As the modern Bulgarian and Serbian literary languages took shape, Macedonians attempted to create a literary language based on their speech, but Macedonian did not receive official recognition until 1944.It is claimed that a Macedonian national identity arose during World War II to keep Yugoslavian Macedonia separate from Bulgaria, but there is documentation that the development of a national identity was indigenous in the nineteenth century. Ethnic Macedonians live in contiguous parts of Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania, and Muslim speakers of Slavic dialects classifiable as Macedonian who consider themselves to have a separate ethnicity (Goran) live in Kosovo and Albania.

Multilingualism is common in urban areas but is less common in rural areas. The unsuccessful Saint Elijah's Day (Ilinden) uprising of 1903 is the organizing metaphor of statehood.

The Macedonian Peoples Republic (with Macedonian as the official language) was established in 1944.

Macedonia is slightly larger than the state of Vermont with a total area of 9,781 square miles (25,333 square kilometers). The number of Macedonians in neighboring states is difficult to determine. Macedonian is a South Slavic language in the Indo-European family whose closest relatives are Bulgarian and Serbian.

The country consists mostly of mountains separated by flat river valleys. There is a major east-west dialectal division and about twenty subdivisions.

Other metaphors of community include "Mother Macedonia," "heart of the Balkans," and "oasis of peace." Emergence of the Nation.

Byzantine documents indicate that the Slavs of Macedonia were a distinct group in the early medieval period, and Slavic dialects from Macedonia are identifiable from early Slavic documents.The first flag used after independence, featuring a yellow sixteen-pointed symbol in the center of a red field, was based on a symbol found at the presumed burial site of Philip of Macedon in Greek Macedonia in 1977.The use of this symbol infuriated the Greeks, and in 1995 the Macedonian parliament adopted a flag with a yellow circle with eight rays projecting to the edge of a red field.Urban areas are characterized by a historical center with an open bazaar.Skopje was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake in 1963.The old main train station, torn in half with its clock stopped at the moment of the quake, was reinforced and left standing as a monument to the disaster.