Macedonians – Macedonian people

Macedonians are outstandingly warm, cheerful, simple, friendly and lovely people, whose attitude you immediately spot the very moment you meet them. You instantly learn Macedonians love their country by the way they not intrusively greet you and show you around.

The Macedonians are a southern Slavic people and speak the Macedonian language which is a part of the South Slavic group of languages. Structurally, Macedonian is closest to Serbian and Bulgarian than any other Slavonic language. Macedonian language current form was codified after the Second World War and has accumulated a thriving literary tradition. The Macedonian language is in the same family as Russian, Serbian or Bulgarian, but is distinctly different. The official alphabet in Macedonia is the Cyrillic, but Latin is used also.

Macedonia has been continuously settled since prehistory. From a demographic standpoint, the population was slowly increasing prior to World War II, and has been increasing more rapidly since then. A substantial migration from villages to towns has been occurring over the last 60 years. The modern Macedonians developed as a result of the mixing of the Slavs that came on the Balkans in 6th AD century, with local peoples that were living in the Macedonia prior to their coming. By absorbing the peoples living in Macedonia, the Slavs also absorbed their culture, and in that amalgamation a people was gradually formed with predominantly Slavic ethnic elements, speaking a Slavic language and with a Slavic-Byzantine culture. In 581 AD, on the territory of Macedonia, the Slavs created their own country-like formation called the Macedonian Sclavinia, which waged several wars against the Byzantium Empire. In 686 AD, the last Macedonian Sclavinia was occupied by the Byzantium and the Bulgarians. In mid 8th century, the Macedonian Slavs under Byzantine rule were baptized and accepted Christianity, and the Macedonians under Bulgarian rule became Christians in the 9th century. The Macedonians have a great role in the creation of the Slavic writing. The local dialect of the Macedonian Slavs spoken north of Thessaloniki became the basis for Old Church Slavonic, the first literary Slavic language. During the whole medieval period, Macedonia was constantly an object of conquest and was being slipped from Byzantine, to Bulgaria, to Serbia. This ended in the 14th century when Macedonia, together with the whole Balkan region was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. After the creation of the Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian states who gained independence from Turkey, the three young countries started opening Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian churches and propagandist schools, in order to assimilate the Macedonian population through education. The rivalry succeeded in dividing the Macedonians into three distinct parties, the pro-Bulgarian (which was the largest), pro-Greek and pro-Serbian one, at the expense of development of a unique Macedonian identity.

The Old Serbia and Macedonia – i.e. the South Serbia in the narrow sense considers those areas that were liberated after the Balkan wars from the five centuries long Turkish yoke, and by the Bucharest Peace Treaty in 1913 united with the Kingdom of Serbia and Montenegro. Those are areas in the valleys of the Lim, Ibar and Raska Rivers,  Metohija, Kosovo and Vardar Macedonia – the Skopje basin, Kumanovo-Preševo Valley, area by the Pcinja and Kriva rivers, Kocani Valley, Maleš-Osogovo Mountains, Plauš and Strumica, Veleš Valley, basins of the Topolka and Babuna, Has and Klepci areas, Rajac and Tikveš, Morihovo, Meglen, Tziga Valley, Đevđelija Valley, Bojmija, Demir Kapija – Železnik, Solunska kampanja i zaliv – Thessaloniki and Bay, Pajak, Thessaloniki, Drama, Dojran and Seres Valleys, Trakia, basin of the Marica River, Ajvasilsko and Bešič lakes, Dojran Lake, Epirus and South Albania, West Macedonia, Poreč, Kičevo, Kopač, Kačanik Gorge, Tetovo Valley, Suhodolica, Šar planina Mountain, Kosovo, Metohija, Prizren area, Rogozna Mountain, Novi Pazar area, Šekular, Plav and Gusinje.

