Krste Petkov Misirkov

May 24, 2018

Born: 18 November 1874

Died: 26 July 1926

Nationality: Macedonian

 

Krste Petkov Misirkov (Macedonian: Крсте Петков Мисирков) was a philologist, slavist, historian, ethnographer and publicist. He published a book and a scientific magazine in which he affirmed the existence of a Macedonian national identity separate from other Balkan nations, and attempted to codify a standard Macedonian language based on the Central Macedonian dialects. A survey conducted in the Republic of Macedonia found Misirkov to be "the most significant Macedonian of the 20th century". For his efforts to codify a standard Macedonian language, he is often considered "the founder of the modern Macedonian literary language".

One of the most important work of Misirkov is the Macedonian book On the Macedonian Matters (За македонцките работи, Za makedonckite raboti) published in 1903 in Sofia, in which he laid down the principles of the modern Macedonian language. This book was written in Macedonian dialects from the area between Prilep and Bitola. It argued in favor of national separation, the establishment of autonomous national institutions within the Ottoman empire, and the standardization of a distinct Macedonian language. Misirkov attacked both the Bulgarian Exarchate and the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO) as agents of the Bulgarian interests in Macedonia.

According to this book, the Macedonian literary language should be based on dialects from the central part of Macedonia, which were used in the book itself. On the other hand, Misirkov appealed to the Ottoman authorities for eventual recognition of a separate Macedonian nation. He admitted there was not such one, and most of the Macedonian Slavs has called themselves Bulgarians, but it should be created, when the necessary historical circumstances would arise.

His early works focused on contemporary Balkan politics and the "Macedonian Question", including the codification of a standard Macedonian language, Macedonian independence, and the assertion of a Macedonian nation as distinct from the other South Slavs. However, in 1907 he began writing predominantly pro-Bulgarian articles but Misirkov reverted to Macedonian nationalism once again in 1919. During the 1920s his views change again, and he encouraged the Macedonian Slavs to adopt a Bulgarian national identity. Because Misirkov expressed conflicting views about the national identity of the Macedonians Slavs at different points in his life, his national affiliation and legacy remains a matter of dispute between Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia.

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