Just to say thanks for all the hard work that went into organizing the shipment of household goods from Chennai through to the UK. I really appreciate the time and effort Sai Chander has put into this, his vigilance and attention to detail. Thanks also for being on call when needed. This really was a very smooth experience for such a big task and with the added complexities that India throws up just to add more excitement!!
I just had an excellent experience with Verto Mobility for my storage and international shipment. The thing I liked about most was the crew did not rush through anything, inspected each piece in details, packed really well and manage the packing part very efficiently. The Honda City car was delivered last evening and all unpacking of our personal effects was also finished last evening. I guess we started loading everything last Monday and delivery of all stuff, including two cars was completed on Sunday evening- seems quite impressive on their move from Bangalore, India to Pune, India.
I want to thank Verto for an extremely smooth move. I am glad we took the chance on you. I was very satisfied with the crew at both ends and appreciate the effort made to clear customs in a timely fashion in Singapore and Bangalore.
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Also — above all — thank you for the orchestration, constant communication and updates that you kept giving me. I felt that I was constantly in the loop about what was going on. Of course there were a couple of minor hiccups which I am sure will addressed over time — but all in all — I am very happy and will gladly use your services when we move next. I have used Verto Mobility to move Mumbai to Bangalore.
Service was timely and efficient and they packed the items very well. I would highly recommend them even for International moves. Thanks for the same. Thanks to all your efforts, other than 2 wheels of one of the furniture that was broken all the other items came in a very good condition. The packaging done in India was excellent and the people who delivered it also did a very good job of fixing the furniture and setting it up.
Thank you very much. Skip to content. Facebook Twitter Linkedin. Very satisfied. Good service rendered. Excellent service. I would use Verto Mobility Services again. I read the plot of this movie on Wikipedia and I was really amused. This movie was about a little white boy who is helped by the black characters in the movie both animated and real to deal with his problems on the plantation.
This is not shocking. Who was making movies for and about black folks in ? Most films that had black characters were full of racial stereotypes and very specific images of what white people thought black people were like. How many black screenwriters were around in ? A big chunk of the nation was still segregated.
All the same, I can see why Disney was attracted to the Brer Rabbit tales. Folktales exist because the folk need them. Their messages are universal and they run through our lives and touch us in lots of ways. I have no doubt you have heard a story from another culture that touches you or moves you. You've read books or watched films from other cultures that touch you or move you.
You've encountered festivals, practices, or celebrations that speak to you. If I had my way, Jolabokaflod would be a major American tradition and we would do it four times a year. The Christmas Eve Book Flood Come to think of it, my family members often end up spending part of Christmas Day like this because one thing my family definitely does is give each other books. I am considering instituting this in our household officially now that I am no longer dealing with really little children from various siblings.
That's neither here nor there. The point is, there are stories and traditions that appeal to all of us for different reasons. The issue with the Song of The South is not that Disney decided to use the stories that Joel Chandler Harris heard in his childhood to make that movie. The issue is that Disney had absolutely no idea what those stories were about or what they were used for in their own culture.
Joel Chandler Harris probably didn't know either.
Not because he didn't know the stories, but it is unlikely any of the black folks who told them to him would have let him into the deeper secrets behind the stories. If Disney had any understanding of what these stories were about, that fox and bear would have been presented as extremely foolish southern white characters. All of Brer Rabbit's stories were about how important it was for enslaved Africans to be smarter, more resilient, stronger, and more determined than the enslavers all around them.
Brer Rabbit is the only trickster who cannot be ultimately caught and punished. He is the only one who always walks free after thinking his way out of trouble. Fighting makes things worse. Thinking solves everything. Being cunning keeps you alive. One would not guess that is the point of the Brer tales from Song of The South. When you remove the people who created the stories from the equation of sharing the stories, tales can lose their purpose and power.
It can even make the characters who are behaving in certain ways seem immoral, stupid, or mean. If the question, "Why are they doing that? Even though the stories can mean different things to different people, it is important to understand why they were told. When you take a story out of its context, tell it without understanding the why of the tale, you make the people who told that tale invisible.
You mask the purpose of those tales. You make their voices silent. You cover up their need. You ignore their truth. You transfer potential wealth out of a community. Wealth in the form of both money and cultural richness. Defining a group of people based on your lack of understanding of who they actually are will create misunderstandings. When Disney took those tales, repurposed them, profited from them to the tune of millions of dollars, and at no point gave any voice to the people who originated those stories, they silenced Brer Rabbit in an odd way.
Nobody has put out another big national Bruh Rabbit project. Because Disney tainted the idea of Bruh Rabbit. The images they used, the language, the whole plot of the tale is considered racist and insensitive. Instead of thinking, "Disney did it the wrong way," the Bruh Rabbit tales themselves are now somehow racist and insensitive!
I've seen librarians and teachers get nervous when they realize I'm about to tell one! I get these questions from people: Is it okay to tell them? Is it okay to share them? I was working with a business that was interested in southern folklore, but they were leery about using even a generic rabbit for fear someone would think it was Brer Rabbit and they would get "in trouble".
