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Macedonia. By: Tamara La Martina. Overview. Total area is 25,713 km2 (slightly larger than state of Vermont) Bordered by Albania, Serbia/Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Greece

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By: Tamara La Martina

  • Total area is 25,713 km2 (slightly larger than state of Vermont)
  • Bordered by Albania, Serbia/Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Greece
  • Completely landlocked since partitioned after the First Balkan War by Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia; closest open water port is in Thessalonica (Greece)
  • Wide range of topographic, climatic, and vegetation regions; highest elevation is 2753m, lowest is 50m
  • Sub-Mediterranean to alpine conditions
  • 4 principle bodies of water: Vardar R, Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa, and Lake Dojran
  • 37% covered by forest
  • Natural resources: chromium, lead, zinc, manganese, tungsten, low grade iron ore, asbestos, sulfur and arable land
  • Area of high seismic activity
  • Water shortage problemsesp. in east
  • Population is approx. 2.1 million
  • West most highly populated: 39% of pop. Lives in area, which makes up 43% of total land area; 18.5% of pop. lives in east
  • Largest cities are: Skopje (capital) Bitola, Tetovo, Kumanovo, Veles, Prilep, Stip, Strumica, Ohrid
ethnicity and religion
Ethnicity and Religion
  • Titular majority is 67% of total population
  • Large ethnic Albanian minority is approx. 23%
  • Also small Turkish, Roma, and Serbian minorities
  • Languages: Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, other 3%
  • 2/3 of pop. are Orthodox, 30% Muslims (Albanians and Turks), 0.5% Catholic, and 2.8% other
economy and industry
Economy and Industry
  • One of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in Europe; forced industrialization during communist era
  • Instability and conflict caused the economy to shrink after independence
  • Primary exports: food, beverages, tobacco, misc. manufactured items, iron and steel
  • Agriculture and tourism also important to economy
history of the macedonian question
History of the Macedonian Question
  • Question came to the forefront in the 19th century as the Ottoman Empire was crumbling and nationalism in the Balkans was growing
  • One of the greatest diplomatic concerns facing the Great Powers in the 19th c.
  • The Question was “Who are the Macedonians ethnically?” and “Who has the strongest claim to the territory?”
  • Bulgarians claimed that Macedonians were ethnically Bulgarian and the land should be theirs since it was the site of the first independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church
  • Serbians claimed that Skopje was the capital of Stefan Dusan’s medieval empire and therefore the “heartland” of their ethnic territory
  • Greeks made the claim that Macedonians were Slavic-speaking Greeks and that Philip II and Alexander the Great were Greeks
  • Question became pertinent again after the breakup of Yugoslavia
ancient history of macedonia
Ancient History of Macedonia
  • Philip II (359-336 B.C.); expanded Macedonian territory to include Greece; assassinated in 336 B.C.
  • Alexander III…otherwise known as “The Great” (336-323 B.C.); expanded Macedonian empire to include territories to the Indus R. in India, Egypt, and along the western coast of Black Sea
  • Macedonia’s big (and maybe only) claim to fame!
  • Modern Greeks try to say Alexander and Macedonians were Greeks, but ancients thought they were barbarians
medieval empires
Medieval Empires
  • Byzantine, Bulgarian, and Serbian Empires
  • Brought Orthodoxy, Cyrillic alphabet, and feudal society
  • Feudalism caused tribal clans to lose independence and turned them into serfs; feudal lords mostly of Greek and Armenian descent
  • Autonomous Bulgarian Orthodox Church established in Ohrid (free from Greek patriarch) and the capital of the Western Bulgarian Kingdom under Samuil
ottoman rule
Ottoman Rule
  • Turks began rule in 1394 which continued until 1912
  • Change in Demographics and religion
  • Incursion of Ottoman army caused many Slavs to flee; Ottomans settled Turks, Albanians, and Ladino Jews in place of Slavs
  • Albanians used as landlords and administrators; part of origin of modern hostility between Macedonians and Albanians
  • Macedonian (Bulgarian) Orthodox Church placed under Greek patriarch and Hellenization
1800 s
  • Some Balkan countries gain autonomy or independence, but not Macedonia
  • After Russo-Turkish War (1878), Treaty of San Stefano gave most of Macedonia to Bulgaria
  • Great Powers disagreed with this decision and Macedonia was given back to Turks by Congress of Berlin
  • During late 1800’s Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia try to gain influence in Macedonia through schools, religion, and language. Leads to what is called the “Macedonian Question”
balkan wars 1912 1913
Balkan Wars 1912-1913
  • First Balkan War Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia fight Ottomans for Balkan areas remaining under Turkish rule and succeed in their effort
  • Second Balkan War Former allies fight over the gained territory; Serbia gets Vardar (Modern) Macedonia, Greece gets Aegean Macedonia, and Bulgaria left with small Pirin area
world war ii
World War II
  • Bulgaria for the third time since First Balkan War gains control almost all of Macedonia by joining the Germans and kicked out again after their side loses again.
  • Josip Tito, attracted many Macedonians with promises of reuniting the three areas of Macedonia after the war; never accomplished but Communists continue to fight to regain Aegean and Perin Macedonia until defeated in 1950
yugoslavia 1944 1990
Yugoslavia 1944-1990
  • Tito failed to unite regions of Macedonia, but …
  • Created a Macedonian republic in the Vardar Macedonia region
  • First to recognize Macedonians as a distinct ethnic and political entity; standard language adopted; history of area reinterpreted, and autonomous Macedonian Orthodox Church was established in 1958
  • Encouragement of Macedonian Nationalism as a tool against the Bulgarians’ and Greeks’ claims on the territory
  • Poured money into the area for educational and economic advancement
  • In 1990 Communism collapsed in Yugoslavia
  • Sept. 8, 1991, Yugoslav Macedonia held a referendum in which 95% voted for independence (Serbian and Albanian minorities boycotted the referendum); seceded in November
  • New country led by Kiro Gligorov (1991-1999)
  • Power divided between the Macedonian majority party the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and the Ethnic Albanian-Democratic Party for Macedonia (VMRO-DPMNE) and Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA)
  • Greatest challenge to the new state has been the transition and stabilization of its economy, gaining recognition from its neighbors, and ethnic conflicts
the modern question
The Modern Question
  • Greece is upset because of the use of the name Macedonia, several clauses in its constitution, and because of its flag; thought the new gov’t had irredentist ambitions on Greek Aegean Macedonian province
  • August 1991 Greece closed its border to Macedonia and imposed an oil embargo, which crippled the Macedonian economy

