- Principality of Bulgaria
Infobox Former Country
native_name = Княжество България
conventional_long_name = Principality of Bulgaria
common_name = Bulgaria
continent = Europe
region = Balkans
country = Bulgaria
status = Vassal
empire = Ottoman Empire
status_text = Vassal of the
event_start = Treaty of Berlin
year_start = 1878
date_start = July 13
event_end = Elevation to kingdom
year_end = 1908
date_end = October 5
date_event1 = 1878
event2 = Bulgarian unification
September 6, 1885
event_pre = Treaty of San Stefano
date_pre = March 3, 1878
p1 = Ottoman Empire
flag_p1 = Ottoman Flag.svg
s1 = Kingdom of Bulgaria
flag_s1 = Flag of Bulgaria (1878-1944).svg
image_map_caption = The principality compared to the borders of the preliminary treaty of San Stefano.
capital = Sofia
national_anthem = Shumi Maritsa
common_languages = Bulgarian
government_type = Principality
religion = Eastern Orthodox
currency = Bulgarian lev
title_leader = Knyaz
leader1 = Alexander I
year_leader1 = 1879-1886
leader2 = Ferdinand I
year_leader2 = 1886-1908The Principality of Bulgaria ( _bg. Княжество България) was a state created as a vassal of the
Ottoman Empireby the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. The preliminary treaty of San Stefano, between Russia and the Porteon March 3, had originally proposed a much larger Bulgarian state comprising all ethnic Bulgarians in the Balkans. Fearing the establishment of a large Russian client statein the Balkans, the other great powers were not willing to acceede, and the result was a significantly smaller suzerain principality. The Treaty of Berlin also provided for Eastern Rumelia, as an autonomous province within the Ottoman Empire, however by 1885 it had become subject to Bulgarian control. It was a successor of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
Treaty of Berlin
Treaty of San Stefanoof March 3, 1878proposed a Bulgarian state, which comprised the geographical regions of Moesia, Thraceand Macedonia. Based on that date Bulgarianscelebrate Bulgaria's national dayeach 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 Bismarckof Germany and Benjamin Disraeliof United Kingdom, revised the earlier treaty, and scaled back the proposed Bulgarian state.
An autonomous Principality of Bulgaria was created, between the Danube and the
Stara Planinarange, 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 Rumeliawas created south of the Stara Planinarange, whereas Macedonia was returned under the sovereignty of the Sultan.
Unification with Eastern Rumelia
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 and pushed the Serbian army back into Serbia.
The annexation of Eastern Rumelia did not last and the province was restored to nominal Ottoman sovereignty on April 17, 1886. However it still remained under Bulgarian control and the
Porteconceded in the Tophane Acton March 24, 1886 and recognized the Prince of Bulgaria as Governor-General of the province.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.
Elevation to Kingdom and Independence
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 Macedonian Slavs 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 Calendaruntil 1916) in the St Forty Martyrs Churchin Veliko Tarnovo.
History of Bulgaria (1878–1946)
* [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Bulgaria.html Rulers of Bulgaria] at World Statesmen
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