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Principality of Bulgaria
Княжество България (Bulgarian)
Knyazhestvo Balgariya (transliteration)
|Status||Nominally vassal of the Ottoman Empire [ self-published source? ]|
|Capital|| Plovdiv |
(1878–1878) (Provisional Russian Administration in Bulgaria)
(1878–1908) (Provisional Russian Administration in Bulgaria until June 1879)
(1879-1879) (Bulgarian Constituent Assembly election, 1879)
|Chairman of the Council of Ministers|
• 1879 (first)
• 1908 (last)
|3 March 1878|
|13 July 1878|
|28 April 1879|
|6 September 1885|
|5 October 1908|
|1880||63,752 km2 (24,615 sq mi)|
|1908||95,223 km2 (36,766 sq mi)|
|Today part of|
The Principality of Bulgaria (Bulgarian : Княжество България, Knyazhestvo Balgariya) was a de facto independent, and de jure vassal state under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. It was established by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.
After the Russo-Turkish War ended with a Russian victory, the Treaty of San Stefano was signed by Russia and the Ottoman Empire on 3 March 1878. Under this, a large Bulgarian vassal state was agreed to, which was significantly larger: its lands encompassed nearly all ethnic Bulgarians in the Balkans, and included most of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia, stretching from the Black Sea to the Aegean. However, the United Kingdom and Austria-Hungary were against the establishment of such a large Russian client state in the Balkans, fearing it would shift the balance of power in the Mediterranean. Due to this, the great powers convened and signed the Treaty of Berlin, superseding the Treaty of San Stefano, which never went into effect. This created a much smaller principality, alongside an autonomous Eastern Rumelia within the Ottoman Empire.
Although an Ottoman vassal, Bulgaria only acknowledged the authority of the Sublime Porte in a formal way. It had its own Constitution, flag and anthem, and conducted its own foreign policy. In 1885, a bloodless revolution resulted in Eastern Rumelia being de facto annexed by Bulgaria, which the Ottoman Empire accepted with the Tophane Agreement. On 5 October 1908, Bulgaria declared its independence as the Kingdom of Bulgaria.
In 1396 the Bulgarian–Ottoman Wars ended with the fall of the Bulgarian Empire, due to the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans and its own internal divisions. Under Ottoman rule, the Bulgarian nobility was destroyed and the national consciousness suppressed. The Bulgarian National Revival, emerging in the late 18th century, revived Bulgarian identity and stoked the idea of creating a new Bulgarian state. Numerous revolutionary movements and uprisings against the Ottomans occurred alongside similar movements in the rest of the Balkans, culminating in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 to 1878.
The Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878 proposed a Bulgarian state, which comprised the geographical regions of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia. Based on that date Bulgarians celebrate Bulgaria's national day each year.
Fearing the establishment of a large Russian client state on the Balkans, the other great powers, however, were not willing to agree to the treaty. As a result, the Treaty of Berlin (1878), under the supervision of Otto von Bismarck of Germany and Benjamin Disraeli of United Kingdom, revised the earlier treaty, and scaled back the proposed Bulgarian state.
A widely autonomous Principality of Bulgaria was created, between the Danube and the Stara Planina range, with its seat at the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Turnovo, and including Sofia. This state was to be under nominal Ottoman sovereignty but was to be ruled by a prince elected by a congress of Bulgarian notables and approved by the Powers. They insisted that the Prince could not be a Russian, but in a compromise Prince Alexander of Battenberg, a nephew of Tsar Alexander II, was chosen. An autonomous Ottoman province under the name of Eastern Rumelia was created south of the Stara Planina range, whereas Macedonia was returned under the sovereignty of the Sultan.[ citation needed ]
The Bulgarians adopted an advanced democratic constitution, and power soon passed to the Liberal Party led by Stefan Stambolov. Prince Alexander had conservative leanings, and at first opposed Stambolov's policies, but by 1885 he had become sufficiently sympathetic to his new country to change his mind, and supported the Liberals. He also supported the Unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia, which was brought about by a coup in Plovdiv in September 1885. The Powers did not intervene because of the power struggles between them. Shortly after, Serbia declared war on Bulgaria in the hope of grabbing territory while the Bulgarians were distracted. The Bulgarians defeated them at Slivnitsa, pushed the Serbian army into Serbia and succeeded to re-conquer the seized by the Berlin Treaty Bulgarian populated towns of Pirot and Vranya, but they were given back to Serbia with the Treaty of Bucharest in 1886.
