Peace Theories and the Balkan War
Norman Angell

Part 1 out of 6

Produced by MBP and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.







The authors of this volume have not worked in conjunction. Widely
separated, engaged on other duties, and pressed for time, we have had no
opportunity for interchange of views. Each must be held responsible,
therefore, for his own section alone. If there be any discrepancies in our
writings (it is not unlikely in so disputed a field of history) we can
only regret an unfortunate result of the circumstances. Owing to rapid
change in the relations of our country to the several Balkan peoples, the
tone of a section written earlier may differ from that of another written
later. It may be well to state that the sections on Serbia and Bulgaria
were finished before the decisive Balkan developments of the past two
months. Those on Greece and Rumania represent only a little later stage of
the evolution. That on Turkey, compiled between one mission abroad and
another, was the latest to be finished.

If our sympathies are not all the same, or given equally to friends and
foes, none of us would find it possible to indite a Hymn of Hate about any
Balkan people. Every one of these peoples, on whatever side he be fighting
to-day, has a past worthy of more than our respect and interwoven in some
intimate way with our history. That any one of them is arrayed against us
to-day is not to be laid entirely or chiefly at its own door. They are all
fine peoples who have not obtained their proper places in the sun. The
best of the Osmanli nation, the Anatolian peasantry, has yet to make its
physical and moral qualities felt under civilized conditions. As for the
rest--the Serbs and the Bulgars, who have enjoyed brief moments of
barbaric glory in their past, have still to find themselves in that future
which shall be to the Slav. The Greeks, who were old when we were not as
yet, are younger now than we. They are as incalculable a factor in a
political forecast as another Chosen Race, the Jews. Their past is the
world's glory: the present in the Near East is theirs more than any
people's: the future--despite the laws of corporate being and decline,
dare we say they will have no part in it? Of Rumania what are we to think?
Her mixed people has had the start of the Balkan Slavs in modern
civilization, and evidently her boundaries must grow wider yet. But the
limits of her possible expansion are easier to set than those of the rest.

We hope we have dealt fairly with all these peoples. Mediaeval history,
whether of the East or the West, is mostly a record of bloodshedding and
cruelty; and the Middle Age has been prolonged to our own time in most
parts of the Balkans, and is not yet over in some parts. There are certain
things salutary to bear in mind when we think or speak of any part of that
country to-day. First, that less than two hundred years ago, England had
its highwaymen on all roads, and its smuggler dens and caravans, Scotland
its caterans, and Ireland its moonlighters. Second, that religious fervour
has rarely mitigated and generally increased our own savagery. Thirdly,
that our own policy in Balkan matters has been none too wise, especially
of late. In permitting the Treaty of Bucarest three years ago, we were
parties to making much of the trouble that has ensued, and will ensue
again. If we have not been able to write about the Near East under
existing circumstances altogether _sine ira et studio_, we have tried to
remember that each of its peoples has a case.


_November_, 1915.



1. Introductory
2. The Balkan Peninsula in Classical Times 400 B.C. - A.D. 500
3. The Arrival of the Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula, A.D. 500-650


4. The Arrival of the Bulgars in the Balkan Peninsula,
5. The Early Years of Bulgaria and the Introduction of
Christianity, 700-893
6. The Rise and Fall of the First Bulgarian Empire, 893-972
7. The Rise and Fall of 'Western Bulgaria' and the Greek
Supremacy, 963-1186
8. The Rise and Fall of the Second Bulgarian Empire, 1186-1258
9. The Serbian Supremacy and the Final Collapse, 1258-1393
10. The Turkish Dominion and the Emancipation, 1393-1878
11. The Aftermath, and Prince Alexander of Battenberg, 1878-86
12. The Regeneration under Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, 1886-1908
13. The Kingdom, 1908-13


14. The Serbs under Foreign Supremacy, 650-1168
15. The Rise and Fall of the Serbian Empire and the Extinction
of Serbian Independence, 1168-1496
16. The Turkish Dominion, 1496-1796
17. The Liberation of Serbia under Kara-George (1804-13) and
Milo[)s] Obrenovi['c] (1815-30): 1796-1830
18. The Throes of Regeneration: Independent Serbia, 1830-1903
19. Serbia, Montenegro, and the Serbo-Croats in Austria-Hungary,
20. Serbia and Montenegro, and the two Balkan Wars, 1908-13


1. From Ancient to Modern Greece
2. The Awakening of the Nation
3. The Consolidation of the State


1. Introduction
2. Formation of the Rumanian Nation
3. The Foundation and Development of the Rumanian Principalities
4. The Phanariote Rule
5. Modern Period to 1866
6. Contemporary Period: Internal Development
7. Contemporary Period: Foreign Affairs
8. Rumania and the Present War


1. Origin of the Osmanlis
2. Expansion of the Osmanli Kingdom
3. Heritage and Expansion of the Byzantine Empire
4. Shrinkage and Retreat
5. Revival
6. Relapse
7. Revolution
8. The Balkan War
9. The Future



The Balkan Peninsula: Ethnological
The Balkan Peninsula
The Ottoman Empire




The whole of what may be called the trunk or _massif_ of the Balkan
peninsula, bounded on the north by the rivers Save and Danube, on the west
by the Adriatic, on the east by the Black Sea, and on the south by a very
irregular line running from Antivari (on the coast of the Adriatic) and
the lake of Scutari in the west, through lakes Okhrida and Prespa (in
Macedonia) to the outskirts of Salonika and thence to Midia on the shores
of the Black Sea, following the coast of the Aegean Sea some miles inland,
is preponderatingly inhabited by Slavs. These Slavs are the Bulgarians in
the east and centre, the Serbs and Croats (or Serbians and Croatians or
Serbo-Croats) in the west, and the Slovenes in the extreme north-west,
between Trieste and the Save; these nationalities compose the southern
branch of the Slavonic race. The other inhabitants of the Balkan peninsula
are, to the south of the Slavs, the Albanians in the west, the Greeks in
the centre and south, and the Turks in the south-east, and, to the north,
the Rumanians. All four of these nationalities are to be found in varying
quantities within the limits of the Slav territory roughly outlined above,
but greater numbers of them are outside it; on the other hand, there are a
considerable number of Serbs living north of the rivers Save and Danube,
in southern Hungary. Details of the ethnic distribution and boundaries
will of course be gone into more fully later; meanwhile attention may be
called to the significant fact that the name of Macedonia, the heart of
the Balkan peninsula, has been long used by the French gastronomers to
denote a dish, the principal characteristic of which is that its component
parts are mixed up into quite inextricable confusion.

Of the three Slavonic nationalities already mentioned, the two first, the
Bulgarians and the Serbo-Croats, occupy a much greater space,
geographically and historically, than the third. The Slovenes, barely one
and a half million in number, inhabiting the Austrian provinces of
Carinthia and Carniola, have never been able to form a political state,
though, with the growth of Trieste as a great port and the persistent
efforts of Germany to make her influence if not her flag supreme on the
shores of the Adriatic, this small people has from its geographical
position and from its anti-German (and anti-Italian) attitude achieved
considerable notoriety and some importance.

Of the Bulgars and Serbs it may be said that at the present moment the
former control the eastern, and the latter, in alliance with the Greeks,
the western half of the peninsula. It has always been the ambition of each
of these three nationalities to dominate the whole, an ambition which has
caused endless waste of blood and money and untold misery. If the question
were to be settled purely on ethnical considerations, Bulgaria would
acquire the greater part of the interior of Macedonia, the most numerous
of the dozen nationalities of which is Bulgarian in sentiment if not in
origin, and would thus undoubtedly attain the hegemony of the peninsula,
while the centre of gravity of the Serbian nation would, as is ethnically
just, move north-westwards. Political considerations, however, have until
now always been against this solution of the difficulty, and, even if it
solved in this sense, there would still remain the problem of the Greek
nationality, whose distribution along all the coasts of the Aegean, both
European and Asiatic, makes a delimitation of the Greek state on purely
ethnical lines virtually impossible. It is curious that the Slavs, though
masters of the interior of the peninsula and of parts of its eastern and
western coasts, have never made the shores of the Aegean (the White Sea,
as they call it) or the cities on them their own. The Adriatic is the only
sea on the shore of which any Slavonic race has ever made its home. In
view of this difficulty, namely, the interior of the peninsula being
Slavonic while the coastal fringe is Greek, and of the approximately equal
numerical strength of all three nations, it is almost inevitable that the
ultimate solution of the problem and delimitation of political boundaries
will have to be effected by means of territorial compromise. It can only
be hoped that this ultimate compromise will be agreed upon by the three
countries concerned, and will be more equitable than that which was forced
on them by Rumania in 1913 and laid down in the Treaty of Bucarest of that

If no arrangement on a principle of give and take is made between them,
the road to the East, which from the point of view of the Germanic powers
lies through Serbia, will sooner or later inevitably be forced open, and
the independence, first of Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania, and later of
Bulgaria and Greece, will disappear, _de facto_ if not in appearance, and
both materially and morally they will become the slaves of the central
empires. If the Balkan League could be reconstituted, Germany and Austria
would never reach Salonika or Constantinople.


_The Balkan Peninsula in Classical Times_

400 B.C. - A.D. 500.

In the earlier historical times the whole of the eastern part of the
Balkan peninsula between the Danube and the Aegean was known as Thracia,
while the western part (north of the forty-first degree of latitude) was
termed Illyricum; the lower basin of the river Vardar (the classical
Axius) was called Macedonia. A number of the tribal and personal names of
the early Illyrians and Thracians have been preserved. Philip of Macedonia
subdued Thrace in the fourth century B.C. and in 342 founded the city of
Philippopolis. Alexander's first campaign was devoted to securing control
of the peninsula, but during the Third century B.C. Thrace was invaded
from the north and laid waste by the Celts, who had already visited
Illyria. The Celts vanished by the end of that century, leaving a few
place-names to mark their passage. The city of Belgrade was known until
the seventh century A.D. by its Celtic name of Singidunum. Naissus, the
modern Nish, is also possibly of Celtic origin. It was towards 230 B.C.
that Rome came into contact with Illyricum, owing to the piratical
proclivities of its inhabitants, but for a long time it only controlled
the Dalmatian coast, so called after the Delmati or Dalmati, an Illyrian
tribe. The reason for this was the formidable character of the mountains
of Illyria, which run in several parallel and almost unbroken lines the
whole length of the shore of the Adriatic and have always formed an
effective barrier to invasion from the west. The interior was only very
gradually subdued by the Romans after Macedonia had been occupied by them
in 146 B.C. Throughout the first century B.C. conflicts raged with varying
fortune between the invaders and all the native races living between the
Adriatic and the Danube. They were attacked both from Aquileia in the
north and from Macedonia in the south, but it was not till the early years
of our era that the Danube became the frontier of the Roman Empire.

In the year A.D. 6 Moesia, which included a large part of the modern
kingdom of Serbia and the northern half of that of Bulgaria between the
Danube and the Balkan range (the classical Haemus), became an imperial
province, and twenty years later Thrace, the country between the Balkan
range and the Aegean, was incorporated in the empire, and was made a
province by the Emperor Claudius in A.D. 46. The province of Illyricum or
Dalmatia stretched between the Save and the Adriatic, and Pannonia lay
between the Danube and the Save. In 107 A.D. the Emperor Trajan conquered
the Dacians beyond the lower Danube, and organized a province of Dacia out
of territory roughly equivalent to the modern Wallachia and Transylvania,
This trans-Danubian territory did not remain attached to the empire for
more than a hundred and fifty years; but within the river line a vast belt
of country, stretching from the head of the Adriatic to the mouths of the
Danube on the Black Sea, was Romanized through and through. The Emperor
Trajan has been called the Charlemagne of the Balkan peninsula; all
remains are attributed to him (he was nicknamed the Wallflower by
Constantine the Great), and his reign marked the zenith of Roman power in
this part of the world. The Balkan peninsula enjoyed the benefits of Roman
civilization for three centuries, from the first to the fourth, but from
the second century onwards the attitude of the Romans was defensive rather
than offensive. The war against the Marcomanni under the Emperor Marcus
Aurelius, in the second half of this century, was the turning-point. Rome
was still victorious, but no territory was added to the empire. The third
century saw the southward movement of the Germanic peoples, who took the
place of the Celts. The Goths invaded the peninsula, and in 251 the
Emperor Decius was killed in battle against them near Odessus on the Black
Sea (the modern Varna). The Goths reached the outskirts of Thessalonica
(Salonika), but were defeated by the Emperor Claudius at Naissus (Nish) in
269; shortly afterwards, however, the Emperor Aurelian had definitively to
relinquish Dacia to them. The Emperor Diocletian, a native of Dalmatia,
who reigned from 284 to 305, carried out a redistribution of the imperial
provinces. Pannonia and western Illyria, or Dalmatia, were assigned to the
prefecture of Italy, Thrace to that of the Orient, while the whole centre
of the peninsula, from the Danube to the Peloponnese, constituted the
prefecture of Illyria, with Thessalonica as capital. The territory to the
north of the Danube having been lost, what is now western Bulgaria was
renamed Dacia, while Moesia, the modern kingdom of Serbia, was made very
much smaller. Praevalis, or the southern part of Dalmatia, approximately
the modern Montenegro and Albania, was detached from that province and
added to the prefecture of Illyria. In this way the boundary between the
province of Dalmatia and the Balkan peninsula proper ran from near the
lake of Scutari in the south to the river Drinus (the modern Drina), whose
course it followed till the Save was reached in the north.

