The History of Macedonia

Geographical Macedonia, covering a large swath of land from the source of the River Vardar (Axious in Greek) to its estuary at Solun (Thessaloniki in Greek) has a very rich and varied history which is reflected in the present-day political climate and division of the geographical region Macedonia had its heyday during the build-up of its ancient empire ending with the sudden death of Aleksandar III of Macedon (also known as Alexander the Great), then for a short while again during the reign of the Tsar Samoil.

The region continued to exert influence afterwards through its status as the Bishopric of Bitola and Ohrid. Then as an independent state, Macedonia did not see the light of the day again until the short-lived Krusevo Republic of 1903, and now as the independent (although officially still named ‘former Yugoslav’) Republic of Macedonia.

Today geographical Macedonia is made up of four political entities: Vardar Macedonia which is the Republic of Macedonia; Pirin Macedonia which is in Bulgaria; Aegean Macedonia which is in Greece; and a tiny silver north and south of Debar which is in Albania.


A chronology of key events

Ottoman Rule Europe

1913 Ottoman rule in Europe ends after five centuries. Macedonia is partitioned between Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. What is now FYROM is incorporated into Serbia.

World War I

1914 World War I. Macedonia is occupied by Bulgaria.

End of War I

1918-19 End of the war, Macedonia becomes part of Serbia again. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is founded, and is renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.

Germany Invades

1941 Germany invades Yugoslavia.

Establishment of Yugoslavia

1945 Establishment of Yugoslav socialist federation, comprising six republics, including Macedonia, with Tito as president.

Mariovo Divided

1967 Mariovo was divided into three sub-regions: Bitolsko Mariovo, Prilepsko Mariovo and Tikvesko Mariovo.

Depart Mariovo

1970 Departed Selo Bešište for good with my family to a new country Vienna, Austria and then Canada.

Death of Tito

1980 Death of Tito, rise of nationalism among federation’s constituent republics.

Vote Independence

1991 Majority of voters support independence in referendum.

UN Membership

1993 Gains UN membership under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

North Macedonia

2019 A historic agreement settled a 27-year-long name dispute between two countries, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece. Macedonia (FYROM) renamed to North Macedonia.

Joining NATO

2020 The flag of North Macedonia was raised at NATO Headquarters on Monday (30 March 2020), in a special ceremony to mark the country’s accession to NATO.


Geographical map of Macedonia of four political entities.

Traces of German occupied Bešište during WWII.