Independence of Bulgaria - one of the great victories in history of Bulgarian diplomacy

In 2020 Bulgaria marks 112 years since its Declaration of Independence. The event was of great importance as it marked the end of the liberation struggles of Bulgarians against the five centuries of Ottoman rule.

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 brought the Liberation of Bulgaria, but the Berlin Treaty that followed a few months after the end of the war, placed the young principality in vassal dependence on the Ottoman Empire. The Treaty of Berlin defined the territory of the Principality of Bulgaria in the lands between the Danube, the Balkan Mountains and the Sofia region. Between the Balkan Mountains and the Rhodopes, an autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia with even more limited autonomy was formed, while the regions of Macedonia, Eastern Thrace and Western Thrace remained under the direct rule of the sultan.

The Bulgarian people were shocked by the decisions in Berlin and in the following decades the unification of all Bulgarians in a single country and the achievement of its independence became the two biggest challenges to the political and state elite.

The unification was the act by which on September 6, 1885 Eastern Rumelia seceded from the Ottoman Empire and united with the Principality of Bulgaria, contrary to the decisions of the Great Powers in Berlin in 1878.

On September 22, 1908, after a series of successful moves by the Bulgarian diplomacy, Bulgaria managed to break away from the orbit of the Ottoman Empire and proclaimed its Independence. With this act the young Bulgarian state raised its international authority and again took its rightful place among the independent European states, while its ruler Knyaz Ferdinand received the title Tsar.

Read more details and listen to the manifesto announcing one of the greatest diplomatic victories in Bulgaria’s history, in an article from Radio Bulgaria’s rich archive.

Compiled by: Yoan Kolev

English: Al. Markov