Macedonian Americans

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Macedonian Americans
Македонски Американци
Total population
49,446[1] (2013, est.)
Regions with significant populations
New York metropolitan area,[2] Metro Detroit, Ohio,[3][4] and other metros in the Northeastern and Upper Midwestern United States
American English, Macedonian
Macedonian Orthodox
Related ethnic groups
Macedonians, Macedonian Canadians

Macedonian Americans (Macedonian: Македонски Американци, Makedonski Amerikanci) is an American ethnic group of Macedonian heritage.


Macedonian Patriotic Organization's 5th. convention in 1926.

The first Macedonian immigrants to America arrived in the late 19th century from the Bansko region of what is today Bulgarian Macedonia. These Macedonians had often been educated by American missionaries and were encouraged to migrate to the United States for higher education or to attend missionary schools.[5] But the first large swath of Macedonians came in the early 20th century from the border regions in the north of what is today Greek Macedonia, primarily the regions near Kastoria (Kostur), Florina (Lerin), and the south-west of the Republic of Macedonia, notably around Bitola. These Macedonians had faced the greatest retributions from the Ottoman military due to the fact that the 1903 Ilinden uprising, that was centered in these areas.[6]

During the early 20th century, several Macedonian immigrants identified only as Macedonians,[7] as indicated by census data, immigration records, newspapers and several testimonials.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][dubious ][unreliable source?] However, Macedonian national feelings had shifted throughout the 20th century.[16][17][18][19][20][21] According to the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, many Macedonian immigrants to the USA until World War II classified themselves as Macedonian Bulgarians. It must be noted, that Bulgarian national identification during the late Ottoman Empire, from where most of the emigrants arrived, was based on ethno-religious principles and still ambiguous.[22][23][24]

According to some sources, there were Macedonians who have declared themselves as Macedonians before 1945, but that designation was used then mainly as a as regional, and not as a national identification.[25] Yet, during the early 1930-s, some Macedonians indicated their nationality as "Macedonian", and promoted this new ethnic identification, following political directives.[26] The sense of belonging to a separate Macedonian nation gained credence after World War II, following the establishment of the People's Republic of Macedonia within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the codification of a distinct Macedonian langguage.[27]

The growth of a distinct Macedonian-American community have occurred since the late 1950's. when the immigrants from Communist Yugoslavia arrived. They have been instrumental in transmitting even the national feelings of the older, pro-Bulganan oriented immigrants from Macedonia.[28] Still, some remnants of the pre-1945 Macedonian diaspora, from the whole area, have retained their strong regional Macedonian identity and Bulgarophile sentiments, while nearly all post-WWII Macedonian emigrants, from Greece and Yugoslavia, have a strong ethnic Macedonian identity.[29]

It is estimated that around 50,000 Macedonians emigrated to the United States between 1903 and 1906, but the outbreak of the Balkan Wars and World War I curtailed the flow.[citation needed] Around 20,000 remained in the U.S., and the rest returned home. The immigrants were predominantly peasants, with the remainder including craftsmen, workers, and intellectuals. Immigration restarted after the wars; most of the new immigrants were ethnic Macedonians from Greece, many of whom had been expelled from Greek Macedonia in the 1920s. Since the 1920s and 1930s the Macedonian language has been recorded in American censuses.[30][31] Around 50,000-60,000 Macedonians had emigrated to the US by the end of World War II.[citation needed]

Post World War II[edit]

The aftermath of the war led to a fresh round of Macedonian immigration, primarily from Greece, as a consequence of ethnic Macedonians being expelled by the post-war Greek government or otherwise encouraged to leave after the Greek civil war of 1946-49.[citation needed] 70,000 emigrated to Canada, Australia, the U.S., and other European countries.[32]

After Yugoslavia liberalized its emigration policies in 1960, another 40,000 Macedonians emigrated during the period 1960-77. Most have been economic migrants rather than political dissidents. At that time most of the Americans born of Macedonian Bulgarian descent have hardly any knowledge of Bulgaria and increasingly began to identify themselves simply as Macedonians.[33]


Macedonian and American flags on the streets in Garfield, New Jersey on Macedonian Independence Day.