An event of far-reaching importance in the following century was the
elevation by Constantine the Great of the Greek colony of Byzantium into
the imperial city of Constantinople in 325. This century also witnessed
the arrival of the Huns in Europe from Asia. They overwhelmed the
Ostrogoths, between the Dnieper and the Dniester, in 375, and the
Visigoths, settled in Transylvania and the modern Rumania, moved
southwards in sympathy with this event. The Emperor Valens lost his life
fighting against these Goths in 378 at the great battle of Adrianople (a
city established in Thrace by the Emperor Hadrian in the second century).
His successor, the Emperor Theodosius, placated them with gifts and made
them guardians of the northern frontier, but at his death, in 395, they
overran and devastated the entire peninsula, after which they proceeded to
Italy. After the death of the Emperor Theodosius the empire was divided,
never to be joined into one whole again. The dividing line followed that,
already mentioned, which separated the prefecture of Italy from those of
Illyria and the Orient, that is to say, it began in the south, on the
shore of the Adriatic near the Bocche di Cattaro, and went due north along
the valley of the Drina till the confluence of that river with the Save.
It will be seen that this division had consequences which have lasted to
the present day. Generally speaking, the Western Empire was Latin in
language and character, while the Eastern was Greek, though owing to the
importance of the Danubian provinces to Rome from the military point of
view, and the lively intercourse maintained between them, Latin influence
in them was for a long time stronger than Greek. Its extent is proved by
the fact that the people of modern Rumania are partly, and their language
very largely, defended from those of the legions and colonies of the
Emperor Trajan.

Latin influence, shipping, colonization, and art were always supreme on
the eastern shores of the Adriatic, just as were those of Greece on the
shores of the Black Sea. The Albanians even, descendants of the ancient
Illyrians, were affected by the supremacy of the Latin language, from
which no less than a quarter of their own meagre vocabulary is derived;
though driven southwards by the Romans and northwards by the Greeks, they
have remained in their mountain fastnesses to this day, impervious to any
of the civilizations to which they have been exposed.

Christianity spread to the shores of the peninsula very early; Macedonia
and Dalmatia were the parts where it was first established, and it took
some time to penetrate into the interior. During the reign of Diocletian
numerous martyrs suffered for the faith in the Danubian provinces, but
with the accession of Constantine the Great persecution came to an end. As
soon, however, as the Christians were left alone, they started persecuting
each other, and during the fourth century the Arian controversy re-echoed
throughout the peninsula.

In the fifth century the Huns moved from the shores of the Black Sea to
the plains of the Danube and the Theiss; they devastated the Balkan
peninsula, in spite of the tribute which they had levied on Constantinople
in return for their promise of peace. After the death of Attila, in 453,
they again retreated to Asia, and during the second half of the century
the Goths were once more supreme in the peninsula. Theodoric occupied
Singidunum (Belgrade) in 471 and, after plundering Macedonia and Greece,
settled in Novae (the modern Svishtov), on the lower Danube, in 483, where
he remained till he transferred the sphere of his activities to Italy ten
years later. Towards the end of the fifth century Huns of various kinds
returned to the lower Danube and devastated the peninsula several times,
penetrating as far as Epirus and Thessaly.


_The Arrival of the Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula_, A.D. 500-650

The Balkan peninsula, which had been raised to a high level of security
and prosperity during the Roman dominion, gradually relapsed into
barbarism as a result of these endless invasions; the walled towns, such
as Salonika and Constantinople, were the only safe places, and the country
became waste and desolate. The process continued unabated throughout the
three following centuries, and one is driven to one of two conclusions,
either that these lands must have possessed very extraordinary powers of
recuperation to make it worth while for invaders to pillage them so
frequently, or, what is more probable, there can have been after some time
little left to plunder, and consequently the Byzantine historians'
accounts of enormous drives of prisoners and booty are much exaggerated.
It is impossible to count the number of times the tide of invasion and
devastation swept southwards over the unfortunate peninsula. The emperors
and their generals did what they could by means of defensive works on the
frontiers, of punitive expeditions, and of trying to set the various
hordes of barbarians at loggerheads with each other, but, as they had at
the same time to defend an empire which stretched from Armenia to Spain,
it is not surprising that they were not more successful. The growing
riches of Constantinople and Salonika had an irresistible attraction for
the wild men from the east and north, and unfortunately the Greek citizens
were more inclined to spend their energy in theological disputes and their
leisure in the circus than to devote either the one or the other to the
defence of their country. It was only by dint of paying them huge sums of
money that the invaders were kept away from the coast. The departure of
the Huns and the Goths had made the way for fresh series of unwelcome
visitors. In the sixth century the Slavs appear for the first time. From
their original homes which were immediately north of the Carpathians, in
Galicia and Poland, but may also have included parts of the modern
Hungary, they moved southwards and south-eastwards. They were presumably
in Dacia, north of the Danube, in the previous century, but they are first
mentioned as having crossed that river during the reign of the Emperor
Justin I (518-27). They were a loosely-knit congeries of tribes without
any single leader or central authority; some say they merely possessed the
instinct of anarchy, others that they were permeated with the ideals of
democracy. What is certain is that amongst them neither leadership nor
initiative was developed, and that they lacked both cohesion and
organisation. The Eastern Slavs, the ancestors of the Russians, were only
welded into anything approaching unity by the comparatively much smaller
number of Scandinavian (Varangian) adventurers who came and took charge of
their affairs at Kiev. Similarly the Southern Slavs were never of
themselves able to form a united community, conscious of its aim and
capable of persevering in its attainment.

The Slavs did not invade the Balkan peninsula alone but in the company of
the Avars, a terrible and justly dreaded nation, who, like the Huns, were
of Asiatic (Turkish or Mongol) origin. These invasions became more
frequent during the reign of the Emperor Justinian I (527-65), and
culminated in 559 in a great combined attack of all the invaders on
Constantinople under a certain Zabergan, which was brilliantly defeated by
the veteran Byzantine general Belisarius. The Avars were a nomad tribe,
and the horse was their natural means of locomotion. The Slavs, on the
other hand, moved about on foot, and seem to have been used as infantry by
the more masterful Asiatics in their warlike expeditions. Generally
speaking, the Avars, who must have been infinitely less numerous than the
Slavs, were settled in Hungary, where Attila and the Huns had been settled
a little more than a century previously; that is to say, they were north
of the Danube, though they were always overrunning into Upper Moesia, the
modern Serbia. The Slavs, whose numbers were without doubt very large,
gradually settled all over the country south of the Danube, the rural
parts of which, as a result of incessant invasion and retreat, had become
waste and empty. During the second half of the sixth century all the
military energies of Constantinople were diverted to Persia, so that the
invaders of the Balkan peninsula had the field very much to themselves. It
was during this time that the power of the Avars reached its height. They
were masters of all the country up to the walls of Adrianople and
Salonika, though they did not settle there. The peninsula seems to have
been colonized by Slavs, who penetrated right down into Greece; but the
Avars were throughout this time, both in politics and in war, the
directing and dominating force. During another Persian war, which broke
out in 622 and entailed the prolonged absence of the emperor from
Constantinople, the Avars, not satisfied with the tribute extorted from
the Greeks, made an alliance against them with the Persians, and in 626
collected a large army of Slavs and Asiatics and attacked Constantinople
both by land and sea from the European side, while the Persians threatened
it from Asia. But the walls of the city and the ships of the Greeks proved
invincible, and, quarrels breaking out between the Slavs and the Avars,
both had to save themselves in ignominious and precipitate retreat.

After this nothing more was heard of the Avars in the Balkan peninsula,
though their power was only finally crushed by Charlemagne in 799. In
Russia their downfall became proverbial, being crystallized in the saying,
'they perished like Avars'. The Slavs, on the other hand, remained.
Throughout these stormy times their penetration of the Balkan peninsula
had been peacefully if unostentatiously proceeding; by the middle of the
seventh century it was complete. The main streams of Slavonic immigration
moved southwards and westwards. The first covered the whole of the country
between the Danube and the Balkan range, overflowed into Macedonia, and
filtered down into Greece. Southern Thrace in the east and Albania in the
west were comparatively little affected, and in these districts the
indigenous population maintained itself. The coasts of the Aegean and the
great cities on or near them were too strongly held by the Greeks to be
affected, and those Slavs who penetrated into Greece itself were soon
absorbed by the local populations. The still stronger Slavonic stream,
which moved westwards and turned up north-westwards, overran the whole
country down to the shores of the Adriatic and as far as the sources of
the Save and Drave in the Alps. From that point in the west to the shores
of the Black Sea in the east became one solid mass of Slavs,
and has remained so ever since. The few Slavs who were left north of the
Danube in Dacia were gradually assimilated by the inhabitants of that
province, who were the descendants of the Roman soldiers and colonists,
and the ancestors of the modern Rumanians, but the fact that Slavonic
influence there was strong is shown by the large number of words of
Slavonic origin contained in the Rumanian language.


Place-names are a good index of the extent and strength of the tide of
Slav immigration. All along the coast, from the mouth of the Danube to the
head of the Adriatic, the Greek and Roman names have been retained though
places have often been given alternative names by the Slavonic settlers.
Thrace, especially the south-eastern part, and Albania have the fewest
Slavonic place-names. In Macedonia and Lower Moesia (Bulgaria) very few
classical names have survived, while in Upper Moesia (Serbia) and the
interior of Dalmatia (Bosnia, Hercegovina, and Montenegro) they have
entirely disappeared. The Slavs themselves, though their tribal names were
known, were until the ninth century usually called collectively S(k)lavini
([Greek: Sklabaenoi]) by the Greeks, and all the inland parts of the
peninsula were for long termed by them 'the S(k)lavonias' ([Greek:

During the seventh century, dating from the defeat of the Slavs and Avars
before the walls of Constantinople in 626 and the final triumph of the
emperor over the Persians in 628, the influence and power of the Greeks
began to reassert itself throughout the peninsula as far north as the
Danube; this process was coincident with the decline of the might of the
Avars. It was the custom of the astute Byzantine diplomacy to look on and
speak of lands which had been occupied by the various barbarian invaders
as grants made to them through the generosity of the emperor; by this
means, by dint also of lavishing titles and substantial incomes to the
invaders' chiefs, by making the most of their mutual jealousies, and also
by enlisting regiments of Slavonic mercenaries in the imperial armies, the
supremacy of Constantinople was regained far more effectively than it
could have been by the continual and exhausting use of force.



_The Arrival of the Bulgars in the Balkan Peninsula,_ 600-700

The progress of the Bulgars towards the Balkan peninsula, and indeed all
their movements until their final establishment there in the seventh
century, are involved in obscurity. They are first mentioned by name in
classical and Armenian sources in 482 as living in the steppes to the
north of the Black Sea amongst other Asiatic tribes, and it has been
assumed by some that at the end of the fifth and throughout the sixth
century they were associated first with the Huns and later with the Avars
and Slavs in the various incursions into and invasions of the eastern
empire which have already been enumerated. It is the tendency of Bulgarian
historians, who scornfully point to the fact that the history of Russia
only dates from the ninth century, to exaggerate the antiquity of their
own and to claim as early a date as possible for the authentic appearance
of their ancestors on the kaleidoscopic stage of the Balkan theatre. They
are also unwilling to admit that they were anticipated by the Slavs; they
prefer to think that the Slavs only insinuated themselves there thanks to
the energy of the Bulgars' offensive against the Greeks, and that as soon
as the Bulgars had leisure to look about them they found all the best
places already occupied by the anarchic Slavs.

Of course it is very difficult to say positively whether Bulgars were or
were not present in the welter of Asiatic nations which swept westwards
into Europe with little intermission throughout the fifth and sixth
centuries, but even if they were, they do not seem to have settled down as
early as that anywhere south of the Danube; it seems certain that they did
not do so until the seventh century, and therefore that the Slavs were
definitely installed in the Balkan peninsula a whole century before the
Bulgars crossed the Danube for good.

