Corresponding roughly with ancient Macedon, it extends from the Aegean Sea northward between Epirus in the west and Thrace in the east and includes the Vardar, Struma, and Mesta (in Greece, the Axiós, Strimón, and Néstos) river valleys. The region is predominately mountainous, encompassing parts of the Pindus and Rhodope mts. Tobacco is the main crop; grains and cotton are also grown, and sheep and goats are raised. The mining of iron, copper, lead, and chromite is important.
Greek, or Aegean, Macedonia (c.13,000 sq mi/33,670 sq km) includes the Khalkidhikí (Chalcidice) peninsula, the site of Thessaloníki (Salonica), a major industrial and shipping center. As a result of population movements after World War I, Greek Macedonia has a largely homogeneous Greek population. Bulgarian, or Pirin, Macedonia is largely coextensive with the Blagoevgrad (formerly Gorna Dzhumaya) province of Bulgaria (c.2,500 sq mi/6,475 sq km) and is largely populated by Macedonians. The inhabitants of the Republic of Macedonia are largely Macedonian, but there is a sizable Albanian minority.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.