1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bulgaria/Description

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[ 772 ]

I. General Description[edit]

Physical Features.—The most striking physical features are two mountain-chains; the Balkans, which run east and west through the heart of the country; and Rhodope, which, for a considerable distance, forms its southern boundary. The Balkans constitute the southern half of the great semicircular range known as the anti-Dacian system, of which the Carpathians form the northern portion. This great chain is sundered at the Iron Gates by the passage of the Danube; its two component parts present many points of resemblance in their aspect and outline, geological formation and flora. The Balkans (ancient Haemus) run almost parallel to the Danube, [ 773 ]

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the mean interval being 60 m.; the summits are, as a rule, rounded, and the slopes gentle. The culminating points are in the centre of the range: Yumrukchál (7835 ft.), Maragudúk (7808 ft.), and Kadimlía (7464 ft.). The Balkans are known to the people of the country as the Stara Planina or “Old Mountain,” the adjective denoting their greater size as compared with that of the adjacent ranges: “Balkán” is not a distinctive term, being applied by the Bulgarians, as well as the Turks, to all mountains. Closely parallel, on the south, are the minor ranges of the Sredna Gora or “Middle Mountains” (highest summit 5167 ft.) and the Karaja Dagh, enclosing respectively the sheltered valleys of Karlovo and Kazanlyk. At its eastern extremity the Balkan chain divides into three ridges, the central terminating in the Black Sea at Cape Eminé ("Haemus"), the northern forming the watershed between the tributaries of the Danube and the rivers falling directly into the Black Sea. The Rhodope, or southern group, is altogether distinct from the Balkans, with which, however, it is connected by the Malka Planina and the Ikhtiman hills, respectively west and east of Sofia; it may be regarded as a continuation of the great Alpine system which traverses the Peninsula from the Dinaric Alps and the Shar Planina on the west to the Shabkhana Dagh near the Aegean coast; its sharper outlines and pine-clad steeps reproduce the scenery of the Alps rather than that of the Balkans. The imposing summit of Musallá (9631 ft.), next to Olympus, the highest in the Peninsula, forms the centre-point of the group; it stands within the Bulgarian frontier at the head of the Mesta valley, on either side of which the Perin Dagh and the Despoto Dagh descend south and south-east respectively towards the Aegean. The chain of Rhodope proper radiates to the east; owing to the retrocession of territory already mentioned, its central ridge no longer completely coincides with the Bulgarian boundary, but two of its principal summits, Sytké (7179 ft.) and Karlyk (6828 ft.), are within the frontier. From Musallá in a westerly direction extends the majestic range of the Rilska Planina, enclosing in a picturesque valley the celebrated monastery of Rila; many summits of this chain attain 7000 ft. Farther west, beyond the Struma valley, is the Osogovska Planina, culminating in Ruyen (7392 ft.). To the north of the Rilska Planina the almost isolated mass of Vitosha (7517 ft.) overhangs Sofia. Snow and ice remain in the sheltered crevices of Rhodope and the Balkans throughout the summer. The fertile slope trending northwards from the Balkans to the Danube is for the most part gradual and broken by hills; the eastern portion known as the Delí Orman, or “Wild Wood,” is covered by forest, and thinly inhabited. The abrupt and sometimes precipitous character of the Bulgarian bank of the Danube contrasts with the swampy lowlands and lagoons of the Rumanian side. Northern Bulgaria is watered by the Lom, Ogust, Iskr, Vid, Osem, Yantra and Eastern Lom, all, except the Iskr, rising in the Balkans, and all flowing into the Danube. The channels of these rivers are deeply furrowed and the fall is rapid; irrigation is consequently difficult and navigation impossible. The course of the Iskr is remarkable: rising in the Rilska Planina, the river descends into the basin of Samakov, passing thence through a serpentine defile into the plateau of Sofia, where in ancient times it formed a lake; it now forces its way through the Balkans by the picturesque gorge of Iskretz. Somewhat similarly the Deli, or “Wild,” Kamchik breaks the central chain of the Balkans near their eastern extremity and, uniting with the Great Kamchik, falls into the Black Sea. The Maritza, the ancient Hebrus, springs from the slopes of Musallá, and, with its tributaries, the Tunja and Arda, waters the wide plain of Eastern Rumelia. The Struma (ancient and modern Greek Strymon) drains the valley of Kiustendil, and, like the Maritza, flows into the Aegean. The elevated basins of Samakov (lowest altitude 3050 ft.), Trn (2525 ft.), Breznik (2460 ft.), Radomir (2065 ft.), Sofia (1640 ft.), and Kiustendil (1540 ft.), are a peculiar feature of the western highlands.

Geology.—The stratified formation presents a remarkable variety, almost all the systems being exemplified. The Archean, composed of gneiss and crystalline schists, and traversed by eruptive veins, extends over the greater part of the Eastern Rumelian plain, the Rilska Planina, Rhodope, and the adjacent ranges. North of the Balkans it appears only in the neighbourhood of Berkovitza. The other earlier Palaeozoic systems are wanting, but the Carboniferous appears in the western Balkans with a continental facies (Kulm). Here anthracitiferous coal is found in beds of argillite and sandstone. Red sandstone and conglomerate, representing the Permian system, appear especially around the basin of Sofia. Above these, in the western Balkans, are Mesozoic deposits, from the Trias to the upper Jurassic, also occurring in the central part of the range. The Cretaceous system, from the infra-Cretaceous Hauterivien to the Senonian, appears throughout the whole extent of Northern Bulgaria, from the summits of the Balkans to the Danube. Gosau beds are found on the southern declivity of the chain. Flysch, representing both the Cretaceous and Eocene systems, is widely distributed. The Eocene, or older Tertiary, further appears with nummulitic formations on both sides of the eastern Balkans; the Oligocene only near the Black Sea coast at Burgas. Of the Neogene, or younger Tertiary, the Mediterranean, or earlier, stage appears near Pleven (Plevna) in the Leithakalk and Tegel forms, and between Varna and Burgas with beds of spaniodons, as in the Crimea; the Sarmatian stage in the plain of the Danube and in the districts of Silistria and Varna. A rich mammaliferous deposit (Hipparion, Rhinoceros, Dinotherium, Mastodon, &c.) of this period has been found near Mesemvria. Other Neogene strata occupy a more limited space. The Quaternary era is represented by the typical loess, which covers most of the Danubian plain; to its later epochs belong the alluvial deposits of the riparian districts with remains of the Ursus, Equus, &c., found in bone-caverns. Eruptive masses intrude in the Balkans and Sredna Gora, as well as in the Archean formation of the southern [ 774 ] ranges, presenting granite, syenite, diorite, diabase, quartz-porphyry, melaphyre, liparite, trachyte, andesite, basalt, &c.

