A Concise History of Macedonia

Short history of Macedonia from antiquity to present day

Although Macedonia is a young state, since it became independent in 1991, its roots run deep into history. The name “Macedonia” is in fact the oldest surviving name of a country in the continent of Europe. Archaeological evidence shows that old European civilization flourished in Macedonia between 7000 and 3500 BC. The region Macedonia is located in the heart of the Balkans, north of ancient Greece, east of Illyria, and west of Thrace. The ancient Macedonians were an ethnically, linguistically, and culturally distinct nation. The origins of the Macedonians are in the ancient Brygian substratum which occupied the whole of Macedonian territory and in Indo-European superstratum, which settled here at the end of the 2nd millennium.

Ancient Macedonia

The history of the ancient Macedonian kingdom begins with Caranus, who was the first known king (808-778 BC). The Macedonian dynasty Argeadae originated from Argos Orestikon, a city in located in south western Macedonia region of Orestis (App.,Syr., 63;Diod. ,VII, 15; G. Sync., I, 373). Alexander I Philhellene (498-454 BC) expanded the kingdom and by the 5th century BC the Macedonians had forged a unified kingdom. Alexander was a Persian ally in the Greek-Persian wars. As Macedonia appears on the international scene, the first coins with the king’s name on them are made. Around the year 460 BC, Herodotus sojourns in Macedonia and gives an interpretatio macedonica of the Greek-Persian wars (Her.5.17-22, 9.44-45).

Alexander’s son Perdiccas II (453-413 BC) worked on starting a war between the Athens maritime power and Sparta which lead the Peloponnesian League (Thucyd.Pel.I.57), and initiated the creation of an Olynthian league from the Greek colonies neighboring Macedonia on Chalcidice, for a war against Athens (Thucyd.I.58). During the Peloponnesian War, Perdiccas II is one moment on the side of Athens and the next on the side of Sparta, depending of Macedonia’s best interests, not wanting either of them to become too powerful, while keeping its country’s sovereignty at the expense of the Greek quarrel.

It was Archelaus (413-399 BC) who made Macedonia a significant economic power. Archelaus made roads, built fortresses, and reorganized the Macedonian army (Thucyd.II.100). He moved the Macedonian capital Aigae to Pella and founded Macedonian Olympian Games in Dion (the holy city of the Macedonians), among other reasons also because of the fact that the Greek Olympic Games were forbidden to the barbarians (non-Greeks), including the Macedonians (Her.V.22). In the year 406 BC the Macedonian poet Adaius wrote an epitaph for the grave stone of Euripides (Anth.Pal.7,5,1; A. Gellius, Noct. Att, XV, 20, 10) who was staying in the Macedonian palace of Archelaus. Euripides besides the apologetic work Archelaus also wrote the well known play Bachae inspired by the Macedonian cult for the God Dionysus. The Macedonian council refused to give Euripides’ body to his birthplace Athens (Gell.Noct.Att.XV.20). During the years 407-6 BC Archelaus from Athens received the titles proxenos and euergetes.

Amyntas III reigned 393-370/369 BC and led a policy of exhausting and weakening of the Greek city states. His two of his sons, Alexander II and Perdiccas III, reigned later only briefly. Alexander II however, had an expansionist policy and invaded northern Greece. In Thessaly he left Macedonian garrisons in the cities and refused to evacuate them. The Thebans, having at the time the most powerful military, intervened and forced the removal of the garrisons. Alexander II’s youngest brother Philip was taken as hostage to Thebes. After the death of Alexander II, his other brother Perdiccas III took the throne. But Perdiccas III was killed with his Macedonian soldiers in a battle with the Illyrians, and Amyntas’ third son, Philip II (later the Great) now became the next Macedonian king.

Philip II (359-336 BC), the greatest man that Europe had given by then (Theop.F.GR.H. f, 27), liberated and unified Macedonia, turning it into the most powerful European state – an armed nation with a common national ideal. In 338 BC, the Greeks unified to prevent Philip II from penetrating the northern Greek states, but to no avail; the Macedonians defeated the the united Greek states at the battle at Chaeronea that summer. Philip became a hegemon to the Greeks who had no choice but to ratify his peace agreement koine eirene (mutual peace). The four Macedonian garrisons – strategically positioned at Corinth, the Theban Cadmeia, Chalcis on Euboea and Ambracia – were to guarantee the Macedonian hold of Greece. This mutual peace, was not a league at all (it did not have the word symachia). But the conqueror of Greece was assassinated before he could lead the Macedonians in the conquest of the Persian Empire.

