Macedonia (Македонија ), officially the Republic of Macedonia (Република Македонија ), is a country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991.
The country became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but, as a result of an ongoing dispute with Greece over the use of the name Macedonia, was admitted under the provisional description the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (sometimes abbreviated as FYROM and FYR Macedonia), a term that is also used by international organizations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe, and NATO.
On 17 June 2018, Macedonia and Greece signed the Prespa agreement which would see the country change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, pending approval from parliament. A 30 September non-binding national referendum on the matter passed with 90% approval, although it did not reach the required 50% turnout, leaving the final decision with parliament to ratify the result. On 19 October 2018, parliament approved of the name change with the required two-thirds majority needed to enact constitutional changes being reached. The government has now begun the procedure of completing the constitutional change needed to change the country's name, which is expected to be completed by January 2019 at the latest.
A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia has borders with Kosovo to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. It constitutes approximately the northwestern third of the larger geographical region of Macedonia, which also comprises the neighbouring parts of northern Greece and smaller portions of southwestern Bulgaria and southeastern Albania. The country's geography is defined primarily by mountains, valleys, and rivers. The capital and largest city, Skopje, is home to roughly a quarter of the nation's 2.06 million inhabitants. The majority of the residents are ethnic Macedonians, a South Slavic people. Albanians form a significant minority at around 25 percent, followed by Turks, Romani, Serbs, Bosniaks, Aromanians and others.
This region's history dates back to antiquity, beginning with the kingdom of Paeonia, probably a mixed Thraco-Illyrian polity. In the late sixth century BC, the area was incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid Empire, then annexed by the Kingdom of Macedonia in the fourth century BC. The Romans conquered the region in the second century BC and made it part of the much larger province of Macedonia. Τhe area remained part of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire, and was often raided and settled by Slavic tribes beginning in the sixth century of the Christian era. Following centuries of contention between the Bulgarian, Byzantine and Serbian empires, it gradually came under Ottoman dominion from the 14th until the early 20th century, when following the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, the modern territory of Macedonia came under Serbian rule. In the aftermath of the First World War (1914–1918), it became incorporated into the Serb-dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which after the Second World War was re-established as a republic (1945) and which became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963. Macedonia remained a constituent socialist republic within Yugoslavia until its peaceful secession in 1991.
The sovereign state of Macedonia is a parliamentary republic and member of the UN and of the Council of Europe. Since 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership. Although one of the poorest countries in Europe, Macedonia has made significant progress in developing an open, market-based economy.