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Macedonia, officially named the Republic of Macedonia, is situated in the Balkan peninsula in southeast Europe. The capital and largest city is Skopje, and the country's official language is Macedonian. It is landlocked and shares borders with Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania. ethnic Macedonians make up approximately 64% of the current population, with the remainder being Albanian (25%), Turks (4%), Romani (3%), Serbs (2%), with about 2% other nationalities.

The history of Macedonia dates back the beginning of recorded human history, starting with the Kingdom of the Paeonians, who, according to the Iliad were allied with the Trojans during the ancient Trojan War. Philip II of Macedon used the advantage of Paenian king's death in 355 BC in order to conquer Paeonia, resulting in the annexation of Paeonia by Macedon. Paeonia is part of today's Macedonia.

Its location is strategically important because it is a hub of communication routes, including the north-south route fro the Danube River to the Aegean sea as well as the east-west trade routes which connect Istanbul and the Black Sea with the Adriatic Sea.

In 51 AD, the Macedonian towns of Thessalonica, Beroea, and Philippi were on the Apostle Paul's preaching circuit. All are mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, and two of his epistles in the New Testament are to the Thessalonians.

In 395 AD, after the east-west split of the Roman Empire, Macedonia was part of the Byzantine Empire, which was the eastern part of the split.

A severe earthquake destroyed Scupi, which is now called Skopje, in 518 AD. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had the settlement rebuilt. Because Barbarians frequently descended upon the old settlement, Justinian moved it to a more defensible location, just a short way from where it once stood, on the promontory where the fortress is. Near the the end of the sixth century, the new settlement was sacked by Slavs.

During the seventh century, the Bulgars, a semi-nomadic tribe of Turkic warriors, came to the Balkan Peninsula where they assimilated with the Slavs who were already living there. This is the region which would eventually become Bulgaria.

Macedonian Emperors belonging to the Macedonian Dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire during the ninth century. Macedonians developed the Slavic alphabet and promoted Christianity about this time.

There were uprisings and short-lived occupations by the Bulgarians and Serbians in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, but Macedonia remained part of the Byzantine Empire until 1389, when Ottoman Turks conquered the Southern Balkans. They ruled for 520 years. They were unable to win Constantinople until 1453, but the Macedonian region was part of the Ottoman Empire for more than fifty years by then. Ottoman rule lasted until 1913. The 1564 Mariovo-Prilep Rebellion and the 1689 Karposh Uprising, for example.

There were numerous rebellions and uprisings between the 16th and 20th century. In 1767, the Turks abolished the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the Christian leader who had been been keeping the Macedonians spiritually fed for centuries. During the 19th Century, Greece and then Serbia and Bulgaria won their independence from the Ottomans.

In 1893, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was founded with the mission to obtain autonomy for Macedonians from the Turks. They were not above using terrorist tactics in their pursuit of that mission. In short order, others groups with the same goals sprouted up.

In 1911, the Italo-Balkin War had sapped the Ottoman Empire, and that emboldened Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro. They had already been liberated from the Ottoman Empire, but vast numbers of their ethnic populations were still in the Balkan Peninsula under Turkish rule. In March 1912, these nations formed the Balkan League and in October, they attacked the Empire. This was the First Balkan War, which ended with the signing of the Treaty of London which took place on May 30, 1913. The League had won, and they partitioned almost all of the European territories claimed by the Ottomans.

But Bulgaria, unhappy with the division of spoils, attacked its allies, Greece and Serbia. On June 16, 1913, the Second Balkan War began when Serbia and Greece counter-attacked Bulgaria while entering that country. This action rekindled some of the territorial disputes between Romania and Bulgaria. The Ottoman Empire took that opportunity to regain some of the territory they had just lost. The Treaty of Bucharest ended this war in August of 1913. It also ended the Ottoman Empire, and the bulk of its European territories were divvied up among Serbia, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Macedonia was absorbed into Serbia.

Subsequently, it was ruled by Bulgaria for a while and then by Yugoslavia. Macedonia attained independence in September of 1991.



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