In a historical move on Tuesday, a small country in the Balkan region got a new name: the Republic of North Macedonia. So, where is the North Macedonia on a map? Tuesday was a huge moment for the country as Greece officially recognized its new name, and soon you'll be able to see the it on a map.
Reuters reported that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the capital of Greece, Athens, and Macedonian capital, Skopje, agreed upon a new name for the country. Its alternative name is "Severna Macedonja." The Greek prime minister entered the new agreement with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
The naming comes with a bit of controversial history involving two groups sparring for official recognition: Greeks and Macedonians. Before the Republic of North Macedonia got its name on Tuesday, it was part of Yugoslavia, which fell apart towards the end of the Soviet Union. In 1993, the country joined the United Nations but without an official name. It was this kind of namelessness that left the average Macedonian unhappy and yearning for a proper title.
Due to strife with Greece over its official name, the country was logged as a United Nations member under the title of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" or FYROM for short. The same term was used by the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Council of Europe. Pretty much everywhere. In other words, the now-Republic of North Macedonia lacked a title that truly reflected its nation and history.
BuzzFeed published an image of what North Macedonia looks like on a map, which you can check out above. The country is visible to the east of Albania, north of Greece, west of Bulgaria, and south of Kosovo. Nestled in the middle of these countries, the Republic of North Macedonia is a landlocked country.
For Macedonians, seeing their country's new name is no small deal. The nation has been waiting since 1995 for a more permanent and historically authentic country name. More than two decades ago, the country entered an agreement with Greece under the guidance of the United Nations to carry the name of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
In the past, Macedonia had other names, but they never attained permanent status. Examples include the Democratic Republic of Macedonia, the New Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of New Macedonia, Constitutional Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia, and Independent Republic of Macedonia.
While speaking to the press in Athens on Tuesday, Tsipras praised the agreement between Greece and the Republic of North Macedonia. The Greek premier said, "This is a great diplomatic victory and a historic opportunity … not just for our nation but for our entire region. A source of discord that undermined the region's ability to go forward together is ended, and a window of friendship, cooperation, prosperity and mutual growth opens onto the future."
Zaev agreed with his Greek counterpart and said that the naming would "strengthen Macedonian identity." He also spoke of the decades of strife between both countries and praised the effort, "We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute ... that has been drowning the country."
Still, the new name comes with conditions. According to Al Jazeera English, with the new title, North Macedonia cannot make baseless claims to Greek heritage and history. It's something that the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias echoed as well. Al Jazeera English reported Kotzias said, "It will be [in the agreement] that this language bears no relationship with ancient Greek, [the state] lays no claim to ancient Macedonia, to Greek Macedonia, and this language belongs to the Slav family of languages."