Old Flag

Current Flag

recognition by eu and un
Recognition by EU and UN
  • Macedonia changed several clauses in its constitution on Dec. 26 to fit EU’s criteria for recognition; no territorial claims on other countries and renounced meddling in other countries affairs
  • On Jan. 15 Germany recognized Slovenia and Croatia, but not Macedonia or Bosnia
  • Why? Internal tensions w/ ethnic Albanians high and Greece had blocked recognition of Macedonia because Macedonian’s gov’t wouldn’t change name and flag
recognition cont d
Recognition cont’d.
  • Dec. 10, 1992 Greek demonstration in Athens against recognition of Macedonia, +million people participated
  • Dec. 11 UN Security Council sent a peacekeeping force to Macedonia, fearing the spread of Balkan War
  • April 8, 1993 Macedonia was admitted to UN against the wishes of Greece and Yugoslavia, but had to use the provisional name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; EU also extended recognition; 300 American and 150 Canadian troops protected the borders
  • Decision on name still pending….
propaganda from both sides
Propaganda From Both Sides
  • Both sides of the “Question” began a propaganda campaign
  • Greeks have picked up where they left off in the 19th c.
  • Macedonians Slavs defending their distinct ethnicity and history
  • Historians of Ancient Greece have also picked up the unsolvable question of “who are the Macedonians?” answer still in limbo….
the macedonian viewpoint
The Macedonian Viewpoint




  • Macedonia before and after the partitions of the Balkan Wars
origins of the conflict
Origins Of The Conflict
  • Hostilities going back to Ottoman Empire, when Albanian Muslims were the overlords
  • Ethnic Albanian minority calling for a greater rights
  • Some call for secession of Albanian majority areas
  • Possibility of Macedonia’s leaders starting conflict to hide theft of state-owned enterprises and assets
the conflict
The Conflict
  • Feb. 2001 armed ethnic Albanians took Tetovo; said they were members of the National Liberation Army (NLA); said they wanted more political and economic rights; gov’t said they were trying to divide the country along ethnic lines
  • Struggle between NLA and gov’t lasted for seven months; 200 killed, 180 000 displaced
  • US and Europe sent diplomats who helped forge a peace agreement at Ohrid on August 13
national liberation army
National Liberation Army
  • Many of core members were part of the disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)
  • Searching for “Greater Albania (Kosovo)”; led by Ali Ahmeti
  • Also sought to get rid of the corrupt DPA
nla ana propaganda
NLA/ANA Propaganda
  • Population stats according to ANA:

-8 mill. Albanians and 800,000 Macedonian Slavs

-actual world-wide # of Albanians= 5 mill.

  • ROM census and CIA:

-2 mill. Citizens

:66.6% (1,378,687) Macedonians

:22.7% (478,967) Albanians

a tentative peace
A Tentative Peace
  • Sept. 24, 2001 Framework Agreement ratified in Ohrid; removed distinction of Macedonians as country’s constituent nation from constitution’s preamble
  • Ohrid Agreement, adopted by ROM’s legislature Nov.16, 2001; provided for equal representation of minorities in administration, language rights, strengthening of local gov’t, reintegration of territory captured by NLA, return of refugees, and an internationally supervised census
  • Slow in being implemented by there are some signs of hope
  • European Union is taking over for NATO Peacekeeping forces by the end of April
  • 320 troops, if successful in Macedonia, will take over in Bosnia next year

Small protest in Skopje