Eastern Rumelia 1879-1885

In 1878 the BERLIN CONGRESS established EASTERN RUMELIA, actually the fertile Maritsa valley, as a separate and autonomous administrative region of 35,208 square km. The capital was Philippopolis, modern PLOVDIV. Eastern Rumelia or Roumelie Orientale was administrated by a Christian governor appointed by the Sultan.

The creation of the Bulgarian State in 1878 was opposed by Britain which regarded it a Russian vassal state. The British supported the formation of a 20 village Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim) Republic in the Rhodope Mountains region opposing the new, Bulgarian-controlled Eastern Rumelia.
After the foirmation of the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia, a part of the Muslim population emigrated into the Ottoman Empire proper. When a census was held after this initial exodus, the Bulgarian population of Eastern Rumelia accounted for less than 70 %. The ethnic Bulgarian group quickly organized herself. Ethnic Bulgarians occupied the majority of administrative etc. positions; Bulgarian became the dominant language.

In 1881 Eastern Rumelia established the LIBRARY IVAN VAZOV in Plovdiv as her national library.
In an 1885 coup, Bulgarians took control of it and it was factually annexed into Bulgaria. When the Ottoman Empire recognized the de facto annexion of Eastern Rumelia by Bulgaria, the Pomak Republic was reintegrated into the Ottoman Empire.

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium entry Rumelia, posted by macottrum
UNAL Info (on library Ivan Vazov), from Unesco
Entry Eastern Rumelia (Roumelie Orientale) from Bait Tov, a philatelic online manual
History of Plovdiv, from plovdiv.org
Exhibition Union of Bulgaria 1885, from plovdiv.bg
Identity (Trans)Formation among Bulgarian Muslims, by Maria Todorova, details on Pomak history
Biography of Kenan Rifai, a Muslim scholar born in Filibe (Plovdiv) 1867, from Kenan Rifai.org; the family emigrated to Istanbul
Ivan Ilchev, Stereotypes and Bulgarian Foreign Policy Decision Making 1885-1912, from AEES
DOCUMENTS Map : Balkans Region, 1878-1912, from Balcanica
Lists of Kings, Prime Ministers etc. from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
The Three Emperors' League of 1881 pertaining to Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia, posted by Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Flag of Eastern Rumelia, from FOTW
Stamps of Eastern Rumelia, from World Stamps
Ostrumelien, P.1, P.2, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888-1890 edition, in German
REFERENCE R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge Concise Histories 1997 pp.140-147

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2002, last revised on November 7th 2004

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics