Ethnic breakdown: Macedonians - 65%, Albanians - 22%; Other (including Gypsies) - 13%. A third of the population is believed to be Muslim and the rest Orthodox Christians.
Location: Former Yugoslavia's poorest republic, Macedonia is land-locked and is bounded by Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia. On September 8, 1991 it voted to declare independence but EC and US refused to give recognition owing to Greek objections to its use of the name Macedonia. Macedonia has adamantly opposed a name change. Claims to the historical Macedonian territory have long been a source of contention with Bulgaria and Greece.
History: Macedonia became the 181st member of the UN on April 8, 1993 under the temporary name 'the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia'. Yugoslavia and Macedonia established diplomatic ties in April 1996. Macedonia's resources were under tremendous strain in 1999 on account of the flow of Kosovan refugees.
Agricultural products: Wheat, maize, cotton, timber, livestock.
Industry: Electricity, lignite, steel, cement.