The first Macedonian immigrants to the U.S. 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. 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 North Macedonia, notably around Bitola. These Macedonians had faced the greatest retributions from the Ottoman military due to the fact that the 1903 Ilinden uprising was centered in these areas.
Between the World Wars
In the 1920s, many Macedonian-Americans became very suspicious that the main Macedonian organization at that time - the Macedonian Patriotic Organization, existed merely to advance Bulgaria's political interests. Thus, some Macedonian-Americans began to form smaller clubs and societies whose members were limited to fellow villagers. Members of these small groups could trust the others in their group, and they knew that they were not being taken advantage of the leaders of the MPO. During 1930s, some Macedonians began to indicate that their nationality was "Macedonian", and promoted this new ethnic identification, following political directives. The first organization in the United States to support the idea that Macedonians constitute a separate nationality was the pro-communist Macedonian People's League. MPL, which was financially supported by the Soviet Union, acted aggressively against the MPO, which it believed was a Bulgarian weapon.
Immigration restarted after the wars; most of the new immigrants were from Greece, many of whom had been expelled from Greek Macedonia in the 1920s. The immigrants' organizations used Bulgarian language in their official documents. Since the 1920s and 1930s the Macedonian language has been recorded in American censuses. However, several Macedonian immigrants did list Macedonian as their native tongue in the 1910 U.S. Census. Around 50,000-60,000 Macedonians had emigrated to the US by the end of World War II.
Post World War II
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. 70,000 emigrated to Canada, Australia, the U.S., and other European countries.
The growth of a distinct Macedonian-American community have occurred since the late 1950s, when the first immigrants from Communist Yugoslavia arrived. They have been instrumental in transmitting even the national feelings of the older, pro-Bulgarian oriented immigrants from Macedonia. Most of the American-born people of Macedonian-Bulgarian descent had little knowledge of Bulgaria and increasingly have identified during the second half of the 20th century simply as Macedonians. 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. 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.
^Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe, Ethnologia Balkanica Series, LIT Verlag Münster, 2010, ISBN3825813878, 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."
^Zielonka, Jan; Pravda, Alex (2001). Democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 422. ISBN978-0-19-924409-6: 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).
^Sperling, James; Kay, Sean; Papacosma, S. Victor (2003). Limiting institutions?: the challenge of Eurasian security governance. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. p. 57. ISBN978-0-7190-6605-4. "Macedonian nationalism Is a new phenomenon. In the early twentieth century, there was no separate Slavic Macedonian identity."
^"The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world," Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN0-691-04356-6, 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."
^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. ISBN978-0-520-21029-5; 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".
^Kaufman, Stuart J. (2001). Modern hatreds: the symbolic politics of ethnic war. New York: Cornell University Press. p. 193. ISBN0-8014-8736-6: "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."
^Stephan Thernstrom, Ann Orlov, Oscar Handlin eds., Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1980, ISBN9780674375123, p. 692: "The Macedonians: Immigrants from Macedonia came to the United States in significant numbers during the early years of the 20th century. Until World War II almost all of them thought of themselves as Bulgarians and identified themselves as Bulgarians or Macedonian Bulgarians...The greatest advances in the growth of a distinct Macedonian-American community have occurred since the late 1950s. The new immigrants came from Yugoslavia's Socialist Republic of Macedonia, where since World War II they had been educated to believe that Macedonians composed a culturally and linguistically distinct nationality; the historic ties with Bulgarians in particular were deemphasized. These new immigrants not only are convinced of their own Macedonian national identity but also have been instrumental in transmitting these feelings to older Bulgarinan-oriented immigrants from Macedonia."
^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."
^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."
^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."
^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.
^"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.
^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 ([familysearch.org] : 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 ([familysearch.org] : 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 ([familysearch.org] : 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.
^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 ([familysearch.org] : 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.
^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.
^"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.
^"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."
^"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."
^It is clear that even in the pre- 1945 period a large segment of Macedonia's Slavs declared themselves to be "Macedonians," although it would be completely premature to assume that this label stood for a national, as opposed to a regional identity. Victor Roudometof, Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN0275976483, p. 109
^Barbara Jelavich, History of the Balkans, Vol. 2: Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press, 1983, ISBN0521274591, pp. 320-321.
^ abMacedonians 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.
^J. Pettifer ed., The New Macedonian Question, St Antony's, Springer, 1999, ISBN0230535798, p. 52.
1 Poles came to the United States legally as Austrians, Germans, Prussians or Russians throughout the 19th century, because from 1772–1795 till 1918, all Polish lands had been partitioned between imperial Austria, Prussia (a protoplast of Germany) and Russia until Poland regained its sovereignty in the wake of World War I.
2 Russia has most of its territory in Asia, but the vast majority of its population (80%) lives in European Russia, therefore Russia as a whole is included as a European country here.
5 Disputed; Roma have recognized origins and historic ties to Asia (specifically to Northern India), but they experienced at least some distinctive identity development while in diaspora among Europeans.