A large proportion of Macedonian Americans live in the New York metropolitan area and the Northeastern United States.[34] Another large cluster of Macedonian Americans lives in the Midwest, particularly Detroit, where roughly 10,000 (nearly 20% of all Macedonian Americans) are reported to be living.[35]


Most Macedonian Americans, especially those immigrating to North America in the last half of the 20th century, belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church, under the American-Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Diocese. Macedonian Americans immigrating before that time were generally affiliated with either the Bulgarian Orthodox Church,[36] the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America[37] or the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Smaller numbers of Macedonian Americans attend parishes affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church or the Greek Orthodox Church. Through assimilation or intermarriage, many who remain observant are members of the Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations.[citation needed]

There are about 20 Macedonian Orthodox Churches in the United States, of which all but four are located in the Northeast or Midwest.[38] The oldest parish of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in America is the Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary located in Columbus (Reynoldsburg), Ohio. The parish was organized on September 17, 1958.[39]

Macedonian language in the United States[edit]

Three universities in the United States, the University of Chicago, Arizona State University, and Indiana University, offer Macedonian language courses.[40]

Michigan has more Macedonian language speakers than any other state with 4,425. Five more states, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, also have more than 1,000 speakers.[41]

Counties by concentration of Macedonians[edit]

Rank County State  % Macedonian
1 Macomb Michigan 0.4%
2 Bergen New Jersey 0.2%

As of 2000, 0.5% of residents of Hamtramck, Michigan, a city primarily surrounded by Detroit, are of Macedonian ancestry.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  3. ^ "Macedonian Ohioans - Ohio History Central". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Macedonian Americans - History, Modern era, The first macedonians in america". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Victor Sinadinoski, Macedonians in America: Their Lives and Struggles during the 20th Century, 2017, Pgs. 11-29.
  6. ^ South Slavic immigration in America, Twayne Publishers. A division of G. K. Hall & Co., Boston, George Prpic, John Carroll University, 1976, Chapter 18, The Bulgarians and Macedonians, pp. 213-218.
  7. ^ Dusan Sinadinoski, "Macedonians" in Ethnic Groups in Michigan, ed. James M. Anderson and Iva A. Smith, The Peoples of Michigan Series, (Detroit Ethno Press: 1983, Pg. 196.
  8. ^ Victor Sinadinoski, "Macedonians in America: Their Lives and Struggles During the 20th Century", 2017. See entire Chapter 2 and 3, citing several dozen different sources.
  9. ^ “Proclaim Clean Up in Three Tongues”, Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) · Tue, May 5, 1914 · First Edition · Page 7. In 1914, Burgess Wigfield of Steelton decided to go on a ten-day cleaning spree of the town. He requested from the city council for the City to allow him to print and distribute hundreds of circulars in three languages. “In English, Slavish and Macedonian languages that fact will be proclaimed throughout Steelton today,” wrote the Harrisburg Telegraph.
  10. ^ Sample of US World War I draft cards with Macedonians listing their race/nationality as Macedonian: "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Vany Echoff, 1917-1918; citing Stark County no 1, Ohio, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,851,188. "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Christ Bogedan Slavoff, 1917-1918; citing Madison County no 2, Illinois, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,614,327. "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Thomas Slavoff, 1917-1918; citing Calhoun County, Michigan, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,675,130.
  11. ^ 1920 US Census showing in Granite City that hundreds of Macedonian-Americans put Macedonian as their mother tongue: "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 July 2017), Anastas Mitsareff, Granite Ward 5, Madison, Illinois, United States; citing ED 85, sheet 4B, line 84, family 84, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 390; FHL microfilm 1,820,390.
