Bulgaria, a province of European Turkey, bounded N. by the Danube, which separates it from Roumania, E. by the Black sea, S. by the Balkan chain, which separates it from Roumelia, S. W. by Prisrend, and N. W. by Servia; area, about 39,000 sq. m.; pop. estimated at about 2,500,000, of whom about 40 per cent, are Bulgarians and 20 per cent. Ottomans, the remainder being Jews, Serbs, Greeks, Armenians, Tartars, Circassians, Albanians, Bosniaks, Wallachs, and gypsies, with a few settlers from various European countries. The Bulgarians, with the exception of about 170,-000 Mohammedans and 6,000 Roman Catholics, belong to the Greek communion, of which there are 10 archbishoprics and 3 bishoprics. Until 1864 Bulgaria was divided into the three eyalets or pashalics of Silistria, Widin, and Nissa. It is now officially known as the vilayet of Tuna, or principality of the Danube. It is divided into seven sanjaks, or districts, under a governor general, whose residence is at Rustchuk. Sophia, Nissa, Trnova, Sistova, and Nicopolis are among the chief cities. The principal fortified towns are Silistria, Rustchuk, and Widin on the Danube, Varna on the Black sea, and Shumla in the interior, commanding the main pass through the Balkan mountains.
Bulgaria presents the appearance of a plateau, which rises gradually from the steep banks of the Danube to the heights of the Balkan. Numerous branches of the chain run N., dividing the country into valleys whose streams flow into the Danube; the principal of these are the eastern branch of the Morava, which enters Servia, the Isker, Vid, Yantra, and Taban; the Kamtchik and Pravadi enter the Black sea, and the Struma flows S. into Macedonia. Nearly the whole south is traversed by branches of the Balkan (see Balkan), which near the S. W. corner connects with the Des-poto Dagh, the connecting links being the Rilo Dagh and the Vitosh range. The latter, which has been identified with the Scomius of the old geographers, is an enormous syenite mass rising in the form of a volcanic cone to a height of about 6,600 ft. above the sea. This part of the country, between Ikhtiman and Radomir, consists of mountain ranges and extensive valley basins from 1,700 to 3,000 ft. above the sea. They are all enclosed by primitive rock, and filled with pebbles, sand, and clay, partly of diluvial and partly of recent date. The southern mountains are thickly wooded, and the northern and eastern portions are cultivated plains bearing grain.
There are numerous warm mineral springs, especially near Sophia. The coast of Bulgaria, from Cape Emineh, the most eastern extremity of the Balkan, to Cape Kali-Akra, N. E. of Varna, is generally high; N. of this point the shore is flat and marshy. Between the town of Baba-Dagh, in the north-eastern lowland known as the Dobrudja, and the sea is the lake of Ras-sein or Rasin, 30 m. long by 10 wide. It is separated by a narrow strip of land from the St. George's arm of the Danube, from which a small stream enters the lake; the communication of the lake with the Black sea being formed by two channels. - The Bulgarians, of whom nearly as many live in the adjoining parts of Turkey as in the province named after them, are a peaceable, industrious, and rather intelligent people, though generally ignorant and superstitious. Their papases (priests) are hardly more enlightened than their flock. Witches are often resorted to for spells to cure diseases, bring rain, etc, by both the people and papases. Each village has its medjlis (court), consisting of a mayor and several members, before whom minor civil suits and offences are settled.
The dress of a Bulgarian consists of a sheepskin cap dyed brown or black, a short open jacket, a broad girdle which answers the purpose of pockets, drawers buckled at the knee, and folds of flannel wrapped round the legs. The women wear a bodice, a cloth jacket, a skirt which does not reach the ankle, and on the head a small stiff red cap with gold or silver coins sewn upon it. The houses are "built of wood, and sometimes of earth and pebbles. The roads, with the exception of some highways lately constructed, are bad, and on the plains they are quite impracticable during the rainy season. The mountains are often infested by robbers called Balkan tchelebis or Balkan gentlemen, and Mersis or common highway robbers and murderers. The former consist mainly of Moslems who through oppression of the government have betaken themselves to the forest. The Bulgarians occupy themselves chiefly with agriculture and rearing cattle; and the country easily supplies all their wants. Large quantities of grain are raised for the Constantinople market. The vine is also extensively cultivated and produces excellent wine.
Horned cattle and horses are reared in the mountains and uncultivated parts of the plains, and exported to different parts of Turkey and Austria. In the mountains honey, pitch, and game are obtained. Timber is floated down the rivers to the ports of the Danube. Silver and gold are found in small quantities in the beds of the streams. In the mountains around Samakov and the Vitosh magnetic iron exists in the form of small grains in the syenite. These are washed down by the winter torrents, and the iron, being reduced to powder, is left in the beds of the streams. Artificial basins are made into which the water is conducted by aqueducts, and the deposited iron is then collected. In the neighborhood of Samakov there are about 80 founderies in operation; and there are other founderies on the Isker. Charcoal and hazel wood are used for smelting. Coal is found in the mountains, and in some places appears on the surface; but no mines are worked. Manufactures are still in their infancy, the chief articles produced being coarse woollen and linen stuifs, embroidery, and rifle barrels; attar of roses is prepared in considerable quantities, and much of it exported to England. The agricultural products annually amount to 325,000,000 piastres, the industrial products to 80,000,000. The taxes and imposts collected by Turkey annually amount to 70,000,000 piastres.