There is nothing wrong with telling Brer Rabbit tales. I go into schools all over the country. I sometimes ask if anyone has ever heard of Brer Rabbit. Hardly any of the children have. Most of the adults haven't heard of him either. I give the explanation for who he is and what he did. The audiences love the tales. Who wouldn't? They are fabulous! Here is a good place to start The reason why Bruh Rabbit stories were told is uncomfortable for some people. The reason why they persist is that they are wonderful fun and speak to the downtrodden or those treated unjustly. They can certainly be used for that.
Just don't forget why they were told and where they came from.
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When you are telling these stories, don't let that part of it go. It speaks to a time in our cultural history that still shapes policies and procedures in our nation. I know there are those reading these words and thinking that I am making too much of this. How can you make a culture invisible by misappropriating their stories? Honestly, one would think stories are everything!
What happens if you effectively misappropriate? Well, you get things like this. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization? I would like to say that this man is alone in this foolishness, but he is not. The misappropriation of stories and images and ideas distorts them. If the people who have worked to disinherit "others" define how those "others" think, feel, behave, and look at the world, they control how that group can be treated. This is where stereotypes are born. What are the images we have gotten historically of people we don't want to think of as decent or worthy human beings?
How have we defined them? I won't post any of those images here. You can find them if you like. Distorted images of the Irish, Italians, Jewish people, African Americans, Polish people, Muslims, Hispanics, people from Asia, and homosexuals are still with us and are still being passed around in some communities. The way we tell stories about people matters. The way we think about them Ask yourself some questions:. Are you living on land that was appropriated from an earlier nation? What First Nation P eople used to inhabit the lands around where you are now living?
How did those First Nation People live? Where are their descendants today if there are any? What are the circumstances around which your land was transferred from First Nation People? Can you name any scientists that are descended from First Nation People? Any innovations that shaped our culture? To not see someone's stories is to not see their contributions. To appropriate their stories is to make them invisible.
To make them invisible can impoverish them in the mainstream culture and drive them further away from either being seen or appreciated. The Storytelling Component:. Why are you telling this story? Do you know where this story originated or why it originated? Who are the people behind this tale? Have you changed the tale to fit a thing you want to say despite the tale saying nothing of the sort? Do you know if you have done this? Can you truly tell this story and honor the people who told it?
Not every story has a strong cultural lens that needs to be confronted, but some do. Doing your homework helps. Happy Telling! Understanding People Means Understanding How They Live The question of cultural appropriation regularly roils the storytelling community. I had planned to do one post about this, but it got long.
This will be a series. What is cultural appropriation? Christmas has gone through some serious changes over the course of American history! Click on this link to find some fun facts about Christmas. That thing we call Christmas in America today? We stole lots of it from German immigrants. How much did we steal? Check it out. Even when we are celebrating lovely American things we tend to have culturally diverse elements like fireworks. The world has China to thank for those. Most of our cuisine is Americanized food from other parts of the world.
Our language is a compilation of grammatical structures and words that we have taken wholesale from other languages. What could be less American than pizza? Culture is fluid. It moves and changes. Ideas that apply across large swaths of people get incorporated into the main culture. We see something we like that someone else is doing and we start doing it. Influencers make a living getting the people of the world to follow them around and behave as they behave.
The state also assists a large number of Turkish primary schools. The penalties for non-attendance are not very rigidly enforced, and it has been found necessary to close the schools in the rural districts during the summer, the children being required for labour in the fields. The age for primary instruction is six to ten years; in , In addition to the primary schools, 40 infant schools for children of 3 to 6 years of age were attended by pupils.
In the system of secondary education the distinction between the classical and "real" or special course of study is maintained as in most European countries; in there were secondary schools and 18 gymnasia 10 for boys and 8 for girls. In addition to these there are 6 technical and 3 agricultural schools; 5 of pedagogy, 1 theological, 1 commercial, 1 of forestry, 1 of design, 1 for surgeons' assistants, and a large military school at Sofia. Government aid is given to students of limited means, both for secondary education and the completion of their studies abroad.
The university of Sofia, formerly known as the "high school," was reorganized in ; it comprises 3 faculties philology, mathematics and law , and possesses a staff of 17 professors and 25 lecturers. The number of students in was The ancient Thraco-Illyrian race which inhabited the district between the Danube and the Aegean was expelled, or more probably absorbed, by the great Slavonic immigration which took place at various intervals between the end of the 3rd century after Christ and the beginning of the 6th.
The numerous tumuli which are found in all parts of the country see Herodotus v. The Slavs, an agricultural people, were governed, even in those remote times, by the democratic local institutions to which they are still attached; they possessed no national leaders or central organization, and their only political unit was the pleme , or tribe.