These events made Alexander very popular in Bulgaria, but Russia was increasingly dissatisfied at the liberal tendencies under his reign. In August 1886 they fomented a coup, in the course of which Alexander was forced to abdicate and was exiled to Russia. Stambolov, however, acted quickly and the participants in the coup were forced to flee the country. Stambolov tried to reinstate Alexander, but strong Russian opposition forced the prince to abdicate again. In July 1887 the Bulgarians elected Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as their new Prince. Ferdinand was the "Austrian candidate" and the Russians refused to recognise him. Ferdinand initially worked with Stambolov, but by 1894 their relationship worsened. Stambolov resigned and was assassinated in July 1895. Ferdinand then decided to restore relations with Russia, which meant returning to a conservative policy.[ citation needed ]
There was a substantial Bulgarian population still living under Ottoman rule, particularly in Macedonia. To complicate matters, Serbia and Greece too made claims over parts of Macedonia, while Serbia, as a Slavic nation, also considered Macedonians as belonging to Serbian nation. Thus began a five-sided struggle for control of these areas which lasted until World War I. In 1903 there was a Bulgarian insurrection in Ottoman Macedonia and war seemed likely. In 1908 Ferdinand used the struggles between the Great Powers to declare Bulgaria a fully independent kingdom, with himself as Tsar, which he did on 5 October (though celebrated on 22 September, as Bulgaria remained officially on the Julian calendar until 1916) in the Holy Forty Martyrs Church, Veliko Tarnovo.
The main external political problem confronting Bulgaria throughout the period up to World War I was the fate of Macedonia and Eastern Thrace. At the end of 19th century the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization was founded and began the preparation of an armed uprising in the regions still occupied by the Ottoman Turks. Relying in part on nationwide support on the part of the Principality of Bulgaria, IMARO got down to organizing a network of committees in Macedonia and Thrace. In August 1903 a mass armed uprising, known in history as the Ilinden-Preobrajenie, broke out in Macedonia and Thrace. Its aim was to liberate those regions, or at least to draw the attention of the Great Powers and make them advocate for the improvement of the living conditions for the population through legal and economic reforms. After three months of fierce battles the Ottoman army crushed the uprising using much cruelty against the civilian population.
|Alexander I||5 April 1857||23 October 1893||29 April 1879||7 September 1886||Abdicated|
|Ferdinand I||26 February 1861||10 September 1948||29 April 1887||5 October 1908||Became King of Bulgaria in 1908|
The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War. In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought against all four original combatants of the first war along with facing a surprise attack from Romania from the north. The conflicts ended catastrophically for the Ottoman Empire, which lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".
The history of Bulgaria can be traced from the first settlements on the lands of modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state, and includes the history of the Bulgarian people and their origin. The earliest evidence of hominid occupation discovered in what is today Bulgaria date from at least 1.4 million years ago. Around 5000 BC, a sophisticated civilization already existed which produced some of the first pottery, jewellery and golden artifacts in the world. After 3000 BC, the Thracians appeared on the Balkan peninsula. In the late 6th century BC, most of what is nowadays Bulgaria came under the Persian Achaemenid Empire. In the 470s BC, the Thracians formed the powerful Odrysian Kingdom which lasted until 46 BC, when it was finally conquered by the Roman Empire. During the centuries, some Thracian tribes fell under Ancient Macedonian and Hellenistic, and also Celtic domination. This mixture of ancient peoples was assimilated by the Slavs, who permanently settled on the peninsula after 500 AD.
The League of Balkans was a quadruple alliance formed by a series of bilateral treaties concluded in 1912 between the Eastern Orthodox kingdoms of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, and directed against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time still controlled much of Southeastern Europe.
The Treaty of Berlin was signed on 13 July 1878. In the aftermath of the Russian victory against the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the major powers restructured the map of the Balkan region. They reversed some of the extreme gains claimed by Russia in the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano, but the Ottomans lost their major holdings in Europe. It was one of three major peace agreements in the period after the 1815 Congress of Vienna. It was the final act of the Congress of Berlin and included Great Britain and Ireland, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Germany's Otto von Bismarck was the chairman and dominant personality.
Eastern Rumelia was an autonomous territory in the Ottoman Empire, created in 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin and de facto ended in 1885, when it was united with the Principality of Bulgaria, also under Ottoman suzerainty. It continued to be an Ottoman province de jure until 1908, when Bulgaria declared independence.
The Congress of Berlin was a meeting of the representatives of the era's six great powers in Europe, the Ottoman Empire and four Balkan states. It aimed at determining the territories of the states in the Balkan Peninsula after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 and came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Berlin, which replaced the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano, which had been signed three months earlier between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
The 1878 Treaty of San Stefano was a treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed at San Stefano, then a village west of Constantinople, on 3 March [O.S. 19 February] 1878 by Count Nicholas Pavlovich Ignatiev and Aleksandr Nelidov on behalf of the Russian Empire and Foreign Minister Saffet Pasha and Ambassador to Germany Sadullah Bey on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty ended the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78.
Stefan Nikolov Stambolov was a Bulgarian politician, journalist, revolutionist, and poet who served as Prime Minister and regent. He is considered one of the most important and popular "Founders of Modern Bulgaria", and is sometimes referred to as "the Bulgarian Bismarck". In 1875 and 1876 he took part in the preparation for the Stara Zagora uprising, as well as the April Uprising. Stambolov was, after Stanko Todorov and Todor Zhivkov, one of the country's longest-serving prime ministers. Criticised for his dictatorial methods, he was among the initiators of economic and cultural progress in Bulgaria during the time of the Balkan Wars.
