March, 3rd, 2011:

March, 3rd, 2011 - The national holyday of Bulgaria

On March 3, 1878 in the town of San Stefano, today Yeshilkyoy, a suburb of Istanbul, has signed a peace treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It ended the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) and after 500 years of Ottoman rule established Bulgarian state.

Reason for Russo-Turkish war was the brutal suppression of the April Uprising of 1876, causing a huge impact in Europe. A number of prominent European statesmen and public figures, including William Gladstone, Victor Hugo raise voice in support of the oppressed Bulgarians. War became unavoidable after the failure of the Constantinople Conference and rejection of the Ottoman Empire to reform and to respect the rights of its Christian citizens. It ended with the victory of Russian arms.

Peace Treaty of San Stefano was signed on March 3 (February 19 old style). This date was not selected randomly. It match with the coronation of Alexander II in 1855 and the liberation of the serfs in Russia in 1861. The contract was Preliminaries - i.e. preliminary and subject to the approval of the other Great Powers. According to it, Bulgaria was liberated autonomously tributary (pay tax), vassal principality with its own People's Government and army. The area of Bulgaria was 170 000 sq. km. Authorized by the Russian side are Count N. P. Ignatiev and A. I. Nelidov and from the Turkish side - Savfet Pasha and Sadullah Bey.

Art. 6-11 related to Bulgaria, which was established as an autonomous tributary principality with a Christian government and its army. The boundaries of the principality covered today's Northern Bulgaria (excluding North Dobrudzha), Thrace (without Gyumyurdjinsky and Odrin regions) and Macedonia (without Thessaloniki and the Halkidiki areas). Art. 7 of the contract governs the structure and management. The state is controlled by Knyaz elected by the population with the approval of the Great Powers and the Sublime Porte. The Parliament had to develop the Organic Statute (Constitution).

Bulgaria raised again on the map of Europe with the San Stefano Treaty. Its population numbered 4.8 million people. San Stefano peace treaty on the one hand solved the problem of legitimacy of the Bulgarian state and the other was convincing evidence for the Bulgarian territorial presence of the Balkan Peninsula. San Stefano Bulgaria with a small overlap map except the Exarchate of 1870, which legitimized the Sultan Orthodox spirituality of the Bulgarian population. San Stefano's Bulgaria, with few exceptions, overlaped the map of the Exarchate from 1870, which the Turkish Sultan legitimized the Orthodox spirituality of the Bulgarian population. One of the important results of the San Stefano treaty is that it created an ideal which underlies both the successes and the national disasters for the Bulgarian state after 1878.

England and Austria-Hungary declared against the Treaty of San Stefano. At their own initiative, it was revised and replaced by the Treaty of Berlin in July 1878. Under its terms San Stefano Bulgaria was divided into five parts - Northern Bulgaria and Sofia sandjak formed vassal Principality of Bulgaria, which pays an annual tax of the Turkish sultan, has its own militia and governed from Knyaz elected from the people, but with the consent of Great Powers and the Sultan; lands between the Balkan Mountains and Rhodope Mountains were separated in individual autonomous province named Eastern Rumelia, managed from Governor-General, appointed from the Sublime Porte; Macedonia and Odrin region remained in the Ottoman Empire under the direct authority of the Sultan; towns of Pirot and Vranje were transmitted to Serbia and Romania received Northern Dobrudja.

On 1888 3 March was celebrated as the Day of Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. As a single holiday that day was celebrated in 1978 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary from the Liberation. 10 years later it became an official holiday. With a decision of the Grand National Assembly from March 5, 1990 the date was declared for a national holiday. (Source: /in Bulgarian/)