The Bulgars, like the Huns and the Avars who preceded them, and like the
Magyars and the Turks who followed them, were a tribe from eastern Asia,
of the stock known as Mongol or Tartar. The tendency of all these peoples
was to move westwards from Asia into Europe, and this they did at
considerable and irregular intervals, though in alarming and apparently
inexhaustible numbers, roughly from the fourth till the fourteenth
centuries. The distance was great, but the journey, thanks to the flat,
grassy, treeless, and well-watered character of the steppes of southern
Russia which they had to cross, was easy. They often halted for
considerable periods by the way, and some never moved further westwards
than Russia. Thus at one time the Bulgars settled in large numbers on the
Volga, near its confluence with the Kama, and it is presumed that they
were well established there in the fifth century. They formed a community
of considerable strength and importance, known as Great or White Bulgaria.
These Bulgars fused with later Tartar immigrants from Asia and eventually
were consolidated into the powerful kingdom of Kazan, which was only
crushed by the Tsar Ivan IV in 1552. According to Bulgarian historians,
the basins of the rivers Volga and Don and the steppes of eastern Russia
proved too confined a space for the legitimate development of Bulgarian
energy, and expansion to the west was decided on. A large number of
Bulgars therefore detached themselves and began to move south-westwards.
During the sixth century they seem to have been settled in the country to
the north of the Black Sea, forming a colony known as Black Bulgaria. It
is very doubtful whether the Bulgars did take part, as they are supposed
to have done, in the ambitious but unsuccessful attack on Constantinople
in 559 under Zabergan, chief of another Tartar tribe; but it is fairly
certain that they did in the equally formidable but equally unsuccessful
attacks by the Slavs and Avars against Salonika in 609 and Constantinople
in 626.

During the last quarter of the sixth and the first of the seventh century
the various branches of the Bulgar nation, stretching from the Volga to
the Danube, were consolidated and kept in control by their prince Kubrat,
who eventually fought on behalf of the Greeks against the Avars, and was
actually baptized in Constantinople. The power of the Bulgars grew as that
of the Avars declined, but at the death of Kubrat, in 638, his realm was
divided amongst his sons. One of these established himself in Pannonia,
where he joined forces with what was left of the Avars, and there the
Bulgars maintained themselves till they were obliterated by the irruption
of the Magyars in 893. Another son, Asparukh, or Isperikh, settled in
Bessarabia, between the rivers Prut and Dniester, in 640, and some years
later passed southwards. After desultory warfare with Constantinople, from
660 onwards, his successor finally overcame the Greeks, who were at that
time at war with the Arabs, captured Varna, and definitely established
himself between the Danube and the Balkan range in the year 679. From that
year the Danube ceased to be the frontier of the eastern empire.

The numbers of the Bulgars who settled south of the Danube are not known,
but what happened to them is notorious. The well-known process, by which
the Franks in Gaul were absorbed by the far more numerous indigenous
population which they had conquered, was repeated, and the Bulgars became
fused with the Slavs. So complete was the fusion, and so preponderating
the influence of the subject nationality, that beyond a few personal names
no traces of the language of the Bulgars have survived. Modern Bulgarian,
except for the Turkish words introduced into it later during the Ottoman
rule, is purely Slavonic. Not so the Bulgarian nationality; as is so often
the case with mongrel products, this race, compared with the Serbs, who
are purely Slav, has shown considerably greater virility, cohesion, and
driving-power, though it must be conceded that its problems have been
infinitely simpler.


_The Early Years of Bulgaria and the Introduction of Christianity_,

From the time of their establishment in the country to which they have
given their name the Bulgars became a thorn in the side of the Greeks, and
ever since both peoples have looked on one another as natural and
hereditary enemies. The Bulgars, like all the barbarians who had preceded
them, were fascinated by the honey-pot of Constantinople, and, though they
never succeeded in taking it, they never grew tired of making the attempt.

For two hundred years after the death of Asparukh, in 661, the Bulgars
were perpetually fighting either against the Greeks or else amongst
themselves. At times a diversion was caused by the Bulgars taking the part
of the Greeks, as in 718, when they 'delivered' Constantinople, at the
invocation of the Emperor Leo, from the Arabs, who were besieging it. From
about this time the Bulgarian monarchy, which had been hereditary, became
elective, and the anarchy of the many, which the Bulgars found when they
arrived, and which their first few autocratic rulers had been able to
control, was replaced by an anarchy of the few. Prince succeeded prince,
war followed war, at the will of the feudal nobles. This internal strife
was naturally profitable to the Greeks, who lavishly subsidized the rival

At the end of the eighth century the Bulgars south of the Danube joined
forces with those to the north in the efforts of the latter against the
Avars, who, beaten by Charlemagne, were again pressing south-eastwards
towards the Danube. In this the Bulgars were completely successful under
the leadership of one Krum, whom, in the elation of victory, they promptly
elected to the throne. Krum was a far more capable ruler than they had
bargained for, and he not only united all the Bulgars north and south of
the Danube into one dominion, but also forcibly repressed the whims of the
nobles and re-established the autocracy and the hereditary monarchy.
Having finished with his enemies in the north, he turned his attention to
the Greeks, with no less success. In 809 he captured from them the
important city of Sofia (the Roman Sardica, known to the Slavs as
Sredets), which is to-day the capital of Bulgaria. The loss of this city
was a blow to the Greeks, because it was a great centre of commerce and
also the point at which the commercial and strategic highways of the
peninsula met and crossed. The Emperor Nikiphoros, who wished to take his
revenge and recover his lost property, was totally defeated by the Bulgars
and lost his life in the Balkan passes in 811. After further victories, at
Mesembria (the modern Misivria) in 812 and Adrianople in 813, Krum
appeared before the capital, where he nearly lost his life in an ambush
while negotiating for peace. During preparations for a final assault on
Constantinople he died suddenly in 815. Though Krum cannot be said to have
introduced civilisation into Bulgaria, he at any rate increased its power
and gave it some of the more essential organs of government. He framed a
code of laws remarkable for their rigour, which was undoubtedly necessary
in such a community and beneficial in its effect. He repressed civil
strife, and by this means made possible the reawakening of commerce and
agriculture. His successor, of uncertain identity, founded in 822 the city
of Preslav (known to the Russians as Pereyaslav), situated in eastern
Bulgaria, between Varna and Silistria, which was the capital until 972.

The reign of Prince Boris (852-88) is remarkable because it witnessed the
definitive conversion to Christianity of Bulgaria and her ruler. It is
within this period also that fell the activities of the two great
'Slavonic' missionaries and apostles, the brothers Cyril and Methodius,
who are looked upon by all Slavs of the orthodox faith as the founders of
their civilisation. Christianity had of course penetrated into Bulgaria
(or Moesia, as it was then) long before the arrival of the Slavs and
Bulgars, but the influx of one horde of barbarians after another was
naturally not propitious to its growth. The conversion of Boris in 865,
which was brought about largely by the influence of his sister, who had
spent many years in Constantinople as a captive, was a triumph for Greek
influence and for Byzantium. Though the Church was at this time still
nominally one, yet the rivalry between Rome and Constantinople had already
become acute, and the struggle for spheres of spiritual influence had
begun. It was in the year 863 that the Prince of Moravia, anxious to
introduce Christianity into his country in a form intelligible to his
subjects, addressed himself to the Emperor Michael III for help. Rome
could not provide any suitable missionaries with knowledge of Slavonic
languages, and the German, or more exactly the Bavarian, hierarchy with
which Rome entrusted the spiritual welfare of the Slavs of Moravia and
Pannonia used its greater local knowledge for political and not religious
ends. The Germans exploited their ecclesiastical influence in order
completely to dominate the Slavs politically, and as a result the latter
were only allowed to see the Church through Teutonic glasses.

In answer to this appeal the emperor sent the two brothers Cyril and
Methodius, who were Greeks of Salonika and had considerable knowledge of
Slavonic languages. They composed the Slavonic alphabet which is to-day
used throughout Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro, and in many
parts of Austria-Hungary and translated the gospels into Slavonic; it is
for this reason that they are regarded with such veneration by all members
of the Eastern Church. Their mission proved the greatest success (it must
be remembered that at this time the various Slavonic tongues were probably
less dissimilar than they are now), and the two brothers were warmly
welcomed in Rome by Pope Adrian II, who formally consented to the use, for
the benefit of the Slavs, of the Slavonic liturgy (a remarkable
concession, confirmed by Pope John VIII). This triumph, however, was
short-lived; St. Cyril died in 869 and St. Methodius in 885; subsequent
Popes, notably Stephen V, were not so benevolent to the Slavonic cause;
the machinations of the German hierarchy (which included, even in those
days, the falsification of documents) were irresistible, and finally the
invasion of the Magyars, in 893, destroyed what was left of the Slavonic
Church in Moravia. The missionary brothers had probably passed through
Bulgaria on their way north in 863, but without halting. Many of their
disciples, driven from the Moravian kingdom by the Germans, came south and
took refuge in Bulgaria in 886, and there carried on in more favourable
circumstances the teachings of their masters. Prince Boris had found it
easier to adopt Christianity himself than to induce all his subjects to do
the same. Even when he had enforced his will on them at the price of
numerous executions of recalcitrant nobles, he found himself only at the
beginning of his difficulties. The Greeks had been glad enough to welcome
Bulgaria into the fold, but they had no wish to set up an independent
Church and hierarchy to rival their own. Boris, on the other hand, though
no doubt full of genuine spiritual ardour, was above all impressed with
the authority and prestige which the basileus derived from the Church of
Constantinople; he also admired the pomp of ecclesiastical ceremony, and
wished to have a patriarch of his own to crown him and a hierarchy of his
own to serve him. Finding the Greeks unresponsive, he turned to Rome, and
Pope Nicholas I sent him two bishops to superintend the ecclesiastical
affairs of Bulgaria till the investiture of Boris at the hands of the Holy
See could be arranged. These bishops set to work with a will, substituted
the Latin for the Greek rite, and brought Bulgaria completely under Roman
influence. But when it was discovered that Boris was aiming at the
erection of an independent Church their enthusiasm abated and they were
recalled to Rome in 867.

Adrian II proved no more sympathetic, and in 870, during the reign of the
Emperor Basil I, it was decided without more ado that the Bulgarian Church
should be directly under the Bishop of Constantinople, on the ground that
the kingdom of Boris was a vassal-state of the basileus, and that from the
Byzantine point of view, as opposed to that of Rome, the State came first
and the Church next. The Moravian Gorazd, a disciple of Methodius, was
appointed Metropolitan, and at his death he was succeeded by his fellow
countryman and co-disciple Clement, who by means of the construction of
numerous churches and monasteries did a great deal for the propagation of
light and learning in Bulgaria. The definite subjection of the Bulgarian
Church to that of Byzantium was an important and far-reaching event. Boris
has been reproached with submitting himself and his country to Greek
influence, but in those days it was either Constantinople or Rome (there
was no third way); and in view of the proximity of Constantinople and the
glamour which its civilization cast all over the Balkans, it is not
surprising that the Greeks carried the day.


_The Rise and Fall of the First Bulgarian Empire_, 893-972

During the reign of Simeon, second son of Boris, which lasted from 893 to
927, Bulgaria reached a very high level of power and prosperity. Simeon,
called the Great, is looked on by Bulgarians as their most capable monarch
and his reign as the most brilliant period of their history. He had spent
his childhood at Constantinople and been educated there, and he became
such an admirer of Greek civilization that he was nicknamed _Hemiargos_.
His instructors had done their work so well that Simeon remained
spellbound by the glamour of Constantinople throughout his life, and,
although he might have laid the foundations of a solid empire in the
Balkans, his one ambition was to conquer Byzantium and to be recognized as
basileus--an ambition which was not to be fulfilled. His first campaign
against the Greeks was not very fruitful, because the latter summoned the
Magyars, already settled in Hungary, to their aid and they attacked Simeon
from the north. Simeon in return called the Pechenegs, another fierce
Tartar tribe, to his aid, but this merely resulted in their definite
establishment in Rumania. During the twenty years of peace, which strange
to say filled the middle of his reign (894-913), the internal development
of Bulgaria made great strides. The administration was properly organized,
commerce was encouraged, and agriculture flourished. In the wars against
the Greeks which occupied his last years he was more successful, and
inflicted a severe defeat on them at Anchialo (the modern Ahiolu) in 917;
but he was still unable to get from them what he wanted, and at last, in
921, he was obliged to proclaim himself _basileus_ and _autocrat[=o]r_ of
all Bulgars and Greeks, a title which nobody else recognized. He
reappeared before Constantinople the same year, but effected nothing more
than the customary devastation of the suburbs. The year 923 witnessed a
solemn reconciliation between Rome and Constantinople; the Greeks were
clever enough to prevent the Roman legates visiting Bulgaria on their
return journey, and thereby administered a rebuff to Simeon, who was
anxious to see them and enter into direct relations with Rome. In the same
year Simeon tried to make an alliance with the Arabs, but the ambassadors
of the latter were intercepted by the Greeks, who made it worth their
while not to continue the journey to Bulgaria.