In the period between 1903 and 1908 the three Balkan countries started arming the three different parties and stimulating them to fight one another. This period of the history of Macedonia is called the Macedonian Struggle, and is manifested with brother killing his own brother for being a partisan of the different nationalist propaganda. This period lasted till 1912, when Macedonia was divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. In those dark days the National Awakening of the Macedonians took place. In late 19th and early 20th century several Macedonian intellectuals living abroad propagated the idea of the unique character of the Macedonians, that is, that the Slavic-speakers of Macedonia compose a separate ethnicity which is different from Serbian, Bulgarian and Greek. After the Balkan Wars, following division of the region of Macedonia among the Kingdom of Greece, the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Serbia, and after WWI, the idea of belonging to a separate Macedonian nation was further spread among the Macedonians. The suffering during the wars, the endless struggle of the Balkan monarchies on dominance over the population made the Macedonians more and more aware that the creation of an independent Macedonian state and a development of a Macedonian nation would put an end of their suffering. The first revolutionary organization that promoted the existence of a separate ethnic Macedonian nation was United IMRO created in 1925 and composed of Macedonians with leftist ideology. This idea was internationalized and backed by the Comintern which issued in 1934 a declaration supporting the further development of the Macedonian nation. This action was backed by the Bulgarian, Greek and Yugoslav communist parties and they started supporting the national consolidation of the Macedonian people and created Macedonian sections within the parties, headed by a prominent IMRO (United) member.
In World War II, Macedonia was occupied by Italian, German and Bulgarian troops. Macedonia was annexed and divided between Greater Albania and Greater Bulgaria following the invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia in April, 1941 by Germany and Axis allies Italy, Hungary, Albania and Bulgaria. The Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga, Kicevo and Debar districts of Western Macedonia were annexed and incorporated into an enlarged Albanian state, of Greater Albania, sponsored by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Western Macedonia was occupied by the Italian army and was under Italian administration until the Italian surrender in 1943 when it was re-occupied by Germany. In conjunction with the Balli Kombetar, the Italian occupation forces formed the fascist Albanian Ljuboten battalion which the German forces retained after 1943. In 1944, Germany formed the Albanian Skanderber Waffen SS Division which occupied Kosovo, Southern Serbia, Montenegro and Western Macedonia. The Macedonian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Roma and Macedonian Jewish population were the targets of victims of genocide and extermination. The Macedonian and Serbian nationalities were de-recognized by the Bulgarian occupation forces. The Bulgarian occupation regime categorized the Macedonian Slav population as Bulgarian. In the Greater Albania of Western Macedonia, the Macedonian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Roma and Jewish population were similarly targeted for elimination and deportation. read more Carl K. Savich Holocaus in Macedonia, 1941-1944.

In mid 1941 the first Macedonian partisan units were created, and organized attacks on targets in the cities of Kumanovo and Prilep, as the Macedonian people took part in the Second World War side by side with the Allied forces, with the other people of Yugoslavia. The first greater partisan battalion was formed in 1943, and the same year the armed struggle against the fascist occupation was conducted in every part of Macedonia. On August 2, 1944 the ASNOM (Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia) was held on which the decisions were made for the establishment of the Macedonian State, as a federal unit within the framework of the Yugoslav federation, and the officiousness of the Macedonian language. During the period September – November 1944 the Macedonian Partisan Army has taken the final offensives which resulted in the liberation of the whole of the territory of Vardar Macedonia.
After being nearly 50 years the federal republic of Yugoslavia, on 8 September 1991 Macedonia proclaimed its independence. Over the period since achieving its independence, the Republic of Macedonia has been striving to build a stable political and economic community, with a legal system able to facilitate rapid integration into the European Union and the wider international community. From 1991 till today the Republic of Macedonia has been walking the road towards integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures. Since the early 1990s, many Macedonians embraced the view that their identity stems from 2,500 years ago in antiquity, while many Macedonians also feel very proud of their Slav origin.

Macedonians are the warmest people in the Balkans and keen to make their guests feel at home, starting with their tasty food, to love for music and dance and overall merrymaking…

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