Minerals.—The mineral wealth of Bulgaria is considerable, although, with the exception of coal, it remains largely unexploited. The minerals which are commercially valuable include gold (found in small quantities), silver, graphite, galena, pyrite, marcasite, chalcosine, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, bornite, cuprite, hematite, limonite, ochre, chromite, magnetite, azurite, manganese, malachite, gypsum, &c. The combustibles are anthracitiferous coal, coal, “brown coal” and lignite. The lignite mines opened by the government at Pernik in 1891 yielded in 1904 142,000 tons. Coal beds have been discovered at Trevna and elsewhere. Thermal springs, mostly sulphureous, exist in forty-three localities along the southern slope of the Balkans, in Rhodope, and in the districts of Sofia and Kiustendil; maximum temperature at Zaparevo, near Dupnitza, 180.5° (Fahrenheit), at Sofia 118.4°. Many of these are frequented now, as in Roman times, owing to their valuable therapeutic qualities. The mineral springs on the north of the Balkans are, with one exception (Vrshetz, near Berkovitza), cold.

Climate.—The severity of the climate of Bulgaria in comparison with that of other European regions of the same latitude is attributable in part to the number and extent of its mountain ranges, in part to the general configuration of the Balkan Peninsula. Extreme heat in summer and cold in winter, great local contrasts, and rapid transitions of temperature occur here as in the adjoining countries. The local contrasts are remarkable. In the districts extending from the Balkans to the Danube, which are exposed to the bitter north wind, the winter cold is intense, and the river, notwithstanding the volume and rapidity of its current, is frequently frozen over; the temperature has been known to fall to 24° below zero. Owing to the shelter afforded by the Balkans against hot southerly winds, the summer heat in this region is not unbearable; its maximum is 99°. The high tableland of Sofia is generally covered with snow in the winter months; it enjoys, however, a somewhat more equable climate than the northern district, the maximum temperature being 86°, the minimum 2°; the air is bracing, and the summer nights are cool and fresh. In the eastern districts the proximity of the sea moderates the extremes of heat and cold; the sea is occasionally frozen at Varna. The coast-line is exposed to violent north-east winds, and the Black Sea, the πόντος ἄξεινος or “inhospitable sea” of the Greeks, maintains its evil reputation for storms. The sheltered plain of Eastern Rumelia possesses a comparatively warm climate; spring begins six weeks earlier than elsewhere in Bulgaria, and the vegetation is that of southern Europe. In general the Bulgarian winter is short and severe; the spring short, changeable and rainy; the summer hot, but tempered by thunderstorms; the autumn (yasen, “the clear time") magnificently fine and sometimes prolonged into the month of December. The mean temperature is 52°. The climate is healthy, especially in the mountainous districts. Malarial fever prevails in the valley of the Maritza, in the low-lying regions of the Black Sea coast, and even in the upland plain of Sofia, owing to neglect of drainage. The mean annual rainfall is 25.59 in. (Gabrovo, 41.73; Sofia, 27.68; Varna, 18.50).

Fauna.—Few special features are noticeable in the Bulgarian fauna. Bears are still abundant in the higher mountain districts, especially in the Rilska Planina and Rhodope; the Bulgarian bear is small and of brown colour, like that of the Carpathians. Wolves are very numerous, and in winter commit great depredations even in the larger country towns and villages; in hard weather they have been known to approach the outskirts of Sofia. The government offers a reward for the destruction of both these animals. The roe deer is found in all the forests, the red deer is less common; the chamois haunts the higher regions of the Rilska Planina, Rhodope and the Balkans. The jackal (Canis aureus) appears in the district of Burgas; the lynx is said to exist in the Sredna Gora; the wild boar, otter, fox, badger, hare, wild cat, marten, polecat (Foetorius putorius; the rare tiger polecat, Foetorius sarmaticus, is also found), weasel and shrewmouse (Spermophilus citillus) are common. The beaver (Bulg. bebr) appears to have been abundant in certain localities, e.g. Bebrovo, Bebresh, &c., but it is now apparently extinct. Snakes (Coluber natrix and other species), vipers (Vipera berus and V. ammodytes), and land and water tortoises are numerous. The domestic animals are the same as in the other countries of south-eastern Europe; the fierce shaggy grey sheep-dog leaves a lasting impression on most travellers in the interior. Fowls, especially turkeys, are everywhere abundant, and great numbers of geese may be seen in the Moslem villages. The ornithology of Bulgaria is especially interesting. Eagles (Aquila imperialis and the rarer Aquila fulva), vultures (Vultur monachus, Gyps fulvus, Neophron percnopterus), owls, kites, and the smaller birds of prey are extraordinarily abundant; singing birds are consequently rare. The lammergeier (Gypaëtus barbatus) is not uncommon. Immense flocks of wild swans, geese, pelicans, herons and other waterfowl haunt the Danube and the lagoons of the Black Sea coast. The cock of the woods (Tetrao urogallus) is found in the Balkan and Rhodope forests, the wild pheasant in the Tunja valley, the bustard (Otis tarda) in the Eastern Rumelian plain. Among the migratory birds are the crane, which hibernates in the Maritza valley, woodcock, snipe and quail; the great spotted cuckoo (Coccystes glandarius) is an occasional visitant. The red starling (Pastor roseus) sometimes appears in large flights. The stork, which is never molested, adds a picturesque feature to the Bulgarian village. Of fresh-water fish, the sturgeon (Acipenser sturio and A. huso), sterlet, salmon (Salmo hucho), and carp are found in the Danube; the mountain streams abound in trout. The Black Sea supplies turbot, mackerel, &c.; dolphins and flying fish may sometimes be seen.

Flora.—In regard to its flora the country may be divided into (1) the northern plain sloping from the Balkans to the Danube, (2) the southern plain between the Balkans and Rhodope, (3) the districts adjoining the Black Sea, (4) the elevated basins of Sofia, Samakov and Kiustendil, (5) the Alpine and sub-Alpine regions of the Balkans and the southern mountain group. In the first-mentioned region the vegetation resembles that of the Russian and Rumanian steppes; in the spring the country is adorned with the flowers of the crocus, orchis, iris, tulip and other bulbous plants, which in summer give way to tall grasses, umbelliferous growths, dianthi, astragali, &c. In the more sheltered district south of the Balkans the richer vegetation recalls that of the neighbourhood of Constantinople and the adjacent parts of Asia Minor. On the Black Sea coast many types of the Crimean, Transcaucasian and even the Mediterranean flora present themselves. The plateaus of Sofia and Samakov furnish specimens of sub-alpine plants, while the vine disappears; the hollow of Kiustendil, owing to its southerly aspect, affords the vegetation of the Macedonian valleys. The flora of the Balkans corresponds with that of the Carpathians; the Rila and Rhodope group is rich in purely indigenous types combined with those of the central European Alps and the mountains of Asia Minor. The Alpine types are often represented by variants: e.g. the Campanula alpina by the Campanula orbelica, the Primula farinosa by the Primula frondosa and P. exigua, the Gentiana germanica by the Gentiana bulgarica, &c. The southern mountain group, in common, perhaps, with the unexplored highlands of Macedonia, presents many isolated types, unknown elsewhere in Europe, and in some cases corresponding with those of the Caucasus. Among the more characteristic genera of the Bulgarian flora are the following:—Centaurea, Cirsium, Linaria, Scrophularia, Verbascum, Dianthus, Silene, Trifolium, Euphorbia, Cytisus, Astragalus, Ornithogalum, Allium, Crocus, Iris, Thymus, Umbellifera, Sedum, Hypericum, Scabiosa, Ranunculus, Orchis, Ophrys.