Map of Alexander's EmpireHis son Alexander III the Great (356-323 BC), succeeded Phillip II at the age of 20. Encouraged by Alexander’s young age, the Thracians, the Illyrians, and the Greeks, revolted upon hearing of Philip’s death. His first victories in Greece, however, were a warning sign to those that were to defy the deal with his father.

Next, at the head of Macedonian and allied Greek, Illyrian, and Thracian troops, he invaded Persia. Alexander believed that his Macedonian soldiers were the backbone of his army, the driving force behind his expeditions, for they were motivated in their battles by permanent values (Q. C. Rufus, Alexander III, 10, 4-10). Alexander’s victories at Granicus, Issus, and Gaugamela put an end to the Persian Empire, which was then replaced by the Macedonian Empire stretching from Europe, to Egypt and India. In order to strengthen his kingdom, Alexander wed the daughter of the last Persian king Darius III’s in a wedding ceremony where 10,000 marriages were performed between Macedonian soldiers and Persian women. Similarly, as he later viewed himself not only as a Macedonian king, but as a king of all nations living in his empire, he often wore non-Macedonian outfits too. Until the rise of Rome, the Macedonians shaped the events in this vast space for the following three centuries.

Following Alexander’s death, a series of rebellions took place, in order to free the Greek states from the Macedonian yoke. Such upheavals ended unsuccessfully (Diodorus, 18.7.3-9, 18.10.1-3, 11, 12, 15, 17.5).

Unfortunately, the Macedonian leading generals engaged in a dreadful conflict over the rule of the Empire. By 300 BC, the Macedonian Empire was carved up between the dynasties of Antigonus I One-Eye (Macedonia and Greece), Ptolemy I (Egypt), and Seleucus I (Asia). Under Antigonus II Gonatas (276-239), the grandson of Antigonus I, Macedonia achieved a stable monarchy and strengthened its occupation of Greece. His grandson Philip V (222-179 BC), clashed with Rome which was now expanding eastwards, and fought the Macedonian Wars against the Romans. After the Roman army defeated Philip in Thessaly, Macedonia was reduced to its original borders. In the third Macedonian War, Rome finally defeated the Macedonian army under the last king the Philip V’s son Perseus (179-168 BC) and at the Battle of Pydna, 20,000 Macedonian soldiers died defending their land. Perseus’ death in Italy marked the ending of the Macedonian kingdom, and by 146 BC Macedonia became a Roman province.

By 65 BC Rome conquered the Seleucid Macedonian kingdom in Asia under its last king Antiochus VII. Finally, the defeat of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC, brought an end to the last of the Macedonian descendants (the Ptolemy dynasty) in Egypt, and with it, the last remains of the Macedonian Empire that was once the mightiest in the world disappeared from the face of the earth.

Roman and Medieval Macedonia

In 51 AD for the first time on European soil, in the Macedonian towns Philippi, Salonika and Beroea, the Apostle Paul preached Christianity (Acta apos., XVI, id. XVII). In 52 and 53 he sent epistles to the people of Salonika (Epist. Thess); in 57 he came to Macedonia again, and in 63 he sent epistles to the people of Philippi (Epist. Philipp). During the 3rd and 4th centuries, Macedonia was divided into two provinces, Macedonia Prima and Macedonia Salutaris.

Since the east-west split of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, Macedonia was ruled by the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire). It is interesting to note that the Emperor Iustinian was born near Scupi (nowadays Skopje). In the 5th century Macedonia was divided again into Macedonia Prima and Macedonia Secunda. In the 6th century, the Southern Slavs entered Macedonia, mixing with the locals, laying the foundations of the modern Macedonian nation.

