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Statistics of the Population of Macedonia before its Partition and the "Macedonian Question"

In 1827, the European powers intervened on behalf of the Greek rebels and forced the Turks to grant them independence. The same powers, established the first modern Greek state, chose Prince Otto of Bavaria to be the "King of the Hellenes", and sent him to Athens. Serbia freed herself also from the Turkish rule, while Russia declared war on Turkey to help Bulgaria gain its independence. The war between Russia and Turkey ended on March 3, 1878, with the peace settlement of San Stefano. The Turks had to agree to the formation of the new Bulgarian state, to also include all of Macedonia but the city of Salonika. Russia was hoping that greater Bulgaria with Macedonia would give her the strategic exit on the Aegean Sea, but she encountered fierce resistance from Austria-Hungary and England that saw their interests on the Balkans endangered. On July 13, 1878 with the Berlin Conference, they forced Russia to give up her dream and the San Stefano agreement was revised. Macedonia was returned to the Ottoman Empire. From this moment, Macedonia became a battleground where the interests not only of the Balkan states, but also of the Great Powers, collide.

The Ohrid Archbishopric was founded as a separate church in 995 to care for the religious needs of the Orthodox Macedonians. However, under the influence of the Greek Orthodox church, the Turkish sultan abolished the Macedonian church in 1767. The Greek Orthodox church was now able to enforce its religious teachings in Greek as the only Orthodox church to exist in the Balkans. Greece hoped to spread her influence and propaganda through the newly opened Greek schools, with a goal to Hellenize the population of Macedonia. But as their influence grew bigger, so did the resistance of the Macedonians. On March 7, 1851, the residents of Enidje-Vardar (today in Greece) signed a petition, for replacement of the teachings in Greek with Macedonian. In 1859, in Kukush was formed the resistance movement against the Hellenization that quickly spread to Voden, Kostur, Lerin, and the rest of southern Macedonia. Adding to the Greek influence, the Bulgarians now opened their schools in Macedonia in 1871, and the Serbs followed shortly after. This is the beginning of the so-called "Macedonian Question".

Statistics without "Macedonians"

There are three statistical tables that the Greeks and the Bulgarians point to show that the Macedonians do not exist as nation, and that Macedonia belongs to ether one of them.

1) According to a Turkish census of Hilmi Pasha in 1904, in areas of Macedonia lived:

Macedonia's Districts



Vilaet of Thessalonica



Vilaet of Monastir



Santzak of Skopje




2) According to a Turkish census of Hilmi Pasha in 1906, in Macedonia lived:










Others (Jews)



However, the 2 Turkish censuses above cannot be taken into consideration because the Turks registered the inhabitants based upon their religious background, not ethnic. In Macedonia at that moment the Macedonian Orthodox Church was forbidden (upon the insistence of the Greeks in 1767), and the Macedonians had choice to enter either Islam or the only Christian Orthodox Churches the Turks legitimized - and those were the Greek, Bulgarian, or Serbian, because Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia were already independent countries. The Islam was not an option for the first Christians of Europe, and the Macedonians had no other choice but to have religious services in Bulgarian, Greek, or Serbian Church. As result, as it can be seen above, the Turkish census registered Muslims, Jews, and the Christian Macedonians were divided depending on which church they belonged - mostly Bulgarian and Greek as it shows.

3) Another table is the one published by the League of the Nations. According to the League of the Nations in 1926, in Aegean Macedonia occupied by Greece in 1913 lived:







Others (Jews)



But this map was submitted to the League of the Nations by the Greek government and it is clear that it is biased. The League of the Nations had not visited Aegean Macedonia and did not participate at all in conducting these statistics. Greece here refers to the Macedonians as "bulgarisants", which means "those who pretend to be Bulgarians" and obviously non-Bulgarians. However, Greece uses many other names in falsifying the identity of the Macedonians. Slavophones, Slav Macedonians, Makedoslavs, Slav Greeks, and Bulgarisants, are only some of the names that prove Greece's unpreparess in this mean falsification of the Macedonian people and language.

Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbian Statistics of Macedonia's Population

The new independent Balkan states used their Churches and schools to propagate how the Macedonians do not exist, and how Macedonia was populated only by Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs. Ethnographers, historians, and writers begun writing books in favor of this or that propaganda. Many of them did not even visit Macedonia, while those who did already had a written scenario. Their presence there was only a simple formality. Table 1 gives an excellent proof of those Balkan speculations and bias surrounding Macedonia:

balkan views










Macedonian Slavs
Turks and others


Table 1. Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbian Statistics of Macedonia's population


It is more than obvious that all the views coming from the Macedonia's neighbors which sharply contradict eachother, are biased. They all claim their people in Macedonia to justify their well-planned aspirations. It is important to note that both the Bulgarian and Serbian views agree that the Greeks in Macedonia represent only a small minority of 10%. The Greek ethnographer Nikolaides, on the other hand, claims three times bigger number than his colleagues in Belgrade and Sofia. However, the most important about Nikolaides is that he recognizes the Macedonian Slavs as a separate nation, separate from the Bulgarians and the Serbs, to be part of population of Macedonia. And although he tries hard to lower the numbers of those Macedonian Slavs, he still comes up with a convincing proof of their existence.