The Unification of Bulgaria was the act of unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and the province of Eastern Rumelia in the autumn of 1885. It was co-ordinated by the Bulgarian Secret Central Revolutionary Committee (BSCRC). Both had been parts of the Ottoman Empire, but the Principality had functioned de facto independently whilst the Rumelian province was autonomous and had an Ottoman presence. The Unification was accomplished after revolts in Eastern Rumelian towns, followed by a coup on 18 September [O.S. 6 September] 1885 supported by the Bulgarian Knyaz Alexander I. The BSCRC, formed by Zahari Stoyanov, began actively popularizing the idea of unification by means of the press and public demonstrations in the spring of 1885.
After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the 1878 Treaty of Berlin set up an autonomous state, the Principality of Bulgaria, within the Ottoman Empire. Although remaining under Ottoman sovereignty, it functioned independently, taking Alexander of Battenberg as its first prince in 1879. In 1885 Alexander took control of the still-Ottoman Eastern Rumelia, officially under a personal union. Following Prince Alexander's abdication (1886), a Bulgarian Assembly elected Ferdinand I as prince in 1887. Full independence from Ottoman control was declared in 1908.
The rise of the Western notion of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire eventually caused the breakdown of the Ottoman millet concept. An understanding of the concept of the nationhood prevalent in the Ottoman Empire, which was different from the current one as it was centered on religion, was a key factor in the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
The Tsardom of Bulgaria, also referred to as the Third Bulgarian Tsardom, was a constitutional monarchy in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, which was established on 5 October 1908, when the Bulgarian state was raised from a principality to a Tsardom. Ferdinand was crowned a Tsar at the Declaration of Independence, mainly because of his military plans and for seeking options for unification of all lands in the Balkans region with an ethnic Bulgarian majority.
Greater Bulgaria is a term to identify the territory associated with a historical national state and a modern Bulgarian irredentist nationalist movement which would include most of Macedonia, Thrace and Moesia.
The National awakening of Bulgaria refers to the Bulgarian nationalism that emerged in the early 19th century under the influence of western ideas such as liberalism and nationalism, which trickled into the country after the French revolution, mostly via Greece, although there were stirrings in the 18th century. Russia, as fellow Orthodox Slavs, could appeal to the Bulgarians in a way that Austria could not. The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca of 1774 gave Russia the right to interfere in Ottoman affairs to protect the Sultan's Christian subjects.
Bulgarian Crisis refers to a series of events in the Balkans between 1885 and 1888 which impacted on the balance of power between the Great Powers and conflict between the Austro-Hungarians and the Russians. It was an episode in the continuing Balkan Crisis as vassal states struggled for independence from the Ottoman Empire but achieved a mosaic of nascent nation states (Balkanisation) and featured unstable alliances that frequently led to war, and eventually to the First World War.
Konstantin Velichkov was a Bulgarian writer and public figure.
This is the territorial evolution of the Ottoman Empire during a timespan of seven centuries.
Sava Atanasov Mutkurov was a Bulgarian officer and politician. One of only three recipients of the Order of Bravery 1st grade, he was among the chief architects of the Bulgarian unification (1885) and, as an officer in the young Bulgarian Army, one of its defendants in the Serbo–Bulgarian War (1885). He also served as one of the regents of the Principality of Bulgaria after Prince Alexander of Battenberg's abdication (1886–1887) and was Minister of War in Stefan Stambolov's government (1887–1891).
Bulgarian Millet or Bulgar Millet was an ethno-religious and linguistic community within the Ottoman Empire from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The semi-official term Bulgarian millet, was used by the Sultan for the first time in 1847, and was his tacit consent to a more ethno-linguistic definition of the Bulgarians as a nation. Officially as a separate Millet in 1860 were recognized the Bulgarian Uniates, and then in 1870 the Bulgarian Orthodox Christians. At that time the classical Ottoman Millet-system began to degrade with the continuous identification of the religious creed with ethnic identity and the term millet was used as a synonym of nation. In this way, in the struggle for recognition of a separate Church, the modern Bulgarian nation was created. The establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate in 1870, meant in practice official recognition of a separate Bulgarian nationality, and in this case the religious affiliation became a consequence of national allegiance. The founding of an independent church, along with the revival of Bulgarian language and education, were the crucial factors that strengthened the national consciousness and revolutionary struggle, that led to the creation of an independent nation-state in 1878.
The union of Bulgaria and Romania was an unsuccessful project for the unification of Bulgaria and Romania into a common state active during the 19th and 20th centuries. This would be accomplished under a federation, a personal union or a confederation. The idea had great support, especially in Bulgaria, and there were several opportunities to realize it. Usually, proposals came from Bulgarians, but it was the Romanians that were supposed to govern. It ultimately failed due to cultural and political differences between Bulgarians and Romanians and the opposition from great powers like Austria-Hungary and especially Russia.