North Macedonia Country Facts

North Macedonia
Capital city Skopje
Surface 25.713 km²
Population 2.059.000
Road network length 9.573 km
Length of highway network 294 km
First highway 1979
Motorway name Autopath
Traffic drives To the right
License plate code MK / NMK

North Macedonia (Macedonian: Северна Македонија, Severna Makedonija) is a country in southeastern Europe. The country is located in the southern Balkans and has 2 million inhabitants and is approximately the size of three quarters of the Netherlands. The capital is Skopje.

Name

The country called itself the Republic of Macedonia from independence (Macedonian: Република Македонија Republika Makedonija). After independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but due to a dispute with Greece over the use of the name Macedonia, it was admitted under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In English the republic was known as the ‘former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, abbreviated FYROM. As part of an agreement with Greece, it has been proposed to change the name to North Macedonia (Macedonian: Република Северна Македонија, Republika Severna Makedonija), for which a referendum was held on October 1, 2018. 94% voted in favour, but the turnout was too low at 37% for the referendum to be valid. On October 19, 2018, the Macedonian parliament voted in favor of the name change by a two-thirds majority. On January 11, 2019, all amendments to the name change were passed in the Macedonian Parliament by the required two-thirds majority. On January 25, 2019, the Greek Parliament approved the name change. On February 12, 2019, the country was reported to have officially changed its name to North Macedonia.

Geography

North Macedonia is located in the southern Balkans and borders clockwise to Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. The country measures 200 kilometers from west to east and 130 kilometers from north to south. The country is formed by the central valley through which the river Vardar flows, flanked by numerous mountain ranges. The 2,764 meter high Korab on the border with Albania is the highest point in North Macedonia. There are several mountain ranges with peaks of more than 2,000 meters. There are two large natural lakes in Macedonia, Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. There are also a number of reservoirs.

The country has a continental climate with Mediterranean characteristics. The country has cold winters and hot summers. The average maximum temperature in Skopje ranges from 4°C in January to 31°C in July. Temperatures can rise to around 40°C in summer and drop to around -20°C in winter. Snow is normal in winter but often does not last long in the lower parts. In the mountains there is snow until summer.

Demographics

The population of North Macedonia grew from 1.2 million in 1950 to 2 million in 2000. The country’s population growth has slowed since the second half of the 20th century due to a declining birth rate. There are two major population groups in the country, the Macedonians, who make up about 65% of the population, and the Albanians, who make up about 25% of the population. The remaining 10% is made up of small minorities, of which the Turks are the largest group with 4%.

North Macedonia has one big city, the capital Skopje, which has almost 550,000 inhabitants, about a quarter of the Macedonian population. Other towns are considerably smaller, Bitola and Kumanovo both have around 70,000 inhabitants and Prilep and Tetovo are the only other towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Macedonian is spoken in North Macedonia, a South Slavic language closely related to Bulgarian. Macedonian is written in Cyrillic. Albanian is spoken mainly in northwestern North Macedonia.

Economy

The country has been undergoing economic reform since 1996 with steady economic growth. The country has low inflation and low taxes which makes it attractive for foreign companies. The country is still a developing country and relatively poor, although clearly more prosperous than neighboring Albania. The economy is strongly trade-oriented, not agriculture, as is common in many poorer countries. Tourism is on the rise, especially Lake Ohrid is popular.

History

Macedonia was one of the great ancient kingdoms associated with Greece. The region has been under the control of several historical empires, besides the Greeks also the Bulgarians, Serbs and Ottomans. Macedonia was under Ottoman rule for more than 500 years between 1400 and 1912. However, Macedonia was not an administrative region within the Ottoman Empire, but belonged to the larger province of Rumelia. At the end of the 19th century, Macedonian nationalism began to emerge. After the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, the area came under the control of the Serbs, it was called Southern Serbia (Južna Srbija) between 1912 and 1922, later the region was known as the Vardar Banovina within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During World War II, the area was occupied and divided between the Italians and Bulgarians, who belonged to the Axis powers. After the Second World War, Macedonia was one of the six republics thatformed Yugoslavia.

On September 8, 1991, a referendum was held asking whether Macedonia should become independent, with 96% voting in favour, with a 75% turnout. This day is considered the Independence Day of Macedonia. It was the only former Yugoslav republic to secede peacefully. The country was not affected by the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s, but the country was destabilized during the Kosovo war in 1999. This led to an Albanian uprising, with some forcibly separating the Albanian-speaking parts of the country. Macedonia wanted to achieve. This led to a short war in 2001 that was mainly fought in the west. The conflict ended with a NATO-led ceasefire,

 

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