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Timeline of the History of Macedonia

Macedonia is located in the center of the Southern Balkans, north of ancient Hellas (Greece), east of Illyria, and west of Thrace. The name "Macedonia" is the oldest surviving name of a country on the continent of Europe. The ancient Macedonians were a distinct nation, ethnically, linguistically, and culturally different from their neighbors. Their origins are in the ancient Brygian (Phrygian) substratum that occupied the whole of Macedonian territory and in Indo-European superstratum, which settled here at the end of the 2nd millennium.  Archaeological evidence shows that old European civilization flourished in Macedonia between 7000 and 3500 BC.


[808-399 BC] Caranus establishes the ancient Macedonian kingdom and is the first known Macedonian king (808-778 BC).  Alexander I "Philhellene" (498-454 BC) expend the kingdom and fight as Persian ally in the Greek-Persian wars.  Alexander’s son Perdiccas II (453 - 413 BC) instigates a conflict between Athens and Sparta which turns into a 27 year long Peloponnesian War resulting in a near exhaustion of almost every Greek city-state.  Archelaus (413-399 BC) turns Macedonia into an economic power and reorganizes the Macedonian army. 


[359-336 BC] Philip II (359-336 BC) raises Macedonia into the greatest European Power after subduing all of Macedonia's neighbors - Illyrians, Thracians, and Greeks.  The Battle of Chaeronea where the Macedonians defeat the Greeks on August 2, 338 BC, marks an end of Greek history and the beginning of the Macedonian Era. The ancient Greek writer Theopompus declares Philip “the greatest man that Europe had ever given.” 




[336-323 BC] Philip’s son Alexander III the Great (356-323 BC) carries the Macedonian armies into Asia and conquers the Persian Empire. Macedonia becomes the world’s largest Empire stretching from Europe, to North Africa and India.   



[323-300 BC] The death of Alexander the Great plunges the Macedonian nation into a civil war as the leading Macedonian generals fight over the rule of the Empire. By 300 BC, the Macedonian Empire is carved up between the dynasties of Alexander’s generals Antigonus I (Macedonia and Greece), Ptolemy I (Egypt), and Seleucus I (Asia).  


[300-146 BC] Under Antigonus II Gonatas (276-239), the grandson of Antigonus I, Macedonia achieves a stable rule and strengthens its occupation of Greece. His grandson Philip V (222-179 BC) clashes with Rome that begun expanding eastward.  The two "Macedonian Wars" against the Romans end up in defeat of Philip V’s armies. Macedonia loses the whole of Greece and is reduced to its original borders. In the third "Macedonian War", Rome defeats the Macedonian army under the last Macedonian king, Philip's son Perseus (179-168 BC). Perseus dies prisoner in Italy, a rebellion against the Roman rule fails, and by 146 Macedonia is a Roman province.  


[65 BC] Rome conquers the Seleucid Macedonian kingdom in Asia under its last king Antiochus XII.


[30 BC] The Roman victory over Cleopatra VII puts an end to the last of the Macedonian descendants in Egypt, and with it to the last remains of the Macedonian Empire. 


 [AD 51-63] “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a Macedonian man, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us" (Bible, Acts 16:9).  Apostle Paul and his epistles preach Christianity for the first time on European soil, in the Macedonian towns Philippi, Thessalonica, and Beroea.  The first European to convert to Christianity is a Macedonian girl by the name of Lydia. 


[395] The Roman Empire splits into Western and Eastern.  Macedonia falls to the Eastern (Byzantine), a multi-national empire stretching over three continents at its height.  The earlier Byzantine Emperors are Romans but in time, people of Macedonian, Syrian, Armenian, Phrygian (Amorian), and other ethnic backgrounds become rulers.   

[535] The Slavs overrun Macedonia, Greece, Illyria, and Thrace and mix into the Macedonians, Greeks, Illyrians, and Thracians.   

[855-886] Two Macedonians, brothers Cyril and Methodius from Salonica, the ‘great and the first city of the Macedonians’ as described by Byzantine historians, create the first Slavonic alphabet and promote Christianity among the Slavic peoples. Cyril and Methodius’ disciples Clement and Naum of Ohrid spread the Christianity in the Slavonic language and establish the first Slavonic University, the Ohrid Literary School.   


[867-1025] Basil I the Macedonian (867-886) is the first Macedonian to become a Byzantine emperor, founder of the Macedonian dynasty.  The empire reaches its zenith in a period known as the ‘Golden Age’, while ruled by the Macedonian Dynasty from 867 to 1025. 


[First half 10th century] The Bogomil teaching appears in Macedonia and grows into a large-scale popular movement that spreads through the Balkans and Europe.  

[976-1018] With the weakening of the Byzantine Empire, the Macedonian Slavs rebel against Bulgarian authority and under Tsar Samuel create a strong Macedonian Slav medieval kingdom with its center at Ohrid. Samuel expanded his kingdom conquering parts of Greece, Epirus, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Dalmacia, but is defeated by the Byzantine emperor Basil II the Macedonian in 1014. By 1018 his empire is retaken by Byzantium. 


