Macedonia first appeared as a geo-political entity in the 7th century B.C, when the ancient Greek tribe of "Macedones" established their presence in the area.
For many centuries Macedonia, largely because of its geography, remained on the fringe of the Greek world. The entry of the Macedonian city-state into the history of southern Greece was sealed by the acceptance of Alexander I, king of Makedonia, by the "hellanodikai" as a competitor in the Olympic Games in 496 B.C. (only Greeks were allowed to participate in the games). Alexander I, called Philellinas (grecophile), was the first great leader of Macedonia. His timely information about the moves of the Persian armies of Xerxes and Mardonios was paramount to their defeat.
In 359 B.C., with the accession to the throne of king Philip II (Filippos), a new glorious era begun. From an insignificant, marginal state, the charismatic Philip transformed Macedonia into a dominant power in the Aegean and paved the way for his son's campaigns in the Orient. Philip's vision had the result of ushering the ancient world into the epoch of Hellenism, spread in three continents. His ingenious reforms of his army and talent in strategy left his son, Alexander the Great (Megas Alexandros), with a magnificent heritage and sphere of dominance to preserve. He proved more than worthy of his father's inheritance, as well as his professor's, Aristotle's, teachings. He went where no Greek had ever gone before, to the ends of the then-known world, defeating the mighty Persians and establishing his reign as far as India. His celebrated victories, genius and passion, as well as the dissemination of greek spirit and civilization he nurtured and accomplished, made him into an timeless legend.
After his death in 323 B.C., the Macedonian empire declined, and eventually fell to the rule of the Romans who made Thessaloniki the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia and the southern Balkans. They built the illustrious "Via Egnatia", the road that connected the Byzantium to Rome.
Macedonia's growth and prosperity resumed in the Byzantine era (4th-5th century A.D.). Its strategic location at the crossroads of the major roads in the Balkan peninsula, its important ports of Thessaloniki and Kavala brought wealth and a flourishing of art and commerce.
With the collapse of the Byzantine empire, Macedonia passes to Frankish and then to Turkish (Ottoman) rule.
During the Ottoman reign (15th-early 20th century), local autonomy of some areas, in combination with the Greeks regaining control of trade and production, after the dust of the conquest had settled, allowed the continuance of the region's prosperity. Even though southern Greece's liberation started in 1821 with the Uprising in the Peloponnese against the Turks, it was not until 26 October 1912 and after a long and bloody Macedonian Struggle that Macedonia became free and reunited with the rest of Greece.