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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Macedonia. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Macedonia. In 2001, the long-simmering Macedonian-Albanian conflict erupted into open warfare. In February, the so-called National Liberation Army, composed of local Albanians with experience in the 1999 Kosovo war, began an armed revolt against the Macedonian government. Macedonian-Albanian relations deteriorated precipitously after the Kosovo war in 1999. By 2000, Albanian guerrillas who had participated in the Kosovo conflict were operating in Macedonia. Macedonia's most important constitutional problem is satisfying the demands of the Albanian minority for a more privileged status within the country. The Macedonian constitution guarantees freedom, of religious belief and practice.