Forests.—The principal forest trees are the oak, beech, ash, elm, walnut, cornel, poplar, pine and juniper. The oak is universal in the thickets, but large specimens are now rarely found. Magnificent forests of beech clothe the valleys of the higher Balkans and the Rilska Planina; the northern declivity of the Balkans is, in general, well wooded, but the southern slope is bare. The walnut and chestnut are mainly confined to eastern Rumelia. Conifers (Pinus silvestris, Picea excelsa, Pinus laricis, Pinus mughus) are rare in the Balkans, but abundant in the higher regions of the southern mountain group, where the Pinus peuce, otherwise peculiar to the Himalayas, also flourishes. The wild lilac forms a beautiful feature in the spring landscape. Wild fruit trees, such as the apple, pear and plum, are common. The vast forests of the middle ages disappeared under the supine Turkish administration, which took no measures for their protection, and even destroyed the woods in the neighbourhood of towns and highways in order to deprive brigands of shelter. A law passed in 1889 prohibits disforesting, limits the right of cutting timber, and places the state forests under the control of inspectors. According to official statistics, 11,640 sq. m. or about 30% of the whole superficies of the kingdom, are under forest, but the greater portion of this area is covered only by brushwood and scrub. The beautiful forests of the Rila district are rapidly disappearing under exploitation.

Agriculture.—Agriculture, the main source of wealth to the country, is still in an extremely primitive condition. The ignorance and conservatism of the peasantry, the habits engendered by widespread insecurity and the fear of official rapacity under Turkish rule, insufficiency of communications, want of capital, and in some districts sparsity of population, have all tended to retard the development of this most important industry. The peasants cling to traditional usage, and look with suspicion on modern implements and new-fangled modes of production. The plough is of a primeval type, rotation of crops is only partially practised, and the use of manure is almost unknown. The government has sedulously endeavoured to introduce more enlightened methods and ideas by the establishment of agricultural schools, the appointment of itinerant professors and inspectors, the distribution of better kinds of seeds, improved implements, &c. Efforts have been made to improve the breeds of native cattle and horses, and stallions have been introduced from Hungary and distributed throughout the country. Oxen and buffaloes are the principal animals of draught; the buffalo, which was apparently introduced from Asia in remote times, is much prized by the peasants for its patience and strength; it is, however, somewhat delicate and requires much care. In [ 775 ] the eastern districts camels are also employed. The Bulgarian horses are small, but remarkably hardy, wiry and intelligent; they are as a rule unfitted for draught and cavalry purposes. The best sheep are found in the district of Karnobat in Eastern Rumelia. The number of goats in the country tends to decline, a relatively high tax being imposed on these animals owing to the injury they inflict on young trees. The average price of oxen is £5 each, draught oxen £12 the pair, buffaloes £14 the pair, cows £2, horses £6, sheep, 7s., goats 5s., each. The principal cereals are wheat, maize, rye, barley, oats and millet. The cultivation of maize is increasing in the Danubian and eastern districts. Rice-fields are found in the neighbourhood of Philippopolis. Cereals represent about 80% of the total exports. Besides grain, Bulgaria produces wine, tobacco, attar of roses, silk and cotton. The quality of the grape is excellent, and could the peasants be induced to abandon their highly primitive mode of wine-making the Bulgarian vintages would rank among the best European growths. The tobacco, which is not of the highest quality, is grown in considerable quantities for home consumption and only an insignificant amount is exported. The best tobacco-fields in Bulgaria are on the northern slopes of Rhodope, but the southern declivity, which produces the famous Kavala growth, is more adapted to the cultivation of the plant. The rose-fields of Kazanlyk and Karlovo lie in the sheltered valleys between the Balkans and the parallel chains of the Sredna Gora and Karaja Dagh. About 6000 lb of the rose-essence is annually exported, being valued from £12 to £14 per lb. Beetroot is cultivated in the neighbourhood of Sofia. Sericulture, formerly an important industry, has declined owing to disease among the silkworms, but efforts are being made to revive it with promise of success. Cotton is grown in the southern districts of Eastern Rumelia.

Peasant proprietorship is universal, the small freeholds averaging about 18 acres each. There are scarcely any large estates owned by individuals, but some of the monasteries possess considerable domains. The large tchifliks, or farms, formerly belonging to Turkish landowners, have been divided among the peasants. The rural proprietors enjoy the right of pasturing their cattle on the common lands belonging to each village, and of cutting wood in the state forests. They live in a condition of rude comfort, and poverty is practically unknown, except in the towns. A peculiarly interesting feature in Bulgarian agricultural life is the zadruga, or house-community, a patriarchal institution apparently dating from prehistoric times. Family groups, sometimes numbering several dozen persons, dwell together on a farm in the observance of strictly communistic principles. The association is ruled by a house-father (domakin, stareïshina), and a house-mother (domakinia), who assign to the members their respective tasks. In addition to the farm work the members often practise various trades, the proceeds of which are paid into the general treasury. The community sometimes includes a priest, whose fees for baptisms, &c., augment the common fund. The national aptitude for combination is also displayed in the associations of market gardeners (gradinarski druzhini, taifi), who in the spring leave their native districts for the purpose of cultivating gardens in the neighbourhood of some town, either in Bulgaria or abroad, returning in the autumn, when they divide the profits of the enterprise; the number of persons annually thus engaged probably exceeds 10,000. Associations for various agricultural, mining and industrial undertakings and provident societies are numerous: the handicraftsmen in the towns are organized in esnafs or gilds.

Manufactures.—The development of manufacturing enterprise on a large scale has been retarded by want of capital. The principal establishments for the native manufactures of aba and shayak (rough and fine homespuns), and of gaitan (braided embroidery) are at Sliven and Gabrovo respectively. The Bulgarian homespuns, which are made of pure wool, are of admirable quality. The exportation of textiles is almost exclusively to Turkey: value in 1806, £104,046; in 1898, £144,726; in 1904, £108,685. Unfortunately the home demand for native fabrics is diminishing owing to foreign competition; the smaller textile industries are declining, and the picturesque, durable, and comfortable costume of the country is giving way to cheap ready-made clothing imported from Austria. The government has endeavoured to stimulate the home industry by ordering all persons in its employment to wear the native cloth, and the army is supplied almost exclusively by the factories at Sliven. A great number of small distilleries exist throughout the country; there are breweries in all the principal towns, tanneries at Sevlievo, Varna, &c., numerous corn-mills worked by water and steam, and sawmills, turned by the mountain torrents, in the Balkans and Rhodope. A certain amount of foreign capital has been invested in industrial enterprises; the most notable are sugar-refineries in the neighbourhood of Sofia and Philippopolis, and a cotton-spinning mill at Varna, on which an English company has expended about £60,000.

