Macedonia, Republic of, also, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of, a country on the Balkan Peninsula. Macedonia borders Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia and Montenegro. The country includes most of the northern half of the historic region of Macedonia. The area is 9,928 square miles (25,713 km2 ). Macedonia is generally mountainous, with the highest peaks rising more than 9,000 feet (2,700 m). Macedonia's chief river is the Vardar.
Macedonia's economy is based heavily on agriculture. Crops include wheat, corn, sugar beets, and tobacco. Dairy farming is also important. Industry is mainly concentrated in and around Skopje, the capital. Goods produced include textiles, transportation equipment, processed foods, and steel. Coal is the chief mineral produced.
About two-thirds of the people are Macedonians, a South Slav people. Albanians make up the largest minority group. With a population of 563,301, Skopje is the largest city. The country's population in 1991 was 2,033,964.
Macedonia has a president, who is the head of state, and a prime minister, who is the head of government. Legislative power is vested in the Sobranje, a one-house parliament.
In 1918, the region corresponding to the present republic of Macedonia was incorporated into what became Yugoslavia. The region became a separate republic of Yugoslavia in 1946.
During 1946–90, Macedonia, like Yugoslavia as a whole, had a Communist government. In 1990 multiparty elections were held in which the Communist government of Macedonia was replaced by a government made up of a coalition of parties. In 1991 the new government sought greater independence from the federal government, which was still dominated by Communists, and later that year Macedonia declared itself independent.
Its independence, however, was not recognized internationally, mainly because Greece opposed the use of the name Macedonia, which Greek leaders thought implied territorial claims to the region in northern Greece known by the same name. In 1993 Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations as “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” Relations with Greece worsened, however, and Greece imposed a trade embargo on Macedonia in 1994. Tensions subsided somewhat in 1995 and the embargo was lifted.
Meanwhile, in 1993 the UN sent peacekeeping troops to Macedonia to help prevent fighting between various South Slav groups from spreading to Macedonia from other former Yugoslav republics. In 1999 the country was flooded with 250,000 refugees driven from the Yugoslav province of Kosovo by a Serbian-led military campaign.