Macedonia National History

Macedonians, formed during the Iron Age, from Brygian substratum and from Indo-European superstratum settled at the end of the second millenium. The Macedonians, according the legends, got their name from the mythological ancestor Makedon. In the period 498-454 BC Macedonia already appears on the international scene. In that time Macedonians make the first coins with the king’s name on them.

Philip II united Macedonia and enforced Macedonian dominance upon the neighboring nations. In the time of Alexander III Macedonia became the most powerful country, with the most organized and most unified army. In 148 BC Macedonia was given the status of a province, (with a Roman army and administration).

The process of ethno-genesis of the modern Macedonian people by the mixing of the natives and the Slavs the classical Macedonians, started in the 7th century. In the 9th century the Slavic tribes in Macedonia accepted Christianity as their own religion. The brothers, Cyril and Methodius, who created the Slavic alphabet, were promoters of Christianity and founders of Slavic literacy among the Slavic people. Their students, Kliment and Naum Ohridski, were the founders of the literary school in Ohrid, which was the first Slavic University.

The Macedonian Medieval Country was established during the period of Czar Samoil (976-1018). The Ohrid archbishopric, with main seat in Ohrid, was also founded during the rule of Czar Samoil.

Near the end of XIV century Macedonia fell under Turkish rule and remained as such for five centuries (1392-1912). The Ohrid archbishopric was cancelled in 1767. The nineteenth century represents a period of growth for Macedonian renaissance. The foundations of modern Macedonian literature, literacy and development of education were established.

On 23rd October 1893 a Macedonian revolutionary organization was founded. The basic aim of the organization was the achievement of autonomy for Macedonia. The leaders and ideologists were Goce Delcev and Gjorce Petrov. In April 1903 a group of Macedonian revolutionaries, known as “Gemidzii”, carried out a series of attacks on a number of buildings in Thessaloniki in order to draw the attention of the European public towards the situation of the Macedonian people. On August 2, 1903 the Ilinden uprising had begun. The rebels in the town of Krusevo organized their own power, well known as the Republic of Krusevo (“Krushevska Republika”), which lasted 10 days. In 1903 Krste Petkov – Misirkov published the book “On Macedonian Matters” (“Za makedonckite raboti”) in which he projected the principles for standardization of the Macedonian literary language.

During the first Balkan War (1912) allied Balkan countries, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece, achieved victory over the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). In June 1913 the Tikves Uprising took place against the new Serbian occupational dominance in Tikves after the First Balkan War. The rebels freed almost all of the Tikves region, including the towns of Kavadarci and Negotino. In bringing the uprising to an end the Serbian military forces killed about 1,200 people and burnt more than 1,000 houses.

In 1913 the Second Balkan War was led by the country allies from the First Balkan War (Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria) with the aim of ruling Macedonia. With the peace treaty in Bucharest (August 10, 1913), the territory of Macedonia was partitioned into three parts amongst Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece.

During the First World War (1914-1918) Bulgaria occupied Macedonia. In 1919 a peace conference took place in Versailles. The partitioning of Macedonia was sanctioned, in the course of which the geographic, natural and ethnic unity of Macedonia was partitioned by the Balkan countries: The Kingdom of SHS (SHS-Serbs, Croats and Slovenians), Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. The “Vardarian” part of Macedonia (today the Republic of Macedonia) fell under the rule of the newly formed Kingdom of SHS.

During the Second World War in 1941 the Bulgarian and Italian military forces occupied Macedonia. On October 11, 1941, an armed anti-fascist battle in Macedonia began with a national and revolutionary character, for the realization of an independent Macedonian state. In 1943 the first military unit of the Macedonian army was formed. The process for creation of government authorities also began.

On August 2, 1944 the First session of the Antifascist Council for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) was held at the monastery of St. Prohor Pcinski. The ASNOM presidium was formed then. Metodija Andonov Cento was its first President. A decision was reached to constitute a modern Macedonian country that will become part of the new Federal Yugoslavia. In April 1945 the first Macedonian government was founded with Lazar Kolisevski as its first President. On July 17, 1967, the Ohrid Archbishopric was renewed as the Macedonian Orthodox church.

On September 8, 1991, in a referendum people voted for the independence of the Republic of Macedonia as a separate state. On November 17, 1991, the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia was passed according to which “…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.” On April 8, 1993, the Republic of Macedonia was admitted in the United Nations. The Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, on November 23, 1993 passed a decision for achieving NATO full membership. In November 1995, the Republic of Macedonia became a full member country of the NATO initiative – the Partnership for Peace (PfP).

Starting from March 1999, Macedonia began to receive the first of over 400,000 refugees fleeing the attempted genocide in the neighbouring Serbian province of Kosovo. In June 1999 the Kosovo War ended and the refugees began to return home.
During 2000 and early 2001, a series of violent attacks were carried out by ethnic Albanians demanding increased “rights” for the ethnic Albanian portion of the Macedonian population. When these demands were rejected, the fighting between Government security forces and ethnic Albanians escalated rapidly. Many of the Albanians had previously gained military experience with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the Kosovo War of 1999, and were reportedly funded in part at least by the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda terrorist network.

The small and under-equipped government forces were unprepared for the conflict and took some time to reach the efficiency level required to repel the insurgents holding some areas of Macedonian territory. In the meantime, the destabilising effect of the escalating conflict on Macedonia and surrounding countries forced NATO to broker a ceasefire and political settlement. According to the peace agreement, constitutional changes will be made that would grant more rights to ethnic Albanians minority, that is 22.7 percent of the countries population of just over 2 million. According to this agreement NATO would “disarm” the insurgents. At the same time a new and still secret terrorist organization known as Albanian National Army (ANA) informed the world that they would continue the fight against “occupiers of the Albanian territories” in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece on their way to creating a Greater Albania. This leads to suspicions that the war in Macedonia and the neighbouring countries is still not over. Expansion and re-equipment of Macedonian forces continues, along with improved training, to ensure that the combat readiness of the security forces remains high.

On 4 December 2001, the United States designated the so-called Albanian National Army (ANA) and the National Committee for the Liberation and Defense of Albanian Lands (KKCMTSH) under Executive Order 13219 of U.S. President George Bush issued June 27, 2001 for the sanctioning of terrorist organizations in the Western Balkans. This move allows the U.S. Treasury to block the assets of these groups in U.S. and to prohibit financial transactions with them by U.S. persons. A further move in the ongoing War Against Terrorism.

Thanks to Igor Bozinovski for updating this information.

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