North Macedonia (Macedonian: Северна Македонија, Severna Makedonija), officially known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia (Macedonian: Република Северна Македонија, Republika Severna Makedonija, Albanian: Republika e Maqedonisë së Veriut) and also known as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Macedonian: поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија, Poranena Jugoslovenska Republika Makedonija), is a tiny Slavic Southern European nation nestled in the middle of the Balkan Peninsula. The capital is Skopje.
The country's national language, Macedonian, is closely related and mutually intelligible to Bulgarian. It's a matter of controversy whether Macedonian and Bulgarian are dialects of the same language or separate languages; consensus among linguists is that the two form the eastern part of the South Slavic dialect continuum,note with the western part being taken by Serbo-Croatian and Slovenian.
"Macedonia", the ethnic homeland of Macedonians, was historically a much larger region which was divided up in 1913 among nations who'd taken advantage of the weakness of the Ottoman Empire: the southern part went to Greece, the northeastern part went to Bulgaria, and the northwestern part — the part that makes up the present-day Republic of North Macedonia — became the southern half of Serbia. This Serbian region later became the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, as a constituent republic of Yugoslavia. When Yugoslavia broke up, this constituent republic became the independent Republic of Macedonia.
However, the newly independent Macedonia found itself at odds with Greece, due to Greece's northern region (the territory annexed in 1913) having the same name. Greece felt that, due to its cultural and historic importance, the name should be considered exclusively Greek. Macedonia, on the other hand, felt that it was within its rights to call itself whatever it pleased and refused to even acknowledge the dispute. Greece had even argued that the nation's name implies a desire to annex the northern Greek region, which in Macedonia was seen as Insane Troll Logic. As a result, the neighbors have had a rocky relationship, which has led to incidents such as the rejection of Macedonia from joining NATO and the European Union, as joining either group requires unanimous approval of the current members. Because of Greece's pressure, Macedonia was a member of the United Nations under the name "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"note (as well as the Olympic Games, where the full name is used in the alphabetical order it is marching innote ) and Greece itself only recognised Macedonia under that name or the name "Macedonia-Skopje", just to make the point.
In 2018, a deal called the Prespa agreement was struck to rename the country to "Republic of North Macedonia"; previously the country called itself as simply "Republic of Macedonia". With the decision, Greece promises to drop its objections to NATO and EU membership. While the deal was controversialnote , the rename eventually came into effect on the 12th of February, 2019, finally ending the naming dispute with Greece, and North Macedonia applied for NATO membership, with the country finally becoming part of NATO on March 27th, 2020, being the newest member of the organization.
Other than the Macedonians, a quarter of North Macedonia's population (some 500,000 people) consist of ethnic Albanians. Albanians are the majority in some northwestern municipalities, which, alongside Kosovo, were briefly annexed by Italian-ruled Albania during World War II. Although the country avoided any bloodshed during the breakup of Yugoslavia (the only one of the republics to do so), there was a series of skirmishes between the North Macedonian police and armed forces vs. local Albanian separatists in 2001. The conflict left some 100-300 dead and ended with a compromise that promised to improve the rights of Albanians.
By percentage, North Macedonia has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. In addition to the Albanians, most of whom identify as Muslims, the country also hosts other historically Muslim ethnic groups, such as Turks, Romani, and centuries-old Slavic converts called Torbei. This is not surprising; North Macedonia was one of the first European territories the Ottoman Empire conquered and one of the last to break away; in total, the occupation lasted over five centuries. There are more mosques than there are churches in Skopje, although the city is nowadays predominantly Christian.
All in all, this complex mix of nationalities and ethnicities in the area led to the invention of the French culinary term Macedoine, which means a mixture of vegetables.
Famous North Macedonians:
- Historically, the country's greatest claim to fame is Alexander the Great, who conquered much of the known world in the 4th century B.C.; his father, Phillip II, had conquered most of Greece. To this day, North Macedonians and Greeks have a bit of a rivalry over who can properly lay claim to Alexander the Great. Macedon was at the time considered to be part of the Greek world; the inhabitants of the territory generally spoke a form of Greek, but it was a dialect most other Greeks regarded as rather savage and rough, and although the Slavic language currently spoken by most citizens of the country we're talking about here didn't move in until no earlier than the 5th or 6th century AD, the fact is that the modern culture of Macedonia—on either side of the border—is a hybrid of both Greek and Slavic influences (with Greek ones predominating no matter what language you speak), and that the people on both sides of the border are probably a mix of both Greek and Slavic ancestry.note Alexander was also born in a town which is today part of Greece and not North Macedonia, which complicates issues. It's nothing too serious, but it's worth knowing.
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje (then called Üsküp) to ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. She left for The Raj at the age of 18, but she remained a Yugoslavian citizen until she voluntarily gave up the citizenship in favor of India's.
- Bebe Rexha is an ethnic Albanian with roots in North Macedonia: her father is an immigrant born in Debar, while her mother was born in the US to Albanian immigrants from Gostivar.
North Macedonian media:Creators
Films — Live-Action
- Before the Rain, the first North Macedonian movie to get an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
- Honeyland, about a rural beekeeper scratching out a precarious living selling honey
The North Macedonian flag
The North Macedonian national anthem
- Unitary parliamentary republic
- President: Stevo Pendarovski
- Prime Minister: Zoran Zaev
- Chairman of the Assembly: Talat Xhaferi
- Capital and largest city: Skopje
- Population: 2,077,132
- Area: 25,713 km² (9,928 sq mi) (145nd)
- Currency: Macedonian dollar (ден) (MKD)
- ISO-3166-1 Code: MK
- Country calling code: 389
- Highest point: Golem Korab (2764 m/9,068 ft) (89thnote )
- Lowest points: Vardar (50 m/164 ft) (47th)