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Bulgaria marks 135 years since Unification of Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia

Photo: BGNES - archive

On September 6, Bulgaria marks 135 years since the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia (which is part of today’s South Bulgaria and back then an autonomous region within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire).  The prehistory of this memorable for Bulgaria event began in 1878 when the Bulgarian lands were liberated in the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3, 1878, called for a large independent Bulgaria within the territory of the exarchate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

The joy of the Bulgarian people was short, because this treaty was only formal. The Russian Empire had already agreed that the fate of liberated Bulgaria was to be decided with the participation of the other Great Powers. This happened in July 1878 at the Berlin Congress. The Bulgarian lands were divided into several parts. Northern Bulgaria and Sofia region became part of the Principality of Bulgaria. Eastern Rumelia with capital Plovdiv became an autonomous region in the Ottoman Empire. Macedonia, Edirne Thrace and the Rhodopes became possession of the Sultan again.

However, Bulgarians did not lose courage and started a struggle, which was led in a very peaceful manner in Eastern Rumelia (mass rallies and addresses to European countries). These efforts yielded the necessary result: the governor of Eastern Rumelia appointed by the Sultan was Bulgarian. Moreover, no Ottoman military forces were allowed on this territory. The autonomous region also had defense corps, Police and Gendarmerie headed by Bulgarian officers.

You can learn more details of this historical moment and the deeds it left to the Bulgarian Nation in the publication: “The Bulgarian Unification-lesson that showed people unity means strength”

Compiled by: Darina Grigorova

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