees who flocked from Kosovo during the NATO - Serbia fight in the spring of 1999, although the UN force, which had been stationed in the country since 1993, had to be withdrawn in the spring of 1999 due to a Chinese veto against its extension. In the presidential election the same year, Kiro Gligorov did not run again, and Boris Trajkovski of VRMO-DPMNE was elected president.

In January 2001, armed conflict broke out in the northwestern regions with Albanian majority populations, and a newly formed Albanian resistance army, like the Kosovo Liberation Army called the UÇK, demanded changes to the country's constitution and full equality between Albanian and Macedonian languages. The fighting spread to the major cities of Tetovo and Kumanovo and to the environs of the capital Skopje, and the weak government army was unable to quell the uprising. In May, a national unity government was formed with the participation of all parties, and in August, a peace agreement was reached in Ohrid, in which included decentralization and ethnic equality.

In accordance with the Ohrid Agreement, NATO troops entered Macedonia in September 2001, collecting the rebels' weapons stockpiles; when the collection was completed in March 2002, the rebels were granted amnesty. In March 2003, the EU took over the NATO peacekeeping operation. A parliamentary election in 2002 was won by the Social Democrats under Blanko Crvenkovski. President Trajkovski died in the spring of 2004 in a plane crash; thereafter, Crvenkovski was elected president. According to the Ohrid agreement, certain municipal boundaries had to be reorganized so that ethnic Albanians gained more political influence in some areas. Parliament passed laws in this regard in 2004, but was met with massive protests. In November of the same year, Macedonian nationalists tried to have the laws annulled by a referendum; it did not succeed due to low turnout.

President Crvenkovski's main ambition has been to get Macedonia into the EU. It was brought a big step closer when in December 2005 the country was formally recognized as a candidate country by the EU.

 

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