They were considerably influenced by contact with Roman civilization. It was reserved for a foreign race, altogether distinct in origin, religion and customs, to give unity and coherence to the scattered Slavonic groups, and to weld them into a compact and powerful state which for some centuries played an important part in the history of eastern Europe and threatened the existence of the Byzantine empire. The Bulgars. They were a horde of wild horsemen, fierce and barbarous, practising polygamy, and governed despotically by their khans chiefs and boyars or bolyars nobles.
Their original abode was the tract between the Ural mountains and the Volga, where the kingdom of Great or Black Bolgary existed down to the 13th century. In , under their khan Asparukh or Isperikh , they crossed the Danube, and, after subjugating the Slavonic population of Moesia, advanced to the gates of Constantinople and Salonica. The East Roman emperors were compelled to cede to them the province of Moesia and to pay them an annual tribute.
The invading horde was not numerous, and during the next two centuries it became gradually merged in the Slavonic population. Like the Franks in Gaul the Bulgars gave their name and a political organization to the more civilized race which they conquered, but adopted its language, customs and local institutions. Not a trace of the Ugrian or Finnish element is to be found in the Bulgarian speech. This complete assimilation of a conquering race may be illustrated by many parallels.
Early Dynasties. The tribute first imposed on the Greeks by Asparukh was again exacted by Kardam and Krum , a sovereign noted alike for his cruelty and his military and political capacity. Under his rule the Bulgarian realm extended from the Carpathians to the neighbourhood of Adrianople; Serdica the present Sofia was taken, and the valley of the Struma conquered. The reign of Boris is memorable [v. Two monks of Salonica, SS. Cyril and Methodius, are generally reverenced as the national apostles; the scene of their labours, however, was among the Slavs of Moravia, and the Bulgars were evangelized by their disciples.
Boris, finding himself surrounded by Christian states, decided from political motives to abandon paganism. He was baptized in , the emperor Michael III. It was at this time that the controversies broke out which ended in the schism between the Churches of the East and West. Boris long wavered between Constantinople and Rome, but the refusal of the pope to recognize an autocephalous Bulgarian church determined him to offer his allegiance to the Greek patriarch. The decision was fraught with momentous consequences for the future of the race. The nation altered its religion in obedience to its sovereign, and some of the boyars who resisted the change paid with their lives for their fidelity to the ancient belief.
The independence of the Bulgarian church was recognized by the patriarchate, a fact much dwelt upon in recent controversies. The First Empire. In his reign, says Gibbon, "Bulgaria assumed a rank among the civilized powers of the earth. After the death of Simeon the Bulgarian power declined owing to internal dissensions; the land was distracted by the Bogomil heresy see Bogomils , and a separate or western empire, including Albania and Macedonia, was founded at Ochrida by Shishman, a boyar from Trnovo.
A notable event took place in , when the Russians, under Sviatoslav, made their first appearance in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian tsar, Boris II. The empire at Ochrida, however, rose to considerable importance under Samuel, the son of Shishman , who conquered the greater part of the Peninsula, and ruled from the Danube to the Morea. The Bulgarian tsar was so overpowered by the spectacle that he died of grief. A few years later his dynasty finally disappeared, and for more than a century and a half the Bulgarian race remained subject to the Byzantine emperors.
The Second Empire. After a series of victorious campaigns he established his sway over Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace, and governed his wide dominions with justice, wisdom and moderation. In his time the nation attained a prosperity hitherto unknown: commerce, the arts and literature flourished; Trnovo, the capital, was enlarged and embellished; and great numbers of churches and monasteries were founded or endowed.
Two other dynasties, both of Kuman origin, followed—the Terterovtzi, who ruled at Trnovo, and the Shishmanovtzi, who founded an independent state at Vidin, but afterwards reigned in the national capital. Bulgaria, though still retaining its native rulers, now became subject to Servia, and formed part of the short-lived empire of Stephen Dushan The Servian hegemony vanished after the death of Dushan, and the Christian races of the Peninsula, distracted by the quarrels of their petty princes, fell an easy prey to the advancing might of the Moslem invader.
The Turkish Conquest. In the rout of the Servians, Bosnians and Croats on the famous field of Kossovo decided the fate of the Peninsula. Shortly afterwards Ivan Shishman was attacked by the Turks; and Trnovo, after a siege of three months, was captured, sacked and burnt in The fate of the last Bulgarian sovereign is unknown: the national legend represents him as perishing in a battle near Samakov. Vidin, where Ivan's brother, Strazhimir, had established himself, was taken in , and with its fall the last remnant of Bulgarian independence disappeared.
The five centuries of Turkish rule form a dark epoch in Bulgarian history. The invaders carried fire and sword through the land; towns, villages and monasteries were sacked and destroyed, and whole districts were converted into desolate wastes. The inhabitants of the plains fled to the mountains, where they founded new settlements. Many of the nobles embraced the creed of Islam, and were liberally rewarded for their apostasy; others, together with numbers of the priests and people, took refuge across the Danube. All the regions formerly ruled by the Bulgarian tsars, including Macedonia and Thrace, were placed under the administration of a governor-general, styled the beylerbey of Rum-ili, residing at Sofia; Bulgaria proper was divided into the sanjaks of Sofia, Nikopolis, Vidin, Silistria and Kiustendil.
