- History of the Republic of Macedonia
:"This article is about the history of the Southeast European country. For an overview of the wider Macedonian region see Macedonia."
South Slavic tribes settled in the territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia in the
6th century. The Slavic settlements were referred to by Byzantine Greek historians as "Sklavines". The Sklavines participated in several assaults against the Byzantine Empire- alone or aided by Bulgarsor Avars. Around 680AD the Bulgar group, led by khan Kuber(who belonged to the same clan as the Danubian Bulgarian khan Asparukh), settled in the Pelagonian plain, and launched campaigns to the region of Thessaloniki.
In the late
7th century Justinian IIorganized a massive expeditions against the Sklaviniai of the Greek peninsula, in which he reportedly captured over 110,000 Slavs and transferred them to Cappadocia. By the time of Constans II(who also organized campaigns against the Slavs), the significant number of the Slavs of Macedonia were captured and transferred to central Asia Minorwhere they were forced to recognize the authority of the Byzantine emperor and serve in its ranks.
There are no Byzantine records of "Sklavines" after
836/ 837as the Slavs of Macedonia were assimilated into the First Bulgarian Empire. Slavic influence in the region strengthened along with the rise of this state, which incorporated entire region to its domain in 837AD. Saints Cyril and Methodius, Byzantine Greeks, born in Thessaloniki, were the creators of the first Slavic Glagolitic alphabetand Old Church Slavoniclanguage, and also apostles-christianizators of the Slavic world. Their cultural heritage was acquired and developed in medieval Bulgaria, where after 885the region of Ohridbecame significant ecclesiastical center with the nomination of the Saint Clement of Ohridfor "first archbishop in Bulgarian language" with residence in this region. In conjunction with another disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Naum, he created a flourishing Bulgarian cultural center around Ohrid, where over 3000 pupils were taught in the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabetin what is now called Ohrid Literary School.
At the end of the
10th centurymuch of what is now Republic of Macedoniabecame the political and cultural center of the First Bulgarian Empireunder tsar Samuil, while the Byzantine emperor Basil IIconquered the eastern part of the empire (what is now Bulgaria), including the capital of Preslav, in 972. A new capital was established at Ohrid, which also became the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. From then on, the Bulgarian culture became an integral part of the Slav culture as a whole. After several decades of almost incessant fighting, Bulgaria came under Byzantine rule in 1018. The whole of Macedonia was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire as " Themeof Bulgaria" [http://img53.exs.cx/img53/6537/ThemesintheByzantineEmpireunderBasilII.jpg] and the Bulgarian Patriarchate was reduced in rank to an archbishopric. [http://assets.cambridge.org/97805217/70170/excerpt/9780521770170_excerpt.pdf]
In the 13th and
14th centuryByzantine control was punctuated by periods of Bulgarian and Serbian rule. For example Konstantin Asen, former nobleman from Skopje ruled as tsarof Bulgariafrom 1257to 1277. Later Skopjebecame a capital of the Serbian Empireunder Stefan Dušan, and after the dissolution of the empire, the area became a domain of independent local Serbian rulers from the Mrnjavčevićand Dragašhouses. The domain of the Mrnjavčević house included western parts of the present-day Republic of Macedonia and domains of the Dragaš house included eastern parts. The capital of the state of Mrnjavčević house was Prilep. There are only two known rulers from the Mrnjavčević house - king Vukašin Mrnjavčevićand his son, king Marko. King Marko became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire and later died in the Battle of Rovine.
Conquered by the Ottoman army in the first half of the
15th century, the region remained a part of the Ottoman Empirefor nearly 500 years, during which it gained a substantial Turkish minority, especially in the religious sense of Muslim; many of those Muslims became so through forced conversions.Fact|date=March 2008 During the Ottoman rule, Skopjeand Monastir ( Bitola) were capitals of separate Ottoman provinces (eyalets).
The valley of the river
Vardar, which was later to become the central area of the Republic of Macedonia, was ruled by the Ottoman Empireprior to the First Balkan Warof 1912, with the exception of the brief period in 1878 when it was liberated from Ottoman rule after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, becoming part of Bulgaria. In 1903, a short-lived Kruševo Republicwas proclaimed in the south-western part of present-day Republic of Macedonia by the rebels of the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising. This first modern-day republic in the Balkanslasted for only 10 days - August 3rd to August 13th, and was headed by president Nikola Karev.
The region was captured by
Serbiaduring First Balkan Warof 1912and was subsequently annexed to Serbia in the post-war peace treaties. It had no administrative autonomy and was called "Južna Srbija" ("Southern Serbia") or " Stara Srbija" ("Old Serbia").
First World War, the Kingdom of Serbia joined the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1929, the kingdom was officially renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslaviaand was divided into provinces called banovinas. The territory of Vardar Banovinahad Skopjeas its capital and it included what eventually became the modern Republic of Macedonia.During World War II, the Vardar Banovina was occupied between 1941and 1944by Italian-ruled Albania, which annexed the Albanian-populated western regions, and pro-German Bulgaria, which occupied the remainder. The occupying powers persecuted those inhabitants of the province who opposed the regime; this prompted some of them to join the Communistresistance movement of Josip Broz Tito. However, the Bulgarian army was partially recruited from the local population, which formed as much as 40% of the soldiers in certain battalions.
