At independence in 1991, the country took over a well-developed social and health care system. However, the state’s poor finances have eroded the system. Of 10,000 residents, there are 26 doctors (2010) and 45 hospital beds (2011). Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of UEM and acronym for Macedonia.
At the end of the 14th century, Turkey began its invasion of the Balkans. By 1371 it had conquered most of Macedonia, and in 1389 it inflicted a decisive defeat on the Serbian Empire in Kosova. The Ottomans acquired the best lands and created a feudal system. The Christian peasants became subject to the Muslim rulers for whom they had to pay taxes or were displaced to less fertile areas.
In 1864, the Ottoman Empire divided Macedonia into 3 provinces: Saloniki, Monastir with part of Albania and Kosova, which had belonged to ancient Serbia. In 1878, Russia forced Turkey to establish the state of Bulgaria, which also comprised most of Macedonia, but the other European powers returned the area to the Ottomans. In the following decades, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece fought for their right to Macedonia.
In the late 19th century, a strong nationalist movement developed in Macedonia. The Slavic Macedonians founded in 1893 VMRO (Vatreshna Makedonska Revolutsionna Organizatsia) with the slogan: «Macedonia for the Macedonians». Both Bulgaria and Greece financed partisans in Macedonia, which triggered the Greco-Turkish war in 1897. In return, the Turks used the Serbs to balance VRMO and the Bulgarians.
The increase in the conspiracy among Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbs and Macedonians led Russia and Austria-Hungary in 1903 to push for the appointment of a general inspector and a reorganization of police in the area. Turkey accepted, but in August, with the support of Bulgaria, a people rally took place, which was severely beaten down. As part of the subsequent repression, 105 Slavic Macedonian villages were leveled with the earth.
The two Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913 dealt with the distribution of the Turkish-Ottoman territories in the region after the empire collapsed in 1908 in the wake of the so-called young Turks’ revolt. Bulgaria and Serbia signed a mutual aid pact, which Greece and Montenegro also endorsed. Russia supported the Balkan League based on its interest in slowing the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s push to the southeast.
After defeating Turkey during the first war, the Allies mutually opposed each other. Bulgaria triggered the second war and faced both Greece and Serbia at the same time. Romania and Turkey now joined forces with Greece and Serbia to defeat Bulgaria. With the Bucharest Treaty, Greece acquired Saloniki and most of the Macedonian coastal areas, while Serbia acquired the central and northern part of Macedonia.