In the 9th century, the brothers Sts. Cyrilus and Methodius of Salonika created the first Slavic alphabet, the Glagolitic alphabet, thus paving the way for Slavic literacy. Soon after, the two brothers from Salonika translated Christian scriptures in the language used by the local Slavs. In the years to come, Sts. Cyrilus and Methodius spread literacy and Christianity among the Slavic peoples, starting from the southern-most Slavs, reaching as far as the Slavs of Moravia (in the Czech and Slovak Republics). Their disciples St. Clement and St. Naum established the first Slavic University, the Ohrid Literary School, located in Plaoshnik (Imaret), a part of Ohrid’s Old Town. Here St. Clement reformed St. Cyril’s alphabet, naming it the Cyrilic alphabet in honor of his teacher; St. Clement’s alphabet closely resembles the modern alphabet used by the Macedonians, as well as the Russians, Serbs, Montenegrins, and Bulgarians. In addition to that, 3,500 teachers, clergy, writers, and other literary figures emerged from this Ohrid Literary School. Their activity was crowned with the laying of foundations of a Slavonic cultural, educational and ecclesiastical organization, where the Slavonic alphabet was used and the Old Slavonic language was introduced in religious services. The establishment of the first Slavic bishopric, later to become an Ohrid Archbishopric during the reign of Tsar Samuil, marked the beginning of the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

In the first half of the 10th century, the Bogomil teaching appeared in Macedonia. Bogomilism had grown into a large-scale popular movement engulfing the Balkans and Europe. The 10th century also marked the beginning of the first Macedonian medieval state, the Empire of Tsar Samuil (976-1014). Towards the end of the 10th century, with the weakening of the Byzantine Empire, and with the first Bulgarian Empire apart, Tsar Samuil created a strong Macedonian medieval kingdom with its center at Ohrid. Soon he conquered parts of Greece, a large part of Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Dalmatia. Tsar Samuil was defeated in 1014 by Basil II at the battle on Mount Belasica, near Strumica, capturing 15,000 of his soldiers. Basil’s punishment was punishment an exceptionally cruel one: Samuil’s soldiers were all blinded, except for every hundreth one, who had one eye left, so as to lead his fellow men to Samuil in Prilep, who escaped death at Belasica. At the site of his blinded soldiers, Samuil suffered a heart attack, dying two days later on October 6, 1014.

The tradition of the Tsar Samuil’s state has remained deeply rooted in the minds of the Macedonian people, as he is still greatly praised in numerous folk tales and folk songs. For four centuries after the fall of the kingdom, rebellions and frequent changes of rule disrupted Macedonia’s development. In the 11th century, there were two major uprisings against Byzantine rule, one led by Petar Deljan in 1040, Samuil’s grandson, and the other by Gjorgji Vojteh in 1072. The 12th century saw the rise of the Macedonian feudal lords Dobromir Hrs in 1201, and Strez in 1211.

Ottoman Macedonia

Despite the numerous rebellions, and the short-lived Serbian and Bulgarian states in the 13th and 14th centuries, Macedonia remained a Byzantine territory until the Ottoman Turks conquered it in 1389. The Turks firmly established themselves not only in Macedonia, but in the whole region. Ottoman rule will last for the following five centuries. The first significant resistance movements against the Turkish occupation were the Mariovo-Prilep Rebellion (1564-1565), and the Karposh Uprising in 1689. In the 18th century, under the pressure of the Greek Patriarch in Istanbul, the Turks abolished the Ohrid Archbishopric, which had been keeping the Macedonians spiritually alive since Tsar Samuil. In the 19th century, Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria freed themselves from the Turkish rule, after which they actively displayed territorial aspirations on the Macedonian land. Thus, the so-called Macedonian Question appeared, which is nothing but a competition for a new conquest of Macedonia by its neighbors. But the Macedonians strove to develop their own national consciousness and begun organizing themselves for fight against the Ottomans at the same time. Thus, the 19th century is a period of growing national awareness among the Macedonian people and their quest for free and independent Macedonia.

The Independence Movement

The following years marked the flourishment of the Macedonian literary movement, laying the foundations of modern Macedonian literary language. The leading activists were Kiril Pejchinovich, Joakim Krchovski, Partenija Zografski, Georgija Puleski, Jordan Hadzhi Konstantinov – Dzhinot, Dimitar and Konstantin Miladinov, Grigor Prlichev, Marko Cepenkov, and Kuzman Shapkarev. The second half of the 19th century was marked by the beginning of the national revolutionary struggle for the liberation of Macedonia. The Razlovci and Kresna Uprisings, in 1876 and 1878 respectively, had a strong influence on the growth of Macedonian national awareness. An important role in the movement was played by Bishop Theodosius of Skopje, who started a campaign for an independent Macedonian Orthodox Church by restoring the Ohrid Archbishopric, which had been abolished in 1767. Unfortunately, the strong Bulgarian lobby effectively destroyed the idea.

