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Macedonian diaspora

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Macedonian diaspora

Macedonian celebration in Berlin, Germany

The Macedonian diaspora (Macedonian: Македонска дијаспора, Makedonska dijaspora) consists of ethnic Macedonian emigrants and their descendants in countries such as Australia, Italy, Germany, Canada, the United States and others. A 1964 estimate put the number of Macedonian emigrants at over 580,000.[1]


The Macedonian diaspora is the consequence of either voluntary departure or forced migration over the past 100 years. It is claimed that there were six major waves of emigration.[2] The Macedonian Slavic-speaking immigrants in the first half of 20th century were considered and identified as Bulgarians or as Macedonian Bulgarians.[3][4][5][6][7]

  • 1. The First wave occurred after the Failure of the Ilinden Uprising in 1903. Many people fled to other parts of Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, Egypt, Russia, the USA and Canada.
  • 2. The "Pečalba" tradition which was common across Macedonia. Many people settled in the host countries. The pečalbari emigrated from the 1880s to the 1920s, mainly to Greece. Large settlements occurred in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and the United States.
  • 3. The period from World War I to the Great Depression, when Macedonians fled Serbian rule and moved to Western Europe for industrial labor jobs, mainly in countries such as France, West Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, which will repeat again from the early 1950s to late 1970s.
  • 4. Post World War II and the Greek Civil War thousands of Macedonians fled, were evacuated or emigrated. Thousands of people fled from Greece after the failure of the DSE, the National Liberation Front and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to win the Greek Civil War. An estimated 55,000 people were evacuated to Romania, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the rest of the Eastern Bloc.
  • 5. During the 1960s Yugoslavia lifted restrictions on emigration. Hundreds of thousands of Macedonians emigrated. Internal Yugoslav migration was also very prevalent, by 1991 an estimated 80,000 Macedonians were living throughout Yugoslavia. Primary destinations were Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
  • 6. After the Breakup of Yugoslavia thousands of Macedonians emigrated. Many went to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK and North America.[8]

Spread of ethnic Macedonians

The spread of ethnic Macedonians throughout the world

Number of ethnic Macedonians around the world

Country Number of Ethnic Macedonians Main Article Description
1 Argentina 30,000 (est.) Macedonians of Argentina Many Macedonians of Argentina are the descendants of the "pečalbari" (seasonal workers) who came to Argentina in the early 20th century. Many decided to stay in Argentina, setting up Macedonian colonies in the Pampas and other regions. Most Macedonians can be found in Buenos Aires, the Pampas and Córdoba. An estimated 30,000 Macedonians can be found in Argentina.[9]
2 Australia 83,988 (2006 census) - 200,000 (est.) Macedonian Australians The Macedonians in Australia comprise many refugees from the Greek Civil War. Although the majority are from the Republic of Macedonia having migrated to Australia from the 1960s to the early 1990s. The Republic of Macedonia claims that there are 200,000 Macedonians in Australia.[10] Demographer Charles Price puts the number of Macedonians in Australia at over 150,000 people.[2]

In the 2006 Census, 40,656 Australian residents are listed as having been born in the Republic of Macedonia.[11] In addition, 83,978 residents declared their ancestry as Macedonian, either alone or in combination with another ancestry.[12] In 2001 the Macedonian language was spoken at home by 71,994 residents.[13]