Only a small proportion of the people followed the example of the boyars in abandoning Christianity; the conversion of the isolated communities now represented by the Pomaks took place at various intervals during the next three centuries. A new kind of feudal system replaced that of the boyars, and fiefs or spahiliks were conferred on the Ottoman chiefs and the renegade Bulgarian nobles. The Christian population was subjected to heavy imposts, the principal being the haratch , or capitation-tax, paid to the imperial treasury, and the tithe on agricultural produce, which was collected by the feudal lord.
Among the most cruel forms of oppression was the requisitioning of young boys between the ages of ten and twelve, who were sent to Constantinople as recruits for the corps of janissaries.
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Notwithstanding the horrors which attended the Ottoman conquest, the condition of the peasantry during the first three centuries of Turkish government was scarcely worse than it had been under the tyrannical rule of the boyars. The contemptuous indifference with which the Turks regarded the Christian rayas was not altogether to the disadvantage of the subject race. Military service was not exacted from the Christians, no systematic effort was made to extinguish either their religion or their language, and within certain limits they were allowed to retain their ancient local administration and the jurisdiction of their clergy in regard to inheritances and family affairs.
Some of them, such as Koprivshtitza in the Sredna Gora, attained great prosperity, which has somewhat declined since the establishment of the principality. While the Ottoman power was at its height the lot of the subject-races was far less intolerable than during the period of decadence, which began with the unsuccessful siege of Vienna in Their rights and privileges were respected, the law was enforced, commerce prospered, good roads were constructed, and the great caravans of the Ragusan merchants traversed the country.
A kind of guerilla warfare was, however, maintained in the mountains by the kaiduti , or outlaws, whose exploits, like those of the Greek klepkts , have been highly idealized in the popular folk-lore. As the power of the sultans declined anarchy spread through the Peninsula. In the earlier decades of the 18th century the Bulgarians suffered terribly from the ravages of the Turkish armies passing through the land during the wars with Austria.
Towards its close their condition became even worse owing to the horrors perpetrated by the Krjalis, or troops of disbanded soldiers and desperadoes, who, in defiance of the Turkish authorities, roamed through the country, supporting themselves by plunder and committing every conceivable atrocity. In Pasvanoglu, one of the chiefs of the Krjalis, established himself as an independent sovereign at Vidin, putting to flight three large Turkish armies which were despatched against him.
This adventurer possessed many remarkable qualities. He adorned Vidin with handsome buildings, maintained order, levied taxes and issued a separate coinage. He died in The memoirs of Sofronii, bishop of Vratza, present a vivid picture of the condition of Bulgaria at this time. The National Revival. Disheartened by ages of oppression, isolated from Christendom by their geographical position, and cowed by the proximity of Constantinople, the Bulgarians took no collective part in the insurrectionary movement which resulted in the liberation of Servia and Greece.
The Russian invasions of and only added to their sufferings, and great numbers of fugitives took refuge in Bessarabia, annexed by Russia under the treaty of Bucharest. But the long-dormant national spirit now began to awake under the influence of a literary revival. The precursors of the movement were Paisii, a monk of Mount Athos, who wrote a history of the Bulgarian tsars and saints , and Bishop Sofronii, whose memoirs have been already mentioned. After several works written in modern Bulgarian began to appear, but the most important step was the foundation, in , of the first Bulgarian school at Gabrovo.
Within ten years at least 53 Bulgarian schools came into existence, and five Bulgarian printing-presses were at work. The literary movement led the way to a reaction against the influence and authority of the Greek clergy. The spiritual domination of the Greek patriarchate had tended more effectually than the temporal power of the Turks to the effacement of Bulgarian nationality. The independent patriarchate of Trnovo was suppressed; that of Ochrida was subsequently Hellenized. The Phanariot clergy—unscrupulous, rapacious and corrupt—succeeded in monopolizing the higher ecclesiastical appointments and filled the parishes with Greek priests, whose schools, in which Greek was exclusively taught, were the only means of instruction open to the population.
By degrees Greek became the language of the upper classes in all the Bulgarian towns, the Bulgarian language was written in Greek characters, and the illiterate peasants, though speaking the vernacular, called themselves Greeks. The Slavonic liturgy was suppressed in favour of the Greek, and in many places the old Bulgarian manuscripts, images, testaments and missals were committed to the flames.
The patriots of the literary movement, recognizing in the patriarchate the most determined foe to a national revival, directed all their efforts to the abolition of Greek ecclesiastical ascendancy and the restoration of the Bulgarian autonomous church. Some of the leaders went so far as to open negotiations with Rome, and an archbishop of the Uniate Bulgarian church was nominated by the pope.
