Macedonia History

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MACEDONIA

The literal center of the Balkans, Macedonia is composed of a complex ethnic mix. The region of Macedonia was a Roman province in 146 BC and was part of the Byzantine realm although its population was shifting in response to invasion by Slavic peoples. The current population is unrelated to the Macedonians of ancient times (Alexander the Great or his father, Philip of Macedonia, for example). In 1371, Macedonia fell to the Ottomans, although the Bulgarians, Serbians, and Byzantines all sought to control the region. For the next hundreds of years, the people of Macedonia spoke Greek but thought of themselves as 'Slavs'. After World War I, Macedonia was partitioned among Greek, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. In fact, it was because Bulgaria coveted Macedonia that it allied with Nazi Germany and occupied the region in 1941. However, it was Tito who prevailed and in 1946, the Macedonian People's Republic was formed as part of the reconfigured Yugoslavia. With Tito's death decades later came uncertainty but by the early 1990s, the handwriting was on the wall: independence was being sought by various of the republics and Macedonia followed suit in January 1992. It took 3 years for Greece and Macedonia to reach agreement over the country's name. Macedonia agreed to make it perfectly clear in the constitution and on the flag that there were no claims -- and never would be -- on the Greek region of the same name.

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