3 Albania 4,697 (1989 census)[14] - 35,000 (est.)[15] Macedonians of Albania Although not necessarily classified as being a part of the "Macedonian diaspora" the Macedonians of Albania constitute a minority group in Albania.
4 Austria 13,696 (2001 census)[16]1 - 25,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Austria Thousand of Macedonians emigrated to Austria during the years of the Yugoslav federation. Many were temporary workers. After the Breakup of Yugoslavia many returned to Macedonia but a large proportion of the minority remained. In recent years migration to Austria has increased. By 2001 there were 13,696 Macedonian citizens in Austria,[17] however the Macedonian government puts the figure at 15,000.[18]
5 Bulgaria 1,654 (2011 census)[19] - 25,000 (1998 est.)[20] Ethnic Macedonians of Bulgaria or Pirin Macedonians
6 Belgium 3,419[21]1 - 15,406[22] Macedonians in Belgium
7 Brazil 45,000 (est.) Macedonians in Brazil An estimated 45,000 people in Brazil are of Macedonian Ancestry.[9] Many Pečalbari (seasonal workers) came to Brazil in the early 1900s looking for work. Many of them stayed and established themselves in Brazil. The Macedonians in Brazil can be found in Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba. Many of the descendants no longer speak the Macedonian language.
8 Canada 37,705 (2006 census)[23] - 200,000 (est.)[10] Macedonian Canadians The Macedonian Community of Canada is one of the largest and oldest Macedonian diaspora groups in the world. Many refugees from the Balkan Wars and World War I emigrated to Canada in the early 20th Century. They were joined by Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia in the 1920s and 1930s. Another wave of refugees arrived after World War II. Many emigrants from Greece began to arrive in the 1950s and 1960s joined by Yugoslav Macedonians.
9 Czech Republic 2,068 citizens of RM (2009 census), 13-15,000 (2001 estimate) Macedonians in the Czech Republic The Macedonians in the Czech Republic are mainly descended from the refugee children who were resettled in the former Czechoslovakia. It was estimated that 11,623 people were resettled in Czechoslovakia. Many later decided to return to the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, which shaprly reduced the community's numbers. Although Many decided to stay in the Czech Republic.
10 Denmark 3,349 (2008 census)[24]1 - 12,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Denmark
11 France 2,300[25] - 15,000(est.)[10] Macedonians in France Thousands of Macedonians left Yugoslavia in the 1920s and 1930s to work in France. Many of these were unskilled immigrants and returned to Macedonia after finishing their work in France. After World War II many returned this time as immigrants. Most of the immigrants originated from the Struga, Ohrid and Kicevo regions. They were primarily settled in migrant hostels and "ghettoes". More still emigrated to France after the breakup of Yugoslavia. The French government estimates the number of Macedonians in France to be 2,300[26] while Macedonian figures put the number at over 15,000 persons.[10]
12 Finland 200[10] Macedonians in Finland
13 Greece 962 (2001 census)[27] to 10,000–30,000 (1999 est.)[28] Slavic-speakers of Greek Macedonia As of 1 January 2010, there are 1,705 citizens from the Republic of Macedonia with a residency permit in Greece.[29]
14 Hungary 5,000 (est.) Macedonians in Hungary After the Greek Civil War many Macedonians were evacuated to Hungary. Many left for the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in the 1950s and 1960s. Although a substantial minority remained of the 7,253 who fled Greece. An estimated 5,000 Macedonians resided in Hungary in 1995.[9]
15 Italy 78,090 (2007 figures)1 Macedonians in Italy The largest population of Macedonian Muslims in the Macedonian diaspora can be found Italy. Many of them are from the Debar, Gostivar, Struga and Mavrovo regions of Macedonia. Among the Macedonian Muslims are a large population of Maceodonian Christians. The total number of Macedonian citizens in Italy has risen from 34,019 in 2003 to 78,090 in 2007.[30]
16 Luxembourg 200[10] Macedonians in Luxembourg
17 Germany 62,295 (2006 figures)1 - 85,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Germany Many Macedonians came to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. Many went to work in the industrial centres of East Germany and the Ruhr. Later still many thousands emigrated to Germany after the Breakup of Yugoslavia. The first of eight Macedonian Orthodox Church communities was established in Hamburg in 1980. The Macedonian Soccer team FK Makedonija 1970 was founded in 1970. There are concentrations of Macedonians in Berlin, Bavaria, Hamburg and the Ruhr. 62,295 Macedonian citizens were living in Germany in 2006, although Macedonian sources claim the true number of Macedonians ranges from 75,000 to 85,000.[31]
18 Netherland 10,000 - 15,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Netherlands Many Macedonians entered the Netherlands during the 1960s and 1970s. Most of these returned to Macedonia while a minority remained. They were joined by business migrants and students after the breakup of Yugoslavia. It is estimated that over between 10,000 and 15,000 Macedonians can be found in the Netherlands.[18]
19 New Zealand 807 2006 census1 - 1,500 (est.)[10] Macedonians in New Zealand
20 Norway 2,000[10] Macedonians in Norway
21 Poland 2,000[10] Macedonians in Poland Most of the Macedonians of Poland originate from the Child Refugees of the Greek Civil War. Estimates put the number of Macedonian refugees settled in Poland at 11,458. Most Macedonians are settled in Southern and Central Poland. Many Macedonians immigrated to Poland after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
