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Macedonia (Greece)

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The region called Macedonia (or Makedonia) by Greece is the northern portion of the country, forming a part of a larger Balkan region widely known in modern times as Macedonia. This Greek region comprises approximately 51% of that larger region, the rest being in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria.

The Greek position is that the name Macedonia should properly only apply to the region of the historical kingdom of Macedon, which they say is almost entirely contained within Greece. Thus, Greece uses the term Makedonia or Macedonia without qualifications to refer to the region of Northern Greece; other countries—particularly Bulgaria and the (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia—instead refer to the region as Aegean Macedonia or Greek Macedonia, reflecting their alternate position that the Greek region comprises only a portion of Macedonia, not its totality.

The region spans:

Though mostly mountainous, the region also encompasses the valleys of the Aliakmon, Axios, Nestos, and Strimon rivers, all of which drain into the Aegean Sea. The region has a population of approximately 2,450,000, and its largest city is Thessaloniki, with a population of around 1,350,000. Other cities include Grevena, Kastoria, Veria, Edhessa, Florina, Drama, Kilkis, Serrai, Katerini, Kozani, and Kavala.

The region is home to a small minority (estimated 0.5%) of speakers of Slavic languages. Before the Second World War the number was slightly higher, but many of them migrated to Bulgaria and Yugoslavia after the end of the war and during the Greek civil war (1946-1949). On the other hand, the Human Rights Watch released a report in 1994 on how the actually large number of ethnic Macedonian Slavs in the region is harassed by the Greek government which systematically denies their ethnic identity.

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