In 924 Simeon determined on a supreme effort against Constantinople and as
a preliminary he ravaged Macedonia and Thrace. When, however, he arrived
before the city the walls and the catapults made him hesitate, and he
entered into negotiations, which, as usual, petered out and brought him no
adequate reward for all his hopes and preparations. In the west his arms
were more successful, and he subjected most of the eastern part of Serbia
to his rule. From all this it can be seen that he was no diplomat, though
not lacking in enterprise and ambition. The fact was that while he made
his kingdom too powerful for the Greeks to subdue (indeed they were
compelled to pay him tribute), yet Constantinople with its impregnable
walls, well-organized army, powerful fleet, and cunning and experienced
statesmen, was too hard a nut for him to crack.

Simeon extended the boundaries of his country considerably, and his
dominion included most of the interior of the Balkan peninsula south of
the Danube and east of the rivers Morava and Ibar in Serbia and of the
Drin in Albania. The Byzantine Church greatly increased its influence in
Bulgaria during his reign, and works of theology grew like mushrooms. This
was the only kind of literature that was ever popular in Bulgaria, and
although it is usual to throw contempt on the literary achievements of
Constantinople, we should know but little of Bulgaria were it not for the
Greek historians.

Simeon died in 927, and his son Peter, who succeeded him, was a lover of
peace and comfort; he married a Byzantine princess, and during his reign
(927-69) Greek influence grew ever stronger, in spite of several revolts
on the part of the Bulgar nobles, while the capital Preslav became a
miniature Constantinople. In 927 Rome recognized the kingdom and
patriarchate of Bulgaria, and Peter was duly crowned by the Papal legate.
This was viewed with disfavour by the Greeks, and they still called Peter
only _arch[=o]n_ or prince (_knyaz_ in Bulgarian), which was the utmost
title allowed to any foreign sovereign. It was not until 945 that they
recognized Peter as _basileus_, the unique title possessed by their own
emperors and till then never granted to any one else. Peter's reign was
one of misfortune for his country both at home and abroad. In 931 the
Serbs broke loose under their leader [)C]aslav, whom Simeon had captured
but who effected his escape, and asserted their independence. In 963 a
formidable revolt under one Shishman undermined the whole state fabric. He
managed to subtract Macedonia and all western Bulgaria, including Sofia
and Vidin, from Peter's rule, and proclaimed himself independent _tsar
(tsar_ or _caesar_ was a title often accorded by Byzantium to relatives of
the emperor or to distinguished men of Greek or other nationality, and
though it was originally the equivalent of the highest title, it had long
since ceased to be so: the emperor's designations were _basileus_ and
_autocrat[=o]r_). From this time there were two Bulgarias--eastern and
western. The eastern half was now little more than a Byzantine province,
and the western became the centre of national life and the focus of
national aspirations.

Another factor which militated against the internal progress of Bulgaria
was the spread of the Bogomil heresy in the tenth century. This remarkable
doctrine, founded on the dualism of the Paulicians, who had become an
important political force in the eastern empire, was preached in the
Balkan peninsula by one Jeremiah Bogomil, for the rest a man of uncertain
identity, who made Philippopolis the centre of his activity. Its principal
features were of a negative character, and consequently it was very
difficult successfully to apply force against them. The Bogomils
recognized the authority neither of Church nor of State; the validity
neither of oaths nor of human laws. They refused to pay taxes, to fight,
or to obey; they sanctioned theft, but looked upon any kind of punishment
as unjustifiable; they discountenanced marriage and were strict
vegetarians. Naturally a heresy so alarming in its individualism shook to
its foundations the not very firmly established Bulgarian society.
Nevertheless it spread with rapidity in spite of all persecutions, and its
popularity amongst the Bulgarians, and indeed amongst all the Slavs of the
peninsula, is without doubt partly explained by political reasons. The
hierarchy of the Greek Church, which supported the ruling classes of the
country and lent them authority at the same time that it increased its
own, was antipathetic to the Slavs, and the Bogomil heresy drew much
strength from its nationalistic colouring and from the appeal which it
made to the character of the Balkan Slavs, who have always been intolerant
of government by the Church. But neither the civil nor the ecclesiastical
authorities were able to cope with the problem; indeed they were apt to
minimize its importance, and the heresy was never eradicated till the
arrival on the scene of Islam, which proved as attractive to the
schismatics as the well-regulated Orthodox Church had been the reverse.

The third quarter of the tenth century witnessed a great recrudescence of
the power of Constantinople under the Emperor Nikiphoros Phokas, who
wrested Cyprus and Crete from the Arabs and inaugurated an era of
prosperity for the eastern empire, giving it a new lease of vigorous and
combative life. Wishing to reassert the Greek supremacy in the Balkan
peninsula his first act was to refuse any further payment of tribute to
the Bulgarians as from 966; his next was to initiate a campaign against
them, but in order to make his own success in this enterprise less costly
and more assured he secured the co-operation of the Russians under
Svyatoslav, Prince of Kiev; this potentate's mother Olga had visited
Constantinople in 957 and been baptized (though her son and the bulk of
the population were still ardent heathens), and commercial intercourse
between Russia and Constantinople by means of the Dnieper and the Black
Sea was at that time lively. Svyatoslav did not want pressing, and
arriving with an army of 10,000 men in boats, overcame northern Bulgaria
in a few days (967); they were helped by Shishman and the western Bulgars,
who did not mind at what price Peter and the eastern Bulgars were crushed.
Svyatoslav was recalled to Russia in 968 to defend his home from attacks
by the Tartar Pechenegs, but that done, he made up his mind to return to
Bulgaria, lured by its riches and by the hope of the eventual possession
of Constantinople.

The Emperor Nikiphoros was by now aware of the danger he had imprudently
conjured up, and made a futile alliance with eastern Bulgaria; but in
January 969 Peter of Bulgaria died, and in December of the same year
Nikiphoros was murdered by the ambitious Armenian John Tzimisces,[1] who
thereupon became emperor. Svyatoslav, seeing the field clear of his
enemies, returned in 970, and in March of that year sacked and occupied
Philippopolis. The Emperor John Tzimisces, who was even abler both as
general and as diplomat than his predecessor, quietly pushed forward his
warlike preparations, and did not meet the Russians till the autumn, when
he completely defeated them at Arcadiopolis (the modern Lule-Burgas). The
Russians retired north of the Balkan range, but the Greeks followed them.
John Tzimisces besieged them in the capital Preslav, which he stormed,
massacring many of the garrison, in April 972. Svyatoslav and his
remaining troops escaped to Silistria (the Durostorum of Trajan) on the
Danube, where again, however, they were besieged and defeated by the
indefatigable emperor. At last peace was made in July 972, the Russians
being allowed to go free on condition of the complete evacuation of
Bulgaria and a gift of corn; the adventurous Svyatoslav lost his life at
the hands of the Pechenegs while making his way back to Kiev. The triumph
of the Greeks was complete, and it can be imagined that there was not much
left of the earthenware Bulgaria after the violent collision of these two
mighty iron vessels on the top of it. Eastern Bulgaria (i.e. Moesia and
Thrace) ceased to exist, becoming a purely Greek province; John Tzimisces
made his triumphal entry into Constantinople, followed by the two sons of
Peter of Bulgaria on foot; the elder was deprived of his regal attributes
and created _magistros_, the younger was made a eunuch.

[Footnote 1: John the Little.]


_The Rise and Fall of 'Western Bulgaria' and the Greek Supremacy_,

Meanwhile western Bulgaria had not been touched, and it was thither that
the Bulgarian patriarch Damian removed from Silistria after the victory of
the Greeks, settling first in Sofia and then in Okhrida in Macedonia,
where the apostate Shishman had eventually made his capital. Western
Bulgaria included Macedonia and parts of Thessaly, Albania, southern and
eastern Serbia, and the westernmost parts of modern Bulgaria. It was from
this district that numerous anti-Hellenic revolts were directed after the
death of the Emperor John Tzimisces in 976. These culminated during the
reign of Samuel (977-1014), one of the sons of Shishman. He was as capable
and energetic, as unscrupulous and inhuman, as the situation he was called
upon to fill demanded. He began by assassinating all his relations and
nobles who resented his desire to re-establish the absolute monarchy, was
recognized as _tsar_ by the Holy See of Rome in 981, and then began to
fight the Greeks, the only possible occupation for any self-respecting
Bulgarian ruler. The emperor at that time was Basil II (976-1025), who was
brave and patriotic but young and inexperienced. In his early campaigns
Samuel carried all before him; he reconquered northern Bulgaria in 985,
Thessaly in 986, and defeated Basil II near Sofia the same year. Later he
conquered Albania and the southern parts of Serbia and what is now
Montenegro and Hercegovina. In 996 he threatened Salonika, but first of
all embarked on an expedition against the Peloponnese; here he was
followed by the Greek general, who managed to surprise and completely
overwhelm him, he and his son barely escaping with their lives.

From that year (996) his fortune changed; the Greeks reoccupied northern
Bulgaria, in 999, and also recovered Thessaly and parts of Macedonia. The
Bulgars were subjected to almost annual attacks on the part of Basil II;
the country was ruined and could not long hold out. The final disaster
occurred in 1014, when Basil II utterly defeated his inveterate foe in a
pass near Seres in Macedonia. Samuel escaped to Prilip, but when he beheld
the return of 15,000 of his troops who had been captured and blinded by
the Greeks he died of syncope. Basil II, known as Bulgaroctonus, or
Bulgar-killer, went from victory to victory, and finally occupied the
Bulgarian capital of Okhrida in 1016. Western Bulgaria came to an end, as
had eastern Bulgaria in 972, the remaining members of the royal family
followed the emperor to the Bosphorus to enjoy comfortable captivity, and
the triumph of Constantinople was complete.

From 1018 to 1186 Bulgaria had no existence as an independent state; Basil
II, although cruel, was far from tyrannical in his general treatment of
the Bulgars, and treated the conquered territory more as a protectorate
than as a possession. But after his death Greek rule became much more
oppressive. The Bulgarian patriarchate (since 972 established at Okhrida)
was reduced to an archbishopric, and in 1025 the see was given to a Greek,
who lost no time in eliminating the Bulgarian element from positions of
importance throughout his diocese. Many of the nobles were transplanted to
Constantinople, where their opposition was numbed by the bestowal of
honours. During the eleventh century the peninsula was invaded frequently
by the Tartar Pechenegs and Kumans, whose aid was invoked both by Greeks
and Bulgars; the result of these incursions was not always favourable to
those who had promoted them; the barbarians invariably stayed longer and
did more damage than had been bargained for, and usually left some of
their number behind as unwelcome settlers.

In this way the ethnological map of the Balkan peninsula became ever more
variegated. To the Tartar settlers were added colonies of Armenians and
Vlakhs by various emperors. The last touch was given by the arrival of the
Normans in 1081 and the passage of the crusaders in 1096. The wholesale
depredations of the latter naturally made the inhabitants of the Balkan
peninsula anything but sympathetically disposed towards their cause. One
of the results of all this turmoil and of the heavy hand of the Greeks was
a great increase in the vitality of the Bogomil heresy already referred to;
it became a refuge for patriotism and an outlet for its expression. The
Emperor Alexis Comnenus instituted a bitter persecution of it, which only
led to its growth and rapid propagation westwards into Serbia from its
centre Philippopolis.

The reason of the complete overthrow of the Bulgarian monarchy by the
Greeks was of course that the nation itself was totally lacking in
cohesion and organization, and could only achieve any lasting success when
an exceptionally gifted ruler managed to discount the centrifugal
tendencies of the feudal nobles, as Simeon and Samuel had done. Other
discouraging factors wore the permeation of the Church and State by
Byzantine influence, the lack of a large standing army, the spread of the
anarchic Bogomil heresy, and the fact that the bulk of the Slav population
had no desire for foreign adventure or national aggrandizement.


