Ancient and Middle Ages
The first settlement we know of what is now North Macedonia took place around the 8th century BC. Instead of. At that time the Illyrians inhabited the area. They founded villages and built cities. Later the Thracians advanced and mingled with the Illyrian tribes.
Then the Romans came and largely destroyed the area. In the 4th century AD the Byzantines conquered the area and two centuries later Slavic tribes immigrated.
In the 7th century, today’s Macedonia became part of the First Bulgarian Empire and in the 11th century it became part of Bulgaria (at that time still an administrative unit of the Byzantine Empire). The Ottomans later conquered the area. At the beginning of the 15th century, what is now North Macedonia was completely under Ottoman rule.
Resistance to the Ottomans
In the middle of the 15th century there was more and more resistance against the Ottoman rulers and in 1465 there was the first uprising, which was followed by others. The people on Macedonian territory were by no means the only ones who had problems with the Ottomans.
Russia, too, continued to take action against the enemy power. The Russo-Turkish war broke out, which the Russian side won. The region fell to Bulgaria, which was changed again at the Berlin Congress. There it was decided in 1878 that it should be linked to the Ottoman Empire again.
Revolt against the Ottoman rulers
The inhabitants of today’s Macedonia did not like that at all, after all, they had only just been able to free themselves from the Ottoman rulers. That is why there were numerous uprisings throughout the Balkans. The Albanians founded the League of Prizren, the Bulgarians helped to organize the Kresna-Raslog uprising and founded the Bulgarian Macedonia-Adrianople Revolutionary Committee (BMARK). This anti-Ottoman organization started the Ilinden uprising against the Ottoman rulers in 1903. When the Balkan Wars broke out in 1912, the rule of the Ottomans finally ended.
The Ilinden uprising
The Ilinden uprising was a popular revolt. It was organized in the regions of Macedonia (today divided into northern Greece, North Macedonia, south-west Bulgaria and south-east Albania) and Thrace (today parts of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey). The name comes from the day of the uprising, the day of Elias. Elias means Ilinden in Macedonian.
Macedonia becomes part of Yugoslavia
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, what was then Macedonia was divided. One part went to Greece, one to Serbia and one to Bulgaria. In 1918 today’s Macedonia was incorporated as a province into the new Serbian kingdom. The Serbs called this new country the “United Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes”, and from 1929 it became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
Many Macedonians resisted the new rulers, but without success. When the Second World War ended, Macedonia became an autonomous region in the “Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia”.
Road to independence
The state of Yugoslavia (now the “Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia”) began to disintegrate more and more clearly in the 1980s. At that time, the country’s communist government was also ousted through elections. Several parties were introduced and democratic elections took place.
In 1990, the Social Democrat Kiro Gligorov came to power and had a referendum carried out on whether to remain in Yugoslavia. 95 out of 100 Macedonians voted for separation from the state and for independence. On September 18, 1991, the Republic of Macedonia was proclaimed.
Problems in the new state
Most of the Albanians in Macedonia lived in the province of Illyria. After clashes with the Macedonians they demanded their own state and an Albanian independence movement called the “National Albanian Liberation Army” was formed. Because attacks by extremist Albanians increased and there was a war in neighboring Kosovo, NATO troops began to be stationed in Macedonia to avoid a conflict. Many people from Kosovo fled to Macedonia and the economically weak country was increasingly overwhelmed. Some of these people were able to return to Kosovo in 1999 when the situation there was defused by NATO troops.
Because attacks and clashes between Albanians and Macedonians continued, it was decided to move closer to politics. They led Albanian partly as a second official language one, presented the Macedonian Albanians more political power and even partially the possibility of self-government in areas that were predominantly inhabited by Albanians.
The situation improved significantly, but extremist attacks were not lacking for the time being. The Albanians also began to quarrel internally, because some wanted integration and rapprochement with Macedonia, others continued to strive for their own independent state. In September 2007 there was even a fight in parliament between party members. The extremist Albanians increasingly lost their influence. In the meantime, attempts are still being made to bring the two population groups closer together.
Since May 2017 the Prime Minister of the country has been called Zoran Zaev. In North Macedonia, the government is re-elected every four years.
Dispute over the name of Macedonia
Since 1991 Greece and Macedonia have been fighting over the name “Macedonia”. As long as Macedonia was still part of Yugoslavia, there were no violent clashes, after that there were. This conflict dragged on for years. According to Countryaah, Macedonia is one of countries beginning with M.
Macedonia became North Macedonia
It was not until January 11, 2019 that the name change and conversion from “Macedonia” to “North Macedonia” became official. The change came into force on February 12, 2019 after both parliaments, the Macedonian and the Greek, had approved the change. A long-standing conflict was thus resolved.