Throughout history, every power that aspired to dominate the Balkans--from the ancient Romans to Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia in the age of imperialism and nationalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries--has sought to control Macedonia. But although Macedonia figured prominently in history, it remained a little-known land until the nineteenth century. This detailed volume surveys the history of Macedonia from 600 B. C. to the present day, with an emphasis on the past two centuries. It reveals how the so called Macedonian question has long dominated Balkan politics, and how for well over a century and a half, it was the central issue dividing Balkan peoples, as neighboring nations struggled for possession of Macedonia and denied any distinct Macedonian identity--territorial, political, ethnic, or national. The book shows how, during the long struggle for Macedonia, some ethnic Macedonians adopted or had to adopt the national identity of one of the competing nations, most chose a Macedonian identity--and how Macedonia's struggle to establish a distinct national identity goes on even today. The author concludes that Balkan acceptance of a Macedonian identity, nation, and state has become a necessity for stability in the Balkans and in a united Europe.