22 Romania 731[32] - 6,000 Ethnic Macedonians of Romania A large group of Macedonians has been present in Romania since the end of the Greek Civil War when thousands of refugees were transferred there. Many chose to remain in Romania. Today the Macedonians in Romania are a fully recognised minority group.
23 Russia 1,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Russia By the 21st century an estimated 1000 Macedonians remained in Russia.[31]
24 Slovakia 4,600 (est.)[33]1 Macedonians in Slovakia
25 Switzerland 61,304 (2006 figures)1 - 63,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Switzerland Thousand of Macedonians emigrated to Switzerland during the years of the Yugoslav federation. Many were temporary workers. After the breakup of Yugoslavia thousands more came to Switzerland. In 1992 an association of Macedonian clubs and groups was founded, the "Združenie na Makedonskite Društva" (ZMD) has member from every Macedonian society in Switzerland. By 2000 large concentrations had been established in Biel/Bienne, Berne, Geneva and Zürich. By 2005 there were 61,304 Macedonian citizens in Switzerland.
26 Sweden 6,000 - 15,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Sweden Macedonian minority through law.[35] Throughout Sweden there are over 20 registered Macedonian associations. There are several Macedonian Orthodox Churches and Macedonian language newspapers in Sweden. In 2006 there were 3,669[36] Macedonian born in Sweden. The Swedish immigrant center puts the number of Macedonians at 6,000.[37] Macedonian sources put the number of Macedonians in Sweden at over 15,000.[10]
27 Spain 200 (est.)[10] Macedonians in Spain
28 United States 51,733 (2006 figures) [38] - 200,000 (est.)[10] Macedonian Americans Macedonians emigrated to America as "Pečalbari" (seasonal workers) in the late 19th and early 20th century. It is estimated that after the failure of the Ilinden Uprising, over 50,000 Macedonians came to America.[39] The first immigrants were primarily from the Lerin, Kostur, and Bitola regions. After World War I, many Macedonians returned to Europe only to be joined by Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia who were fleeing persecution under the Metaxas regime. By 1945, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Macedonians were in the United States. Post-war immigration was limited until the Breakup of Yugoslavia. Large Macedonian concentrations can be found in Detroit (20,000), Gary, Chicago, and northern New Jersey. The 1990 census recorded 20,365 Macedonians. By 2006, this number had increased to 42,812. The United Macedonian Diaspora was established by Macedonian Americans. Many Slavic speakers of Greek Macedonia are also present in the United States.
29 United Kingdom 10,000 (est.)[10] Macedonians in the United Kingdom An estimated 10,000 Macedonians live in the United Kingdom. The majority of them are concentrated in the Greater London region.
Former Yugoslavia 65,000 (est.) Macedonians in Serbia, Macedonians in Slovenia, Macedonians in Croatia While Macedonia was part of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, thousands of Macedonians resettled in other constituent republics. Many settled there permanently although most were temporary migrants. By 1980 there were large Macedonian population in every major city of the former Yugoslavia.[40] Over 60,000 Macedonians were scattered throughout the rest of Yugoslavia by 1991.[40]
30 Bosnia and Hercegovina 2,278 (2005 census) - 10,000 (est.) Many Macedonians emigrated to Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1960s and 1970s. Many Macedonians such as Branko Crvenkovski and Stevo Teodosievski were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their numbers have fluctuating from 657 in 1948, 2,297 in 1953, 3,642 in 1961 and 3,764 in 1971. In 1981 there were 2,753 Macedonians in Bosnia, this number fell to 2,278 in 2005. Most Macedonians left Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War, many returned after the War.
31 Croatia 4,270 (2001 census) - 15,000 (est.) Macedonians in Croatia Macedonians have been emigrating to Croatia since the end of World War II. Their numbers have fluctuating from 1,387 in 1948, 2,385 in 1953, 4,381 in 1961 and 5,625 in 1971. In 1981 there were 6,362 Macedonians in Croatia, this number fell to 4,270 in 2001. They are an officially recognized ethnic minority in Croatia. It is claimed that up to 15,000 Macedonians live in Croatia.
32 Montenegro 819 (2003 census) - 2,500 (est.) Macedonians in Montenegro A small Macedonian population had existed in Montenegro since the early 1900s. By 1948 only 133 Macedonians remained in Montenegro, this number rose to 875 in 1981. 1,072 Macedonians were counted in the 1991 Yugoslav Census, this number had fallen to 819 by 2003. Macedonian was the mother language of 507 people. The Macedonians were concentrated in Podgorica, Herceg Novi and Tivat.
33 Serbia 25,847 (2002 census) - 50,000 (est.)[41] Macedonians in Serbia Thousand of Macedonian joined the Partisans and fought in Serbia and the rest of Yugoslavia. Many decided to remain in Serbia. Tens of thousands of Macedonian migrants emigrated to Serbia during the years of the Yugoslav federation. Their numbers have fluctuating significantly from 17,917 in 1948, 27,277 in 1953, 36,288 in 1961 and 42,675 in 1971. In 1981 there were 48,986 Macedonians in Serbia, this number fell to 46,046 in 1991. In 2002 there were 25,847 Macedonians in Serbia.