The struggle was prosecuted with the utmost tenacity for forty years. Incessant protests and memorials were addressed to the Porte, and every effort was made to undermine the position of the Greek bishops, some of whom were compelled to abandon their sees. At the same time no pains were spared to diffuse education and to stimulate the national sentiment.
Various insurrectionary movements were attempted by the patriots Rakovski, Panayot Khitoff, Haji Dimitr, Stephen Karaja and others, but received little support from the mass of the people. The recognition of Bulgarian nationality was won by the pen, not the sword. The patriarchate at length found it necessary to offer some concessions, but these appeared illusory to the Bulgarians, and long and acrimonious discussions followed. Eventually the Turkish government intervened, and on the 28th of February a firman was issued establishing the Bulgarian exarchate, with jurisdiction over fifteen dioceses, including Nish, Pirot and Veles; the other dioceses in dispute were to be added to these in case two-thirds of the Christian population so desired.
The election of the first exarch was delayed till February , owing to the opposition of the patriarch, who immediately afterwards excommunicated the new head of the Bulgarian church and all his followers. The official recognition now acquired tended to consolidate the Bulgarian nation and to prepare it for the political developments which were soon to follow. A great educational activity at once displayed itself in all the districts subjected to the new ecclesiastical power.
The Revolt of In , 12, Crimean Tatars, and in a still larger number of Circassians from the Caucasus, were settled by the Turkish government on lands taken without compensation from the Bulgarian peasants. The Circassians, a lawless race of mountaineers, proved a veritable scourge to the population in their neighbourhood.
In the insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina produced immense excitement throughout the Peninsula. The fanaticism of the Moslems was aroused, and the Bulgarians, fearing a general massacre of Christians, endeavoured to anticipate the blow by organizing a general revolt. Bands of bashi-bazouks were let loose throughout the district by the Turkish authorities, the Pomaks, or Moslem Bulgarians, and the Circassian colonists were called to arms, and a succession of horrors followed to which a parallel can scarcely be found in the history of the middle ages.
Altogether some 15, persons were massacred in the [v. Isolated risings which took place on the northern side of the Balkans were crushed with similar barbarity. These atrocities, which were first made known by an English journalist and an American consular official, were denounced by Gladstone in a celebrated pamphlet which aroused the indignation of Europe.
The great powers remained inactive, but Servia declared war in the following month, and her army was joined by Bulgarian volunteers. A conference of the representatives of the powers, held at Constantinople towards the end of the year, proposed, among other reforms, the organization of the Bulgarian provinces, including the greater part of Macedonia, in two vilayets under Christian governors, with popular representation. These recommendations were practically set aside by the Porte, and in April Russia declared war see Russo-Turkish Wars , and Plevna.
In the campaign which followed the Bulgarian volunteer contingent in the Russian army played an honourable part; it accompanied Gourko's advance over the Balkans, behaved with great bravery at Stara Zagora, where it lost heavily, and rendered valuable services in the defence of Shipka. Treaties of San Stefano and Berlin. All the provinces of European Turkey in which the Bulgarian element predominated were now included in an autonomous principality, which extended from the Black Sea to the Albanian mountains, and from the Danube to the Aegean, enclosing Ochrida, the ancient capital of the Shishmans, Dibra and Kastoria, as well as the districts of Vranya and Pirot, and possessing a Mediterranean port at Kavala.
The Dobrudja, notwithstanding its Bulgarian population, was not included in the new state, being reserved as compensation to Rumania for the Russian annexation of Bessarabia; Adrianople, Salonica and the Chalcidian peninsula were left to Turkey. The area thus delimited constituted three-fifths of the Balkan Peninsula, with a population of 4,, inhabitants. The great powers, however, anticipating that this extensive territory would become a Russian dependency, intervened; and on the 13th of July of the same year was signed the treaty of Berlin, which in effect divided the "Big Bulgaria" of the treaty of San Stefano into three portions.
The limits of the principality of Bulgaria, as then defined, and the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia, have been already described; the remaining portion, including almost the whole of Macedonia and part of the vilayet of Adrianople, was left under Turkish administration. No special organization was provided for the districts thus abandoned; it was stipulated that laws similar to the organic law of Crete should be introduced into the various parts of Turkey in Europe, but this engagement was never carried out by the Porte.
Vranya, Pirot and Nish were given to Servia, and the transference of the Dobrudja to Rumania was sanctioned. This artificial division of the Bulgarian nation could scarcely be regarded as possessing elements of permanence. It was provided that the prince of Bulgaria should be freely elected by the population, and confirmed by the Sublime Porte with the assent of the powers, and that, before his election, an assembly of Bulgarian notables, convoked at Trnovo, should draw up the organic law of the principality.
The drafting of a constitution for Eastern Rumelia was assigned to a European commission. The Constitution of Trnovo. The assembly of notables, which met at Trnovo in , was mainly composed of half-educated peasants, who from the first displayed an extremely democratic spirit, in which they proceeded to manipulate the very liberal constitution submitted to them by Prince Dondukov-Korsakov, the Russian governor-general. The long period of Turkish domination had effectually obliterated all social distinctions, and the radical element, which now formed into a party under Tzankoff and Karaveloff, soon gave evidence of its predominance.
