OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Macedonia
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 25,713 Sq Km (9,928 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 2,183,800
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Republic of Macedonia is a republic of the former socialist Yugoslavia. It is bound by Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, Albania to the west and Serbia & Montenegro to the north. Geographically, the country consists of large and high mountain massifs such as the Skopska Tsrna Gora Range to the north, the Pindus Ranges to the west and the Western Rhodope Mountains to the east which are interspersed by vast, fenced fertile valleys and plains, such as the Vardar and Strumitsa River Valleys. The mountainous terrain to the west is forested with deciduous and coniferous trees, whereas to the east, the mountains are covered in scrub mixed with deciduous and coniferous trees. To the southwest, the lakes of Ohrid and Prespa have formed in low lying areas of the valleys. The principal river is the Vadar River. Major Cities (pop. est.); Skopje 440,600, Bitolj 75,400, Prilep 67,400, Kumanovo 66,200, Tetovo 50,400 (1994). Land Use; forested 39%, pastures 25%, agricultural-cultivated 26%, other 11% (1993).
CLIMATE: Macedonia has a transitional climate from Mediterranean to continental with hot dry summers and moderately cold winters. Average annual precipitation varies form 1,700 mm (67 inches) in the western mountainous area to 500 mm (20 inches) in the eastern area while the central valleys and plains only receive 450 mm (18 inches). Average temperature ranges in Skopje are from -1 degrees Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Macedonians who account for 66% of the population while 21% are Albanians. Other ethnic minorities include Bulgarians and Turks.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 80 persons per sq km (208 persons per sq mi) (1993). Urban-Rural; 53.9% urban, 46.1% rural (1981). Sex Distribution; 50.7% male, 49.3% female (1981). Life Expectancy at Birth; 68.0 years male, 72.0 years female (1982). Age Breakdown; 29% under 15, 27% 15 to 29, 20% 30 to 44, 15% 45 to 59, 7% 60 to 74, 2% 75 and over (1981). Birth Rate; 16.9 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 7.0 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 9.9 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 35.3 per 1,000 live births (1990).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians of the Orthodox Church while the Albanians are Muslims. In addition, there are also religious minorities of Protestants, Greek or Uniate Catholics and a small number of Jews.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Macedonian, although Albanian is also widely spoken. Other minority languages include Bulgarian and Turkish.
EDUCATION: Aged 15 or over and having attained: less than primary education 45.3%, primary 28.1%, secondary 21.2%, higher 5.0%, unspecified 0.3% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 10 or over 1,365,000 or 89.1% (1981).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: Prior to independence Macedonia's history was closely tied with that of the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia. On Nov. 19, 1945 the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council (AVNOJ), which was a provisional government with Josip Broz also known as Marshal Tito as Prime Minister, abolished the monarchy and established the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia which consisted of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia with its semiautonomous provinces. In Jan. 1946 a new constitution modeled around the Soviet Union was established and opposition parties abolished. The government then embarked on a nationalization program of industry and collectivized agricultural farms. In 1948 Yugoslavia was expelled from the Cominform or Communist International for refusing to become subordinate to the Soviet parent party and economic embargoes were imposed against Yugoslavia by the Soviet bloc countries. In 1953 Tito inaugurated a new constitution in which he became President and a modified version of socialism was implemented. In 1955 and 1956 Pres. Tito held negotiations with the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev over sovereignty and the independence of the two nations socialist systems. In 1961 Yugoslavia became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1963 a constitution was established which made Tito president for life and in 1974 a new constitution was adopted which gave the republics limited veto powers over federal decisions. In the 1970's Croatian nationalism escalated which led to mass demonstrations in Yugoslavia as well as terrorist attacks on overseas Yugoslav targets. On May 4, 1980 Pres. Tito died and was succeeded by a collective leadership system that Tito himself established prior to his death in the hope of averting internal dissension. In May 1981 there were uprisings by the