/div>Country, Balkan Peninsula
, southeastern Europe. Area: 9,928 sq mi (25,713 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 2,052,000. Capital: Skopje
. About two-thirds of the population are Macedonians, and about one-fourth are Albanians. Languages: Macedonian, Albanian. Religions: Christianity (predominantly Eastern Orthodox; also Roman Catholic), Islam. Currency: denar. Located on a high plateau studded with mountains, Macedonia is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Although its importance has diminished recently, agriculture remains central to the economy, with tobacco, fruit, vegetables, and wine notable. Sheepherding is also significant. The manufacturing base includes iron and steel, textiles, and chemicals and chemical products. Macedonia is a unitary multiparty republic with one legislative house; its head of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. The Macedonian region has been inhabited since before 7000 BCE. Under Roman rule, part of the region was incorporated into the province of Moesia
in 29 CE. It was settled by Slavic tribes by the mid-6th century and was Christianized during the 9th century. Seized by the Bulgarians in 1185, it was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1371 to 1912. The north and centre of the region were annexed by Serbia in 1913 and became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
) in 1918. When Yugoslavia was partitioned by the Axis Powers
in 1941, Yugoslav Macedonia was occupied principally by Bulgaria. Macedonia once again became a republic of Yugoslavia in 1946. After Croatia and Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia, fear of Serbian dominance prompted Macedonia to declare its independence in 1991. In deference to Greece, which also has an area traditionally known as Macedonia, the country joined the United Nations in 1993 under the name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and normalized relations with Greece in 1995. Ethnic strife has periodically endangered national stabilitye.g., in 2001, when pro-Albanian rebel forces in the north, near the Kosovo
border, led guerrilla attacks on government forces.