1879-1896 World War I, 1914-1918

Bulgaria 1896-1914

Administration . Ferdinand I. was Prince Regent from 1887 to 1908, King from 1908 to 1918. General elections to the Subranie were held in 1896, 1899, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1908, 1911 (twice), 1913 and 1914. The office of PM was held by Konstantin Stoilov (People's Party, 1894-1899), Dimitar Grekov (People's Liberal Party, 1899), Todor Ivanchov (Liberal Party, 1899-1901), Racho Petrov (non-party, 1901), Petro Karavelov (Democratic Party, 1901-1902), Stoyan Danev (Progressive Liberal Party, 1902-1903), Racho-Petrov 1903-1906, Dimitar Petkov (PLP 1906-1907), Petar Gudev (PLP, 1907-1908), Alexander Malinov (DP, 1908-1911), Ivan Geshov (PP, 1911-1913), Stoyan Danev (PrLP, 1913) and Vasil Radoslavov (LP, 1913-1918).

Political History . The years between 1896 and 1918 are referred to as Prince Ferdinand's personal rule. For one, in 1911 he assumed the title of tsar. Prince Ferdinand, using the constitutional framework, expanded his influence at the expense of prime minister and subranie.
In part the political situation helped him to do so; the political landscape saw great changes, new parties such as BABU, the Agrarian Union (1899/1900) and the Social Democratic Party (1892) gaining importance. In addition to internal policies, Macedonia proved another stumbling block for Bulgarian prime ministers.

Foreign Policy . The European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, since 1897, have seen ethnic unrest almost incessantly, at one place or another; Macedonia, with its ancient ties to Bulgaria, having been one of the hottest spots. In 1912 Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece concluded an alliance, declared war on the Porte, defeated the Ottoman troops. Bulgaria gained Macedonia and most of Thrace, with Salonica (the First Balkan War, 1912).
Then international diplomacy set in. Both Austria-Hungary and Italy were not willing to accept Serbia's gain of Albania, and an independent Albanian state was created. Serbia felt betrayed of the fruits of her victory and now demanded a share of Macedonia, which Bulgaria was unwilling to grant; now a Serbian-Montenegrin-Greek-Romanian alliance turned on Bulgaria (the Second Balkan War, 1912-1913). Bulgaria was defeated, had to cede Salonica and southern Macedonia to Greece, the bulk of Macedonia to Serbia, the southern Dobruja to Romania, but held on to Western Thrace. Now the Bulgarians felt betrayed.

The Economy . Prime minister Stoilov promoted the development of a domestic industry providing incentives (indirect subsidies etc., 1894) for industrial enterprises and by raising the import tariffs from 8 to 14 % (1896), later to almost 25 % (1906, protectionism). Chambers of Commerce were established, a commercial law codified (1897), the ports of Burgas and Varna modernized. The railway network was extended; by 1896 Bulgaria had a combined length of 861 km of railroads, by 1914 the combined length was 2,123 km. Over a period of c. 20 years, the numbers of factories and of factory workers increased fourfold. Much of the development had been financed by foreign loans.
In 1899, Bulgaria produced 0.589 million metric tons of wheat, in 1913 1.184 million metric tons (IHS p.261).

Social History . The census of 1900 established a total population of 3,744,283, of whom 2,887,860 were Bulgarians, 539,656 were Turks, 89,549 Gypsies, 75,223 Rumanians, 70,887 Greeks, 32,753 Jews; by religion there were 3,019,296 Greek Orthodox Christians, 643,300 Muslims. By 1905 the total population had risen to 4,028,239. In 1910 there were 4.31 million Bulgarians, in 1914 4.85 million - a jump of 350,000 from 1913 to 1914 explained by territorial gain.
The census of 1910 counted 4.337 million inhabitants of Bulgaria.
The population of capital Sofia, 42,000 in 1890, rose to 68,000 in 1900, 103,000 in 1910.

Cultural History . Bulgarian athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Athens 1896. Bulgaria did not send teams to the Summer Games in Paris 1900, St. Louis 1904, London 1908 and Stockholm 1912.
In 1904 the St. Kliment University of Sofia - instruction had begun in 1888 - officially opened. The National Opera House in Sofia was opened in 1909. The Ivan Vasov National Theatre in Sofia was opened in 1907.

Articles Bulgaria at the 1896 Summer Olympics, History of Independent Bulgaria, Ferdinand I. of Bulgaria, Balkan Wars, First Balkan War, Second Balkan War, Elections in Bulgaria, List of Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, National Opera and Ballet, Ivan Vasiv National Theatre, from Wikipedia
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Bulgaria
Die Neuzeit Bulgariens, from Bulgarien Web, in German
Bulgarian History Timeline, from timelines.ws
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Bulgaria, from Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics : Bulgaria, from Population Statistics, Univ. Utrecht
Photo of Alexander Battenberg, from Balcanica
Arms and the Man, by George Bernard Shaw, from 4literature.net
Article Bulgaria, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
Article Philippopolis, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition
The Greek Army and Bulgarian Peasants During the Second Balkan War, posted by Habsburg Web
The Bulgarian Declaration of Independence, 1908, from Mt.Holyoke
Bernard Grant: The Flight of the Turks from Lule-Burgas, 1912, from Modern History Sourcebook
The Formation of the Balkan Alliance of 1912, from Mt. Holyoke
Comment on the Treaty of Bucharest 1913, from Mt. Holyoke (from Handbook for the Diplomatic History of Europe, Asia, and Africa 1870-1914, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1918)
News from Bulgaria, in "The Great Round World and What is Going on in it", Vol.1 No.57, December 1897, posted by Gutenberg Library Online
REFERENCE B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750-1988, NY : Stockton Press 1992 [G]
R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge Concise Histories 1997 pp.140-147 KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7 C889a
Article : Bulgaria, pp.623-636, in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia vol.14, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.14
Raymond Detrez, Historical Dictionary of Bulgaria, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 2006, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 949.9003 D 483h
Article : Bulgaria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 pp.1034-1035 on events of 1912) [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : Statesman's Year Book 1898 pp.1032-1038, 1039-1041; 1901 pp.1141-1148 ; 1905 pp.1237-1245; 1910 pp.668-674 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : The International Year Book 1898 pp.141-143, 1899 pp.143-144; 1900 pp.149-151 [G]
Article : Bulgaria, in : The New International Year Book 1907 pp.120-122; 1908 pp.111-113; 1909 pp.114-116; 1913 pp.121-124 [G]
Jacob Gould Schurman, The Balkan Wars 1912-1913 (1916), posted by Gutenberg Library Online
Jivoin Perich, La Confederation Balkanique (The Balkan Confederation, 1912), posted online by Gutenberg Library Online, in French
Anonymous, Une Confederation Orientale comme solution de la Question d'Orient (An Oriental Confederation as solution of the Oriental Question, 1907), posted online by Gutenberg Library Online, in French
News from Bulgaria, from "The Great Round World and What is Going on in it", Vol.III No.15, April 1899, pp.525-528 [G]

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First posted in 2000, last revised on November 1st 2007

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