Albanian ethnic population of Kosovo which again resurfaced in 1988 and 1989. In 1987 Slobodan Milosevic was elected President and in 1988 he began moves to restrict the Serbian provinces' autonomy. In 1989 as democratic change began to sweep through Eastern Europe, tensions between the major ethnic groups combined with their individual nationalist aspirations began to escalate. In Sept. 1989 legislation was approved which allowed Slovenia the right to accede from the federation. In Jan. 1990 the communist party surrendered its monopoly on power and announced the development of a multiparty system of government for the federation. During the 1990 free elections the communists only retained power in the republics of Serbia and Montenegro. In early 1991 racial tensions, due to the country's complex ethnic patchwork, began to escalate into violence between the Croat police and Serbs as the country slowly drifted into civil war. In Mar. 1991 the leaders of the six republics began negotiations on the country's future, although they resulted in nothing more than a stalemate. On June 25, 1991 Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence with Slovenia opting for complete secession. On June 26, 1991 the Yugoslav People's Army which is predominantly Serbian launched an offensive into Slovenia that met stiff resistance. Soon after an EU mediated cease-fire was accepted which allowed for the suspension of secession by both republics until Oct. 7, 1991, although it and many further cease-fires were subsequently broken. In Sept. 1991 Macedonia declared its independence which was later followed by Bosnia-Herzegovina. On January 3, 1992 and April 30, 1992 unsuccessful bilateral meetings were held with Greece in an attempt to settle the dispute of the use of the name Macedonia by the former Yugoslav republic while in June 1992 as a result of Greek pressure the EU reluctantly agreed to withhold recognition of the former Yugoslav state, although Turkey, Bulgaria and Russia extended diplomatic recognition of the new republic. On Nov. 6, 1992 clashes broke out between the Albanian minority and Slav Macedonian Police that resulted in the death of one and wounding of four others. In the same month the EU governments offered economic aid fearing that the worsening situation would lead to a wider Balkan conflict while the UN Security Council reacted by sending monitors to the country. In April 1993 Macedonia was admitted to the UN under a comprise name of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In Nov. 1993 the government faced a serious threat of losing power to the nationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) which was insisting that ethnic Albanians be excluded from the coalition government. In the same month officials in Skopje and two other cities seized arms that had been manufactured in Albanian, following which the ethnic Albanian deputy minister of health fled although six other people were arrested. Also in 1993 relations with Serbia (Yugoslavia) were further strained when Serbia intensely criticized the election of an alleged anti-Serb Macedonian patriarch of the Macedonian Othordox Church while relations with Albanian deteriorated after further border incidents.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Denar (De) formerly Yugoslav Dinar (D) divided into 100 Paras.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,709,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; N/A. Imports; USD $1,483,000,000 (1994). Exports; USD $1,050,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $21,000,000 (1994). Balance of Trade; USD -$433,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 937,000 or 48.4% of total population (1994). Unemployed; 27.6% (1994).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its traditional trading partners were the former USSR, other former East European communist countries and members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Antimony, Arsenic, Barley, Corn, Cotton, Iron Ore, Lead, Livestock, Potatoes, Quartz, Rice, Rye, Silicon, Sun Flowers, Wheat, Zinc Ores.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Chemicals, Fertilizers, Food Processing, Leather Processing, Machinery, Mining, Smelting, Synthetic Fibers, Textiles.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Clothing, Fabrics, Food, Footwear, Livestock, Machinery, Non-Ferrous Metals, Textile Yarns.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 693 km (431 mi) (1990). Roads; length 10,591 km (6,581 mi) (1991). Vehicles; cars 230,993 (1990), trucks and buses 22,594 (1990). Merchant Marine; N/A. Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation of 55,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 369,000 (1992). Television; receivers 338,000 (1992). Telephones; units 324,300 (1993).
MILITARY: 10,400 (1995) total active duty personnel with 100% army while military expenditure accounts for 1.8% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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