Commerce.—The usages of internal commerce have been considerably modified by the development of communications. The primitive system of barter in kind still exists in the rural districts, but is gradually disappearing. The great fairs (panaïri, πανηγύρεις held at Eski-Jumaia, Dobritch and other towns, which formerly attracted multitudes of foreigners as well as natives, have lost much of their importance; a considerable amount of business, however, is still transacted at these gatherings, of which ninety-seven were held in 1898. The principal seats of the export trade are Varna, Burgas and Baltchik on the Black Sea, and Svishtov, Rustchuk, Nikopolis, Silistria, Rakhovo, and Vidin on the Danube. The chief centres of distribution for imports are Varna, Sofia, Rustchuk, Philippopolis and Burgas. About 10% of the exports passes over the Turkish frontier, but the government is making great efforts to divert the trade to Varna and Burgas, and important harbour works have been carried out at both these ports. The new port of Burgas was formally opened in 1904, that of Varna in 1906.

In 1887 the total value of Bulgarian foreign commerce was £4,419,589. The following table gives the values for the six years ending 1904. The great fluctuations in the exports are due to the variations of the harvest, on which the prosperity of the country practically depends:—

Year. Exports. Imports. Total.

£ £ £
 1899  2,138,684 2,407,123 4,545,807
 1900 2,159,305 1,853,684 4,012,989
 1901 3,310,790 2,801,762 6,112,552
 1902 4,147,381 2,849,059 7,996,440
 1903 4,322,945 3,272,103 7,595,048
 1904  6,304,756   5,187,583   11,492,339  

The principal exports are cereals, live stock, homespuns, hides, cheese, eggs, attar of roses. Exports to the United Kingdom in 1900 were valued at £239,665; in 1904 at £989,127. The principal imports are textiles, metal goods, colonial goods, implements, furniture, leather, petroleum. Imports from the United Kingdom in 1900, £301,150; in 1904, £793,972.

The National Bank, a state institution with a capital of £400,000, has its central establishment at Sofia, and branches at Philippopolis, Rustchuk, Varna, Trnovo and Burgas. Besides conducting the ordinary banking operations, it issues loans on mortgage. Four other banks have been founded at Sofia by groups of foreign and native capitalists. There are several private banks in the country. The Imperial Ottoman Bank and the Industrial Bank of Kiev have branches at Philippopolis and Sofia respectively. The agricultural chests, founded by Midhat Pasha in 1863, and reorganized in 1894, have done much to rescue the peasantry from the hands of usurers. They serve as treasuries for the local administration, accept deposits at interest, and make loans to the peasants on mortgage or the security of two solvent landowners at 8%. Their capital in 1887 was £569,260; in 1904, £1,440,000. Since 1893 they have been constituted as the “Bulgarian Agricultural Bank"; the central direction is at Sofia. The post-office savings bank, established 1896, had in 1905 a capital of £1,360,560.

There are over 200 registered provident societies in the country. The legal rate of interest is 10%, but much higher rates are not uncommon.

Bulgaria, like the neighbouring states of the Peninsula, has adopted the metric system. Turkish weights and measures, however, are still largely employed in local commerce. The monetary unit is the lev, or “lion” (pl. leva), nominally equal to the franc, with its submultiple the stotinka (pl.-ki), or centime. The coinage consists of nickel and bronze coins (2½, 5, 10 and 20 stotinki) and silver coins [ 776 ] (50 stotinki; 1, 2 and 5 leva). A gold coinage was struck in 1893 with pieces corresponding to those of the Latin Union. The Turkish pound and foreign gold coins are also in general circulation. The National Bank issues notes for 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 leva, payable in gold. Notes payable in silver are also issued.

Finance.—It is only possible here to deal with Bulgarian finance prior to the declaration of independence in 1908. At the outset of its career the principality was practically unencumbered with any debt, external or internal. The stipulations of the Berlin Treaty (Art. ix.) with regard to the payment of a tribute to the sultan and the assumption of an “equitable proportion” of the Ottoman Debt were never carried into effect. In 1883 the claim of Russia for the expenses of the occupation (under Art. xx. of the treaty) was fixed at 26,545,625 fr. (£1,061,820) payable in annual instalments of 2,100,000 fr. (£84,000). The union with Eastern Rumelia in 1885 entailed liability for the obligations of that province consisting of an annual tribute to Turkey of 2,951,000 fr. (£118,040) and a loan of 3,375,000 fr. (£135,000) contracted with the Imperial Ottoman Bank. In 1888 the purchase of the Varna-Rustchuk railway was effected by the issue of treasury bonds at 6% to the vendors. In 1889 a loan of 30,000,000 fr. (£1,200,000) bearing 6% interest was contracted with the Vienna Länderbank and Bankverein at 85½. In 1892 a further 6% loan of 142,780,000 fr. (£5,711,200) was contracted with the Länderbank at 83, 86 and 89. In 1902 a 5% loan of 106,000,000 fr. (£4,240,000), secured on the tobacco dues and the stamp-tax, was contracted with the Banque de l'État de Russie and the Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas at 81½, for the purpose of consolidating the floating debt, and in 1904 a 5% loan of 99,980,000 fr. (£3,999,200) at 82, with the same guarantees, was contracted with the last-named bank mainly for the purchase of war material in France and the construction of railways. In January 1906 the national debt stood as follows:—Outstanding amount of the consolidated loans, 363,070,500 fr. (£14,522,820); internal debt, 15,603,774 fr. (£624,151); Eastern Rumelian debt, 1,910,208 (£76,408). In February 1907 a 4½% loan of 145,000,000 fr. at 85, secured on the surplus proceeds of the revenues already pledged to the loans of 1902 and 1904, was contracted with the Banque de Paris et des Pays Bas associated with some German and Austrian banks for the conversion of the loans of 1888 and 1889 (requiring about 53,000,000 fr.) and for railway construction and other purposes. The total external debt was thus raised to upwards of 450,000,000 fr. The Eastern Rumelian tribute and the rent of the Sarambey-Belovo railway, if capitalized at 6%, would represent a further sum of 50,919,100 fr. (£2,036,765). The national debt was not disproportionately great in comparison with annual revenue. After the union with Eastern Rumelia the budget receipts increased from 40,803,262 leva (£1,635,730) in 1886 to 119,655,507 leva (£4,786,220) in 1904; the estimated revenue for 1905 was 111,920,000 leva (£4,476,800), of which 41,179,000 (£1,647,160) were derived from direct and 38,610,000 (£1,544,400) from indirect taxation; the estimated expenditure was 111,903,281 leva (£4,476,131), the principal items being: public debt, 31,317,346 (£1,252,693); army, 26,540,720 (£1,061,628); education, 10,402,470 (£416,098); public works, 14,461,171 (£578,446); interior, 7,559,517 (£302,380). The actual receipts in 1905 were 127,011,393 leva. In 1895 direct taxation, which pressed heavily on the agricultural class, was diminished and indirect taxation (import duties and excise) considerably increased. In 1906 direct taxation amounted to 9 fr. 92 c., indirect to 8 fr. 58 c., per head of the population. The financial difficulties in which the country was involved at the close of the 19th century were attributable not to excessive indebtedness but to heavy outlay on public works, the army, and education, and to the maintenance of an unnecessary number of officials, the economic situation being aggravated by a succession of bad harvests. The war budget during ten years (1888–1897) absorbed the large sum of 275,822,017 leva (£11,033,300) or 35.77% of the whole national income within that period. In subsequent years military expenditure continued to increase; the total during the period since the union with Eastern Rumelia amounting to 599,520,698 leva (£23,980,800).

