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Macedonian Flag

A The country of Macedonia, whose official name is the Republic of Macedonia, is located in Southern Europe, near Greece. There are about 2 million people living in this relatively new country. It declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1993.

B The name “Macedonia” comes from an ancient Greek word which meant “tall”. This could have referred to either the land of Macedonia, which has many mountains, or it could have referred to what the Macedonian people looked like (they may have been tall). Therefore, the name “Macedonia” might have meant “highlanders” or “tall people”.

C Macedonia has a long and interesting history. In ancient times, Alexander the Great who was born in Macedonia in 323 BC, created the largest Empire the world had ever seen. Later, the Romans created a province called Macedonia in 146 BC. During the medieval period , from about 500 to 1400, different rulers came and went and the land was controlled by different kings. After that time, the area came under Ottoman rule. This would last for another 500 years, until World War I. From WWI to the present day, the history of Macedonia has been complicated. Borders and rulers changed many times. It was only until 1991 that stability came and the modern country emerged.

D The population of Macedonia is diverse and there are several different groups of people living there. The largest group of people, at about 64% of the population, are the Macedonians. The next largest group, making up about 25% of the population, are the Albanians. After these two largest groups there are several other small groups such as Turks (2.8%), Roma (2.66%), Serbs (1.7%) as well as a few other groups.

Map of Europe, showing Macedonia

E There are several languages spoken in Macedonia. The most widely spoken is Macedonian. Other languages include Albanian, Turkish, Romani and Aromanian. Although Macedonia is the official language, in places where at least 20% of the people speak another language, that language is used for official purposes, such as in the courts.

F Things are improving in Macedonia. Over the last ten years its economy has grown steadily. It has a vibrant culture and the people are hard-working. This shows that although Macedonia may have had a difficult past, its future looks bright.

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