_The Rise and Fall of the Second Bulgarian Empire,_ 1186-1258

From 1186 to 1258 Bulgaria experienced temporary resuscitation, the
brevity of which was more than compensated for by the stirring nature of
the events that crowded it. The exactions and oppressions of the Greeks
culminated in a revolt on the part of the Bulgars, which had its centre in
Tirnovo on the river Yantra in northern Bulgaria--a position of great
natural strength and strategic importance, commanding the outlets of
several of the most important passes over the Balkan range. This revolt
coincided with the growing weakness of the eastern empire, which,
surrounded on all sides by aggressive enemies--Kumans, Saracens, Turks,
and Normans--was sickening for one of the severe illnesses which preceded
its dissolution. The revolt was headed by two brothers who were Vlakh or
Rumanian shepherds, and was blessed by the archbishop Basil, who crowned
one of them, called John Asen, as _tsar_ in Tirnovo in 1186. Their first
efforts against the Greeks were not successful, but securing the support
of the Serbs under Stephen Nemanja in 1188 and of the Crusaders in 1189
they became more so; but there was life in the Greeks yet, and victory
alternated with defeat. John Asen I was assassinated in 1196 and was
succeeded after many internal discords and murders by his relative Kaloian
or Pretty John. This cruel and unscrupulous though determined ruler soon
made an end of all his enemies at home, and in eight years achieved such
success abroad that Bulgaria almost regained its former proportions.
Moreover, he re-established relations with Rome, to the great discomfiture
of the Greeks, and after some negotiations Pope Innocent III recognized
Kaloian as _tsar_ of the Bulgars and Vlakhs (roi de Blaquie et de Bougrie,
in the words of Villehardouin), with Basil as primate, and they were both
duly consecrated and crowned by the papal legate at Tirnovo in 1204. The
French, who had just established themselves in Constantinople during the
fourth crusade, imprudently made an enemy of Kaloian instead of a friend,
and with the aid of the Tartar Kumans he defeated them several times,
capturing and brutally murdering Baldwin I. But in 1207 his career was cut
short; he was murdered while besieging Salonika by one of his generals who
was a friend of his wife. After eleven years of further anarchy he was
succeeded by John Asen II. During the reign of this monarch, which lasted
from 1218 till 1241, Bulgaria reached the zenith of its power. He was the
most enlightened ruler the country had had, and he not only waged war
successfully abroad but also put an end to the internal confusion,
restored the possibility of carrying on agriculture and commerce, and
encouraged the foundation of numerous schools and monasteries. He
maintained the tradition of his family by making his capital at Tirnovo,
which city he considerably embellished and enlarged.

Constantinople at this time boasted three Greek emperors and one French.
The first act of John Asen II was to get rid of one of them, named
Theodore, who had proclaimed himself _basileus_ at Okhrida in 1223.
Thereupon he annexed the whole of Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Epirus
to his dominions, and made Theodore's brother Manuel, who had married one
of his daughters, viceroy, established at Salonika. Another of his
daughters had married Stephen Vladislav, who was King of Serbia from
1233-43, and a third married Theodore, son of the Emperor John III, who
reigned at Nicaea, in 1235. This daughter, after being sought in marriage
by the French barons at Constantinople as a wife for the Emperor Baldwin
II, a minor, was then summarily rejected in favour of the daughter of the
King of Jerusalem; this affront rankled in the mind of John Asen II and
threw him into the arms of the Greeks, with whom he concluded an alliance
in 1234. John Asen II and his ally, the Emperor John III, were, however,
utterly defeated by the French under the walls of Constantinople in 1236,
and the Bulgarian ruler, who had no wish to see the Greeks re-established
there, began to doubt the wisdom of his alliance. Other Bulgarian tsars
had been unscrupulous, but the whole foreign policy of this one pivoted on
treachery. He deserted the Greeks and made an alliance with the French in
1237, the Pope Gregory IX, a great Hellenophobe, having threatened him
with excommunication; he went so far as to force his daughter to
relinquish her Greek husband. The following year, however, he again
changed over to the Greeks; then again fear of the Pope and of his
brother-in-law the King of Hungary brought him back to the side of Baldwin
II, to whose help against the Greeks he went with a large army into Thrace
in 1239. While besieging the Greeks with indifferent success, he learned
of the death of his wife and his eldest son from plague, and incontinently
returned to Tirnovo, giving up the war and restoring his daughter to her
lonely husband. This adaptable monarch died a natural death in 1241, and
the three rulers of his family who succeeded him, whose reigns filled the
period 1241-58, managed to undo all the constructive work of their
immediate predecessors. Province after province was lost and internal
anarchy increased. This remarkable dynasty came to an inglorious end in
1258, when its last representative was murdered by his own nobles, and
from this time onwards Bulgaria was only a shadow of its former self.


_The Serbian Supremacy and the Final Collapse,_ 1258-1393

From 1258 onwards Bulgaria may be said to have continued flickering until
its final extinction as a state in 1393, but during this period it never
had any voice in controlling the destinies of the Balkan peninsula. Owing
to the fact that no ruler emerged capable of keeping the distracted
country in order, there was a regular _chasse-croise_ of rival princelets,
an unceasing tale of political marriages and murders, conspiracies and
revolts of feudal nobles all over the country, and perpetual ebb and flow
of the boundaries of the warring principalities which tore the fabric of
Bulgaria to pieces amongst them. From the point of view of foreign
politics this period is characterized generally by the virtual
disappearance of Bulgarian independence to the profit of the surrounding
states, who enjoyed a sort of rotativist supremacy. It is especially
remarkable for the complete ascendancy which Serbia gained in the Balkan

A Serb, Constantine, grandson of Stephen Nemanja, occupied the Bulgarian
throne from 1258 to 1277, and married the granddaughter of John Asen II.
After the fall of the Latin Empire of Constantinople in 1261, the
Hungarians, already masters of Transylvania, combined with the Greeks
against Constantine; the latter called the Tartars of southern Russia, at
this time at the height of their power, to his help and was victorious,
but as a result of his diplomacy the Tartars henceforward played an
important part in the Bulgarian welter. Then Constantine married, as his
second wife, the daughter of the Greek emperor, and thus again gave
Constantinople a voice in his country's affairs. Constantine was followed
by a series of upstart rulers, whose activities were cut short by the
victories of King Uro[)s] II of Serbia (1282-1321), who conquered all
Macedonia and wrested it from the Bulgars. In 1285 the Tartars of the
Golden Horde swept over Hungary and Bulgaria, but it was from the south
that the clouds were rolling up which not much later were to burst over
the peninsula. In 1308 the Turks appeared on the Sea of Marmora, and in
1326 established themselves at Brussa. From 1295 to 1322 Bulgaria was
presided over by a nobleman of Vidin, Svetoslav, who, unmolested by the
Greeks, grown thoughtful in view of the approach of the Turks, was able to
maintain rather more order than his subjects were accustomed to. After his
death in 1322 chaos again supervened. One of his successors had married
the daughter of Uro[)s] II of Serbia, but suddenly made an alliance with
the Greeks against his brother-in-law Stephen Uro[)s] III and dispatched
his wife to her home. During the war which ensued the unwonted allies were
utterly routed by the Serbs at Kustendil in Macedonia in 1330.

From 1331 to 1365 Bulgaria was under one John Alexander, a noble of Tartar
origin, whose sister became the wife of Serbia's greatest ruler, Stephen
Du[)s]an; John Alexander, moreover, recognized Stephen as his suzerain,
and from thenceforward Bulgaria was a vassal-state of Serbia. Meanwhile
the Turkish storm was gathering fast; Suleiman crossed the Hellespont in
1356, and Murad I made Adrianople his capital in 1366. After the death of
John Alexander in 1365 the Hungarians invaded northern Bulgaria, and his
successor invoked the help of the Turks against them and also against the
Greeks. This was the beginning of the end. The Serbs, during an absence of
the Sultan in Asia, undertook an offensive, but were defeated by the Turks
near Adrianople in 1371, who captured Sofia in 1382. After this the Serbs
formed a huge southern Slav alliance, in which the Bulgarians refused to
join, but, after a temporary success against the Turks in 1387, they were
vanquished by them as the result of treachery at the famous battle of
Kosovo in 1389. Meanwhile the Turks occupied Nikopolis on the Danube in
1388 and destroyed the Bulgarian capital Tirnovo in 1393, exiling the
Patriarch Euthymus to Macedonia. Thus the state of Bulgaria passed into
the hands of the Turks, and its church into those of the Greeks. Many
Bulgars adopted Islam, and their descendants are the Pomaks or Bulgarian
Mohammedans of the present day. With the subjection of Rumania in 1394 and
the defeat of an improvised anti-Turkish crusade from western Europe under
Sigismund, King of Hungary, at Nikopolis in 1396 the Turkish conquest was
complete, though the battle of Varna was not fought till 1444, nor
Constantinople entered till 1453.


_The Turkish Dominion and the Emancipation,_ 1393-1878

From 1393 until 1877 Bulgaria may truthfully be said to have had no
history, but nevertheless it could scarcely have been called happy.
National life was completely paralysed, and what stood in those days for
national consciousness was obliterated. It is common knowledge, and most
people are now reasonable enough to admit, that the Turks have many
excellent qualities, religious fervour and military ardour amongst others;
it is also undeniable that from an aesthetic point of view too much cannot
be said in praise of Mohammedan civilization. Who does not prefer the
minarets of Stambul and Edirne[1] to the architecture of Budapest,
notoriously the ideal of Christian south-eastern Europe? On the other
hand, it cannot be contended that the Pax Ottomana brought prosperity or
happiness to those on whom it was imposed (unless indeed they submerged
their identity in the religion of their conquerors), or that its Influence
was either vivifying or generally popular.

[Footnote 1: The Turkish names for Constantinople and Adrianople.]

To the races they conquered the Turks offered two alternatives--serfdom or
Turkdom; those who could not bring themselves to accept either of these
had either to emigrate or take to brigandage and outlawry in the
mountains. The Turks literally overlaid the European nationalities of the
Balkan peninsula for five hundred years, and from their own point of view
and from that of military history this was undoubtedly a very splendid
achievement; it was more than the Greeks or Romans had ever done. From the
point of view of humanitarianism also it is beyond a doubt that much less
human blood was spilt in the Balkan peninsula during the five hundred
years of Turkish rule than during the five hundred years of Christian rule
which preceded them; indeed it would have been difficult to spill more. It
is also a pure illusion to think of the Turks as exceptionally brutal or
cruel; they are just as good-natured and good-humoured as anybody else; it
is only when their military or religious passions are aroused that they
become more reckless and ferocious than other people. It was not the Turks
who taught cruelty to the Christians of the Balkan peninsula; the latter
had nothing to learn in this respect.

In spite of all this, however, from the point of view of the Slavs of
Bulgaria and Serbia, Turkish rule was synonymous with suffocation. If the
Turks were all that their greatest admirers think them the history of the
Balkan peninsula in the nineteenth century would have been very different
from what it has been, namely, one perpetual series of anti-Turkish

Of all the Balkan peoples the Bulgarians were the most completely crushed
and effaced. The Greeks by their ubiquity, their brains, and their money
were soon able to make the Turkish storm drive their own windmill; the
Rumanians were somewhat sheltered by the Danube and also by their distance
from Constantinople; the Serbs also were not so exposed to the full blast
of the Turkish wrath, and the inaccessibility of much of their country
afforded them some protection. Bulgaria was simply annihilated, and its
population, already far from homogeneous, was still further varied by
numerous Turkish and other Tartar colonies.

For the same reasons already mentioned Bulgaria was the last Balkan state
to emancipate itself; for these reasons also it is the least trammelled by
prejudices and by what are considered national predilections and racial
affinities, while its heterogeneous composition makes it vigorous and
enterprising. The treatment of the Christians by the Turks was by no means
always the same; generally speaking, it grew worse as the power of the
Sultan grew less. During the fifteenth century they were allowed to
practise their religion and all their vocations in comparative liberty and
peace. But from the sixteenth century onwards the control of the Sultan
declined, power became decentralized, the Ottoman Empire grew ever more
anarchic and the rule of the provincial governors more despotic.

But the Mohammedan conquerors were not the only enemies and oppressors of
the Bulgars. The role played by the Greeks in Bulgaria during the Turkish
dominion was almost as important as that of the Turks themselves. The
contempt of the Turks for the Christians, and especially for their
religion, was so great that they prudently left the management of it to
them, knowing that it would keep them occupied in mutual altercation. From
1393 till 1767 the Bulgarians were under the Greco-Bulgarian Patriarchate
of Okhrida, an organization in which all posts, from the highest to the
lowest, had to be bought from the Turkish administration at exorbitant and
ever-rising prices; the Phanariote Greeks (so called because they
originated in the Phanar quarter at Constantinople) were the only ones who
could afford those of the higher posts, with the result that the Church
was controlled from Constantinople. In 1767 the independent patriarchates
were abolished, and from that date the religious control of the Greeks was
as complete as the political control of the Turks. The Greeks did all they
could to obliterate the last traces of Bulgarian nationality which had
survived in the Church, and this explains a fact which must never be
forgotten, which had its origin in the remote past, but grew more
pronounced at this period, that the individual hatred of Greeks and
Bulgars of each other has always been far more intense than their
collective hatred of the Turks.