Communications.—In 1878 the only railway in Bulgaria was the Rustchuk-Varna line (137 m.), constructed by an English company in 1867. In Eastern Rumelia the line from Sarambey to Philippopolis and the Turkish frontier (122 m.), with a branch to Yamboli (66 m.), had been built by Baron Hirsch in 1873, and leased by the Turkish government to the Oriental Railways Company until 1958. It was taken over by the Bulgarian government in 1908 (see History, below). The construction of a railway from the Servian frontier at Tzaribrod to the Eastern Rumelian frontier at Vakarel was imposed on the principality by the Berlin Treaty, but political difficulties intervened, and the line, which touches Sofia, was not completed till 1888. In that year the Bulgarian government seized the short connecting line Belovo-Sarambey belonging to Turkey, and railway communication between Constantinople and the western capitals was established. Since that time great progress has been made in railway construction. In 1888, 240 m. of state railways were open to traffic; in 1899, 777 m.; in 1902, 880 m. Up to October 1908 all these lines were worked by the state, and, with the exception of the Belovo-Sarambey line (29 m.), which was worked under a convention with Turkey, were its property. The completion of the important line Radomir-Sofia-Shumen (November 1899) opened up the rich agricultural district between the Balkans and the Danube and connected Varna with the capital. Branches to Samovit and Rustchuk establish connexion with the Rumanian railway system on the opposite side of the river. It was hoped, with the consent of the Turkish government, to extend the line Sofia-Radomir-Kiustendil to Uskub, and thus to secure a direct route to Salonica and the Aegean. Road communication is still in an unsatisfactory condition. Roads are divided into three classes: “state roads,” or main highways, maintained by the government; “district roads” maintained by the district councils; and “inter-village roads” (mezhduselski shosseta), maintained by the communes. Repairs are effected by the corvée system with requisitions of material. There are no canals, and inland navigation is confined to the Danube. The Austrian Donaudampschiffahrtsgesellschaft and the Russian Gagarine steamship company compete for the river traffic; the grain trade is largely served by steamers belonging to Greek merchants. The coasting trade on the Black Sea is carried on by a Bulgarian steamship company; the steamers of the Austrian Lloyd, and other foreign companies call at Varna, and occasionally at Burgas.

The development of postal and telegraphic communication has been rapid. In 1886, 1,468,494 letters were posted, in 1903, 29,063,043. Receipts of posts and telegraphs in 1886 were £40,975, in 1903 £134,942. In 1903 there were 3261 m. of telegraph lines and 531 m. of telephones.

Towns.—The principal towns of Bulgaria are Sofia, the capital (Bulgarian Sredetz, a name now little used), pop. in January 1906, 82,187; Philippopolis, the capital of Eastern Rumelia (Bulg. Plovdiv), pop. 45,572; Varna, 37,155; Rustchuk (Bulg. Russé), 33,552; Sliven, 25,049; Shumla (Bulg. Shumen), 22,290; Plevna (Bulg. Pleven), 21,208; Stara-Zagora, 20,647; Tatar-Pazarjik, 17,549; Vidin, 16,168; Yamboli (Greek Hyampolis), 15,708; Dobritch (Turkish Hajiolu-Pazarjik), 15,369; Haskovo, 15,061; Vratza, 14,832; Stanimaka (Greek Stenimachos), 14,120; Razgrad, 13,783; Sistova (Bulg. Svishtov), 13,408; Burgas, 12,846; Kiustendil, 12,353; Trnovo, the ancient capital, 12,171. All these are described in separate articles.

Population.—The area of northern Bulgaria is 24,535 sq. m.; of Eastern Rumelia 12,705 sq. m.; of united Bulgaria, 37,240 sq. m. According to the census of the 12th of January 1906, the population of northern Bulgaria was 2,853,704; of Eastern Rumelia, 1,174,535; of united Bulgaria, 4,028,239 or 88 per sq. m. Bulgaria thus ranks between Rumania and Portugal in regard to area; between the Netherlands and Switzerland in regard to population: in density of population it may be compared with Spain and Greece.

The first census of united Bulgaria was taken in 1888: it gave the total population as 3,154,375. In January 1893 the population was 3,310,713; in January 1901, 3,744,283.

The movement of the population at intervals of five years has been as follows:—

 Year.   Marriages.  Births
Deaths. Natural

1882 19,795  74,642 300 38,884 35,758
1887 20,089  83,179 144 39,396 43,783
1892 27,553 117,883 321  103,550   14,333
1897 29,227 149,631 858 90,134 59,497
1902 36,041  149,542  823 91,093 58,449

The death-rate shows a tendency to rise. In the five years 1882–1886 the mean death-rate was 18.0 per 1000; in 1887–1891, 20.4; in 1892–1896, 27.0; in 1897–1902, 23.92. Infant mortality is high, especially among the peasants. As the less healthy infants rarely survive, the adult population is in general robust, hardy and long-lived. The census of January 1901 gives 2719 persons of 100 years and upwards. Young men, as a rule, marry betore the age of twenty-five, girls before eighteen. The number of illegitimate births is inconsiderable, averaging only 0.12 of the total. The population according to sex in 1901 is given as 1,909,567 males and 1,834,716 females, or 51 males to 49 females. A somewhat similar disparity may be observed in the other countries of the Peninsula. Classified according to occupation, 2,802,603 persons, or 74.85% of the population, are engaged in agriculture; 360,834 in various productive industries; 118,824 in the service of the government or the exercise of liberal professions, and 148,899 in commerce. The population according to race cannot be stated with absolute accuracy, but it is approximately shown by the census of 1901, which gives the various nationalities according to language as follows:—Bulgars, 2,888,219; Turks, 531,240; Rumans, 71,063; Greeks, 66,635; Gipsies (Tziganes), 89,549; Jews (Spanish speaking), 33,661; Tatars, [ 777 ] 18,884; Armenians, 14,581; other nationalities, 30,451. The Bulgarian inhabitants of the Peninsula beyond the limits of the principality may, perhaps, be estimated at 1,500,000 or 1,600,000, and the grand total of the race possibly reaches 5,500,000.