[1040-1072] Two major uprisings erupt against Byzantine rule in Macedonia, one led by Samuel's grandson Petar Deljan (1040), the other by Gjorgji Vojteh (1072).  


[1389] Despite the rebellions, and the short-lived Serbian and Bulgarian occupations in the 13th and 14th centuries, Macedonia remained Byzantine territory until the Ottoman Turks conquer it in 1389. 

[1564-1565] The Mariovo-Prilep Rebellion is the first recorded significant Macedonian resistance movement against the Turkish occupation.


[1689] The Karposh Uprising follows in northern Macedonia.  The leader Karposh is captured and executed on the Stone Bridge in Skopje.

[1767] Under pressure from the Greek Patriarch in Istanbul, the Turks abolish the Ohrid Archbishopric, which had been keeping alive the spiritual soul of the Macedonians since the times of Tsar Samuel. 

[1822] The Negus Uprising erupts, an insurrection of the Macedonians for liberation in southern Macedonia.  

[1828-1878] Greece (1828), Serbia (1830), and Bulgaria (1878) gain independence from Turkish rule and display territorial aspirations on Macedonian territory. The so-called "Macedonian Question" appears.  The Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs compete in their quest to occupy Macedonia and in the same time put obstacles to Macedonian independence. 

[1876] The Razlovtzi Uprising in eastern Macedonia against Turkish rule heralds the Macedonian national liberation struggle.  

[1878-1879] The Macedonians rebel again in eastern Macedonia against the Turkish occupation with the Krersna Uprising.  The Macedonian freedom fighters adopt a constitution known as the Rules of the Macedonian Uprising Committee. The uprising sets strong influence on the growth of Macedonian national awareness. 


[1891] Bishop Theodosius of Skopje begins a campaign for an independent Macedonian Orthodox Church and restoration of the Ohrid Archbishopric, which had been abolished in 1767. The Bulgarians effectively destroy the idea. 

[1893] The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) is founded in Salonica. Under the slogan "Macedonia for the Macedonians", its objectives are national freedom and establishment of independent Macedonian state.  Georgi (Gotse) Delchev becomes its leader.   


[1903] The Macedonian revolutionaries "Gemidzii" carry out series of attacks on number of buildings in Salonica in order to draw the attention of the European public towards the plight of the Macedonian people.  On August 2, 1903 VMRO launches the Ilinden Uprising against the Turks and declares Macedonian independence. The revolutionaries liberate the town of Krushevo and establish a Republic with a government. The uprising is brutally crushed by the Turks.  Krushevo is burned to the ground and more then 150 Macedonian villages destroyed.  In this same year Krste Misirkov from Pella (Postol), the founder of the modern Macedonian literary language and orthography, publishes his "On Macedonian Matters", in which he projects the principles for standardization of the Macedonian literary language. 


[1908] The Young Turk revolution shutters the Ottoman Empire. The Macedonian revolutionary organization, through Jane Sandanski and the newly formed National Federal Party, actively takes part in the Young Turk movement for achieving autonomy for Macedonia. 


[1912-13] Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria join forces, and with the help of 100,000 Macedonians defeat the Turkish army in Macedonia. Macedonia is denied independence and the Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) partitions the country between Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria.  Greece takes the biggest, southern half of Macedonia (Aegean Macedonia) and renames it to "Northern Greece”. The Greek army burns to the ground the town Kukush, the birthplace of the Macedonian leader Georgi (Goce) Delcev. Bulgaria annexed the Pirin region and abolished the Macedonian name, and Serbia took over the Vardar region and renamed it to "Southern Serbia". 


[1914-1918] In 1914, World War I erupts. Bulgaria sides with the Central powers and by 1915 occupies the Serbian held part of Macedonia (Vardar). The defeat of the Central powers and the end of World War I in 1918 saw the partition of 1913 reconfirmed and Macedonia is left divided.  

[1919] At the Paris Peace conference the demands of the Macedonians for independent and united Macedonia are ignored. The Treaty of Versailles sanctions the partition of Macedonia. Vardar Macedonia is re-incorporated with the rest of Serbia and into the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia. 

[1924] The May Manifesto, resolution of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia on the right of the Macedonian people to self-determination. Greece prints out the primer "Abecedar" in the Macedonian language for the needs of the Macedonian children in Aegean Macedonia but it withdrawn before it reaches the schools.   


[1925] VMRO (United) is founded in Vienna under the leadership of Dimitar Vlahov. Its main objective is to free Macedonia within its geographical and economical borders and create an independent political unit that will become an equal member for future Balkan Federation. 

[1935] The Macedonian National Movement MANAPO is established in the Vardar part of Macedonia.  

[1936] The Macedonian Literary Society is founded in Sofia by outstanding Macedonian writers.  