Ever since the marriage of the Tsar Ivan III with the niece of the last
Greek Emperor, in 1472, Russia had considered itself the trustee of the
eastern Christians, the defender of the Orthodox Church, and the direct
heir of the glory and prestige of Constantinople; it was not until the
eighteenth century, however, after the consolidation of the Russian state,
that the Balkan Christians were championed and the eventual possession of
Constantinople was seriously considered. Russian influence was first
asserted in Rumania after the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji, in 1774. It was
only the Napoleonic war in 1812 that prevented the Russians from extending
their territory south of the Danube, whither it already stretched. Serbia
was partially free by 1826, and Greece achieved complete independence in
1830, when the Russian troops, in order to coerce the Turks, occupied part
of Bulgaria and advanced as far as Adrianople. Bulgaria, being nearer to
and more easily repressed by Constantinople, had to wait, and tentative
revolts made about this time were put down with much bloodshed and were
followed by wholesale emigrations of Bulgars into Bessarabia and
importations of Tartars and Kurds into the vacated districts. The Crimean
War and the short-sighted championship of Turkey by the western European
powers checked considerably the development at which Russia aimed.
Moldavia and Wallachia were in 1856 withdrawn from the semi-protectorate
which Russia had long exercised over them, and in 1861 formed themselves
into the united state of Rumania. In 1866 a German prince, Charles of
Hohenzollern, came to rule over the country, the first sign of German
influence in the Near East; at this time Rumania still acknowledged the
supremacy of the Sultan.

During the first half of the nineteenth century there took place a
considerable intellectual renascence in Bulgaria, a movement fostered by
wealthy Bulgarian merchants of Bucarest and Odessa. In 1829 a history of
Bulgaria was published by a native of that country in Moscow; in 1835 the
first school was established in Bulgaria, and many others soon followed.
It must be remembered that not only was nothing known at that time about
Bulgaria and its inhabitants in other countries, but the Bulgars had
themselves to be taught who they were. The Bulgarian people in Bulgaria
consisted entirely of peasants; there was no Bulgarian upper or middle or
'intelligent' or professional class; those enlightened Bulgars who existed
were domiciled in other countries; the Church was in the hands of the
Greeks, who vied with the Turks in suppressing Bulgarian nationality.

The two committees of Odessa and Bucarest which promoted the enlightenment
and emancipation of Bulgaria were dissimilar in composition and in aim;
the members of the former were more intent on educational and religious
reform, and aimed at the gradual and peaceful regeneration of their
country by these means; the latter wished to effect the immediate
political emancipation of Bulgaria by violent and, if necessary, warlike

It was the ecclesiastical question which was solved first. In 1856 the
Porte had promised religious reforms tending to the appointment of
Bulgarian bishops and the recognition of the Bulgarian language in Church
and school. But these not being carried through, the Bulgarians took the
matter into their own hands, and in 1860 refused any longer to recognize
the Patriarch of Constantinople. The same year an attempt was made to
bring the Church of Bulgaria under that of Rome, but, owing to Russian
opposition, proved abortive. In 1870, the growing agitation having at last
alarmed the Turks, the Bulgarian Exarchate was established. The Bulgarian
Church was made free and national and was to be under an Exarch who should
reside at Constantinople (Bulgaria being still a Turkish province). The
Greeks, conscious what a blow this would be to their supremacy, managed
for a short while to stave off the evil day, but in 1872 the Exarch was
triumphantly installed in Constantinople, where he resided till 1908.

Meanwhile revolutionary outbreaks began to increase, but were always put
down with great rigour. The most notable was that of 1875, instigated by
Stambulov, the future dictator, in sympathy with the outbreak in
Montenegro, Hercegovina, and Bosnia of that year; the result of this and
of similar movements in 1876 was the series of notorious Bulgarian
massacres in that year. The indignation of Europe was aroused and
concerted representations were urgently made at Constantinople. Midhat
Pasha disarmed his opponents by summarily introducing the British
constitution into Turkey, but, needless to say, Bulgaria's lot was not
improved by this specious device. Russia had, however, steadily been
making her preparations, and, Turkey having refused to discontinue
hostilities against Montenegro, on April 24, 1877, war was declared by the
Emperor Alexander II, whose patience had become exhausted; he was joined
by Prince Charles of Rumania, who saw that by doing so he would be
rewarded by the complete emancipation of his country, then still a
vassal-state of Turkey, and its erection into a kingdom. At the beginning
of the war all went well for the Russians and Rumanians, who were soon
joined by large numbers of Bulgarian insurgents; the Turkish forces were
scattered all over the peninsula. The committee of Bucarest transformed
itself into a provisional government, but the Russians, who had undertaken
to liberate the country, naturally had to keep its administration
temporarily in their own hands, and refused their recognition. The Turks,
alarmed at the early victories of the Russians, brought up better generals
and troops, and defeated the Russians at Plevna in July. They failed,
however, to dislodge them from the important and famous Shipka Pass in
August, and after this they became demoralized and their resistance
rapidly weakened. The Russians, helped by the Bulgarians and Rumanians,
fought throughout the summer with the greatest gallantry; they took
Plevna, after a three months' siege, in December, occupied Sofia and
Philippopolis in January 1878, and pushed forward to the walls of

The Turks were at their last gasp, and at Adrianople, in March 1878,
Ignatiyev dictated the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano, by which a
principality of Bulgaria, under the nominal suzerainty of the Sultan, was
created, stretching from the Danube to the Aegean, and from the Black Sea
to Albania, including all Macedonia and leaving to the Turks only the
district between Constantinople and Adrianople, Chalcidice, and the town
of Salonika; Bulgaria would thus have regained the dimensions it possessed
under Tsar Simeon nine hundred and fifty years previously.

This treaty, which on ethnological grounds was tolerably just, alarmed the
other powers, especially Great Britain and Germany, who thought they
perceived in it the foundations of Russian hegemony in the Balkans, while
it would, if put into execution, have blighted the aspirations of Greece
and Serbia. The Treaty of Berlin, inspired by Bismarck and Lord Salisbury,
anxious to defend, the former, the interests of (ostensibly)
Austria-Hungary, the latter (shortsightedly) those of Turkey, replaced it
in July 1878. By its terms Bulgaria was cut into three parts; northern
Bulgaria, between the Danube and the Balkans, was made an autonomous
province, tributary to Turkey; southern Bulgaria, fancifully termed
Eastern Rumelia (Rumili was the name always given by the Turks to the
whole Balkan peninsula), was to have autonomous administration under a
Christian governor appointed by the Porte; Macedonia was left to Turkey;
and the Dobrudja, between the Danube and the Black Sea, was adjudged to


_The Aftermath, and Prince Alexander of Battenberg, 1878-86_

The relations between the Russians and the Bulgarians were better before
the liberation of the latter by the former than after; this may seem
unjust, because Bulgaria could never have freed herself so decisively and
rapidly alone, and Russia was the only power in whose interest it was to
free her from the Turks, and who could translate that interest so promptly
into action; nevertheless, the laws controlling the relationships of
states and nationalities being much the same as those which control the
relationships of individuals, it was only to be expected.

What so often happens in the relationships of individuals happened in
those between Russia and Bulgaria. Russia naturally enough expected
Bulgaria to be grateful for the really large amount of blood and treasure
which its liberation had cost Russia, and, moreover, expected its
gratitude to take the form of docility and a general acquiescence in all
the suggestions and wishes expressed by its liberator. Bulgaria was no
doubt deeply grateful, but never had the slightest intention of expressing
its gratitude in the desired way; on the contrary, like most people who
have regained a long-lost and unaccustomed freedom of action or been put
under an obligation, it appeared touchy and jealous of its right to an
independent judgement. It is often assumed by Russophobe writers that
Russia wished and intended to make a Russian province of Bulgaria, but
this is very unlikely; the geographical configuration of the Balkan
peninsula would not lend itself to its incorporation in the Russian
Empire, the existence between the two of the compact and vigorous national
block of Rumania, a Latin race and then already an independent state, was
an insurmountable obstacle, and, finally, it is quite possible for Russia
to obtain possession or control of Constantinople without owning all the
intervening littoral.

That Russia should wish to have a controlling voice in the destinies of
Bulgaria and in those of the whole peninsula was natural, and it was just
as natural that Bulgaria should resent its pretensions. The eventual
result of this, however, was that Bulgaria inevitably entered the sphere
of Austrian and ultimately of German influence or rather calculation, a
contingency probably not foreseen by its statesmen at the time, and whose
full meaning, even if it had, would not have been grasped by them.

The Bulgarians, whatever the origin and the ingredients of their
nationality, are by language a purely Slavonic people; their ancestors
were the pioneers of Slavonic civilization as expressed in its monuments
of theological literature. Nevertheless, they have never been enthusiastic
Pan-Slavists, any more than the Dutch have ever been ardent Pan-Germans;
it is as unreasonable to expect such a thing of the one people as it is of
the other. The Bulgarians indeed think themselves superior to the Slavs by
reason of the warlike and glorious traditions of the Tartar tribe that
gave them their name and infused the Asiatic element into their race, thus
endowing them with greater stability, energy, and consistency than is
possessed by purely Slav peoples. These latter, on the other hand, and
notably the Serbians, for the same reason affect contempt for the mixture
of blood and for what they consider the Mongol characteristics of the
Bulgarians. What is certain is that between Bulgarians and Germans
(including German Austrians and Magyars) there has never existed that
elemental, ineradicable, and insurmountable antipathy which exists between
German (and Magyar) and Slav wherever the two races are contiguous, from
the Baltic to the Adriatic; nothing is more remarkable than the way in
which the Bulgarian people has been flattered, studied, and courted in
Austria-Hungary and Germany, during the last decade, to the detriment of
the purely Slav Serb race with whom it is always compared. The reason is
that with the growth of the Serb national movement, from 1903 onwards,
Austria-Hungary and Germany felt an instinctive and perfectly
well-justified fear of the Serb race, and sought to neutralize the
possible effect of its growing power by any possible means.

It is not too much to say, in summing up, that Russian influence, which
had been growing stronger in Bulgaria up till 1877-8, has since been
steadily on the decline; Germany and Austria-Hungary, who reduced Bulgaria
to half the size that Count Ignatiyev had made it by the Treaty of San
Stefano, reaped the benefit, especially the commercial benefit, of the war
which Russia had waged. Intellectually, and especially as regards the
replenishment and renovation of the Bulgarian language, which, in spite of
numerous Turkish words introduced during the Ottoman rule, is essentially
Slavonic both in substance and form, Russian influence was especially
powerful, and has to a certain extent maintained itself. Economically,
owing partly to geographical conditions, both the Danube and the main
oriental railway linking Bulgaria directly with Budapest and Vienna,
partly to the fact that Bulgaria's best customers for its cereals are in
central and western Europe, the connexion between Bulgaria and Russia is
infinitesimal. Politically, both Russia and Bulgaria aiming at the same
thing, the possession of Constantinople and the hegemony of the Balkan
peninsula, their relations were bound to be difficult.

The first Bulgarian Parliament met in 1879 under trying conditions. Both
Russian and Bulgarian hopes had been dashed by the Treaty of Berlin.
Russian influence was still paramount, however, and the viceroy controlled
the organization of the administration. An ultra-democratic constitution
was arranged for, a fact obviously not conducive to the successful
government of their country by the quite inexperienced Bulgarians. For a
ruler recourse had inevitably to be had to the rabbit-warren of Germanic
princes, who were still ingenuously considered neutral both in religion
and in politics. The choice fell on Prince Alexander of Battenberg, nephew
of the Empress of Russia, who had taken part in the campaign of the
Russian army. Prince Alexander was conscientious, energetic, and
enthusiastic, but he was no diplomat, and from the outset his honesty
precluded his success. From the very first he failed to keep on good terms
with Russia or its representatives, who at that time were still numerous
in Bulgaria, while he was helpless to stem the ravages of parliamentary
government. The Emperor Alexander III, who succeeded his father Alexander
II in 1881, recommended him to insist on being made dictator, which he
successfully did. But when he found that this only meant an increase of
Russian influence he reverted to parliamentary government (in September
1883); this procedure discomfited the representatives of Russia,
discredited him with the Emperor, and threw him back into the vortex of
party warfare, from which he never extricated himself.

Meanwhile the question of eastern Rumelia, or rather southern Bulgaria,
still a Turkish province, began to loom. A vigorous agitation for the
reunion of the two parts of the country had been going on for some time,
and on September 18, 1885, the inhabitants of Philippopolis suddenly
proclaimed the union under Prince Alexander, who solemnly announced his
approval at Tirnovo and triumphantly entered their city on September 21.
Russia frowned on this independence of spirit. Serbia, under King Milan,
and instigated by Austria, inaugurated the policy which has so often been
followed since, and claimed territorial compensation for Bulgaria's
aggrandisement; it must be remembered that it was Bismarck who, by the
Treaty of Berlin, had arbitrarily confined Serbia to its inadequate limits
of those day.