Manhood suffrage, a single chamber, payment of deputies, the absence of property qualification for candidates, and the prohibition of all titles and distinctions, formed salient features in the constitution now elaborated. The organic statute of Eastern Rumelia was largely modelled on the Belgian constitution. The governor-general, nominated for five years by the sultan with the approbation of the powers, was assisted by an assembly, partly representative, partly composed of ex-officio members; a permanent committee was entrusted with the preparation of legislative measures and the general supervision of the administration, while a council of six "directors" fulfilled the duties of a ministry.
Prince Alexander. Arriving in Bulgaria on the 7th of July, Prince Alexander, then in his twenty-third year, found all the authority, military and civil, in Russian hands. The history of the earlier portion of his reign is marked by two principal features—a strong Bulgarian reaction against Russian tutelage and a vehement struggle against the autocratic institutions which the young ruler, under Russian guidance, endeavoured to inaugurate.
Both movements were symptomatic of the determination of a strong-willed and egoistic race, suddenly liberated from secular oppression, to enjoy to the full the moral and material privileges of liberty. In the assembly at Trnovo the popular party had adopted the watchword "Bulgaria for the Bulgarians," and a considerable anti-Russian contingent was included in its ranks.
Young and inexperienced, Prince Alexander, at the suggestion of the Russian consul-general, selected his first ministry from a small group of "Conservative" politicians whose views were in conflict with those of the parliamentary majority, but he was soon compelled to form a "Liberal" administration under Tzankoff and Karaveloff. The Liberals, once in power, initiated a violent campaign against foreigners in general and the Russians in particular; they passed an alien law, and ejected foreigners from every lucrative position.
The Russians made a vigorous resistance, and a state of chaos ensued. Eventually the prince, finding good government impossible, obtained the consent of the tsar to a change of the constitution, and assumed absolute authority on the 9th of May The Russian general Ernroth was appointed sole minister, and charged with the duty of holding elections for the Grand Sobranye, to which the right of revising the constitution appertained. So successfully did he discharge his mission that the national representatives, almost without debate, suspended the constitution and invested the prince with absolute powers for a term of seven years July A period of Russian government followed under Generals Skobelev and Kaulbars, who were specially despatched from St Petersburg to enhance the authority of the prince.
Their administration, however, tended to a contrary result, and the prince, finding himself reduced to impotence, opened negotiations with the Bulgarian leaders and effected a coalition of all parties on the basis of a restoration of the constitution. The generals, who had made an unsuccessful attempt to remove the prince, withdrew; the constitution of Trnovo was restored by proclamation 19th September , and a coalition ministry was formed under Tzankoff. Prince Alexander, whose relations with the court of St Petersburg had become less cordial since the death of his uncle, the tsar Alexander II.
Union with Eastern Rumelia. Among the politicians two parties had come into existence—the Conservatives or self-styled "Unionists," and the Radicals, derisively called by their opponents [v. Neither party, however, while in power would risk the sweets of office by embarking in a hazardous adventure. In the Unionists were in office, and their opponents lost no time in organizing a conspiracy for the overthrow of the governor-general, Krstovitch Pasha. Their designs were facilitated by the circumstance that Turkey had abstained from sending troops into the province.
Having previously assured themselves of Prince Alexander's acquiescence, they seized the governor-general and proclaimed the union with Bulgaria 18th September. The revolution took place without bloodshed, and a few days later Prince Alexander entered Philippopolis amid immense enthusiasm. His position now became precarious. The powers were scandalized at the infraction of the Berlin Treaty; Great Britain alone showed sympathy, while Russia denounced the union and urged the Porte to reconquer the revolted province—both powers thus reversing their respective attitudes at the congress of Berlin.
War with Servia. At the moment of danger the Russian officers, who filled all the higher posts in the Bulgarian army, were withdrawn by order of the tsar. In these critical circumstances Prince Alexander displayed considerable ability and resource, and the nation gave evidence of hitherto unsuspected qualities. Contrary to general expectation, the Bulgarian army, imperfectly equipped and led by subaltern officers, successfully resisted the Servian invasion.
After brilliant victories at Slivnitza 19th November and Tsaribrod, Prince Alexander crossed the frontier and captured Pirot 27th November , but his farther progress was arrested by the intervention of Austria see Servo-Bulgarian War. The treaty of Bucharest followed 3rd of March , declaring, in a single clause, the restoration of peace. Servia, notwithstanding her aggression, escaped a war indemnity, but the union with Eastern Rumelia was practically secured.
These military and diplomatic successes, which invested the prince with the attributes of a national hero, quickened the decision of Russia to effect his removal.
