The territory of Macedonia was inhabited by non-Indo-European dwellers as early as the Neolithic, 4,500 years B.C. After the Indo-European tribes settled on the Balkan Peninsula, these regions were inhabited by the ancient Macedonians, Ilyrians, Thracians, and Hellenes. The ancient Macedonians populated the central part of the Balkans. Ancient Macedonia reached its zenith during the reign of King Philip II and his son Alexander the Great. Under the rule of Philip II Macedonia was united into a strong, centralistic state. Alexander was one of the greatest army commanders and conquerors in history and he expanded the borders of his empire from the Adriatic Sea to India and Egypt.
The Romans conquered Macedonia in the 2nd century B.C. In the 4th century A.D. it becamea part of the Byzantine Empire, but during the 6th and the 7th centuries it was inhabited by the Slavic tribes of the Berezites, Dragovites, Velegizites, Sagudates, Rinhines and others, who created specific territorial units called sclavines. The late l0th century was marked by thecreation of a powerful Macedonian kingdom by Tsar Samuel. Its seat was first in Prespa and then in Ohrid. During its reign Rome gave its consent for the foundation of an independent Macedonian church, - the Ohrid Patriarchate.
In the 13th century Macedonia was conquered by Serbia and then in the 14th century by the Ottoman Turks, whose rule stretched through five centuries up to 1912 and the Balkan wars. As a consequence of these wars, in 1913 the compact territory of Macedonia was partitioned into three parts, which were given to Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. The Macedonian people took part in the anti-fascist war (1941-45) side by side with the other Yugoslav peoples On the 2nd August 1944, at the meeting of ASNOM (Anti-fascist Association for National Liberation of Macedonia), the Vardar part of Macedonia was proclaimed a legal state and became one of the six federal republics of SFR Yugoslavia. Following the referendum of 1991 the Republic of Macedonia has become an autonomous and independent state.
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