On November 13 King Milan declared war, and began to march on Sofia, which
is not far from the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier. Prince Alexander, the bulk
of whose army was on the Turkish frontier, boldly took up the challenge.
On November 18 took place the battle of Slivnitsa, a small town about
twenty miles north-west of Sofia, in which the Bulgarians were completely
victorious. Prince Alexander, after hard fighting, took Pirot in Serbia on
November 27, having refused King Milan's request for an armistice, and was
marching on Nish, when Austria intervened, and threatened to send troops
into Serbia unless fighting ceased. Bulgaria had to obey, and on March 3,
1886, a barren treaty of peace was imposed on the belligerents at
Bucarest. Prince Alexander's position did not improve after this, indeed
it would have needed a much more skilful navigator to steer through the
many currents which eddied round him. A strong Russophile party formed
itself in the army; on the night of August 21, 1886, some officers of this
party, who were the most capable in the Bulgarian army, appeared at Sofia,
forced Alexander to resign, and abducted him; they put him on board his
yacht on the Danube and escorted him to the Russian town of Reni, in
Bessarabia; telegraphic orders came from St. Petersburg, in answer to
inquiries, that he could proceed with haste to western Europe, and on
August 26 he found himself at Lemberg. But those who had carried out this
_coup d'etat_ found that it was not at all popular in the country. A
counter-revolution, headed by the statesman Stambulov, was immediately
initiated, and on September 3 Prince Alexander reappeared in Sofia amidst
tumultuous applause. Nevertheless his position was hopeless; the Emperor
Alexander III forced him to abdicate, and on September 7, 1886, he left
Bulgaria for good, to the regret of the majority of the people. He died in
Austria, in 1893, in his thirty-seventh year. At his departure a regency
was constituted, at the head of which was Stambulov.


_The Regeneration under Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg,_ 1886-1908

Stambulov was born at Tirnovo in 1854 and was of humble origin. He took
part in the insurrection of 1876 and in the war of liberation, and in 1884
became president of the Sobraniye (Parliament). From 1886 till 1894 he was
virtually dictator of Bulgaria. He was intensely patriotic and also
personally ambitious, determined, energetic, ruthlessly cruel and
unscrupulous, but incapable of deceit; these qualities were apparent in
his powerful and grim expression of face, while his manner inspired the
weak with terror and the strongest with respect. His policy in general was
directed against Russia. At the general election held in October 1886 he
had all his important opponents imprisoned beforehand, while armed
sentries discouraged ill-disposed voters from approaching the
ballot-boxes. Out of 522 elected deputies, there were 470 supporters of
Stambulov. This implied the complete suppression of the Russophile party
and led to a rupture with St. Petersburg.

Whatever were Stambulov's methods, and few would deny that they were
harsh, there is no doubt that something of the sort was necessary to
restore order in the country. But once having started on this path he
found it difficult to stop, and his tyrannical bearing, combined with the
delay in finding a prince, soon made him unpopular. There were several
revolutionary outbreaks directed against him, but these were all crushed.
At length the, at that time not particularly alluring, throne of Bulgaria
was filled by Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, who was born in 1861 and
was the son of the gifted Princess Clementine of Bourbon-Orleans, daughter
of Louis-Philippe. This young man combined great ambition and tenacity of
purpose with extreme prudence, astuteness, and patience; he was a
consummate diplomat. The election of this prince was viewed with great
disfavour by Russia, and for fear of offending the Emperor Alexander III
none of the European powers recognized him.

Ferdinand, unabashed, cheerfully installed himself in Sofia with his
mother in July 1886, and took care to make the peace with his suzerain,
the Sultan Abdul Hamid. He wisely left all power in the hands of the
unattractive and to him, unsympathetic prime minister, Stambulov, till he
himself felt secure in his position, and till the dictator should have
made himself thoroughly hated. Ferdinand's clever and wealthy mother cast
a beneficent and civilizing glow around him, smoothing away many
difficulties by her womanly tact and philanthropic activity, and, thanks
to his influential connexions in the courts of Europe and his attitude of
calm expectancy, his prestige in his own country rapidly increased. In
1893 he married Princess Marie-Louise of Bourbon-Parma. In May 1894, as a
result of a social misadventure in which he became involved, Stambulov
sent in his resignation, confidently expecting a refusal. To his
mortification it was accepted; thereupon he initiated a violent press
campaign, but his halo had faded, and on July 15 he was savagely attacked
in the street by unknown men, who afterwards escaped, and he died three
days later. So intense were the emotions of the people that his grave had
to be guarded by the military for two months. In November 1894 followed
the death of the Emperor Alexander III, and as a result of this double
event the road to a reconciliation with Russia was opened. Meanwhile the
German Emperor, who was on good terms with Princess Clementine, had paved
the way for Ferdinand at Vienna, and when, in March 1896, the Sultan
recognized him as Prince of Bulgaria and Governor-General of eastern
Rumelia, his international position was assured. Relations with Russia
were still further improved by the rebaptism of the infant Crown Prince
Boris according to the rites of the eastern Church, in February 1896, and
a couple of years later Ferdinand and his wife and child paid a highly
successful state visit to Peterhof. In September 1902 a memorial church
was erected by the Emperor Nicholas II at the Shipka Pass, and later an
equestrian statue of the Tsar-Liberator Alexander II was placed opposite
the House of Parliament in Sofia.

Bulgaria meanwhile had been making rapid and astonishing material
progress. Railways were built, exports increased, and the general
condition of the country greatly improved. It is the fashion to compare
the wonderful advance made by Bulgaria during the thirty-five years of its
new existence with the very much slower progress made by Serbia during a
much longer period. This is insisted on especially by publicists in
Austria-Hungary and Germany, but it is forgotten that even before the last
Balkan war the geographical position of Bulgaria with its seaboard was
much more favourable to its economic development than that of Serbia,
which the Treaty of Berlin had hemmed in by Turkish and Austro-Hungarian
territory; moreover, Bulgaria being double the size of the Serbia of those
days, had far greater resources upon which to draw.

From 1894 onwards Ferdinand's power in his own country and his influence
abroad had been steadily growing. He always appreciated the value of
railways, and became almost as great a traveller as the German Emperor.
His estates in the south of Hungary constantly required his attention, and
he was a frequent visitor in Vienna. The German Emperor, though he could
not help admiring Ferdinand's success, was always a little afraid of him;
he felt that Ferdinand's gifts were so similar to his own that he would be
unable to count on him in an emergency. Moreover, it was difficult to
reconcile Ferdinand's ambitions in extreme south-eastern Europe with his
own. Ferdinand's relations with Vienna, on the other hand, and especially
with the late Archduke Francis Ferdinand, were both cordial and intimate.

The gradual aggravation of the condition of the Turkish Empire, notably in
Macedonia, the unredeemed Bulgaria, where since the insurrection of 1902-3
anarchy, always endemic, had deteriorated into a reign of terror, and,
also the unmistakably growing power and spirit of Serbia since the
accession of the Karageorgevich dynasty in 1903, caused uneasiness in
Sofia, no less than in Vienna and Budapest. The Young Turkish revolution
of July 1908, and the triumph of the Committee of Union and Progress,
disarmed the critics of Turkey who wished to make the forcible
introduction of reforms a pretext for their interference; but the
potential rejuvenation of the Ottoman Empire which it foreshadowed
indicated the desirability of rapid and decisive action. In September,
after fomenting a strike on the Oriental Railway in eastern Roumelia
(which railway was Turkish property), the Sofia Cabinet seized the line
with a military force on the plea of political necessity. At the same time
Ferdinand, with his second wife, the Protestant Princess Eleonora of
Reuss, whom he had married in March of that year, was received with regal
honours by the Emperor of Austria at Budapest. On October 5, 1908, at
Tirnovo, the ancient capital, Ferdinand proclaimed the complete
independence of Bulgaria and eastern Rumelia under himself as King (_Tsar_
in Bulgarian), and on October 7 Austria-Hungary announced the annexation
of Bosnia and Hercegovina, the two Turkish provinces administered by it
since 1879, nominally under Turkish suzerainty.


_The Kingdom_, 1908-13

(cf. Chaps. 14, 20)

The events which have taken place in Bulgaria since 1908 hinge on the
Macedonian question, which has not till now been mentioned. The Macedonian
question was extremely complicated; it started on the assumption that the
disintegration of Turkey, which had been proceeding throughout the
nineteenth century, would eventually be completed, and the question was
how in this eventuality to satisfy the territorial claims of the three
neighbouring countries, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, claims both
historical and ethnological, based on the numbers and distribution of
their 'unredeemed' compatriots in Macedonia, and at the same time avoid
causing the armed interference of Europe.

The beginnings of the Macedonian question in its modern form do not go
farther back than 1885, when the ease with which eastern Rumelia (i.e.
southern Bulgaria) threw off the Turkish yoke and was spontaneously united
with the semi-independent principality of northern Bulgaria affected the
imagination of the Balkan statesmen. From that time Sofia began to cast
longing eyes on Macedonia, the whole of which was claimed as 'unredeemed
Bulgaria', and Stambulov's last success in 1894 was to obtain from Turkey
the consent to the establishment of two bishops of the Bulgarian
(Exarchist) Church in Macedonia, which was a heavy blow for the Greek
Patriarchate at Constantinople.

Macedonia had been envisaged by the Treaty of Berlin, article 23 of which
stipulated for reforms in that province; but in those days the Balkan
States were too young and weak to worry themselves or the European powers
over the troubles of their co-religionists in Turkey; their hands were
more than full setting their own houses in some sort of order, and it was
in nobody's interest to reform Macedonia, so article 23 remained the
expression of a philanthropic sentiment. This indifference on the part of
Europe left the door open for the Balkan States, as soon as they had
energy to spare, to initiate their campaign for extending their spheres of
influence in Macedonia.

From 1894 onwards Bulgarian propaganda in Macedonia increased, and the
Bulgarians were soon followed by Greeks and Serbians. The reason for this
passionate pegging out of claims and the bitter rivalry of the three
nations which it engendered was the following: The population of Macedonia
was nowhere, except in the immediate vicinity of the borders of these
three countries, either purely Bulgar or purely Greek or purely Serb; most
of the towns contained a percentage of at least two of these
nationalities, not to mention the Turks (who after all were still the
owners of the country by right of conquest), Albanians, Tartars, Rumanians
(Vlakhs), and others; the city of Salonika was and is almost purely
Jewish, while in the country districts Turkish, Albanian, Greek, Bulgar,
and Serb villages were inextricably confused. Generally speaking, the
coastal strip was mainly Greek (the coast itself purely so), the interior
mainly Slav. The problem was for each country to peg out as large a claim
as possible, and so effectively, by any means in their power, to make the
majority of the population contained in that claim acknowledge itself to
be Bulgar, or Serb, or Greek, that when the agony of the Ottoman Empire
was over, each part of Macedonia would automatically fall into the arms of
its respective deliverers. The game was played through the appropriate
media of churches and schools, for the unfortunate Macedonian peasants had
first of all to be enlightened as to who they were, or rather as to who
they were told they had got to consider themselves, while the Church, as
always, conveniently covered a multitude of political aims; when those
methods flagged, a bomb would be thrown at, let us say, a Turkish official
by an _agent provocateur_ of one of the three players, inevitably
resulting in the necessary massacre of innocent Christians by the
ostensibly brutal but really equally innocent Turks, and an outcry in the
European press.

Bulgaria was first in the field and had a considerable start of the other
two rivals. The Bulgars claimed the whole of Macedonia, including Salonika
and all the Aegean coast (except Chalcidice), Okhrida, and Monastir;
Greece claimed all southern Macedonia, and Serbia parts of northern and
central Macedonia known as Old Serbia. The crux of the whole problem was,
and is, that the claims of Serbia and Greece do not clash, while that of
Bulgaria, driving a thick wedge between Greece and Serbia, and thus giving
Bulgaria the undoubted hegemony of the peninsula, came into irreconcilable
conflict with those of its rivals. The importance of this point was
greatly emphasized by the existence of the Nish-Salonika railway, which is
Serbia's only direct outlet to the sea, and runs through Macedonia from
north to south, following the right or western bank of the river Vardar.
Should Bulgaria straddle that, Serbia would be economically at its mercy,
just as in the north it was already, to its bitter cost, at the mercy of
Austria-Hungary. Nevertheless, Bulgarian propaganda had been so effectual
that Serbia and Greece never expected they would eventually be able to
join hands so easily and successfully as they afterwards did.

The then unknown quantity of Albania was also a factor. This people,
though small in numbers, was formidable in character, and had never been
effectually subdued by the Turks. They would have been glad to have a
boundary contiguous with that of Bulgaria (with whom they had no quarrel)
as a support against their hereditary enemies, Serbs in the north and
Greeks in the south, who were more than inclined to encroach on their
territory. The population of Macedonia, being still under Turkish rule,
was uneducated and ignorant; needless to say it had no national
consciousness, though this was less true of the Greeks than of the Slavs.
It is the Slav population of Macedonia that has engendered so much heat
and caused so much blood to be spilt. The dispute as to whether it is
rather Serb or Bulgar has caused interminable and most bitter controversy.
The truth is that it _was_ neither the one nor the other, but that, the
ethnological and linguistic missionaries of Bulgaria having been first in
the field, a majority of the Macedonian Slavs had been so long and so
persistently told that they were Bulgars, that after a few years Bulgaria
could, with some truth, claim that this fact was so.