Independent and Neutral European Statistics of Macedonia's Population

This is the time when many European slavists, ethnographers, and historians, are also attracted to visit Macedonia and conduct their own investigations. Therefore, to find the unbiased population numbers in Macedonia, we have to rely on neutral and independent statistics:

neutral views


Dr. K. Ostreich



K. Gersin



Andrew Rousos

Macedonian Slavs
Turks and others


Table 2. Independent and Neutral European Statistics of Macedonia's Population


Although the Macedonians are referred as "Macedonian Slavs", the main point of the statistics is the fact that they are recognized as distinct nation with cultural and historical right over their country Macedonia in which they are overwhelming majority. The reluctance to refer to them for what they are (simply as Macedonians), is explained by the overemphasizing of the contemporary Greek vs. Slavic (Serb and Bulgarian) rivalry over Macedonia in which the westerners desired to make the note that the Macedonians were more "Slavs" then "Greeks" - thus resulting in the use of the term "Macedonian Slavs" to distinguish them from all but still indicate their closer relation to their northern then southern neighbors, as interestingly was the case with the ancient Macedonians and their closer relations with the Thracians and Illyrians then with the ancient Greeks.

Yet the term "Macedonian Slavs" is erroneous since the Macedonians, although conscious of their ancient Macedonian roots and Slav admixture, did not specifically call themselves "Macedonians Slavs", but Macedonians as the documents over the last 2,500 years show. The same "Macedonian Slavs" mistake was again repeated by some western media, as the Albanian terrorists attacked Macedonia in March of 2001, and again it was done deliberately. This deliberate bias is again there, unfortunately because of the political situation and the western media's inclination towards the goals of the Albanian terrorism for "Greater Albania". As at the beginning of the 20th century, the Macedonians showed their outrage at the beginning of the 21st century of this racial insult and publicly instead that their nationality be respected. Not only the Macedonians all over the world vigorously accused the western media for racial bias, but also did various western independent and non-government organizations. That referring to the Macedonians as "Macedonian Slavs" was a mistake was publicly acknowledged by BBC which apologized and withdrew its reporter Paul Wood precisely for his bias reporting, and since continued to rightfully refer to the Macedonians for what they have always been - Macedonians.

From the two above tables one can easily notice that the number of Greeks in Macedonia according to the neutral authors also aligns with the numbers given by the Serb and Bulgarian authors. This is a proof that the Greeks before the partition of Macedonia, were indeed a small minority, only 10% from the total population. This fact certainly does not give them the copyright of the name Macedonia. Dr. Ostreich, Gersin, and Roussos, are only a few of the many neutral authors to prove the groundless speculations of the Balkan counties. They proved that Macedonia belongs to a separate nation, which proves that the Bulgarians and the Serbs have than simply substituted the numbers of the Macedonians for theirs. Another Austrian, Karl Hron explained why that is unjustified:

"According to my own studies on the Serb-Bulgarian conflict I came to the conclusion that the Macedonians looking at their history and language are a separate nation, which means they are not Serbs nor Bulgarians, but the descendants of those Slavs who populated the Balkan peninsula long before the Serb and Bulgarian invasions, and who later did not mix with any of those other two nations..." and:

"... the Macedonian language according to its own laws in the development of the voices, and its own grammatical rules, forms one separate language".

There were even Greek and Bulgarian writers to support what Karl Hron has written. One such example is the Bulgarian slavist and ethnographer P. Draganov, who in his studies of 1887-1894 and 1903, proved the existence of the Macedonians and the Macedonian language as a distinct language.

At the time of the emergence of the so-called Macedonian question, and the aspirations of the Macedonian neighbors for occupation of the country, the famous Macedonian Gjorgi Pulevski wrote in 1875:

"People who originate from one and the same race, speak the same language, live together in harmony, and have the same customs, songs and mentality, constitute a nation, and the place where they live is their homeland. In this way, the Macedonians are a nation and their homeland is Macedonia" and,

"I am not Bulgarian, nor Greek, nor Tzintzar, I am pure Macedonian as were Philip and Alexander the Macedonian and Aristotle Philosopher"

Pulevski was right back in 1875. He was proud Macedonian of his ancient heritage, conscious, and aware that the Macedonians were a distinct nation, a fact that the documents of the last 25 centuries clearly show.


The usage of Macedonian and Macedonia separate from Greek or Bulgarian and Greece or Bulgaria is more than obvious. Also these sources are objective, old and clear, and do not offer any further interpretation; that is how they prove the existence of the Macedonians as a Nation with this name in this region, separate from the Greeks and Bulgarians in many ways. The fact that old documents call these people Macedonians shows that the Macedonians aren't an artificial creation, but a nation with a homeland and a name-Macedonia and Macedonians.



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