In 1893, the Macedonian revolutionary organization known as VMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization) was founded in Salonika, with Goce Delchev as its leader. Its objectives were national freedom and the establishment of an autonomous Macedonian state, as outlined in the organization’s slogan Macedonia for the Macedonians. He believed that such a Macedonian state should be won by the people of Macedonia, not its neighbors: those who believe that answer of our national liberation lies in Bulgaria, Serbia or Greece might consider themselves a good Bulgarian, good Serb or a good Greek, but not a good Macedonian. The Macedonia that Delchev had in mind was to be the homeland of all its religious and ethnic groups, an idea that was embedded later on in the Manifesto of the Krushevo Republic. After all, Delchev was a known cosmopolitan, who said I understand the world only as a ground for cultural competition among all nations, and Macedonia was to be such a ground.

In response to the rapidly worsening situation of the Macedonians under Ottoman rule, on August 2, 1903, VMRO launched the Ilinden Uprising against the Ottoman rulers and declared Macedonian independence. The revolutionaries liberated the town of Krushevo, and established the Republic of Krushevo with its own government. The founding principles of the first republic on the Balkans is outlined in the The Manifesto of the Krushevo Republic, outlining the founding principles of a modern democracy. Unfortunately, the uprising was brutally crushed by the Ottoman military; the Macedonian Question, however, aroused an ever increasing international concern. The Great Powers made several attempts to impose reform on the Ottoman Porte, including the sending of their own officers to supervise the gendarmerie – in effect, the first international peacekeeping force. And although the revolt was suppressed, Macedonians remember the brief victory as a key date in the country’s history and the event is enshrined in Macedonia’s constitution.

That same year Krste Misirkov from Pella (Postol), one of the most outstanding names in the history of Macedonian culture, and the founder of the modern Macedonian literary language and orthography, published his On the Macedonian Matters, in which he outlined criteria for the establishment of the Macedonian literary language.

Macedonia and European Cartography until the end of the 19th century

Macedonia has been an interesting destination for European travelers for the simple reason that it was the link to the Orient. For that reason, detailed maps of Macedonia show up as early as the 15th century, the dawn of modern cartography. For instance, the first known map of Macedonia made by modern cartographers is that of S. Ptolomaios (Tabula decima et Ultima Europae Alexandria) from 1477; however, the map only depicts the ancient cities. Following Ptolomaios’ example, later maps continued putting the ancient toponyms (ex: I.Laurenbergio: Macedonia Alexandri M. patria illustris. from 1647). Later maps, like G. Cantelli da Vignola: La Macedonia from 1689 and N. Sanson: Estats de l’Empire des Turqs en Europe from 1696, included the first modern toponyms. European cartographers kept their lively interest in Macedonia in the 18th, as well as the 19th centuries.

The Partition of Macedonia and World War I

The Young Turk movement, lead by the Young Turk Committee, had the aim of reforming the Turkish country, and consequently making social and political reforms in Macedonia. The Macedonian revolutionary organization, through Jane Sandanski and the newly formed national federal party, actively took part in the Young Turk movement for achieving autonomy for Macedonia within the frontiers of a truly democratic Turkish Republic. Such ideas were also promulgated by the father of the modern Turkish State, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was well acquainted with the situation in Macedonia, as he was raised and educated in Macedonia.

Macedonia then and nowFour years after the Young Turk Revolution, in 1912, Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria joined forces and defeated the Turkish forces in Macedonia. Since the reforms of the Turkish state did not keep pace with reality, over 100,000 Macedonians also participated in the actions against the Ottomans; the victors, however, forgot the Macedonians’ support. The Treaty of London (May 1913), which concluded the First Balkan War, left Bulgaria dissatisfied with the partition of Macedonia. Bulgaria’s attempt to enforce a new partition in a Second Balkan War failed, and the Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) essentially confirmed the existing boundaries.

Having failed to achieve independence in 1903, the Macedonians, now divided, were left to their new masters. Greece took the biggest, southern half of Macedonia (Aegean Macedonia), calling it Northern Greece; Bulgaria annexed the Pirin region, similarly abolishing the Macedonian name. And finally, Serbia took over the Vardar region and renamed it to Southern Serbia. An intensive campaigning took place in all three parts of Macedonia to impose foreign identities upon the population that suited the interests of the controlling states. In Vardar Macedonia, the Serbs labeled the Macedonians with the name Southern Serbs; in Aegean Macedonia, the Greeks labeled them as Slavophone Greeks, Makedo-Slavs, and other names; while in Pirin Macedonia, the Macedonians were simply called Bulgarians.