Macedonia had been successively under Greek, Bulgar, and Serb, before
Turkish, rule, but the Macedonian Slavs had, under the last, been so cut
off both from Bulgars and Serbs, that ethnologically and linguistically
they did not develop the characteristics of either of these two races,
which originally belonged to the same southern Slav stock, but remained a
primitive neutral Slav type. If the Serbs had been first in the field
instead of the Bulgars, the Macedonian Slavs could just as easily have
been made into Serbs, sufficiently plausibly to convince the most knowing
expert. The well-known recipe for making a Macedonian Slav village Bulgar
is to add _-ov_ or _-ev_ (pronounced _-off, -yeff_) on to the names of all
the male inhabitants, and to make it Serb it is only necessary to add
further the syllable _-ich, -ov_ and _-ovich_ being respectively the
equivalent in Bulgarian and Serbian of our termination _-son,_ e. g.
_Ivanov_ in Bulgarian, and _Jovanovit_ in Serbian = _Johnson_.

In addition to these three nations Rumania also entered the lists,
suddenly horrified at discovering the sad plight of the Vlakh shepherds,
who had probably wandered with unconcern about Macedonia with their herds
since Roman times. As their vague pastures could not possibly ever be
annexed to Rumania, their case was merely used in order to justify Rumania
in claiming eventual territorial compensation elsewhere at the final day
of reckoning. Meanwhile, their existence as a separate and authentic
nationality in Turkey was officially recognized by the Porte in 1906.

The stages of the Macedonian question up to 1908 must at this point be
quite briefly enumerated. Russia and Austria-Hungary, the two 'most
interested powers', who as far back as the eighteenth century had divided
the Balkans into their respective spheres of interest, east and west, came
to an agreement in 1897 regarding the final settlement of affairs in
Turkey; but it never reached a conclusive stage and consequently was never
applied. The Macedonian chaos meanwhile grew steadily worse, and the
serious insurrections of 1902-3, followed by the customary reprisals,
thoroughly alarmed the powers. Hilmi Pasha had been appointed
Inspector-General of Macedonia in December 1902, but was not successful in
restoring order. In October 1903 the Emperor Nicholas II and the Emperor
of Austria, with their foreign ministers, met at Muerzsteg, in Styria, and
elaborated a more definite plan of reform known as the Muerzsteg programme,
the drastic terms of which had been largely inspired by Lord Lansdowne,
then British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; the principal feature
was the institution of an international gendarmerie, the whole of
Macedonia being divided up into five districts to be apportioned among the
several great powers. Owing to the procrastination of the Porte and to the
extreme complexity of the financial measures which had to be elaborated in
connexion with this scheme of reforms, the last of the negotiations was
not completed, nor the whole series ratified, until April 1907, though the
gendarmerie officers had arrived in Macedonia in February 1904.

At this point again it is necessary to recall the position in regard to
this question of the various nations concerned. Great Britain and France
had no territorial stake in Turkey proper, and did their utmost to secure
reform not only in the _vilayets_ of Macedonia, but also in the realm of
Ottoman finance. Italy's interest centred in Albania, whose eventual fate,
for geographical and strategic reasons, could not leave it indifferent.
Austria-Hungary's only care was by any means to prevent the aggrandizement
of the Serb nationality and of Serbia and Montenegro, so as to secure the
control, if not the possession, of the routes to Salonika, if necessary
over the prostrate bodies of those two countries which defiantly barred
Germanic progress towards the East. Russia was already fatally absorbed in
the Far Eastern adventure, and, moreover, had, ever since the war of 1878,
been losing influence at Constantinople, where before its word had been
law; the Treaty of Berlin had dealt a blow at Russian prestige, and Russia
had ever since that date been singularly badly served by its ambassadors
to the Porte, who were always either too old or too easy-going. Germany,
on the other hand, had been exceptionally fortunate or prudent in the
choice of its representatives. The general trend of German diplomacy in
Turkey was not grasped until very much later, a fact which redounds to the
credit of the German ambassadors at Constantinople. Ever since the
triumphal journey of William II to the Bosphorus in 1889, German
influence, under the able guidance of Baron von Radowitz, steadily
increased. This culminated in the regime of the late Baron Marschall von
Bieberstein, who was ambassador from 1897 to 1912. It was German policy to
flatter, support, and encourage Turkey in every possible way, to refrain
from taking part with the other powers in the invidious and perennial
occupation of pressing reforms on Abdul Hamid, and, above all, to give as
much pocket-money to Turkey and its extravagant ruler as they asked for.
Germany, for instance, refused to send officers or to have a district
assigned it in Macedonia in 1904, and declined to take part in the naval
demonstration off Mitylene in 1905. This attitude of Germany naturally
encouraged the Porte in its policy of delay and subterfuge, and Turkey
soon came to look on Germany as its only strong, sincere, and
disinterested friend in Europe. For the indefinite continuance of chaos
and bloodshed in Macedonia, after the other powers had really braced
themselves to the thankless task of putting the reforms into practice,
Germany alone was responsible.

The blow which King Ferdinand had inflicted on the prestige of the Young
Turks in October 1908, by proclaiming his independence, naturally lent
lustre to the Bulgarian cause in Macedonia. Serbia, baffled by the
simultaneous Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and maddened
by the elevation of Bulgaria to the rank of a kingdom (its material
progress had hitherto been discounted in Serbian eyes by the fact that it
was a mere vassal principality), seemed about to be crushed by the two
iron pots jostling it on either side. Its international position was at
that time such that it could expect no help or encouragement from western
Europe, while the events of 1909 (cf. p. 144) showed that Russia was not
then in a position to render active assistance. Greece, also screaming
aloud for compensation, was told by its friends amongst the great powers
that if it made a noise it would get nothing, but that if it behaved like
a good child it might some day be given Krete. Meanwhile Russia, rudely
awakened by the events of 1908 to the real state of affairs in the Near
East, beginning to realize the growth of German influence at
Constantinople, and seeing the unmistakable resuscitation of
Austria-Hungary as a great power, made manifest by the annexation of
Bosnia and Hercegovina, temporarily reasserted its influence in Bulgaria.
From the moment when Baron Aehrenthal announced his chimerical scheme of
an Austrian railway through the _Sandjak_ of Novi Pazar in January 1908--
everybody knows that the railway already built through Serbia along the
Morava valley is the only commercially remunerative and strategically
practicable road from Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest to Salonika and
Constantinople--Russia realized that the days of the Muerzsteg programme
were over, that henceforward it was to be a struggle between Slav and
Teuton for the ownership of Constantinople and the dominion of the Near
East, and that something must be done to retrieve the position in the
Balkans which it was losing. After Baron Aehrenthal, in January 1909, had
mollified the Young Turks by an indemnity, and thus put an end to the
boycott, Russia in February of the same year liquidated the remains of the
old Turkish war indemnity of 1878 still due to itself by skilfully
arranging that Bulgaria should pay off its capitalized tribute, owed to
its ex-suzerain the Sultan, by very easy instalments to Russia instead.

The immediate effects of the Young Turk revolution amongst the Balkan
States, and the events, watched benevolently by Russia, which led to the
formation of the Balkan League, when it was joyfully realized that neither
the setting-up of parliamentary government, nor even the overthrow of
Abdul Hamid, implied the commencement of the millennium in Macedonia and
Thrace, have been described elsewhere (pp. 141, 148). King Ferdinand and
M. Venezelos are generally credited with the inception and realisation of
the League, though it was so secretly and skilfully concerted that it is
not yet possible correctly to apportion praise for the remarkable
achievement. Bulgaria is a very democratic country, but King Ferdinand,
owing to his sagacity, patience, and experience, and also thanks to his
influential dynastic connexions and propensity for travel, has always been
virtually his own foreign minister; in spite of the fact that he is a
large feudal Hungarian landlord, and has temperamental leanings towards
the Central European Empires, it is quite credible that King Ferdinand
devoted all his undeniable talents and great energy to the formation of
the League when he saw that the moment had come for Bulgaria to realize
its destiny at Turkey's expense, and that, if the other three Balkan
States could be induced to come to the same wise decision, it would be so
much the better for all of them. That Russia could do anything else than
whole-heartedly welcome the formation of the Balkan League was absolutely
impossible. Pan-Slavism had long since ceased to be the force it was, and
nobody in Russia dreamed of or desired the incorporation of any Balkan
territory in the Russian Empire. It is possible to control Constantinople
without possessing the Balkans, and Russia could only rejoice if a
Greco-Slavonic league should destroy the power of the Turks and thereby
make impossible the further advance of the Germanic powers eastward.

That Russia was ever in the least jealous of the military successes of the
league, which caused such gnashing of teeth in Berlin, Vienna, and
Budapest, is a mischievous fiction, the emptiness of which was evident to
any one who happened to be in Russia during the winter of 1912-13.

The years 1908 to 1912 were outwardly uneventful in Bulgaria, though a
great deal of quiet work was done in increasing the efficiency of the
army, and the material prosperity of the country showed no falling off.
Relations with the other Balkan States, especially with Serbia and
Montenegro, improved considerably, and there was ample room for such
improvement. This was outwardly marked by frequent visits paid to each
other by members of the several royal families of the three Slavonic
kingdoms of the Balkans. In May 1912 agreements for the eventual
delimitation of the provinces to be conquered from Turkey in the event of
war were signed between Bulgaria and Serbia, and Bulgaria and Greece. The
most controversial district was, of course, Macedonia. Bulgaria claimed
central Macedonia, with Monastir and Okhrida, which was the lion's share,
on ethnical grounds which have been already discussed, and it was expected
that Greece and Serbia, by obtaining other acquisitions elsewhere, would
consent to have their territories separated by the large Bulgarian wedge
which was to be driven between them. The exact future line of demarcation
between Serbian and Bulgarian territory was to be left to arbitration. The
possible creation of an independent Albania was not contemplated.

In August 1912 the twenty-fifth anniversary of King Ferdinand's arrival in
Bulgaria was celebrated with much rejoicing at the ancient capital of
Tirnovo, and was marred only by the news of the terrible massacre of
Bulgars by Turks at Kochana in Macedonia; this event, however, opportune
though mournful, tended considerably to increase the volume of the wave of
patriotism which swept through the country. Later in the same month Count
Berchtold startled Europe with his 'progressive decentralization' scheme
of reform for Macedonia. The manner in which this event led to the final
arrangements for the declaration of war on Turkey by the four Balkan
States is given in full elsewhere (cf. p. 151).

The Bulgarian army was fully prepared for the fray, and the autumn
manoeuvres had permitted the concentration unobserved of a considerable
portion of it, ready to strike when the time came. Mobilisation was
ordered on September 30, 1912. On October 8 Montenegro declared war on
Turkey. On October 13 Bulgaria, with the other Balkan States, replied to
the remonstrances of Russia and Austria by declaring that its patience was
at length exhausted, and that the sword alone was able to enforce proper
treatment of the Christian populations in European Turkey. On October 17
Turkey, encouraged by the sudden and unexpected conclusion of peace with
Italy after the Libyan war, declared war on Bulgaria and Serbia, and on
October 18 King Ferdinand addressed a sentimental exhortation to his
people to liberate their fellow-countrymen, who were still groaning under
the Crescent.

The number of Turkish troops opposing the Bulgarians in Thrace was about
180,000, and they had almost exactly the same number wherewith to oppose
the Serbians in Macedonia; for, although Macedonia was considered by the
Turks to be the most important theatre of war, yet the proximity of the
Bulgarian frontier to Constantinople made it necessary to retain a large
number of troops in Thrace. On October 19 the Bulgarians took the frontier
town of Mustafa Pasha. On October 24 they defeated the Turks at
Kirk-Kilisse (or Lozengrad), further east. From October 28 to November 2
raged the terrific battle of Lule-Burgas, which resulted in a complete and
brilliant victory of the Bulgarians over the Turks. The defeat and
humiliation of the Turks was as rapid and thorough in Thrace as it had
been in Macedonia, and by the middle of November the remains of the
Turkish army were entrenched behind the impregnable lines of Chataldja,
while a large garrison was shut up in Adrianople, which had been invested
by the end of October. The Bulgarian army, somewhat exhausted by this
brilliant and lightning campaign, refrained from storming the lines of
Chataldja, an operation which could not fail to involve losses such as the
Bulgarian nation was scarcely in a position to bear, and on December 3 the
armistice was signed. The negotiations conducted in London for two months
led, however, to no result, and on February 3, 1913, hostilities were
resumed. These, for the Bulgarians, resolved themselves into the more
energetic prosecution of the siege of Adrianople, which had not been
raised during the armistice. To their assistance Serbia, being able to
spare troops from Macedonia, sent 50,000 men and a quantity of heavy siege


Back to Full Books