Before the Balkan Wars Macedonist ideas were shared by a limited circles of intellectuals. They grew in significance during the interbellum, both in Vardar Macedonia and among the left-leaning diaspora in Bulgaria, and were endorsed by the Comintern. During the Second World War, these ideas were supported by the Communist Partisans, who founded Yugoslav Macedonian Republic in 1944.

All contemporary sources (that I could find) lead to the name Georgi Dimitrov (head of the Commintern) and his negotiation with Josip Broz Tito on the creation of a Federation of the Southern Slavs, which had been underway since November 1944 between the Bulgarian and Yugoslav Communist leaderships. The idea eventually resulted in the 1947 Bled accord:

The preliminary plan for the federation included the incorporation of the Blagoevgrad Region ("Pirin Macedonia") into the Socialist Republic of Macedonia and the return of the Western Outlands from Serbia to Bulgaria. In anticipation of this, Bulgaria accepted teachers from Yugoslavia who started to teach the newly codified Macedonian language in the schools in Pirin Macedonia and issued the order that the Bulgarians of the Blagoevgrad Region should claim а Macedonian identity.

Are there documents that testify the existence of Macedonia and the Macedonian people, prior to the 19th century?

  • @Yannis due to its controversial nature I decided to keep it minimal to avoid possible "opinion-based " accusations. – Ziezi Feb 3 '16 at 10:36
  • Ok. I can understand that, and I do sympathize. Although I think the History.SE crowd can handle a bit of controversy every now and then. See, for example, how the community treated this related question: Was Alexander the Great Greek or Macedonian?. – yannis Feb 3 '16 at 10:48
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    My understanding : The people who calls themselves macedonians today used to identify themselves as Bulgars. When the Otoman empire fell however in the early 1900s they were assigned to Serbia rather than Bulgaria, hence their cultural differences. Yougoslavia "invented" macedonians to justify them being part of Yougoslava, and not Bulgaria. Unfortunately, as will all balcanic-related questions, this is a really touchy subject. – Bregalad Feb 3 '16 at 11:35
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    Lol this question had a full makeover since I answered it. @simplicus I hope my answer was sufficient for you – Notaras Feb 3 '16 at 12:46
  • @Bregalad Could it be said that Bulgarian-Macedonian relationship is similar to Greek-Cypriot ? – Ziezi Feb 5 '16 at 23:37

Any medieval sources that mention "Macedonians" or a "Macedonian people" are doing so in a geographic context. You could have people who spoke Slavic, Vlach, Albanian or Greek in Byzantine Macedonia that could have been described as "Macedonian".

In the middle ages and into the nineteenth century, the term Macedonian was used entirely in reference to a geographical region. Anyone who lived in Macedonia could be described as a Macedonian.

-The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the 6th century to the Late Twelfth century (p37) by John V. A. Fine, JR

Bear in mind that Macedonia was not the only region in Europe in such a situation and the concept of ethnicity was not so well defined back then as it is now.

People identifying with a distinct ethnic Macedonian identity separate from Bulgarians or Serbians first appeared in the 19th century.

From wikipedia:

The first prominent author that propagated the separate ethnicity of the Macedonians was Georgi Pulevski, who in 1875 published Dictionary of Three languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, in which he wrote:

What do we call a nation? – People who are of the same origin and who speak the same words and who live and make friends of each other, who have the same customs and songs and entertainment are what we call a nation, and the place where that people lives is called the people's country. Thus the Macedonians also are a nation and the place which is theirs is called Macedonia.

So as for sources "testifying the existence of Macedonia" Yes there are plenty of sources mentioning a "Macedonia" but bear in mind that between the 7th -19th centuries, the definition of "Macedonia" had changed significantly. From a Roman province, to Byzantine Theme, to Bulgarian region, to Latin region, to Serbian region and so on..

As for sources "testifying the existence of ... Macedonian people" The best you'll get are minor references to people from the region regardless of their language or ethnicity.

  • what is "slavic language"? (from "...spoke Slavic...") – Ziezi Feb 2 '16 at 22:53
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  • If you follow the diagram in the second section (of the link), differentiating all the branches of the "Slavic Language", it really doesn't make any sense, (it's not chronological) as most of the countries there didn't exist. It rather describes the regional language development. You can't put a country as a leaf so low (Bulgaria) when it precedes the existence of most of the countries in the nodes above it. It makes sense for the countries that were created after it to get a language as derivative of the already existing one. Do you agree? – Ziezi Dec 1 '17 at 17:51
  • You seem to know that it was the name of a region in the Byzantine Empire, but you don't say it. – John Dee Dec 1 '17 at 18:16
  • @JohnDee Example, Greece is part of EU. Being both Greek and European is not mutually exclusive. – Ziezi Dec 3 '17 at 14:24

The country has some mention in the era of Alexander the Great.

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    But slavs didn't come in the region yet, so the "macedonian" ethnicity known today didn't exist. – Bregalad Feb 4 '16 at 20:33
  • @Bregalad population in this region is mentioned with many different (synonymous?) names. One should consider the possibility of equivalence between "arrival of new people" and "the creation of new synonym". A modern example would be the many names of the population of Germany in the neighbouring countries - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terms_used_for_Germans – Ziezi Dec 1 '17 at 17:43

Yes there are plenty of documents from that time mentioning Macedonia and Macedonians being a separate nation, different from its Serbian and Bulgarian neighbors. Unfortunately, most of these documents are still hidden in the archives of Turkey (as a legal successor of the Ottoman Empire) and Vatican, but a few years ago a Macedonian historian called Blazhe Minevski, who was granted permission to use the Vatican Library and Archive materials for his research, came across several archived letters from the 17th century, regarding issues that are in some capacity connected to Macedonia or Macedonians.

For more detailed info, please follow the link: http://mia.mk/en/Inside/RenderSingleNews/324/132005839

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    Try adding a direct quote unberlining your claim, rather than a link - first for practical reasons - hyperlinks often break, second for practical reason - to avoid tl;dr. – Ziezi Dec 1 '17 at 17:54
  • Link only answers often get deleted themselves, as they really add no information directly. Add the name of this historian, and what he said that you feel is relevant to the question. – justCal Dec 1 '17 at 19:41
  • Are you able to find an objective source for this other than that news website? The author concludes his article with what looks to me like some conspiracy theory. – Notaras Dec 3 '17 at 11:56
  • @Ziezi - not an argument; did you get an answer to your question or not? – Lux Aeterna Dec 4 '17 at 16:46
  • @justCal - the historian's name is added to my answer. – Lux Aeterna Dec 4 '17 at 16:48

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