[1940] The Fifth Nationwide Conference of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia passes a resolution on the equality and self-determination of the Macedonian people.  

[1941] World War II erupts and Bulgaria as fascist ally of Hitler’s Germany occupies almost all of Macedonia (both Vardar and Aegean) and collaborates with the Nazis for the departure of the Jews of Salonica to concentration camps. On October 11, 1941, the Macedonians launch a war for liberation of Macedonia from the Bulgarian occupation. 

[1943] The anti-fascist sentiment lends support for the growing communist movement and the Communist Party of Macedonia is established. The first unit of the Army of Macedonia is founded and government bodies (national liberation councils) are formed over the whole territory of Macedonia. The Headquarters of the National Liberation Army (NOV) publishes a manifesto of the goals of the war for liberation. 

[1944] On August 2, 1944, 2282 years after the Battle of Chaeronea and on the 41st anniversary of the Ilinden uprising, the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) proclaims a Macedonian state. Representatives from all parts of Macedonia gather for the occasion and decide on the constitution of a modern Macedonian state as member of the new Yugoslav federation. The ASNOM presidium is formed with Metodia Andonov Chento as its first President.  


[1945] The first government of the People's Republic of Macedonia is founded (April 16) with Lazar Kolisevski as its President.    

[1946] The first constitution of the People's Republic of Macedonia is adopted.  Start of university education in Macedonian (Faculty of Philosophy).   

[1946] Bulgaria, under the leadership of Geogi Dimitrov officially recognizes the existence of the Macedonian nation and the right of the Pirin part of Macedonia to be attached to the People’s Republic of Macedonia. The majority of the population in the Pirin part of Macedonia declares itself as Macedonian in a free census. 

[1946-1949] In the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) that followed World War II, the Macedonians of Aegean Macedonia fight on the side of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) as it promised them their rights after the war.  About half of the 35,000 soldiers of DAG are Macedonians.  On the liberated territory in Aegean Macedonia 87 Macedonian schools are opened, newspapers in Macedonian are published, and cultural and artistic associations created. But after few years of KKE's success, the communists lose the war, and the Macedonians are once again stripped of their human rights. 28,000 Aegean Macedonian children, known as 'child refugees', are separated from their families and settled in eastern Europe and Soviet Union in an attempt to save them from the terror that followed. Thousands of Macedonians lost their lives and great numbers of the Macedonian villages are burned to the ground.  

[1956] In the Bulgarian census of 1956, the majority of the population of Pirin Macedonia again declares itself as Macedonian.  Since then Bulgaria under nationalist Todor Zhivkov reverts its decision of recognizing the Macedonian nation and once again forbids free expression of Macedonian nationality and language. 

[1958] The Ohrid Archbishopric, abolished in 1767 by the Ottoman Turks under Greek pressure, is restored. 

[1967] The Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences is founded.  The autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church is proclaimed. 

[1986] The Greek paper "Elefteros Tipos" announces that Prime-Minister Papandreu in the talks with Yugoslav presidency member Stane Dolanc has agreed to recognize the Macedonian language as one of the official languages in Yugoslavia.  

[1988] Greek Prime-Minister Papandreu and the Foreign Affairs' Karolos Papulias, agree to recognize the Macedonian language in Greece. The banker’s affair "Koskotas" brings down the PASOK government, and the documents were never signed. 

[1989] The United Macedonian Organization - Ilinden (OMO Ilinden) is founded in Pirin Macedonia, demanding cultural and national autonomy for the Macedonians in the Pirin part of Macedonia. 

[1991] Federal Yugoslavia disintegrates as Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia declare independence.  On a referendum on September 8 the Macedonians proclaim independence.  Kiro Gligorov is elected first president of independent Macedonia. New constitution is adopted, declaring the Republic of Macedonia a sovereign, independent, civil, and democratic state, and recognizing complete equality of the Macedonians and the ethnic minorities in the country. 


[1993] Macedonia is admitted to the United Nations.  

[1994] Afraid that Macedonia might put forward a historical, cultural, and linguistic, claim over Aegean Macedonia, Greece insists that the there is no Macedonian nation and that the Macedonians have no right to use the name "Macedonia".  Greece imposes a trade embargo on Macedonia because of the Macedonian refusal to rename the country, nation, and language, and change the Constitution Article 47 that specifies "the Republic of Macedonia cares for the statue and rights of those persons belonging to the Macedonian people in neighboring countries”.  At the same time, Greece withdrew from the Greek - Macedonian talks, monitored by the UN as a mediator, and blocked any acceptance of Macedonia in the international institutions by using its power to veto new members. 

[1995] Macedonia becomes a member of the Council of Europe.  The Human Rights Watch condemns Greece for the oppression of its large ethnic Macedonian minority, which Greece denies it exists. Both Amnesty International and the European Parliament also urge Greece to recognize the existence of the Macedonian language and stop the oppression of the ethnic Macedonians on the Macedonian territory it appropriated in 1913.



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