Home » In English, Избрано

Bulgaria Celebrates Unification Day

2011.09.06 Няма коментари
Spread the love

Today September 6th,  is an official holiday in Bulgaria.  Bulgaria is celebrating  anniversary since the unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia.

On September 5, 1885, the Principality of Bulgaria unified with the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Roumelia, a few years after its liberation from Ottoman yoke.
The historic proclamation was made after a march by a handful of Bulgarians from the small town of Saedinenie (nowadays Unification) to the town of Plovdiv, removing one of the gravest injustices imposed in the wake of the Berlin congress.
But it was not until 1886 when the Great Powers recognized the almost doubled state of Bulgaria with the Bulgarian-Ottoman treaty.

From Wikipedia

The Unification of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Съединение на България, Saedinenie na Balgariya) was the act of unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and the then-Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia in the autumn of 1885. It was co-ordinated by the Bulgarian Secret Central Revolutionary Committee (BSCRC). The Unification was accomplished after revolts in Eastern Rumelian towns, followed by a coup on 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.

The 10th Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) ended with the signing of the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano, which cut large territories off the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria was resurrected after 482 years of foreign rule.

The Russian diplomats knew that Bulgaria would not remain within these borders for very long — the San Stefano peace was called “preliminary” by the Russians themselves. The Berlin Congress began on June 1 1878 and ended on July 1 1878 with the Berlin Treaty that created a vassal Bulgarian state in the lands between the Balkans and the Danube. The area between the Balkan Mountains and the Rila and Rhodope Mountains was called Eastern Rumelia. This artificially created state was autonomous in the borders of Turkey. The separation of southern Bulgaria into a different administrative region was a guarantee against the fears expressed by Great Britain and Austria-Hungary that Bulgaria would gain access to the Aegean Sea, which logically meant that Russia was getting closer to the Mediterranean.

The third large portion of San Stefano Bulgaria — Macedonia — did not get even this slight taste of liberty, as it remained in the Ottoman borders like it had been before the war.

Bulgaria San Stefano Berlin 1878

Bulgaria San Stefano Berlin 1878

The act of Unification
The Unification was initially scheduled for the middle of September, while the Rumelian militia was mobilized for performing manoeuvres. The plan called for the Unification to be announced on September 15 1885, but on September 2 a riot began in Panagyurishte (then in Eastern Rumelia) that was brought under control the same day by the police. The demonstration demanded Unification with Bulgaria. A little later this example was followed in the village of Goliamo Konare. An armed squad was formed there, under the leadership of Prodan Tishkov (mostly known as Chardafon) — the local leader of the BSCRC. BSCRC representatives were sent to different towns in the province, where they had to gather groups of rebels and send them to Plovdiv, the capital of Eastern Rumelia, where they were under the command of Major Danail Nikolaev.

Meanwhile, military manoeuvres were being carried out in the outskirts of Plovdiv. Mj. Danail Nikolaev, who was in charge of the manoeuvres, was aware of and supported the unionists. On 6 September, Rumelian militia (Eastern Rumelia’s armed forces) and armed unionist groups entered Plovdiv and took over the Governor’s residence. The Governor was Gavrail Krastevich, a Bulgarian patriot who, naturally, did not resist the unionists.

A temporary government was formed immediately, with Georgi Stranski at its head. Major Danail Nikolaev was appointed commander of armed forces. With help from Russian officers, he created the strategical plan for defence against the expected Ottoman intervention. Mobilization was declared in Eastern Rumelia.

As soon as it took power on 2 September, the temporary government sent a telegram, asking the knyaz to accept the Unification. On September 8 Alexander I answered with a special manifest. On the next day, accompanied by the prime minister Petko Karavelov and the head of Parliament Stefan Stambolov, Knyaz Alexander I entered the capital of the former Eastern Rumelia. This gesture confirmed the unionists’ actions as a fait accompli. But the difficulties of the diplomatic and military defence of the Union lay ahead.

Plovdiv, Unification Monument

Plovdiv, Unification Monument

International Response

In the years after the signing of the Berlin Treaty, the St. Petersburg government had often expressed its view that the creation of Eastern Rumelia out of Southern Bulgaria was an unnatural division and would be short-lived. Russia knew that the Unification would undoubtedly come soon and took important measures for its preparation. First, Russia exerted successful diplomatic pressure upon the Ottoman Empire constraining it from sending forces into Eastern Rumelia. Also, in 1881, in a special protocol, created after the re-establishment of the League of the Three Emperors, it was noted that Austria-Hungary and Germany would show support for a possible union act of the Bulgarians.


Defying most expectations, Russia did not support the September 6 act due to its open conflict with Knyaz Alexander I. Russia wanted to preserve its influence in Bulgarian affairs and feared losing it as the new state grew stronger with Alexander I at its head. As a result, Russia commanded all its officers to leave Bulgaria and suggested that an official conference be held in Constantinople, where the violation of the Berlin status quo was to be sanctioned.

United Kingdom

The government circles in London initially thought that powerful support by St. Petersburg stood behind the bold Bulgarian act. They soon realized the reality of the situation, and after the Russian official position was announced, Great Britain gave its support for the Bulgarian cause, but not until Bulgarian-Ottoman negotiations began.


Austria-Hungary’s position was determined by its policy towards Serbia. In a secret treaty from 1881, Austria-Hungary accepted Serbia’s “right” to expand in the direction of Macedonia. Austria-Hungary’s aim was to win influence in Serbia, while at the same time directing Serbian territorial appetites towards the south instead of north and north-west. Also, Austria-Hungary had always opposed the creation of a large Slavonic state in the Balkans of the sort that a unified Bulgaria would become. France and Germany supported the Russian proposal of an international conference in the Ottoman capital.

Ottoman Empire

After the Unification was already a fact, it took three days for Constantinople to become aware of what had actually happened. A new problem then arose: according to the Berlin treaty the Sultan was only allowed to send troops in Eastern Rumelia at the request of Eastern Rumelia’s governor. Gavrail Krastevich, the governor at the time, made no such request. At the same time the Ottoman Empire was advised in harsh tone both by London and St. Petersburg not to take any such actions and instead to wait for the decision of the international conference.

Serbia and Greece

The Union of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia made Bulgaria the largest state in the Balkans at that time, a fact that a number of neighbouring countries could not accept. Athens immediately asked for territorial compensations and even threatened it would begin military actions. There were civilian demonstrations throughout Greece that prompted the government to declare war on Bulgaria. Intervention on the part of the British government helped soothe this agitation.

Serbia’s position was similar to that of Greece. The Serbians asked for considerable territorial compensations along the whole western border with Bulgaria. Rebuffed by Bulgaria, but assured of support from Austria-Hungary, king Milan Obrenović IV declared war on Bulgaria on November 14 1885 where the Serbs suffered defeat.

United Bulgaria - a litography by Nikolay Pavlovich

United Bulgaria - a litography by Nikolay Pavlovich

Leave your response! Вашето мнение е важно, напишете го!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Моля не ползвайте нецензурни изрази! Всеки коментар, в който има линк, ще изчака редактор да го провери за спам - забавя публикуването.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.