World War II, Yugoslavia was reconstituted as a federal state under the leadership of Tito's Yugoslav Communist Party. When the former Vardar province was established in 1944, most of its territory was transferred into a separate republic while the northernmost parts of the province remained with Serbia. In 1946, the new republic was granted federal status as an autonomous "People's Republic of Macedonia" within the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In the 1963Constitution of Yugoslavia it was slightly renamed, to bring it in line with the other Yugoslav republics, as the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Greecewas concerned by the initiatives of the Yugoslav government, as they were seen as pretext for future territorial claims against the Greek province of " Northern Greece" which formed the bulk of historical Macedonia and was also officially called 'Macedonia'. The Yugoslav authorities also promoted the development of the Macedonians' ethnic identity and Macedonian language. The Macedonian language was codified in 1944 (Keith 2003), from the Slavic dialect spoken around Veles. This further angered both Greece and Bulgaria, because of the possible territorial claims of the new states to the Greek and Bulgarian parts of the region of Macedonia received after the Balkan Wars.
Greek Civil War(1944-1949), many Macedonians (regardless of ethnicity) participated in the ELAS resistance movement organized by the Greek Communist Party. ELASand Yugoslavia were on good terms until 1949, when they split due to Tito's lack of allegiance to Stalin(cf. Cominform). After the end of the war, the ELAS fighters who took refuge in southern Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were not all permitted to return to Greece: only those who considered themselves Greeks were allowed, whereas those who considered themselves Bulgarians or Macedonians were barred. These events also contributed to the bad state of Yugoslav-Greek relations in Macedonia.
Road to Republic
September 8, 1991, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia held a referendum that established its independence from Yugoslavia, under the name of the "Republic of Macedonia". The question of the referendum was formulated as "Would you support independent Macedonia with the right to enter future union of sovereign states of Yugoslavia?" (In Macedonian: "Дали сте за самостојна Македонија со право да стапи во иден сојуз на суверени држави на Југославија"). Bulgariawas the first country to recognize dthe new state under its constitutional name. However, international recognition of the new country was delayed by Greece's objection to the use of what it considered a Hellenic name and national symbols, as well as controversial clauses in the Republic's constitution. To compromise, the United Nationsrecognised the state under the name of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" in 1993[http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/47/a47r225.htm]
Greece was still dissatisfied and it imposed a trade blockade in February
1994. The sanctions were lifted in September 1995after Macedonia changed its flag and aspects of its constitution that were perceived as granting it the right to intervene in the affairs of other countries. The two neighbours immediately went ahead with normalizing their relations, but the state's name remains a source of local and international controversy. The usage of each name remains controversial to supporters of the other.
After the state was admitted to the
United Nationsunder the temporary reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", other international organisations adopted the same convention. More than half of the UN's member states have recognised the country as the Republic of Macedonia, including the United States of Americawhile the rest use the temporary reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" or, or have not established any diplomatic relations with Macedonia.
1999, the Kosovo Warled to 340,000 Albanian refugees from Kosovo fleeing into the Macedonia, greatly disrupting normal life in the region and threatening to upset the balance between Macedonians and Albanians. Refugee camps were set up in Macedonia. Meanwhile, Athens rallied behind Skopje and allowed Greek Macedonia to be used as a transit corridor for NATOforces moving to the region ahead of a possible invasion of Serbia. Thessalonikibecame the main depot for humanitarian aid to the region. The Republic itself did not become involved in the conflict.
In the event, the Serbian government under president
Slobodan Miloševićcapitulated and the refugees were allowed home under UN protection. However, the war increased tensions and relations between ethnic Macedonians and Albanian Macedonians became strained. On the positive side, Athens and Ankara presented a united front of 'non-involvement'. In Greece, there was a strong reaction against NATO and the United States but the small anti-war political parties lost, rather than gained, support.
2001 Macedonia conflict"In the spring of 2001, ethnic Albanian insurgents calling themselves the National Liberation Army(some of whom were former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army) took up arms in the west of the Republic of Macedonia. They demanded that the constitution be rewritten to enshrine certain ethnic Albanian interests such as language rights. The guerillas received support from Albanians in NATO-controlled Kosovo and ethnic Albanian guerrillas in the demilitarized zone between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. The fighting was concentrated in and around Tetovo, the fifth largest city in the republic.
After a joint NATO-Serb crackdown on Albanian guerillas in Kosovo,
European Union(EU) officials were able to negotiate a cease-fire in June. The government would give ethnic Albanians greater civil rights, and the guerilla groups would voluntarily relinquish their weapons to NATO monitors. This agreement was a success, and in August 2001 3,500 NATO soldiers conducted "Operations Essential Harvest" to retrieve the arms. Directly after the operation finished in September, the NLA officially dissolved itself. Ethnic relations have since improved significantly, although hardliners on both sides have been a continued cause for concern and some low level violence continues particularly directed against police.
February 26, 2004, President Boris Trajkovskidied in a plane crash on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The results of the official investigation revealed that the cause of the plane accident was procedural mistakes by the crew, committed during the approach to land at Mostarairport.
In March 2004, the Republic of Macedonia submitted an application for membership of the EU. On
December 17 2005, EU Presidency conclusions listed the Republic of Macedonia as an accession candidate. It is expected that the EU will announce in late 2006 the date for commencement of EU accession negotiations.
In August 2005, Poland became the 112th country, out of 191 total members of UN, to recognize Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name. A permanent agreement between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia's name has not yet been reached. The latest publicized proposal was 'Republika Makedonija-Skopje' (with that spelling), but was rejected by the Republic of Macedonia. The UN mediator
Matthew Nimetzproposed another form several months afterwards, proposing that the name “Republika Makedonija” should be used by the countries that have recognized the country under that name and that Greece should use the formula “Republika Makedonija – Skopje”, while the international institutions and organizations should use the name “Republika Makedonia” in Latin alphabet transcription, but this form was rejected by Greece.
History of Europe
History of the Balkans
History of Bulgaria
Republic of Macedonia
Military history of the Republic of Macedonia
* [http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/025.shtml The Holocaust in Macedonia, 1941-1945] 7,000 Jews were killed in Yugoslav Macedonia.
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,796967,00.html New Power] Federated Yugoslavia
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