In 1914, World War I erupted. Bulgaria sided with the Central powers and by 1915 it occupied the Serbian-held part of Macedonia. But the defeat of the Central powers and the end of World War I in 1918 saw the partition of 1913 reconfirmed and Macedonia was left divided. At the Paris Peace conference the demands of the Macedonians for independent and united Macedonia were ignored. Vardar Macedonia was re-incorporated with the rest of Serbia and into the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia.

Since 1913, Greece has been trying to banish Macedonian language and the Macedonian toponyms in Aegean Macedonia. The Macedonian language was forbidden, despite the fact under the supervision of the League of Nations Greece had recognized its existence as distinct language when it published the primer Abecedar for the needs of the Macedonian children in 1924. This practice followed in the following decades. Yet despite the triple persecution the Macedonians didn’t change their identity.

The period between the two world wars was also filled with constant endeavors to change the situation of Macedonia and annul the division of the country and its people. In 1925 VMRO (United) was founded in Vienna. Their main objective was to free Macedonia within its geographical and economical borders and create an independent political entity based on the principles of the Krushevo Republic, that will become an equal member of the future Balkan Federation. In 1935, MANAPO (Macedonian National Movement) was founded in the Vardar part of Macedonia. In 1938 The first collection of poems Fire (Ogin) from Venko Markovski was published in Macedonian. In 1939 publication of White Dawns (Beli Mugri), a collection of poems in Macedonian from the first modern Macedonian poet Kocho Racin.

In 1940, the democratic groups in Macedonia defined the political program for the national and social liberation of the country.

World War II and the Liberation

With the World War II burning throughout Europe, Yugoslavia was invaded by the German army in April of 1941. Bulgaria, now an ally of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, again occupied almost all of Macedonia (both the Vardar and Aegean portions). On October 11, 1941, the Macedonians launched a war for the liberation of Macedonia from the Bulgarian occupation. By 1943, the anti-fascist sentiment lent support for the growing communist movement and soon thereafter, the Communist Party of Macedonia was established. In the same year, the first unit of the Army of Macedonia was founded. Bodies of government, such as national liberation councils, were formed over the whole territory of Macedonia. The Headquarters of the National Liberation Army (NOV) published the manifesto of the goals of the war of liberation. The first session of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) was held in the monastery of St. Prohor Pchinski on August 2nd 1944 on the 41st anniversary of the Ilinden uprising. Representatives from all parts of Macedonia, including the Pirin and the Aegean parts of the country, gathered for the occasion and decided on the constitution of a modern Macedonian state as a member of the new Yugoslav federation under the name of People’s Republic of Macedonia. The ASNOM presidium was formed with Metodija Andonov Chento as its first President. In April 1945 the first Macedonian government was founded with Lazar Kolishevski as its first President. Although first calls for the restoration of the Macedonian Orthodox Church emerged at the end of 1944, and beginning of 1945, the Ohrid Archbishopric was restored in 1958, and its autocephaly was declared in 1967. The Macedonians were finally free in one of the three parts of Macedonia. Still, the Macedonian Question remained open for the years to come.

The Greek Civil War and the Macedonians in Greece (Aegean Macedonia)

Soon after the Varkisa agreement (December 1945), the use of the Macedonian name and the Macedonian language were once again prohibited in the Aegean part of Macedonia. In the period between 1945-46 alone, according to partial statistics: 400 murders were registered; 440 women and girls were raped; 13,529 interned on the Greek islands; 8,145 imprisoned in the Greek prisons; 4,209 indicted; 3,215 sentenced to prison; 13 driven mad by the torture in the prisons; 45 villages abandoned; 80 villages pillaged; 1,605 families plundered; and 1,943 families evicted.

Therefore, during the Greek Civil War that followed World War II (1946-1949), the Macedonians of Aegean Macedonia fought on republican side, for they were promised human rights after the war. Of the 35,000 soldiers of DAG, about half were Macedonians. The liberated territory, covered a large portion of Aegean Macedonia. 87 Macedonian schools were opened for 100,000 pupils, the newspapers in Macedonian were published (Nepokoren, Zora, Edinstvo, Borec), and cultural and artistic associations were created. As the DGA lost the war, and the Macedonians once again were stripped of their human rights.