Ethnology.—The Bulgarians, who constitute 77.14% of the inhabitants of the kingdom, are found in their purest type in the mountain districts, the Ottoman conquest and subsequent colonization having introduced a mixed population into the plains.

The devastation of the country which followed the Turkish invasion resulted in the extirpation or flight of a large proportion of the Bulgarian inhabitants of the lowlands, who were replaced by Turkish colonists. The mountainous districts, however, retained their original population and sheltered large numbers of the fugitives. The passage of the Turkish armies during the wars with Austria, Poland and Russia led to further Bulgarian emigrations. The flight to the Banat, where 22,000 Bulgarians still remain, took place in 1730. At the beginning of the 19th century the majority of the population of the Eastern Rumelian plain was Turkish. The Turkish colony, however, declined, partly in consequence of the drain caused by military service, while the Bulgarian remnant increased, notwithstanding a considerable emigration to Bessarabia before and after the Russo-Turkish campaign of 1828. Efforts were made by the Porte to strengthen the Moslem element by planting colonies of Tatars in 1861 and Circassians in 1864. The advance of the Russian army in 1877–1878 caused an enormous exodus of the Turkish population, of which only a small proportion returned to settle permanently. The emigration continued after the conclusion of peace, and is still in progress, notwithstanding the efforts of the Bulgarian government to arrest it. In twenty years (1879–1899), at least 150,000 Turkish peasants left Bulgaria. Much of the land thus abandoned still remains unoccupied. On the other hand, a considerable influx of Bulgarians from Macedonia, the vilayet of Adrianople, Bessarabia, and the Dobrudja took place within the same period, and the inhabitants of the mountain villages show a tendency to migrate into the richer districts of the plains.

The northern slopes of the Balkans from Belogradchik to Elena are inhabited almost exclusively by Bulgarians; in Eastern Rumelia the national element is strongest in the Sredna Gora and Rhodope. Possibly the most genuine representatives of the race are the Pomaks or Mahommedan Bulgarians, whose conversion to Islam preserved their women from the licence of the Turkish conqueror; they inhabit the highlands of Rhodope and certain districts in the neighbourhood of Lovtcha (Lovetch) and Plevna. Retaining their Bulgarian speech and many ancient national usages, they may be compared with the indigenous Cretan, Bosnian and Albanian Moslems. The Pomaks in the principality are estimated at 26,000, but their numbers are declining. In the north-eastern district between the Yantra and the Black Sea the Bulgarian race is as yet thinly represented; most of the inhabitants are Turks, a quiet, submissive, agricultural population, which unfortunately shows a tendency to emigrate. The Black Sea coast is inhabited by a variety of races. The Greek element is strong in the maritime towns, and displays its natural aptitude for navigation and commerce. The Gagäuzi, a peculiar race of Turkish-speaking Christians, inhabit the littoral from Cape Eminé to Cape Kaliakra: they are of Turanian origin and descend from the ancient Kumani. The valleys of the Maritza and Arda are occupied by a mixed population consisting of Bulgarians, Greeks and Turks; the principal Greek colonies are in Stanimaka, Kavakly and Philippopolis. The origin of the peculiar Shôp tribe which inhabits the mountain tracts of Sofia, Breznik and Radomir is a mystery. The Shôps are conceivably a remnant of the aboriginal race which remained undisturbed in its mountain home during the Slavonic and Bulgarian incursions: they cling with much tenacity to their distinctive customs, apparel and dialect. The considerable Vlach or Ruman colony in the Danubian districts dates from the 18th century, when large numbers of Walachian peasants sought a refuge on Turkish soil from the tyranny of the boyars or nobles: the department of Vidin alone contains 36 Ruman villages with a population of 30,550. Especially interesting is the race of nomad shepherds from the Macedonian and the Aegean coast who come in thousands every summer to pasture their flocks on the Bulgarian mountains; they are divided into two tribes—the Kutzovlachs, or “lame Vlachs,” who speak Rumanian, and the Hellenized Karakatchans or “black shepherds” (compare the Morlachs, or Mavro-vlachs, μαῦροι βλάχες, of Dalmatia), who speak Greek. The Tatars, a peaceable, industrious race, are chiefly found in the neighbourhood of Varna and Silistria; they were introduced as colonists by the Turkish government in 1861. They may be reckoned at 12,000. The gipsies, who are scattered in considerable numbers throughout the country, came into Bulgaria in the 14th century. They are for the most part Moslems, and retain their ancient Indian speech. They live in the utmost poverty, occupy separate cantonments in the villages, and are treated as outcasts by the rest of the population. The Bulgarians, being of mixed origin, possess few salient physical characteristics. The Slavonic type is far less pronounced than among the kindred races; the Ugrian or Finnish cast of features occasionally asserts itself in the central Balkans. The face is generally oval, the nose straight, the jaw somewhat heavy. The men, as a rule, are rather below middle height, compactly built, and, among the peasantry, very muscular; the women are generally deficient in beauty and rapidly grow old. The upper class, the so-called intelligenzia, is physically very inferior to the rural population.

National Character.—The character of the Bulgarians presents a singular contrast to that of the neighbouring nations. Less quick-witted than the Greeks, less prone to idealism than the Servians, less apt to assimilate the externals of civilization than the Rumanians, they possess in a remarkable degree the qualities of patience, perseverance and endurance, with the capacity for laborious effort peculiar to an agricultural race. The tenacity and determination with which they pursue their national aims may eventually enable them to vanquish their more brilliant competitors in the struggle for hegemony in the Peninsula. Unlike most southern races, the Bulgarians are reserved, taciturn, phlegmatic, unresponsive, and extremely suspicious of foreigners. The peasants are industrious, peaceable and orderly; the vendetta, as it exists in Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia, and the use of the knife in quarrels, so common in southern Europe, are alike unknown. The tranquillity of rural life has, unfortunately, been invaded by the intrigues of political agitators, and bloodshed is not uncommon at elections. All classes practise thrift bordering on parsimony, and any display of wealth is generally resented. The standard of sexual morality is high, especially in the rural districts; the unfaithful wife is an object of public contempt, and in former times was punished with death. Marriage ceremonies are elaborate and protracted, as is the case in most primitive communities; elopements are frequent, but usually take place with the consent of the parents on both sides, in order to avoid the expense of a regular wedding. The principal amusement on Sundays and holidays is the choró (χορός), which is danced on the village green to the strains of the gaida or bagpipe, and the gûsla, a rudimentary fiddle. The Bulgarians are religious in a simple way, but not fanatical, and the influence of the priesthood is limited. Many ancient superstitions linger among the peasantry, such as the belief in the vampire and the evil eye; witches and necromancers are numerous and are much consulted.

