Facts About Macedonia
The Republic of Macedonia is a country we in the western world don’t often hear of. But there are many interesting stories and facts about Macedonia. It’s history and culture are unique; one thing we know is the Macedonian people are no stranger to oppression, being ruled over by cold war superstates and for a time, the Ottomans. Before that she was under Roman control. It was during the slow death of the Ottoman empire that Macedonian identity and the push for an independent nation developed. Today Macedonia is rich in culture. It’s not a wealthy nation but Macedonia has one of the best flags in the world. Here are ten Amazing facts about Macedonia.
Macedonia Saw A Crazy Armed Conflict in 2001
The National Liberation Army was a militant group made up of people who were ethnically Albanian. The exact aims of the group are unclear, but in 2001 they took up arms and began to attack security officials within Macedonia. It quickly became a small war, with the group using guerrilla tactics. The Macedonian government wasn’t prepared for a conflict so even with support from outside countries, the conflict lasted over 9 months before the group agreed to disarm. At least 150 people were killed and 140 thousand were displaced by the conflict. The National Liberation Army has since split into much smaller groups, some of which still actively fighting the government. But at it’s peak it could have boasted 7 thousand members.
Macedonia Produces the World’s Best opium
The highest quality opium is exported from Macedonia. It’s actually twice as good as Pakistan’s, which produces the second best quality opium. A lot of people have no idea Opium is considered a legitimate export. Despite Macedonia having the best quality, Afghanistan is the king of the opium economy. Their opium goes into about 90 percent of all heroin on Earth. But Macedonia lacks the natural resources or intellectual property many other European nations can easily take advantage of. So I say the republic of Macedonia should be allowed to produce and sell as much opium as they like. At this point in the article things are looking grim but not all facts about Macedonia are so worrying.
People are really confused over the country’s Name
In 1993 it joined the United Nations under the name “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” instead of simply “Macedonia”. This is due to a genuine political dispute over the name. Greece claims Macedonia has no right to use that name. The name is derived from the ancient Kingdom of Macedon, which existed in land within both Greece and modern Macedonia. But it mostly fell within modern Greece. And so many Greeks within that region consider themselves to be ethnically Macedonian, but still Greece. They resent the fact that they are now linked by name with another nation. This remains a controversial issue in relations between Greece and modern Macedonia. The dispute is ongoing and will likely not be resolved any time soon. And so concerning international relations Macedonia is still known as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” – which is just a terrible name if we’re being honest.
The Are Calls For A United Macedonia
Carrying on from the last fact, many ethnic Macedonian’s on either side of the border dream of one united country for their people. Their new nation would ideally be made up of Macedonia, combined with much of Northern Greece and some of Bulgaria. It would comprise the entire Macedon region, which is of course split between those three nations. Those who dream of it claim their Macedonian homeland has been unjustly divided between the separate countries. It’s unlikely a united Macedonia will ever exist, given how much land Greece would lose to it. A merger between modern Macedonia an Greece is much more likely – and even that is doubtful.
Between 1945 and 1992 Macedonia was part of a cold war state called Yugoslavia. It was a socialist dictatorship led by Josip Tito, and was completely independent from the Soviet Union. That’s one of the reasons Joseph Stalin kept sending assassins to kill Tito, always unsuccessfully. At the end of the cold war Yugoslavia fell apart as it’s territories broke away one by one. Macedonia was the only former Yugoslav state to gain independence without violence. All others gained independence by armed uprisings in what’s now known as the Yugoslav wars. Macedonia did not take part in these uprisings, remaining peaceful But when Yugoslavia was on it’s deathbed Macedonia declared independence successfully.
The Mystery Mass Grave
Ali Ahmeti is leader of a major Macedonian political party. In the yard of his family home was recently discovered a mass grave. The mass grave was actually found within a long abandoned well. It’s unclear how many people’s remains were discovered due to their condition. It’s also unclear who they were or when they died. Estimates go back to the second Balkan war in 1913. The area has seen many ethnic conflicts; it would make sense for groups or soldiers or maybe innocent civilians to be massacred and have their bodied thrown in a well. This is terrible news for Mr Ahmeti as it almost certainly means his home is haunted. Whenever you find human remains in an old abandoned well, you can rest assured ghosts will soon follow.
Macedonia Was Overwhelmed By The Migrant Crisis
Over the past few years Europe has seen huge levels of migration from the middle east northern Africa and Asia, many of the people arriving are and have been refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. The numbers of people entering Europe were so great that countries like Greece and Italy were unsure how to deal with it. Struggling with the pressure, Macedonia at one point decided to accept no further migrants, shutting down their border with Greece. This effectively shut down one of the major routes migrants were taking into Europe. The Greek government was very angry with Macedonia over this, but that’s nothing new considering there is always some political tension. Not much sexual tension though.
Greece Gets Bitchy
The subheading of this fact might put the entire article at risk of google ranking it beside gay porn. But that’s a risk I’m willing to take considering the supreme bitchiness of what Greece did regarding Macedonia’s flag. Macedonia’s current flag is relatively new. Until 1995 they had a different one – one which featured an ancient Greek symbol called “Vergina Sun”. That symbol was seen as a link between ancient Macedon and the modern world, and so, it should only be used by the successor state of ancient Macedon. Greece at this time was still fighting against the Republic of Macedonia’s use of the name. So to add some fuel to that fire they claimed ownership of the symbol and brought economic sanctions against Macedonia. Macedonia was in a more vulnerable position as they had less diplomatic clout so they changed their flag. Luckily, their new flag is quite nice.
The Curious Case of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great was Macedonian but not in the way you might think. Realistically he was Greek. Macedonia was a Greek kingdom at the time and location of his birth is in modern day Greece. So he was in fact culturally and technically Greek. But he was also Macedonian, and people in the republic of Macedonia feel a deep ethnic connection to his legacy. So Alexander the Great was definitely Macedonian, but realistically it makes more sense for modern Greece to claim him as theirs than it does for modern Macedonia. I’m reluctant to even include this in a list of facts about Macedonia because there is so much more to Macedonia than it’s ancient history.
Macedonia Has Serious Problems With Neighbouring Countries
By now you’re aware that Greece takes serious issue with the name Macedonia, but there are several other serious issues in the way of smooth diplomacy. They also have terrible relations with Bulgaria, who borders Macedonia to the North East. Bulgaria denies the existence of the Macedonian language, their official line is that Macedonian is simply a dialect of Bulgarian. The two countries also have historical disputes, each claiming historical freedom fighters to belong to their nation, and not the other. Macedonia also have religious conflict with other countries that follow Orthodox Christianity. There are so many more facts about Macedonia I could have included, but for now I’m sticking to a top 10 format. Maybe I’ll write a part 2 or do a whole series on other countries.