There are large tracts of uncultivated land belonging to the government, which may be occupied by any one on condition of paying one tenth of the produce as a tribute. There is a railway, the first constructed in the empire, 40 m. long, between Kustendji on the Black sea and Tchernavoda on the Danube. Another railway has been opened from Varna to Rustchuk, with a branch to Shumla. - The Bulgarians, who now form the principal division of the Slavs in Turkey, appear first in history not as a Slavic but as a Finnic tribe, then living on the western banks of the Volga. The more warlike part of this tribe, leaving that river, first settled on the Don, then went toward the Danube in the latter part of the 5th century. Here they continually harassed the Byzantine empire, and about 500 repeatedly pitched their camp before the walls of Constantinople. The emperor Ahastasius bribed them to depart, and in order to protect the capital against future inroads he built a long wall in 507. They reappeared in the reign of Justinian, but Belisarius dispersed them. The Avars subdued the Bulgarians, who, however, soon regained their independence. Their khan, Kuvrat, made an alliance with Heraclius, who created him a patrician.
On the death of Kuvrat his five sons separated; one established himself on the banks of the Don, another in Pannonia, a third in Moldavia, a fourth went to Italy, and the fifth, Asparukh, crossed the Danube and about 680 settled in the country between that river and Mt. Hsemus (Balkan), then known by the Roman name of Mcesia Inferior, ultimately changed into Bulgaria. Some historians reckon this separation as taking place at an earlier period, and from Sarmatia. Justinian II. attempted to destroy the Bulgarian khanate, but was compelled to acknowledge the independence of the successor of Asparukh. When Justinian was driven from Constantinople, the Bulgarians reinstated him on the throne. About 750 Kormes, one of the successors of Asparukh, invaded Thrace, but was slain by his own soldiers, and the sovereignty, which had hitherto been hereditary in the family of Kuvrat, became elective. Constantine Copronymus invaded and ravaged Bulgaria, but without reducing it to subjection. Khan Krumn, after massacring the greater part of the Greek army and killing the emperor Nicephorus in 811, fought the emperor Michael at Adrianople in 813 and advanced as far as Constantinople. About 860, during the reign of Bogoris, who assumed the title of king, Christianity was introduced into Bulgaria. By constant intermixture with the surrounding Slavs, during their migrations as well as in Mcesia, the Bulgarians had gradually lost their national Finnic characteristics, and about this time appear as a Slavic nation, speaking a richly developed Slavic dialect.
Their struggles with the Byzantines continued. I/After a long series of successes and reverses, in which the most atrocious cruelties were perpetrated on both sides, the Bulgarians about 1018 submitted to the emperor Basil II. Bulgaria was thenceforth governed by dukes, and the emperor, to insure the peace of the country, transported a number of Bulgarians into Asia, and replaced them by Petchenegs. Peter and his brother Assan, descendants of the ancient Bulgarian khans, raised a revolt in 1186, and proclaimed themselves kings. Here commenced the dynasty of the Assanides, who were constantly engaged in war with the Greeks, Hungarians, and Tartars, till 1389. At this period the Turkish armies under Amurath I. invaded Bulgaria, and vanquished the Bulgarians and Servians at the battle of Kosovo. Since that date Bulgaria has been subject to the Turks, and the Bulgarians have borne the Turkish yoke with more resigned endurance than any other Christian population, the province, with its many fortresses,, forming a principal stronghold of the Porte. In 1828-9 Bulgaria was the theatre of the Russian war.
After its close a large number of Bulgarians emigrated to Bessarabia. In 1841 the exactions of the pashas occasioned a rising in Bulgaria. During the Crimean war the Russians crossed the Danube and besieged Silistria, but were compelled to retreat. In 1856 the Bulgarians sent a petition to the sultan, demanding the right of electing among themselves the chief dignitary of their church and of choosing their own governor; an entire separation between Turks and Bulgarians, each to have their own authorities and judges; all differences between Turks and Bulgarians to bo settled by mixed tribunals; the right of having every crime judged in the place of commission; and that the regiments recruited in Bulgaria should have Bulgarian officers, and use the Bulgarian language. The Porte accorded none of these claims. In 1859 the question was again agitated, the Bulgarians refusing to pay their dues to the Greek patriarch of Constantinople and driving away their bishops. These efforts were seconded by Russia. Two parties were formed, one declaring for a church independent of Constantinople and Rome, and the other, supported by French influences, proposing a union with Rome. In March, 1861, a conclave was held by the Greek patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and An-tioch, and the bishops of the two parties were excommunicated.
The party who favored a union with Rome sent an address to Pius IX. to that effect, and claimed to speak in the name of 400,000 Bulgarians. The pope appointed Sokolski archimandrite, who also received valuable presents and a decree of investiture from the sultan. On June 18, 1861, Sokolski suddenly disappeared with the decree. It was said that he had retired to a convent in Kiev, and afterward that he was dead. According to other (Roman Catholic) accounts, he was carried off by Russian emissaries. In 1872 the number of Catholic Bulgarians was estimated at only 4,000, with only one bishop, who had the title of apostolic administrator. In June, 1862, Prince Gortchakoff addressed a note to the diplomatic corps inviting the powers to unite with Russia to intervene in favor of the Christian subjects of Turkey. The Porte averted complications by making a temporary reform in Bulgaria. In the same year a considerable immigration of Tartars from the Crimea and the Kuban took place. Russia invited the Bulgarians to occupy the districts deserted by the emigrants.
In 1865, in pursuance of the policy of decentralization, Bulgaria was erected into a vilayet or principality; and in 1870 the religious demands of the Bulgarians were finally granted in a firman which provided for a separate administration, to be called the exarchate of the Bulgarians. The exarchate was not, however, actually established until February, 1872, when the Bulgarian church council elected the metropolitan Anthimos of Widdin first exarch. In October, 1872, the entire exarchate was excommunicated by a general Greek synod at Constantinople.