North Macedonia, country of the south-central Balkans. It is bordered to the north by Kosovo and Serbia, to the east by Bulgaria, to the south by Greece, and to the west by Albania. The capital is Skopje.
The Republic of North Macedonia is located in the northern part of the area traditionally known as Macedonia, a geographical region bounded to the south by the Aegean Sea and the Aliákmon River; to the west by Lakes Prespa and Ohrid, the watershed west of the Crni Drim River, and the Šar Mountains; and to the north by the mountains of the Skopska Crna Gora and the watershed between the Morava and Vardar river basins. The Pirin Mountains mark its eastern edge. The Republic of North Macedonia occupies about two-fifths of the entire geographical region of Macedonia. The rest of the region belongs to Greece and Bulgaria. Most people with a Macedonian identity also refer to the region that constitutes North Macedonia as Vardar Macedonia, the Greek part of Macedonia as Aegean Macedonia, and the Bulgarian part of Macedonia as Pirin Macedonia. In this article, unless otherwise indicated, the name Macedonia refers to the present-day state of the Republic of North Macedonia when discussing geography and history since 1913 and to the larger region as described above when used in earlier historical contexts.
People of North Macedonia
The population of the Republic of North Macedonia is diverse. At the beginning of the 21st century, nearly two-thirds of the population identified themselves as Macedonians. Macedonians generally trace their descent to the Slavic tribes that moved into the region between the 6th and 8th centuries CE. Albanians are the largest and most-important minority in the Republic of North Macedonia. According to the 2002 census, they made up about one-fourth of the population. The Albanians—most of whom trace their descent to the ancient Illyrians—are concentrated in the northwestern part of the country, near the borders with Albania and Kosovo. Albanians form majorities in some 16 of North Macedonia’s 80 municipalities. Other, much smaller minorities (constituting less than 5 percent of the population each) include the Turks, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks, and Vlachs (Aromani). The Turkish minority is mostly scattered across central and western North Macedonia, a legacy of the 500-year rule of the Ottoman Empire. The majority of Vlachs, who speak a language closely related to Romanian, live in the old mountain city of Kruševo.