Macedonia (Greece)

geographic and administrative region of Greece

Macedonia, also known as Greek Macedonia, is a geographic and former administrative region of Greece, in the southern Balkans. Macedonia is the largest and second-most-populous Greek region, with a population of 2.38 million in 2017. The region is highly mountainous, with most major urban centers such as Thessaloniki and Kavala being concentrated on its southern coastline. Together with Thrace, and sometimes also Thessaly and Epirus, it is part of Northern Greece. It also contains Mount Athos, an autonomous monastic region of Greece. Macedonia incorporates most of the territories of ancient Macedon, a kingdom ruled by the Argeads and whose most celebrated members were Alexander the Great and his father Philip II. The name Macedonia was later applied to a number of widely-differing administrative areas in the Roman and Byzantine empires, resulting in modern geographical Macedonia. Even prior to the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1830 Macedonia was identified as a Greek province, albeit without clearly defined geographical border.

Macedonia is as Greek as the Acropolis. —Mike Rann


  • Even the peace that followed the Balkan Wars was cruel, in a novel manner that would become a recurrent feature of the twentieth century. It no longer sufficed, in the eyes of nationalists, to acquire foreign territory. Now it was peoples as well as borders that had to move. Sometimes these movements were spontaneous. Muslims fled in the direction of Salonika as the Greeks, Serbs and Bulgarians advanced in 1912; Bulgarians fled Macedonia to escape from invading Greek troops in 1913; Greeks chose to leave the Macedonian districts ceded to Bulgaria and Serbia by the Treaty of Bucharest. Sometimes populations were deliberately expelled, as the Greeks were from Western Thrace in 1913 and from parts of Eastern Thrace and Anatolia in 1914. In the wake of the Turkish defeat, there was an agreed population exchange: 48,570 Turks moved one way and 46,764 Bulgarians the other across the new Turkish-Bulgarian border. Such exchanges were designed to transform regions of ethnically mixed settlement into the homogeneous societies that so appealed to the nationalist imagination. The effects on some regions were dramatic. Between 1912 and 1915, the Greek population of (Greek) Macedonia increased by around a third; the Muslim and Bulgarian population declined by 26 and 13 per cent respectively. The Greek population of Western Thrace fell by 80 per cent; the Muslim population of Eastern Thrace rose by a third. The implications were distinctly ominous for the many multi-ethnic communities elsewhere in Europe.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p. 76-77
  • Kemal saw no need to massacre all the Greeks in Smyrna, though a substantial number of able-bodied men were marched inland, suffering assaults by Turkish villagers along the way. He merely gave the Greek government until October I to evacuate them all. By the end of 1923 more than 1.2 million Greeks and 100,000 Armenians had been forced from their ancestral homes. The Greeks responded in kind. In 1915 some 60 per cent of the population of Western Thrace had been Muslims and 29 per cent of the population of Macedonia. By 1924 the figures had plunged to 28 per cent and zero per cent, their places taken by Greeks.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), pp. 184
  • When the Turks and the Bulgarians left, Macedonia remained a purely Greek region.
    • Henry Morgenthau, "I was sent to Athens", Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc (1929).
  • The borders between Greece and Serbia were defined in 1913 on the basis of the advances of the armies of the two nations during the first Balkan war. The border between Greece and Bulgaria was defined at the Treaty of Bucharest. Since then, the borders of the three nations had remained the same. Macedonia, a region mostly of Greece since ancient times, was divided into three perhaps even four parts, with Greece keeping the largest portion of about 50%, then-Yugoslavia receiving about 35%, Bulgaria about 10% and a small percentage eventually ending in Albania. The Greek people on the portion of the Macedonia part in Greece have been there since time immemorial -- over more than forty centuries before the Slavs arrived. The language spoken in the Greek region since antiquity is Greek, whereas the language of the former-Yugoslavia portion is a Slavic dialect of Bulgarian (Marline Simons, The New York Times, February 3, 1992). As a matter of fact, the portion of Macedonia in then-Yugoslavia was part of the Eastern Branch of the Roman Empire. The people who ruled over Serbia spoke Greek. Constantinople was their headquarters. Their main trade was to the South and East...
    • Joseph C. Harsch, American journalist, "The Christian Science Monitor", January 29, 1992.
  • Journalist: Do you believe that the uprising in Macedonia will be suppressed soon? Stournaras: There is no uprising in Macedonia. Noone from the inhabitants has rebelled against the rulers of the region. There is an incursion of Bulgarian gunmen and other brigands and nothing more. Do you believe that these low-numbered Bulgarians will be able to conquer Macedonia or force the inhabitants to rebel? [...] In one clash in Panitze, outside of Serres, a few months ago where the notorious Delchev was murdered and 52 Bulgarians were arrested, only 2 Bulgarians managed to escape and the rest were killed. This of course has no meaning anymore, because through the fuss they managed to create, many believe now in Europe that Macedonian question is actually Bulgarian question.
    • Interview of Greek consul in Serres, Stournaras, in the Greek newspaper "Empros" in the paper of 21 August of 1903. (Stournaras was an eye-witness of Ilinden uprising and he is talking here about the uprising.).
  • For all of us who love History, and know History, Macedonia is as Greek as the Acropolis.
    • Mike Rann, Eleftherotypia newspaper, May 5, 2007