The Republic of Macedonia became an independent state in 1991 after disintegrating of the federal Yugoslavia. Its roots run deep in the history and the name "Macedonia" is in fact the oldest surviving name of a country, in the continent of Europe. Evidence of archaeological data shows that old European civilization flourished in Macedonia, between 7000 and 3500 BC The Republic of Macedonia is located on the Balkan Peninsula and is a part of a larger geographic region that became partitioned in 1913 and 1919.
The names "Macedonia" and "Macedonians" have been in existence, survived throughout the history, and at the same time negated. The struggle concerning the legitimacy over the territory of Macedonia is in close connection with these names.
The Macedonian people have been formed, within the frames of geographic and historical ground of Macedonia, in a continuity of developing process (tribe, people, and nation). It has acquired the legitimacy over the territory of Macedonia and became the inheritor of all historical and cultural
traditions and values. The region has carrying out the name of Macedonia through centuries, as its ethnic and historically legitimate name.
The ancient Macedonians were a distinct European people, conscious and proud of their nationality, their customs, their language, and their name. The same applies to the modern Macedonians today. The ancient Macedonians regarded the ancient Greeks as neighbors, not as relatives. The Greeks treated the Macedonians as foreigners ("barbarians") whose native language was Macedonian, not Greek. Macedonia was never a region of Greece. On the contrary, ancient Greece was subjected to Macedonia.
In 1912, during the First Balkan War, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece, attacked the European positions of the Ottoman Empire. More than 100,000 Macedonians also took active part and contributed in driving the Turks out of Macedonia. Turkey capitulated soon, but Macedonia did not
free itself. The victorious Balkan kingdoms, convened in Bucharest in August 1913 to divide the spoils. Greece was awarded Aegean Macedonia and renamed it to "Northern Greece". Bulgaria annexed Pirin Macedonia and abolished the Macedonian name. Serbia took over Vardar Macedonia and renamed it to "Southern Serbia".
Since 1913, official Greece has been trying to banish native Macedonian names of villages, towns, cities, rivers, and lakes in Aegean Macedonia and The Macedonians were also forced to renounce their native family names and use only new "Greek-sounding" names. The Macedonian language was
forbidden, despite the fact under the supervision of the League of Nations.
As federal Yugoslavia was disintegrating at the beginning of 1990's, on September 8, 1991 in a referendum, 95% of eligible voters approved the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia. Kiro Gligorov was elected the first president of independent Macedonia. The new constitution determined the Republic of Macedonia a sovereign, independent, civil, and democratic state, and it recognized the complete equality of the Macedonians and the ethnic minorities. In addition, permanent mutual living of the Macedonian people with the Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Roma and the other nationalities, living in the Republic of Macedonia. Greece immediately demanded from the international community not to recognize the country under its name Macedonia.
The European Community acknowledged that Macedonia had fulfilled the requirements for official recognition, due to the opposition of Greece, which was already a member of the community. The EU decided to postpone the recognition. Greece, afraid that Macedonia might put forward a historical, cultural, and linguistic claim over Aegean Macedonia, insisted that the new nation has no right to use of the name "Macedonia". Neither uses the emblem of ancient Macedonia on its flag. USA, Russia, China and 109 other countries, have recognized Macedonia under its chosen name; the Republic of Macedonia. It signifies the affirmation of the historical legitimacy and the continuity, of the Macedonian nation and state.