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​Macedonia Has Just Changed Its Name To End Dispute With Greece

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​Macedonia Has Just Changed Its Name To End Dispute With Greece

Macedonia has just changed its name... and to be honest, we're all a little confused.

Its new name will be the Republic of Northern Macedonia, which will be used both domestically and internationally. The short explanation is that it has something to do with ending a bitter 27-year dispute with Greece, but bear with us if you can.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

Basically, way back in 1991 the two countries fell out when Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia. Macedonia decided to call itself Macedonia, which pissed Greece off because it had some land in the north called Macedonia, which is NOT CONFUSING AT ALL.

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Greece's Macedonia is a northern region that includes the country's second city, Thessaloniki, whereas Macedonia's Macedonia is, well, a country.

Just to make things confusing, when it became a member of the United Nations in 1993, it had to be given an alternative provisional name of the 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia', which was purely because of the ongoing dispute with Greece.

In a nutshell, Greek people felt like the name belonged to them because it ties in with the country's heritage and the Macedon Kingdom - the king of which was Alexander the Great, who you'll have heard of.

A man holds a Greek flag next to a statue of Alexander the Great. Credit: PA
A man holds a Greek flag next to a statue of Alexander the Great. Credit: PA
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But Macedonia clearly liked the name, too, meaning that there's been a massive stand-off for almost 30 years, which has seen many protests and conflict.

Still with us?

Thankfully, it sounds like Greece and Macedonia have finally reached a resolve, thanks to the new name of the Republic of North Macedonia - or 'Severna Makedonija' in Macedonian.

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According to the BBC, its language will still be known as Macedonian, and its people will also be known as Macedonians - but citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia.

Apparently other names thrown into the pot included Gorna Makedonija (Upper Macedonia), Nova Makedonija (New Macedonia) and Ilinden Macedonia.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Credit: PA
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Credit: PA

The prime minsters of Greece and Macedonia - Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev - had a phone call with each other on Tuesday, and shortly after announced the name change, with Macedonia set to amend its constitution as part of the pact.

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The new name will need to be approved by the Macedonian people and the Greek parliament, but by the sounds of things it's a goer.

"There is no way back," Zaev said in a news conference.

Well, there we go then. That's that settled.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Greece, World News, News, Politics

Jess Hardiman
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