The defeat of DAG resulted in terrible consequences for the Macedonians. 28,000 Aegean Macedonian children, known as child refugees, were separated from their families and settled in eastern Europe and Soviet Union in an attempt to save them from the terror that followed. Thousands of Macedonians lost their lives for the liberty of their people and a great number of the Macedonian villages were burned to the ground.

The Macedonians in Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia)

The political changes after the capitulation of fascist Bulgaria and the coup d’etat of September 9, 1944 positively influenced the historical status of the Macedonians from the Pirin part of Macedonia. The Communist Party of Bulgaria, under the leadership of Geogi Dimitrov, on August 10, 1946 officially recognized the Macedonian nation and the right of the Pirin part of Macedonia to be attached to the People’s Republic of Macedonia. The demography data from 1946 revealed that the majority of the population in the Pirin part of Macedonia declared itself as Macedonian in a free census. The Macedonian literary language and the national history were introduced into the educational process. In 1947 in Gorna Djumaja (Blagoevgrad nowadays) the first Macedonian bookstore and reading room were opened, as well as the Regional Macedonian National Theater. The newspapers in Macedonian such as Pirinsko delo, Nova Makedonija, Mlad borec, and others, were also published. In the Bulgarian census of 1956, 63,8% of the population in Pirin declared itself as Macedonian. However, since 1956 Bulgaria has altered its attitude, negating again the existence of the Macedonian nation and forbidding the expression of Macedonian nationality and language. As result of this, in the census of 1965, the number of Macedonians dropped to only 8,750 and in the district of Blagoevgrad, less than 1%. Yet the Macedonians in Bulgaria begun organizing themselves and in 1989, United Macedonian Organization – Ilinden (OMO Ilinden) was formed, demanding cultural and national autonomy for the Macedonians in Pirin.

Republic of Macedonia

As federal Yugoslavia was disintegrating at the beginning of 1990’s, on September 8, 1991 in a referendum, 95% of eligible voters approved the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia gained its independence peacefully, unlike the other former Yugoslav republics. Kiro Gligorov was elected the first president of independent Macedonia. The new Constitution determined the Republic of Macedonia a sovereign, independent, civil, and democratic state, and it recognized the complete equality of the Macedonians and the ethnic minorities:Macedonia is constituted as a national country of the Macedonian people which guarantees complete civil equality and permanent mutual living of the Macedonian people with the Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma and the other nationalities living in the Republic of Macedonia.

Although the European Community acknowledged that Macedonia had fulfilled the requirements for official recognition, due to the opposition of Greece, already a member of the community, the EU decided to postpone the recognition. Greece insisted that the new nation has no right to use of the name Macedonia and use the emblem of ancient Macedonia on its flag. In July of 1992 there were demonstrations in the capital Skopje over the failure to receive recognition. Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations under the temporary reference (not an official name) the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1993. Full diplomatic relations with a number of EU nations followed, while Russia, China, Turkey, Bulgaria and most nations, recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name Republic of Macedonia.

In response to the refusal of the Macedonian President Gligorov to rename the country, nation, and language, and change the Constitution because Article 47 specifies that the Republic of Macedonia cares for the statue and rights of those persons belonging to the Macedonian people in neighboring countries, as well as Macedonian expatriates, assists their cultural development and promotes links with them, Greece imposed a unilateral trade embargo on Macedonia on February 1994. Unfortunately, the embargo had devastating impact on Macedonia’s economy; the country was cut-off from the port of Salonika and became landlocked because of the UN embargo on Yugoslavia to the north, and the Greek embargo to the south. Later, the signing of the Interim accord between Greece and Macedonia marked the increased cooperation between the two neighboring states. However, there are still open issues.

Latest Developments

Due to the positive role that Macedonia played in the latest turbulent developments in the region, as well as the good human rights record, at the beginning of 2000 the EU opened negotiations with Macedonia on a Stabilization and Association Agreement. At the end of the year, the EU and Macedonia initialized the agreement at the Zagreb Summit, which puts Macedonia at the forefront for closer relationship from the other Balkan non-member states. In addition to that, as a sign of good will, the EU also adopted a set of exceptional trade measures with the Republic of Macedonia.

Bibliography

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