Government.—Bulgaria is a constitutional monarchy; by Art. iii. of the Berlin Treaty it was declared hereditary in the family of a prince “freely elected by the population and confirmed by the Sublime Porte with the assent of the powers.” According to the constitution of Trnovo, voted by the Assembly of Notables on the 29th of April 1879, revised by the Grand Sobranye on the 27th of May 1893, and modified by the proclamation of a Bulgarian kingdom on the 5th of October 1908, the royal dignity descends in the direct male line. The king must profess the Orthodox faith, only the first elected sovereign and his immediate heir being released from this obligation. The legislative power is vested in the king in conjunction with the [ 778 ] national assembly; he is supreme head of the army, supervises the executive power, and represents the country in its foreign relations. In case of a minority or an interregnum, a regency of three persons is appointed. The national representation is embodied in the Sobranye, or ordinary assembly (Bulgarian, Sŭbranïe, the Russian form Sobranye being usually employed by foreign writers), and the Grand Sobranye, which is convoked in extraordinary circumstances. The Sobranye is elected by manhood suffrage, in the proportion of 1 to 20,000 of the population, for a term of five years. Every Bulgarian citizen who can read and write and has completed his thirtieth year is eligible as a deputy. Annual sessions are held from the 27th of October to the 27th of December. All legislative and financial measures must first be discussed and voted by the Sobranye and then sanctioned and promulgated by the king. The government is responsible to the Sobranye, and the ministers, whether deputies or not, attend its sittings. The Grand Sobranye, which is elected in the proportion of 2 to every 20,000 inhabitants, is convoked to elect a new king, to appoint a regency, to sanction a change in the constitution, or to ratify an alteration in the boundaries of the kingdom. The executive is entrusted to a cabinet of eight members—the ministers of foreign affairs and religion, finance, justice, public works, the interior, commerce and agriculture, education and war. Local administration, which is organized on the Belgian model, is under the control of the minister of the interior. The country is divided into twenty-two departments (okrŭg, pl. okrŭzi), each administered by a prefect (uprávitel), assisted by a departmental council, and eighty-four sub-prefectures (okolía), each under a sub-prefect (okoliiski natchálnik). The number of these functionaries is excessive. The four principal towns have each in addition a prefect of police (gradonatchalnik) and one or more commissaries (pristav). The gendarmery numbers about 4000 men, or 1 to 825 of the inhabitants. The prefects and sub-prefects have replaced the Turkish mutessarifs and kaimakams; but the system of municipal government, left untouched by the Turks, descends from primitive times. Every commune (obshtina), urban or rural, has its kmet, or mayor, and council; the commune is bound to maintain its primary schools, a public library or reading-room, &c.; the kmet possesses certain magisterial powers, and in the rural districts he collects the taxes. Each village, as a rule, forms a separate commune, but occasionally two or more villages are grouped together.

Justice.—The civil and penal codes are, for the most part, based on the Ottoman law. While the principality formed a portion of the Turkish empire, the privileges of the capitulations were guaranteed to foreign subjects (Berlin Treaty, Art. viii.). The lowest civil and criminal court is that of the village kmet, whose jurisdiction is confined to the limits of the commune; no corresponding tribunal exists in the towns. Each sub-prefecture and town has a justice of the peace—in some cases two or more; the number of these officials is 130. Next follows the departmental tribunal or court of first instance, which is competent to pronounce sentences of death, penal servitude and deprivation of civil rights; in specified criminal cases the judges are aided by three assessors chosen by lot from an annually prepared panel of forty-eight persons. Three courts of appeal sit respectively at Sofia, Rustchuk and Philippopolis. The highest tribunal is the court of cassation, sitting at Sofia, and composed of a president, two vice-presidents and nine judges. There is also a high court of audit (vrkhovna smetna palata), similar to the French cour des comptes. The judges are poorly paid and are removable by the government. In regard to questions of marriage, divorce and inheritance the Greek, Mahommedan and Jewish communities enjoy their own spiritual jurisdiction.

Army and Navy.—The organization of the military forces of the principality was undertaken by Russian officers, who for a period of six years (1879–1885) occupied all the higher posts in the army. In Eastern Rumelia during the same period the “militia” was instructed by foreign officers; after the union it was merged in the Bulgarian army. The present organization is based on the law of the 1st of January 1904. The army consists of: (1) the active or field army (deïstvuyushta armia), divided into (i.) the active army, (ii.) the active army reserve; (2) the reserve army (reservna armia); (3) the opltchenïe or militia; the two former may operate outside the kingdom, the latter only within the frontier for purposes of defence. In time of peace the active army (i.) alone is on a permanent footing.

The peace strength in 1905 was 2500 officers, 48,200 men and 8000 horses, the active army being composed of 9 divisions of infantry, each of 4 regiments, 5 regiments of cavalry together with 12 squadrons attached to the infantry divisions, 9 regiments of artillery each of 3 groups of 3 batteries, together with 2 groups of mountain artillery, each of 3 batteries, and 3 battalions of siege artillery; 9 battalions of engineers with 1 railway and balloon section and 1 bridging section. At the same date the army was locally distributed in nine divisional areas with headquarters at Sofia, Philippopolis, Sliven, Shumla, Rustchuk, Vratza, Plevna, Stara-Zagora and Dupnitza, the divisional area being subdivided into four districts, from each of which one regiment of four battalions was recruited and completed with reservists. In case of mobilization each of the nine areas would furnish 20,106 men (16,000 infantry, 1200 artillery, 1000 engineers, 300 divisional cavalry and 1606 transport and hospital services, &c.). The war strength thus amounted to 180,954 of the active army and its reserve, exclusive of the five regiments of cavalry. In addition the 36 districts each furnished 3 battalions of the reserve army and one battalion of opltchenïe, or 144,000 infantry, which with the cavalry regiments (3000 men) and the reserves of artillery, engineers, divisional cavalry, &c. (about 10,000), would bring the grand total in time of war to about 338,000 officers and men with 18,000 horses. The men of the reserve battalions are drafted into the active army as occasion requires, but the militia serves as a separate force. Military service is obligatory, but Moslems may claim exemption on payment of £20; the age of recruitment in time of peace is nineteen, in time of war eighteen. Each conscript serves two years in the infantry and subsequently eight years in the active reserve, or three years in the other corps and six years in the active reserve; he is then liable to seven years' service in the reserve army and finally passes into the opltchenïe. The Bulgarian peasant makes an admirable soldier—courageous, obedient, persevering, and inured to hardship; the officers are painstaking and devoted to their duties. The active army and reserve, with the exception of the engineer regiments, are furnished with the .315" Mannlicher magazine rifle, the engineer and militia with the Berdan; the artillery in 1905 mainly consisted of 8.7- and 7.5-cm. Krupp guns (field) and 6.5 cm. Krupp (mountain), 12 cm. Krupp and 15 cm. Creuzot (Schneider) howitzers, 15 cm. Krupp and 12 cm. Creuzot siege guns, and 7.5 cm. Creuzot quick-firing guns; total of all description, 1154. Defensive works were constructed at various strategical points near the frontier and elsewhere, and at Varna and Burgas. The naval force consisted of a flotilla stationed at Rustchuk and Varna, where a canal connects Lake Devno with the sea. It was composed in 1905 of 1 prince’s yacht, 1 armoured cruiser, 3 gunboats, 3 torpedo boats and 10 other small vessels, with a complement of 107 officers and 1231 men.