  12. ^ Fort Wayne Weekly Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) · Thu, Feb 25, 1909 · Page 8. In 1909, Fort Wayne’s Judge O’Rourke ruled that Space Petro, an individual seeking license to open a saloon, was an “ignorant Macedonian.” The judge stated: “Space Petro, the evidence shows, is a Macedonian – came to this country six years ago, leaving his wife behind him in his own country.
  13. ^ “Incorporations”, The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) · Tue, Jul 7, 1925, Page 12. The incorporation statement of the MPO in the mid-1920s stated that the purpose of their organization was “for the mutual assistance and protection of people of the Macedonian race.” The three Board Directors at the time were Theodore Vasiloff, Stanley Georgioff, and Gil Sarbinoff.
  14. ^ “Macedonian at Embury Church”, The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania)31 Oct 1908, Sat Page 12. Mr. Vishanoff (an educated Macedonian-American in the late 19th and early 20th century) would give speeches to crowds of Americans in the Macedonian tongue. Announcements for his lecture often read like this one from 1908: “He will appear in his nobleman’s costume, will sing in Macedonian and Bulgarian language, and will also exhibit some Macedonian and Bulgarian curiosities after his address.”
  15. ^ “Trolley Conductor Who Won Master’s Degree”, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) · Mon, Jul 8, 1901 · Page 2. In 1901, Constantine Stephanove stated: “I am proud to be known as a Greek, but in truth I am not one. I am a Macedonian.”
  16. ^ Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe, Ethnologia Balkanica Series, LIT Verlag Münster, 2010, ISBN 3825813878, p. 127: " During the 20th century, Slavo Macedonian national feeling has shifted. At the beginning of the 20th century, Slavic patriots in Macedonia felt a strong attachment to Macedonia as a multi-ethnic homeland. They imagined a Macedonian community uniting themselves with non-Slavic Macedonians... Most of these Macedonian Slavs also saw themselves as Bulgarians. By the middle of the 20th. century, however Macedonian patriots began to see Macedonian and Bulgarian loyalties as mutually exclusive. Regional Macedonian nationalism had become ethnic Macedonian nationalism... This transformation shows that the content of collective loyalties can shift."
  17. ^ Zielonka, Jan; Pravda, Alex (2001). Democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 422. ISBN 978-0-19-924409-6: Unlike the Slovene and Croatian identities, which existed independently for a long period before the emergence of SFR Yugoslavia, Macedonian identity and language were themselves a product of federal Yugoslavia, and took shape only after 1944. Again unlike Slovenia and Croatia, the very existence of a separate Macedonian identity was questioned—albeit to a different degree—by both the governments and the public of all the neighboring nations (Greece being the most intransigent).
  18. ^ Sperling, James; Kay, Sean; Papacosma, S. Victor (2003). Limiting institutions?: the challenge of Eurasian security governance. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7190-6605-4. "Macedonian nationalism Is a new phenomenon. In the early twentieth century, there was no separate Slavic Macedonian identity."
  19. ^ "The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world," Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-691-04356-6, pp. 65-66: "At the end of the First World war there were very few historians or ethnographers, who claimed that a separate Macedonian nation existed... Of those Slavs who had then developed some sense of national identity, the majority considered themselves to be Bulgarians, although they were aware of differences between themselves and the inhabitants of Bulgaria... The question as of whether a Macedonian nation actually existed in the 1940s, when a Communist Yugoslavia decided to recognize one is difficult to answer. Some observers argue that even at this time it was doubtful whether the Slavs from Macedonia considered themselves to be a nationality separate from the Bulgarians."
  20. ^ Titchener, Frances B.; Moorton, Richard F. (1999). The eye expanded: life and the arts in Greco-Roman antiquity. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-520-21029-5; On the other hand, the Macedonians are a newly emergent people in search of a past to help legitimize their precarious present as they attempt to establish their singular identity in a Slavic world dominated historically by Serbs and Bulgarians... The twentieth-century development of a Macedonian ethnicity, and its recent evolution into independent statehood following the collapse of the Yugoslav state in 1991, has followed a rocky road. In order to survive the vicissitudes of Balkan history and politics, the Macedonians, who have had no history, need one".