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An instrument was found in the discontent of several of his officers, who considered themselves slighted in the distribution of rewards, and a conspiracy was formed in which Tzankoff, Karaveloff the prime minister , Archbishop Clement, and other prominent persons were implicated. On the night of the 21st of August the prince was seized in his palace by several officers and compelled, under menace of death, to sign his abdication; he was then hurried to the Danube at Rakhovo and transported to Russian soil at Reni. This violent act met with instant disapproval on the part of the great majority of the nation.
Stamboloff, the president of the assembly, and Colonel Mutkuroff, commandant of the troops at Philippopolis, initiated a counter-revolution; the provisional government set up by the conspirators immediately fell, and a few days later the prince, who had been liberated by the Russian authorities, returned to the country amid every demonstration of popular sympathy and affection.
His arrival forestalled that of a Russian imperial commissioner, who had been appointed to proceed to Bulgaria. He now committed the error of addressing a telegram to the tsar in which he offered to resign his crown into the hands of Russia. This unfortunate step, by which he ignored the suzerainty of Turkey, and represented Bulgaria as a Russian dependency, exposed him to a stern rebuff, and fatally compromised his position. The national leaders, after obtaining a promise from the Russian representative at Sofia that Russia would abstain from interference in the internal affairs of the country, consented to his departure; on the 8th of September he announced his abdication, and on the following day he left Bulgaria.
The Regency. A series of attempts to throw the country into anarchy were firmly dealt with, and the Grand Sobranye was summoned to elect a new prince. The candidature of the prince of Mingrelia was now set up by Russia, and General Kaulbars was despatched to Bulgaria to make known to the people the wishes of the tsar. He vainly endeavoured to postpone the convocation of the Grand Sobranye in order to gain time for the restoration of Russian influence, and proceeded on an electoral tour through the country.
The failure of his mission was followed by the withdrawal of the Russian representatives from Bulgaria. The Grand Sobranye, which assembled at Trnovo, offered the crown to Prince Valdemar of Denmark, brother-in-law of the tsar, but the honour was declined, and an anxious period ensued, during which a deputation visited the principal capitals of Europe with the twofold object of winning sympathy for the cause of Bulgarian independence and discovering a suitable candidate for the throne.
Prince Ferdinand. The new prince, who was twenty-six years of age, was at this time a lieutenant in the Austrian army. Undeterred by the difficulties of the international situation and the distracted condition of the country, he accepted the crown, and took over the government on the 14th of August at Trnovo.
His arrival, which was welcomed with enthusiasm, put an end to a long and critical interregnum, but the dangers which menaced Bulgarian independence were far from disappearing. Russia declared the newly-elected sovereign a usurper; the other powers, in deference to her susceptibilities, declined to recognize him, and the grand vizier informed him that his presence in Bulgaria was illegal. Numerous efforts were made by the partisans of Russia to disturb internal tranquillity, and Stamboloff, who became prime minister on the 1st of September, found it necessary to govern with a strong hand.
A raid led by the Russian captain Nabokov was repulsed; brigandage, maintained for political purposes, was exterminated; the bishops of the Holy Synod, who, at the instigation of Clement, refused to pay homage to the prince, were forcibly removed from Sofia; a military conspiracy organized by Major Panitza was crushed, and its leader executed. An attempt to murder the energetic prime minister resulted in the death of his colleague, Beltcheff, and shortly afterwards Dr Vlkovitch, the Bulgarian representative at Constantinople, was assassinated.
While contending with unscrupulous enemies at home, Stamboloff pursued a successful policy abroad. Excellent relations were established with Turkey and Rumania, valuable concessions were twice extracted from the Porte in regard to the Bulgarian episcopate in Macedonia, and loans were concluded with foreign financiers on comparatively favourable terms.
His overbearing character, however, increased the number of his opponents, and alienated the goodwill of the prince. In the spring of Prince Ferdinand married Princess Marie-Louise of Bourbon-Parma, whose family insisted on the condition that the issue of the marriage should be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. In view of the importance of establishing a dynasty, Stamboloff resolved on the unpopular course of altering the clause of the constitution which required that the heir to the throne should belong to the Orthodox Church, and the Grand Sobranye, which was convoked at Trnovo in the summer, gave effect to this decision.
The death of Prince Alexander, which took place in the autumn, and the birth of an heir, tended to strengthen the position of Prince Ferdinand, who now assumed a less compliant attitude towards the prime minister. A Russophil [v. The prince's plans were favoured by the death of the tsar Alexander III. The powers having signified their assent, he was nominated by the sultan prince of Bulgaria and governor-general of Eastern Rumelia 14th March. Russian influence now became predominant in Bulgaria, but the cabinet of St Petersburg wisely abstained from interfering in the internal affairs of the principality.
In February Russia proposed the reconciliation of the Greek and Bulgarian churches and the removal of the exarch to Sofia. The project, which involved a renunciation of the exarch's jurisdiction in Macedonia, excited strong opposition in Bulgaria, and was eventually dropped. The death of Princess Marie-Louise 30th January , caused universal regret in the country. The loan, however, fell through, and in October a new government was formed under Ivanchoff and Radoslavoff.
