The three peoples in Macedonia with the longest claim to continuity are


The Slavs, an Indo-European people originating in east-central Europe, had begun to cross the Danube into the sixth century AD. In the seventh century combined assaults of Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians, a Turkic people from the area between the Urals and the Volga who had come via the steppes north of the Caspian Sea, led to the founding of the first Bulgarian state in 681. In 864, under the direction of their leader Boris, the Proto-Bulgarians converted en masse to Christianity and this greatly helped them coalesce with the Slavs, who had already converted. Thus by the end of the ninth century they were as one people speaking a Slav-based language (although modern Slav Macedonian historians in Skopje claim that the Macedonian Slavs have always been a separate people from those of Bulgaria).

From the tenth century onwards Roma (Gypsies), originating from northern India, began to move into the region and progressively spread throughout the whole of the Balkans including Macedonia.

By the end of the thirteenth century the Serbs, another Slavic people, were establishing hegemony over much of the Balkans, and in 1282 King Milutin took Skopje from the Byzantine empire and opened the way for Serbian penetration into Macedonia.

Disunity in the Balkans allowed the Ottoman Turks, an Asiatic people who had gradually eroded away the ailing Byzantine empire, to invade the peninsula from Asia Minor in the fourteenth century through Macedonia and the Maritsa valley. The gradual Ottoman conquest culminated in the defeat of the Serbs at Kosovo Polje in 1389 and opened the way for a complete occupation of the Balkans.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 saw the end of the Byzantine empire. Ottoman rule over Macedonia was to last until the twentieth century.

During this period Turks and other Muslim Turkic-speaking peoples from the Ottoman empire settled along with large numbers of Sephardic Ladino-speaking Jews who had fled from intolerance and persecution in Western Europe or been expelled from there.



The piece has been lifted from the homonymous chapter of H.Poulton's "Who are the Macedonians" (1995), pp.4,5, for the simple reason that the account is brief and straightforward. The information is recent, pretty standard, and may also be found in a number of publications.