Barbara Jelavich - History of the Balkans

The issue was to be of great importance after World War II. However in the nineteenth century the term Macedonian was used almost exclusively to refer to the geographic region; the Macedonians were usually not considered a nationality separate from the Bulgarians, Greeks, Serbs, or Albanians. The diplomatic records of the period make no clear mention of a separate Macedonian nation. At the time of the Constantinople conference of 1876 and the Congress of Berlin, as we have seen, the representantives of the great powers considered the region to be of an extremely mixed ethnic composition, but predominantly Bulgarian. The second major claimant was believed to be Greece, with Serbia in a weak third place.

History of the Balkans By Barbara Jelavich, page 91

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