June 18, 2021

Macedonia: A country rich with history and culture

Republic of Macedonia, big in the ancient times now a small European country whose name describes both a powerful nation of ancient times as well as one of the newly independent countries in Europe. The Macedonian name and culture have survived and evolved through more than 2,500 years of conquering forces and control. The ancient Macedonians were a distinct nation, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally different from their neighbors. Caranus establishes the ancient Macedonian kingdom and is the first known Macedonian king (808-778 BC).

Conquers Greece in 338 BC. Assassinated two years later.

One of the oldest known world civilizations, the history of Macedonia is one to be proud of. Archeological surveys show civilizations as far back as 7,000 BC. Alexander the Great and his father, Phillip II, rulers of Macedonia during 4th century B.C., helped shape Macedonian civilization while building a powerful Macedonian Empire. Alexander vassalized his neighbors, the city states (now in the territory of modern Greece) and other foreign tribes to build one of the most powerful empires in ancient times. It was only after his death at the age of 33 that Macedonia was divided to be ruled among his generals, subsequently leading to conquests by Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. 

In 1912, Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria joined forces and defeated the Turkish army in Macedonia. 100,000 Macedonians also participated and helped in the Turkish evacuation but the victors did not reward them. The Treaty of London (May 1913), which concluded the First Balkan War, left Bulgaria dissatisfied with the partition of Macedonia among the allies which resulted after the war. Bulgaria’s attempt to enforce a new partition in a Second Balkan War failed, and the Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) confirmed a pattern of boundaries that (with small variations) has remained in force ever since.

Macedonia would continue to be controlled by foreign rule well into modern times until 1944. On 2 August 1944 on the 41st anniversary of the Ilinden uprising the representatives from all parts of Macedonia, including the Pirin and the Aegean parts of the country, gathered and decided on the constitution of a modern Macedonian state as a member of the new Yugoslav federation under the name of Peoples Republic of Macedonia. The ASNOM presidium was formed with Metodija Andonov Cento as its first President and decision was reached to constitute a modern Macedonian country that will become part of the new Federal Yugoslavia. On April 1945 the first Macedonian government was founded with Lazar Kolisevski as its first President.

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. 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. It read “…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.”

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