After the First World War, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
In 336 BC Philip II of Macedon conquered Upper Macedonia, including its northern part and southern Paeonia, which both now lie within the Republic of Macedonia.
Philip's son Alexander the Great conquered the remainder of the region, reaching as far north as the Danube, and incorporated it in his empire.
Other cities include Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, Štip, Kočani, Gostivar and Strumica.
It has more than 50 lakes and sixteen mountains higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft).
Macedonia is a member of the UN and the Council of Europe.
Since December 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership. None of these had fixed boundaries; they were sometimes subject to the Kings of Macedon, and sometimes broke away.
However, by the late 12th century, Byzantine decline saw the region contested by various political entities, including a brief Norman occupation in the 1080s.
In the early 13th century, a revived Bulgarian Empire gained control of the region.
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