This, in its turn, was replaced by a cabinet d'affaires under General Petroff January In the following March Karaveloff for the third time became prime minister. His efforts to improve the financial situation, which now became alarming, proved abortive, and in January a Tzankovist cabinet was formed under Daneff, who succeeded in obtaining a foreign loan. Russian influence now became predominant, and in the autumn the grand-duke Nicholas, General Ignatiev, and a great number of Russian officers were present at the consecration of a Russian church and monastery in the Shipka pass.
But the appointment of Mgr. Firmilian, a Servian prelate, to the important see of Uskub at the instance of Russia, the suspected designs of that power on the ports of Varna and Burgas, and her unsympathetic attitude in regard to the Macedonian Question, tended to diminish her popularity and that of the government. A cabinet crisis was brought about in May , by the efforts of the Russian party to obtain control of the army, and the Stambolovists returned to power under General Petroff.
A violent recrudescence of the Macedonian agitation took place in the autumn of ; at the suggestion of Russia the leaders were imprisoned, but the movement nevertheless gained force, and in August a revolt broke out in the vilayet of Monastir, subsequently spreading to the districts of northern Macedonia and Adrianople see Macedonia. The barbarities committed by the Turks in repressing the insurrection caused great exasperation in the principality; the reserves were partially mobilized, and the country was brought to the brink of war.
In pursuance of the policy of Stamboloff, the Petroff government endeavoured to inaugurate friendly relations with Turkey, and a Turco-Bulgarian convention was signed 8th April which, however, proved of little practical value. The outrages committed by numerous Greek bands in Macedonia led to reprisals on the Greek population in Bulgaria in the summer of , and the town of Anchialo was partially destroyed.
On the 6th of November in that year Petroff resigned, and Petkoff, the leader of the Stambolovist party, formed a ministry. The prime minister, a statesman of undoubted patriotism but of overbearing character, was assassinated on the 11th of March by a youth who had been dismissed from a post in one of the agricultural banks, and the cabinet was reconstituted under Gudeff, a member of the same party.
Declaration of Independence. Its inhabitants, among whom a strong sense of nationality had grown up, were naturally anxious to escape from the restrictions imposed by the treaty of Berlin. That Servia should be an independent state, while Bulgaria, with its greater economic and military resources, remained tributary to the Sultan, was an anomaly which all classes resented; and although the Ottoman suzerainty was little more than a constitutional fiction, and the tribute imposed in was never paid, the Bulgarians were almost unanimous in their desire to end a system which made their country the vassal of a Moslem state notorious for its maladministration and corruption.
This desire was strengthened by the favourable reception accorded to Prince Ferdinand when he visited Vienna in February , and by the so-called "Geshoff incident," i. Geshoff, the Bulgarian agent, from a dinner given by Tewfik Pasha, the Ottoman minister for foreign affairs, to the ministers of all the sovereign states represented at Constantinople 12th of September This was interpreted as an insult to the Bulgarian nation, and as the explanation offered by the grand vizier was unsatisfactory, M. Geshoff was recalled to Sofia.
At this time the bloodless revolution in Turkey seemed likely to bring about a fundamental change in the settled policy of Bulgaria. For many years past Bulgarians had hoped that their own orderly and progressive government, which had contrasted so strongly with the evils of Turkish rule, would entitle them to consideration, and perhaps to an accession of territory, when the time arrived for a definite settlement of the Macedonian Question.
Now, however, the reforms introduced or foreshadowed by the Young Turkish party threatened to deprive Bulgaria of any pretext for future intervention; there was nothing to be gained by further acquiescence in the conditions laid down at Berlin. An opportunity for effective action occurred within a fortnight of M. Geshoff's recall, when a strike broke out on those sections of the Eastern Rumelian railways which were owned by Turkey and leased to the Oriental Railways Company.
The Bulgarians alleged that during the strike Turkish troops were able to travel on the lines which were closed to all other traffic, and that this fact constituted a danger to their own autonomy. The government therefore seized the railway, in defiance of European opinion, and in spite of the protests of the suzerain power and the Oriental Railways Company.
On the 5th of October Prince Ferdinand publicly proclaimed Bulgaria, united since the 6th of September i. This declaration was read aloud by the king in the church of the Forty Martyrs at Trnovo, the ancient capital of the Bulgarian tsars. The Porte immediately protested to the powers, but agreed to accept an indemnity. A preliminary Russo-Turkish protocol was signed on the 16th of March, and in April, after the final agreement had been concluded, the independence of Bulgaria was recognized by the powers.
See Turkey : History. In its groundwork it presents the nearest approach to the old ecclesiastical Slavonic, the liturgical language common to all the Orthodox Slavs, but it has undergone more important modifications than any of the sister dialects in the simplification of its grammatical forms; and the analytical character of its development may be compared with that of the neo-Latin and Germanic languages.
The introduction of the definite article, which appears in the form of a suffix, and the almost total disappearance of the ancient declensions, for which the use of [v.