  21. ^ Kaufman, Stuart J. (2001). Modern hatreds: the symbolic politics of ethnic war. New York: Cornell University Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-8014-8736-6: "The key fact about Macedonian nationalism is that it is new: in the early twentieth century, Macedonian villagers defined their identity religiously, depending on the affiliation of the village priest. While Bulgarian was most common affiliation then, mistreatment by occupying Bulgarian troops during the Second World war, cured most Macedonians from their pro-Bulgarian sympathies, leaving them embracing the new Macedonian identity promoted by the Tito regime after the war."
  22. ^ Noel Buxton, Europe and the Turks, (London: John Murray, 1907), 50-51: "Noel Buxton wrote in 1907 that "no one can understand the outlook in Macedonia without realizing that nationalities are identified with churches…religion is degraded to the level of a pretext for exciting national zeal."
  23. ^ Jacob Gould Schurman, The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1914), Pg. 80: Jacob G. Schurman noted in 1914 that race identification in Macedonia could be changed as easily as religion. He stated that "a Macedonian may be a Greek today, a Bulgarian tomorrow, and a Serbian the next day."
  24. ^ H.N. Brailsford, Macedonia; Its Races and Their Future (London: Methuen & Company, 1906), (Reprinted by Arno Press in 1971), 18-19:In 1906, Brailsford wrote that the average Macedonian peasant "was an ardent Macedonian nationalist, rather distrustful of Bulgaria, and profoundly hostile to Russia. The description [is] good and accurate."
  25. ^ Victor Roudometof, Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 0275976483, p. 109
  26. ^ Chris Kostov, Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996, Peter Lang, 2010, ISBN 3034301960, pp. 130-131.
  27. ^ Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans, Vol. 2: Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press, 1983, ISBN 0521274591, pp. 320-321.
  28. ^ Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Editors Stephan Thernstrom, Ann Orlov, Oscar Handlin, Publisher Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1980, p. 692.
  29. ^ J. Pettifer ed., The New Macedonian Question, St Antony's, Springer, 1999, ISBN 0230535798, p. 52.
  30. ^ IPUMS USA 1920 Census: Instructions to Enumerators
  31. ^ IPUMS USA 1930 Census: Instructions to Enumerators
  32. ^ Macedonians in the USA, Politics. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, p. 692, edited by Stephan Thernstrom 1980, Belknap Press of Harvard University, Reproduced 2001 with permission of the publisher.
  33. ^ Macedonians in the USA, Politics. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, p. 692, edited by Stephan Thernstrom 1980, Belknap Press of Harvard University, Reproduced 2001 with permission of the publisher.
  34. ^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  35. ^ "US Demographic Census". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  36. ^ "Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese Parish Directory". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  37. ^ "The Orthodox Church in America, Bulgarian Diocese Parish Directory". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  38. ^ "American-Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Eparchy". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  39. ^ Corporate Records of the Ohio Secretary of State
  40. ^ "Macedonian Language E-Learning Centre". Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  41. ^ MLA Language Map Data Center
  42. ^ Macedonia Gearing up for Presidential Elections (Report). Skopje: International Crisis Group, Balkans Report N°77. October 18, 1999. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2010. 
  43. ^ "Cetkar About to Start European Tour". Culture: Republic of Macedonia. November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. 
  44. ^ Stoyan Christowe - Vermont Historical Society
  45. ^ Soccer America: April 28, 2003
  46. ^ Macedonian Americans: Encyclopedia
  47. ^ Macedonian Patriotic Organization
  48. ^ Macedonian Patriotic Organization
  49. ^ "Development driver: Ilitches' move downtown started several balls rolling". Crain's Detroit Business. April 28, 2009. 
  50. ^ Macedonian Americans: Encyclopedia
  51. ^ Macedonian Americans: Encyclopedia
  52. ^ Macedonian Americans: Encyclopedia
  53. ^ Macedonia Daily
  54. ^
  55. ^ Macedonian Patriotic Organization

External links[edit]