Macedonia Old History

By | July 4, 2020

Of the oldest history of Macedonia there is no certain information. The first known we are told that the Macedonians came into contact with the Greeks during the Persian and Peloponnese wars, therefore, if they have come down to us, the merit is all of the historians of the V century.

The Kingdom of Macedonia, which emerged from the darkness towards the end of the fifth century by the work of King Archelaus, was raised to predominance over Greece and Asia, up to the Indus river, respectively by Philip II and his son Alexander, called the Great, in the 4th century BC.

In 148 BC was conquered and declared “Roman Province” after 4 wars. Rome maintained the same boundaries to the “province” and the government was entrusted to a praetor who resided in Thessalonica. But the life of the province was not so peaceful; to disturb her came, not only the rebellions of the locals, but above all the barbarian peoples who came down from the north to devastate her several times. And foreign kings also helped bring the war against the Romans to the ground. The barbarians Dardani, Bessi, Scordisci and Traci, fought multiple wars against Rome, which inflicted their definitive defeat on Philippi and the province remained under the power of Antonio until the battle of Actium. The Romanization of Macedonia proceeded slowly but gradually and Roman citizenship was widespread in the province which became the most important supplier of Praetorian militias. However, the country retained the Greek order that had been applied for a long time by its previous kings. Thessalonica was considered a free city and Epirus was detached from the country and declared an autonomous procuratory province. And all this while in the countryside the populations, mostly of Greek descent, maintained their organization in tribes.┬áSee Countryaah for population and country facts about Macedonia.

Macedonia Population by Year (Historical)In the second century, the evangelization of Macedonia began by Saint Paul who made many journeys there. It was also the only country in the East that failed to merge the people who settled there into a single people. The regions, many and small, remained isolated from each other by mountains, not very high, but still difficult to cross.

It was not so for i barbarians who descended in large numbers towards the middle of the third century, decreeing the end of Roman rule. The first to arrive were the Visigoths who from 253 after Christ to 402 constituted a continuous threat throughout the Balkan area. Then came the Goths, led by Alaric, who destroyed Thrace and Greece and went to the Peloponnese. Then again came the Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Avars, the Slavs and the Bulgarians. The latter remained from the seventh to the ninth century and gave an indelible mark to the country which, since then and for many centuries, was called Bulgaria and its Bulgarian inhabitants.

Macedonia Old History

Then Macedonia was shocked by Turkish hordes of Cumans and Pecceneghi. The sultans proceeded to organize the country according to their customs, but they also tended to take possession of the soil. In fact, they took away the most fertile lands from the owners,
distributing them to the “bey” and the “pasha”, heads of their armies, thus creating a feudal system. And they came in ever increasing numbers until the region’s ethnography completely changed. But they never claimed to convert it to the Islamic religion. For the Turks, the main interest was to exploit the wealth and people of the country.

Then the central government gradually weakened due to the blossoming of the bey and the pasha, who gave free rein to their thirst for power by committing violence and abuse. The rebellions of the Macedonian people were inevitable which, in the mid-nineteenth century, began to be felt.

Released from the 4 centuries hibernation, the Macedonians wanted to shake off the Ottoman domination, but also the preponderance acquired in the meantime by the Greek Orthodox Church. And for their help they turned to the Bulgarians, of ethnographic orientation similar to theirs.

In 1876 there were the first uprisings, severely repressed by the Turks. The atrocities committed by these provoked the intervention of Russia and attracted the attention of all European states. Russia imposed the meeting in a single autonomous state of Bulgaria, Eastern Rumelia and all Macedonia, except Thessaloniki, with the Treaty of Saint Stephen of 3 March 1878, to the Ottoman Empire.

But the western states did not accept this resolution and the Berlin Congress was convened in June of the same year. With this Congress, significant changes were made to the previous treaty. The concept of a Bulgarian Principality was accepted but without Eastern Rumelia, which had a separate order, and Macedonia was given almost entirely to Turkey which, however, committed itself to the reform of the government administration. Which he didn’t.

But Bulgaria did not passively accept this downsizing of its areas nor did the Macedonians resign themselves to staying under the Ottoman yoke. And, when changing the provisions of the Berlin Congress, Eastern Rumelia returned to be included in the Bulgarian borders, they began to think more about the situation in Macedonia. This was the first step towards the Balkan wars that broke out in 1912 and ended with the Peace of Bucharest on 10 August 1913.

Throughout this period Macedonia had been the theater of Turkish-Balkan struggles and was occupied by Bulgarians, Serbs and Greeks. Then Serbs and Greeks united had rivalries with the Bulgarians over the division of the conquered territories. And the diatribe was resolved with the Peace of Bucharest which assigned Thessaloniki to Greece, Monastir to Serbia and a part to Bulgaria.