Since 1396, a European province of the Ottoman Empire. In 1870, the Porte (Ottoman government) permitted the establishment of a branch of the Orthodox Church, the Exarchate, for Christian subjects in Bulgaria. The Exarchate then nurtured a Bulgarian nationalist movement and was encouraged in the enterprise by the Russian government, as well as by Pan-Slavist organizations. The brutal repression of Bulgarian nationalism in 1875–1876 provoked international outrage, the most articulate of which was William Gladstone’s protest of the “Bulgarian Horrors” and of the British Conservative government of Benjamin Disraeli for its alliance with Turkey, but the most important of which was the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. The outcome of the latter led to Ottoman acceptance of Bulgarian autonomy in the Treaty of San Stefano.
   The Treaty of Berlin then limited Bulgarian autonomy to the territory north of Sofia and made southern Bulgaria the separate Ottoman province of Eastern Roumelia. Having won its freedom, Bulgaria promptly became an obstreperous nuisance to the Great Powers by expanding into Eastern Roumelia and inflicting a military defeat on Serbia. This made Bulgaria the largest of the new Slav states in the Balkans, a position it improved in the First Balkan War and then frittered away in the Second.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
    Crampton, R.J. Bulgaria, 1878-1918. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983;
    Kohn, Hans. Pan-Slavism: Its History and Ideology. New York; Vintage, 1960.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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