Religion.—The Orthodox Bulgarian National Church claims to be an indivisible member of the Eastern Orthodox communion, and asserts historic continuity with the autocephalous Bulgarian church of the middle ages. It was, however, declared schismatic by the Greek patriarch of Constantinople in 1872, although differing in no point of doctrine from the Greek Church. The Exarch, or supreme head of the Bulgarian Church, resides at Constantinople; he enjoys the title of “Beatitude” (negovo Blazhenstvo), receives an annual subvention of about £6000 from the kingdom, and exercises jurisdiction over the Bulgarian hierarchy in all parts of the Ottoman empire. The exarch is elected by the Bulgarian episcopate, the Holy Synod, and a general assembly (obshti sbor), in which the laity is represented; their choice, before the declaration of Bulgarian independence, was subject to the sultan’s approval. The occupant of the dignity is titular metropolitan of a Bulgarian diocese. The organization of the church within the principality was regulated [ 779 ] by statute in 1883. There are eleven eparchies or dioceses in the country, each administered by a metropolitan with a diocesan council; one diocese has also a suffragan bishop. Church government is vested in the Holy Synod, consisting of four metropolitans, which assembles once a year. The laity take part in the election of metropolitans and parish priests, only the “black clergy,” or monks, being eligible for the episcopate. All ecclesiastical appointments are subject to the approval of the government. There are 2106 parishes (eporii) in the kingdom with 9 archimandrites, 1936 parish priests and 21 deacons, 78 monasteries with 184 monks, and 12 convents with 346 nuns. The celebrated monastery of Rila possesses a vast estate in the Rilska Planina; its abbot or hegumen owns no spiritual superior but the exarch. Ecclesiastical affairs are under the control of the minister of public worship; the clergy of all denominations are paid by the state, being free, however, to accept fees for baptisms, marriages, burials, the administering of oaths, &c. The census of January 1901 gives 3,019,999 persons of the Orthodox faith (including 66,635 Patriarchist Greeks), 643,300 Mahommedans, 33,663 Jews, 28,569 Catholics, 13,809 Gregorian Armenians, 4524 Protestants and 419 whose religion is not stated. The Greek Orthodox community has four metropolitans dependent on the patriarchate. The Mahommedan community is rapidly diminishing; it is organized under 16 muftis who with their assistants receive a subvention from the government. The Catholics, who have two bishops, are for the most part the descendants of the medieval Paulicians; they are especially numerous in the neighbourhood of Philippopolis and Sistova. The Armenians have one bishop. The Protestants are mostly Methodists; since 1857 Bulgaria has been a special field of activity for American Methodist missionaries, who have established an important school at Samakov. The Berlin Treaty (Art. V.) forbade religious disabilities in regard to the enjoyment of civil and political rights, and guaranteed the free exercise of all religions.

Education.—No educational system existed in many of the rural districts before 1878; the peasantry was sunk in ignorance, and the older generation remained totally illiterate. In the towns the schools were under the superintendence of the Greek clergy, and Greek was the language of instruction. The first Bulgarian school was opened at Gabrovo in 1835 by the patriots Aprilov and Neophyt Rilski. After the Crimean War, Bulgarian schools began to appear in the villages of the Balkans and the south-eastern districts. The children of the wealthier class were generally educated abroad. The American institution of Robert College on the Bosporus rendered an invaluable service to the newly created state by providing it with a number of well-educated young men fitted for positions of responsibility. In 1878, after the liberation of the country, there were 1658 schools in the towns and villages. Primary education was declared obligatory from the first, but the scarcity of properly qualified teachers and the lack of all requisites proved serious impediments to educational organization. The government has made great efforts and incurred heavy expenditure for the spread of education; the satisfactory results obtained are largely due to the keen desire for learning which exists among the people. The present educational system dates from 1891. Almost all the villages now possess “national” (narodni) primary schools, maintained by the communes with the aid of a state subvention and supervised by departmental and district inspectors. The state also assists a large number of Turkish primary schools. The penalties for non-attendance are not very rigidly enforced, and it has been found necessary to close the schools in the rural districts during the summer, the children being required for labour in the fields.

The age for primary instruction is six to ten years; in 1890, 47.01% of the boys and 16.11% of the girls attended the primary schools; in 1898, 85% of the boys and 40% of the girls. In 1904 there were 4344 primary schools, of which 3060 were “national,” or communal, and 1284 denominational (Turkish, Greek, Jewish, &c.), attended by 340,668 pupils, representing a proportion of 9.1 per hundred inhabitants. In addition to the primary schools, 40 infant schools for children of 3 to 6 years of age were attended by 2707 pupils. In 1888 only 327,766 persons, or 11% of the population, were literate; in 1893 the proportion rose to 19.88%; in 1901 to 23.9%.

In the system of secondary education the distinction between the classical and “real” or special course of study is maintained as in most European countries; in 1904 there were 175 secondary schools and 18 gymnasia (10 for boys and 8 for girls). In addition to these there are 6 technical and 3 agricultural schools; 5 of pedagogy, 1 theological, 1 commercial, 1 of forestry, 1 of design, 1 for surgeons' assistants, and a large military school at Sofia. Government aid is given to students of limited means, both for secondary education and the completion of their studies abroad. The university of Sofia, formerly known as the “high school,” was reorganized in 1904; it comprises 3 faculties (philology, mathematics and law), and possesses a staff of 17 professors and 25 lecturers. The number of students in 1905 was 943.


1 ^  Excess of births over deaths.


  • C.J. Jireček, Das Furstenthum Bulgarien (Prague, 1891), and Cesty po Bulharsku (Travels in Bulgaria), (Prague, 1888), both works of the first importance.
  • Léon Lamouche, La Bulgarie dans le passé et le présent (Paris, 1892).
  • Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg, Die Volkswirthschaftliche Entwicklung Bulgarians (Leipzig, 1891).
  • F. Kanitz, Donau-Bulgarien und der Balkan (Leipzig, 1882).
  • A.G. Drander, Événements politiques en Bulgarie (Paris, 1896).
  • and Le Prince Alexandre de Battenberg (Paris, 1884).
  • A. Strausz, Die Bulgaren (Leipzig, 1898).
  • A. Tuma, Die östliche Balkanhalbinsel (Vienna, 1886).
  • A. de Gubernatis, La Bulgarie et les Bulgares (Florence, 1899).
  • E. Blech, Consular Report on Bulgaria in 1889 (London, 1890).
  • La Bulgarie contemporaine (issued by the Bulgarian Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture), (Brussels, 1905).


  • F. Toula, Reisen und geologische Untersuchungen in Bulgarien (Vienna, 1890).
  • J. Cvijić, “Die Tektonik der Balkanhalbinsel,” in C.R. IX. Cong. géol. intern. de Vienne, pp. 348-370, with map, 1904.
  1. Excess of births over deaths.