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In fact, up until 1944 the region occupied by what is today referred to as FYROM was called Vardar - or Southern Serbia. It was Josip Broz Tito who gave the region the name Macedonia - mainly in order to spite Greece by giving Yugoslavia some type of "claim" to Greek Macedonia. This was probably part of his grand plan to create a Balkan Federation - which never made it off the drawing board.
by vladimir on Fri Mar 20th, 2009 at 03:06:53 PM EST
Macedonia existed as a name of the region before that, though perhaps not in Serbia - later Yugoslavia - that won most of the early 19th century region of Macedonia in the balkan wars.

Macedonia (region) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe whose area was re-defined in the early 20th century. There is no official recognition of these arbitrary delimitations, especially since they include territories of Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania that are not called "Macedonia". The region in question covers parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and minor parts of Albania and Serbia, and covers approximately 67,000 square kilometers (km2) and a population of 4.76 million.

This arbitrary territory corresponds to the basins of (from west to east) the Aliákmon, Vardar/Axios and Struma/Strymon rivers (of which the Axios/Vardar drains by far the largest area) and the plains around Thessaloniki and Serres.

According to geographer H.R. Wilkinson, "it defies definition". Its current 'geographical' limits are nonhomogeneous - either ethnically or geographically - and they were established only in 1899, by the Greek cartographer C. Nicolaides for political purposes.


(With helpful map)

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 09:07:26 AM EST
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I think he's referring to the official name of the area that is now FYROM under Yugoslavia, and not the total area of Macedonia under the Ottomans.
by Upstate NY on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 09:21:44 AM EST
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But a region can carry many names, especially as the name confers identity and guides power structures.

Serbian was one of the competing identities for the population of the region, and in light of that the decision to call it south serbian within Serbia and Yugoslavia utnil 1944 is no less of a political decision then to call it Macedonia afterwards.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 10:11:37 AM EST
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I agree with that.

I'm not saying, as some propagandists do, that the name was invented out of whole cloth in the mid 1940s. Not at all.

The historians I've read cite a distinctive Macedonian consciousness from the late 19th/early 20th centuries. This consciousness was itself political since the Slav Macedonian revolutionaries weer trying to carve out a space for themselves against their ethnic kin in Bulgaria and then against the Greeks. 50 years later, by 1944, that ethnogenic idea had already taken root. That being said, the term Macedonian was also in use for Greeks in the 19th century as well, to refer to Greeks and the ancient past.

You also have to acknowledge, however, that even though the Vardar region also may have had the name Macedonia attached to it unofficially prior to the mid 1940s, Tito changed its name to Macedonia for strategic reasons (namely, as a claim on Greek Macedonia). In fact, to this day, Macedonians refer to Greek Macedonia as Aegean Macedonia, which is a term linked to the "carving up" of Macedonia in the Balkan Wars. Never have I heard an official or a journalist or analyst ever refer to the Greek side as Greek Macedonia. This is a hangup from the renaming of the Vardar to Macedonia, and it just fuels the suspicions in Greece that the Macedonians cloak their aspirations for Greek territory.

by Upstate NY on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 10:48:54 AM EST
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namely, as a claim on Greek Macedonia
Well that and his project of adopting and subjecting all southern slav nationalisms to the Yugoslav idea. He would certainly have problems if he went against "macedonianism".

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 21st, 2009 at 08:53:35 PM EST
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