In most modern societies space is there to be conquered, but the desire for mastery manifests itself in endless different ways, depending on the individual or group concerned and the particular nature of the perspective in question. Equally, as Lord Salisbury pointed out, there is always a great danger of misunderstanding and misinterpretation whenever questions relating to space are being discussed. One of the best illustrations of the potential for diversity is still the study by Wilkinson (1951) of the way in which the region of Macedonia, part of which is now an independent state of the same name in the central part of the Balkan peninsula, was defined by different ethnic and political groups from the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth centuries. He analysed nearly one hundred different maps, all of which purported to depict Macedonia. None was the same and each illustrated a particular point of view, ranging from the different ethnic interests – Greek, Turkish, Slav, Serb, Albanian – to the territorial ambitions of Britain, Germany, and Russia (the Soviet Union). Wilkinson points out that the reasons for the diversity in part represent a willingness to
misrepresent the facts in pursuit of selfish political ends, but also in part are evidence of simple ignorance, the changes in the political situation over time, not to mention a lack of consensus as to which criteria should be used to distinguish between people and areas.