South-Slavic-speaking ethnic group of the Balkans

Macedonians (Macedonian: Македонци, romanized: Makedonci) are a nation and a South Slavic ethnic group native to the region of Macedonia in Southeast Europe. They speak the Macedonian language.

Map of the Macedonian diaspora in the world
Total population
c. 2.5 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
North Macedonia North Macedonia 1,297,981[2]
Macedonian language
Predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Other South Slavs, especially Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia, Bulgarians and Torlaks



The Slavic languages from which Macedonian developed are thought to have grown in the region during the post-Roman period.[3] Many parts of Macedonian culture developed during the rule of Medieval Byzantine, Bulgarian and Serbian Empires. Each of these empires controlled the region for a time.

Macedonians' genetic background is thought to be the same as Balkan prehistoric and historic demographic processes.[4] This background is also found in other South Slavs, especially Bulgarians, Serbs, Bosnians, Montenegrins, but also in northern Greeks and Romanians.[5][6][7]

The appearance of Ril Slavs in Macedonia and the Balkans happened after the end of Roman authority.[3][8] Migrations into the area happened, but on a smaller scale:

"It is now generally agreed that the people who lived in the Balkans after the Slavic "invasions" were probably for the most part the same as those who had lived there earlier, although the creation of new political groups and arrival of small immigrants caused people to look at themselves as distinct from their neighbours, including the Byzantines".[8]

Later, the Sclaveni in Macedonia were added into the Bulgarian Empire.

The history of the Macedonians has been shaped by population shifts and political developments in the region of Macedonia. After the end of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was created after World War II, a state in the framework of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.



A large majority of ethnic Macedonians live along the valley of the river Vardar, the central region of North Macedonia. They form about 64.18% of the population of North Macedonia (1,297,981 people according to the 2002 census Archived 2004-06-21 at the Wayback Machine). Smaller numbers live in eastern Albania, northern Greece, and southern Serbia, mostly near the border areas of North Macedonia, small part of southern Kosovo and in the west-south region in Bulgaria. A large number of Macedonians have immigrated overseas to Australia, United States, Canada and in many European countries: Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Austria, among others.



In the past, the Macedonian population was mostly involved with agriculture. The beginning of the People's Republic of Macedonia started a social change. The change was based on Socialist principles, a middle and heavy industry were started.



The Macedonian language (Macedonian: македонски јазик) is a member of the Eastern group of South Slavic languages. Standard Macedonian was started as the official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. After being codified in the 1940s, a strong literary tradition has developed.

The closest relative of Macedonian is Serbo-Croat along with some Bulgarian dialects. All the South Slavic languages, including Macedonian, form a dialect continuum, in which Macedonian is between Bulgarian and Serbian. The Torlakian dialect group is intermediate between Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian.

The orthography of Macedonian includes an alphabet, which is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script. There are also language-specific ways of spelling and punctuation.


  • Sun: The official flag of North Macedonia, adopted in 1995, is a yellow sun with eight broadening rays extending to the edges of the red field.
  • Coat of Arms: After independence in 1992, North Macedonia kept the coat of arms adopted in 1946.
  • Vergina Sun: (official flag, 1992–1995) The Vergina Sun is an ancient symbol and the emblem of macedonian empire. It used by several groups in the Macedonian diaspora. The Vergina Sun is believed to have been associated with kings such as Alexander the Great and Philip II of macedon, although it was used as an ornamental design long before the Macedonian period. The symbol was discovered in the present-day of Macedonia. The Vergina sun on a red field was the first flag of the independent North Macedonia, until it was removed from the state flag under an agreement reached between North Macedonia and Greece in September 1995.[9] The Vergina sun is still used unofficially as a national symbol by some groups in the country and the Macedonian diaspora.


  1. Nasevski, Boško; Angelova, Dora. Gerovska, Dragica (1995). Македонски Иселенички Алманах '95. Skopje: Матица на Иселениците на Македонија. pp. 52–53.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. 2002 census Archived 21 June 2004 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Curta, Florin 2001. The making of the Slavs: history and archaeology of the lower Danube region, c. 500-700. Cambridge University Press, 148. ISBN 0-521-80202-4
  4. Marijana Peričić | display-authors = etal 2005. High-resolution phylogenetic analysis of southeastern Europe traces major episodes of paternal gene flow among Slavic populations. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 22, 1964-1975.
  5. Jakovski, Zlatko et al 2011. Genetic data for 17 Y-chromosomal STR loci in Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia. Forensic Science International: Genetics. 5, e108-e111. [1]
  6. Petlichkovski A; et al. (2004). "High-resolution typing of HLA-DRB1 locus in the Macedonian population". Tissue Antigens. 64 (4): 486–91. doi:10.1111/j.1399-0039.2004.00273.x. PMID 15361127.
  7. Rebala K et al 2007. Y-STR variation among Slavs: evidence for the Slavic homeland in the middle Dnieper basin. Journal of Human Genetics. 52:406-14 Archived 2009-09-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gregory T.E. 2010. A history of Byzantium. Wiley-Blackwell, 169.
  9. Floudas, Demetrius Andreas; "A name for a conflict or a conflict for a name? An analysis of Greece's dispute with FYROM". Journal of Political and Military Sociology. Vol. 24, no. 2. 1996. p. 285. Retrieved 24 January 2007.

Further reading

  • Brown, Keith, The Past in Question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation, Princeton University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-691-09995-2.
  • Cowan, Jane K. (ed.), Macedonia: The Politics of Identity and Difference, Pluto Press, 2000. A collection of articles.
  • Curta, Florin (2001), The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower Danube Region, C. 500-700, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-80202-4
  • Igor Janev, Legal Aspects of the Use of a Provisional Name for Macedonia in the United Nations System, American Journal of International Law, Vol.93, no. 1, January 1999, Archived 2013-09-21 at the Wayback Machine

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