Large Macedonian centers were established in Vojvodina and Belgrade. Most Notably in Pančevo, Kacarevo (19%), Jabuka (33%), Plandište (21.3%), Glogonj (12%) and Dužine (31%). By 1965 65% of Jabuka, 40% of Kacarevo and 39% of Plandište were Macedonian. Many Macedonians chose to leave Serbia after the collapse of the Yugoslav Federation. Macedonian was soon recognised as a Minority language[42] and the Macedonians became a recognised minority. Today they enjoy full minority rights.

34 Slovenia 3,972[43] - 12,000 (est.) Macedonians in Slovenia During the years of the Yugoslav federation, many Macedonians migrated to the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. Most of them came from the east of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia and they settled mainly in the town of Kranj and the capital Ljubljana. Macedonian communities can be also found in larger towns such as Jesenice, Nova Gorica, Maribor and Celje. Around 450 Macedonians reside in the Celje region. The Macedonians are well established in Slovenia and currently have newspapers, churches, folkloric groups and many other Macedonian institutions in operation. The 1951 Yugoslav census recorded 640 Macedonians while the 1961 census recorded 1,009 Macedonians. By 1971 the number had grown to 1,613 and to 3,288 by 1981. The 1991 Yugoslav census recorded 4,371 Macedonians.[44] The 2002 census recorded 3,972 Macedonians, while 4,760[44] people claimed that Macedonian was their mother language up from the 4,535 in 1991.[45] Ethnic Macedonian organization claim that the number of Macedonians in Slovenia exceeds 12,000.
Summary ~ 619.905 ~ 1 325.413 The number of Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia is not clear due to politics. They might represent a larger or smaller number within their borders.

1; This figure refers to country of birth only.

See also


  1. ^ *
  2. ^ a b Peter Hill, The Macedonians in Australia, Victoria Park: Hesperian Press, 1989
  3. ^ Emily Greene Balch, Our Slavic fellow citizens, Charities Publication Committee, New York, 1910, p.363: "I hope you are not making any racial distinctions between Bulgarians and Macedonians. I believe the Bulgarians who have come from Macedonia and registered on Ellis Island as Macedonians, which is bound to be confusing and inaccurate, for Macedonians may include Greeks, Vlachs, and even Turks. The distinction between the Bulgarians from Bulgaria and those from Macedonia is purely political".
  4. ^ Prpic, George. South Slavic immigration in America, Boston: Twayne, 1978, p. 212-222: "The smallest of the South Slavic ethnic groups in America are the Bulgarians. One branch of them are the Macedonians".
  5. ^ The Australian people: an encyclopedia of the nation, its people, and their origins, James Jupp, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-80789-1, p. 573
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Canada's peoples Paul R. Magocsi, Multicultural History, pp. 287-292, University of Toronto Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8020-2938-8: "Whether they supported the idea of autonomy (IMRO) or annexation to Bulgaria (Supreme Committee), most articulate Slavs in Macedonia by the end of the nineteenth century considered themselves Bulgarians and therefore identified as Bulgaro-Macedonians."
  7. ^ The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World, pp. 85-89, by Loring M. Danforth: "The largest number of Slavic-speaking immigrants from Macedonia came to the United States during the first decade of the twentieth century, at which time they identified themselves either as Bulgarians or as Macedonian-Bulgarians".
  8. ^ Peter Hill, The Macedonians in Australia, Victoria Park: Hesperian Press, 1989.
  9. ^ a b c Nasevski, Boško; Angelova, Dora. Gerovska, Dragica (1995). Македонски Иселенички Алманах '95. Skopje: Матица на Иселениците на Македонија.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Population Estimate from the MFA
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT AND DECENTRALIZATION: CASE OF ALBANIA. HISTORY, REFORMES AND CHALLENGES" Artan Hoxha and Alma Gurraj "...According to latest Albanian census conducted in April 1989, 98 % of Albanian population are Albanian ethnic. The remaining 2% (or 64816 people) belong to ethnic minorities: the vast majority is composed by ethnic Greeks (58758 ); ethnic Macedonians (4697)..."
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ 2001 census - Tabelle 13: Ausländer nach Staatsangehörigkeit (ausgewählte Staaten), Altersgruppen und Geschlecht - page 74
  18. ^ a b [1]
  19. ^
  20. ^ Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe — Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE) - Macedonians of Bulgaria
  21. ^ Belgium Population Statistics
  22. ^ 2007 Belgian figures
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b Estimates from the MFA
  32. ^ 2002 census
  33. ^
  34. ^ Immi Sweden
  35. ^ Regeringskansliet Justitiedepartamentet, 10333 Stockholm En sammanfattning av regeringens minoritetpolitik
  36. ^
  37. ^ Invandringens elektroniska encyklopedi
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ a b
  41. ^ Poulton, Hugh (1993) The Balkans: Minorities and States in Conflict, 2nd edition (London: Minority Rights Group).
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ a b
  45. ^ Table: Population by mother tongue, Slovenia, Census 1991 and 2002

External links

  • World Macedonian Congress Official website
  • Matica na iselenicite Official website
  • United Macedonian Diaspora Official website
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