Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

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Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

Country statistics


24,900sq km (9,600sq mi) 2,095,800

capital (population):

Skopje (448,600)


Multi-party republic

ethnic groups:

Macedonian 65%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 5%, Romanian 3%, Serb 2%




Macedonian Orthodox 66%, Muslim 30%, Protestant 3%, Roman Catholic 1%


Denar = 100 paras

Balkan republic, se Europe. The landlocked Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM) is a largely mountainous country in se Europe. The land rises to Mount Korab, at 2764m (9068ft), on the border with Albania. The River Vardar drains most of Macedonia and the capital, Skopje, lies on its banks. In the sw, Macedonia shares the large lakes of Ohrid and Prespa with Albania and Greece.

Climate and Vegetation

Macedonia's climate is mainly continental, with hot summers, cold winters, and often heavy snowfall. Rainfall is slightly heavier in early summer and autumn. Mountain forests of beech and oak are common, but farmland covers c.30% of Macedonia.

History and Politics

(for history pre-1913, see Macedon)

The Balkan Wars (1912–13) ended with the flight of thousands of Macedonians into Bulgaria, and the division of Macedonia into Greek Macedonia, Bulgarian Macedonia, and Serbian Macedonia (the largest portion, in the n and centre). At the end of World War 1, Serbian Macedonia became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia). Macedonian nationalists waged an armed struggle against Serbian domination. Between 1941 and 1944, Bulgaria occupied all Macedonia, but a peace treaty restored the 1913 settlement. In 1946, President Tito built a federal Yugoslavia, and Macedonia became one of its constituent republics. Regional tension between Greece, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia remained strong. In 1990, multi-party elections produced the first post-war, non-communist regional government. The break-up of the Yugoslav Federation led to Macedonia's declaration of independence in September 1991. It renounced all territorial claims to Greek and Bulgarian Macedonia, but (under pressure from Greece) the EC refused to recognize its sovereignty, on the grounds that its name, flag, and currency were signs of its territorial intentions. A compromise was reached, and the country became known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM). In 1993, the UN accepted the new republic as a member and all the EU members, except Greece, established diplomatic relations with the FYRM. In 1994, Greece banned Macedonian trade through its territory. In 1995, it lifted the ban after Macedonia agreed to redesign its flag and remove any claims to Greek Macedonia from its constitution. In 1999, war in the neighbouring Serbian province of Kosovo led to an influx of c.245,000 ethnic Albanian refugees. In 2001, conflict between government forces and Albanian rebels displaced 100,000 people. In 2001, the government and rebels signed a peace treaty and parliament approved a new constitution that gave greater recognition to the rights of ethnic Albanians. In February 2004, president Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash.


Macedonia is a developing country (2000 GDP per capita, US$44000). The poorest of the six former republics of Yugoslavia, UN sanctions against the rump Yugoslav federation and the Greek embargo devastated its economy. In 2000, unemployment stood at 32% and inflation at 11%. The extent of national debt is also a major problem. Manufactures, especially metals, dominate exports. Macedonia mines coal, but imports oil and natural gas. Agriculture employs nearly 17% of the workforce, and Macedonia is nearly self-sufficient in food. Major crops include cotton, fruits, maize, tobacco and wheat.

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