Bulgaria: Notes

Accession to Independence: 1878-1879

The following chronology is based on the reports published in The Times (London).

19 Feb/3 Mar 1878 - the Treaty of San Stefano is signed by the plenipotentiaries of the Russian and Ottoman Empires; the articles would not be made known until its full ratification.

ART. VI. Bulgaria is constituted an autonomous tributary Principality, with a Christian Government and a national militia.

ART. VII. The Prince of Bulgaria shall be freely elected by the population and confirmed by the Sublime Porte, with the assent of the Powers. No member of the reigning dynasties of the great European Powers shall be capable of being elected Prince of Bulgaria.

In the event of the dignity of Prince of Bulgaria being vacant, the election of the new Prince shall be made subject to the same conditions and forms.

Before the election of the Prince, an Assembly of Bulgarian Notables, to be convoked at Philippopolis (Plowdiw) or Tyrnowo, shall draw up, under the superintendence of an Imperial Russian Commissioner, and in the presence of an Ottoman Commissioner, the organization of the future administration, in conformity with the precedents established in 1830 after the Peace of Adrianople, in the Danubian Principalities.

27 Feb/11 Mar 1878 - the Treaty of San Stefano is ratified by the Ottoman Empire [The Times, Tuesday, Mar 19, 1878; pg. 10; Issue 29206]

5/17 Mar 1878 - exchange of ratifications in St. Petersburg; the Treaty of San Stefano comes into effect [The Times, Monday, Mar 18, 1878; pg. 5; Issue 29205]

9/21 May 1878 - Dondukov-Korsakov takes office as Imperial Russian Commissioner in Bulgaria (Russian: Императорский Российский Комиссар в Болгарии; Bulgarian: Императорски руски комисар в България) at Rousse, Bulgaria [his proclamation is cited in The Times, Thursday, May 23, 1878; pg. 5; Issue 29262]

3/13 Jul 1878 Treaty of Berlin is signed (text in The Times, Monday, July 15, 1878, pp. 9-10);

Art. 1. Bulgaria is constituted an autonomous and tributary principality, under the suzerainty of His Majesty the Sultan. It shall have a Christian Government and a national militia.

Art. 3. The Prince of Bulgaria shall be freely elected by the population and confirmed by the Sublime Porte, with the assent of the Powers. <...>

Art. 4. An Assembly of the notables of Bulgaria, convoked at Tirnova, shall prepare before the election of the Prince the organic law of the Principality. <...>

Art. 6. The provisional administration of Bulgaria shall be directed, till the completion of the organic law, by an Imperial Russian Commissioner. An Imperial Turkish Commissioner, as well as Consuls delegated ad hoc by the signatory Powers of the present Treaty, shall be appointed to assist him, in order to control the action of this provisional administration. <...>

Art. 7. The Provisional Government cannot be prolonged for more than nine months from the date of signature of the present Treaty. When the organic law has been fully settled, the election of the Prince of Bulgaria will immediately follow. As soon as the Prince is installed the new organization will be put in force and the Principality will enter into full possession of its autonomy.

10/22 Feb 1879 - solemn opening of the Narodno sãbranie at Tarnovo; welcome address by Dondukov-Korsakov [The Times, Monday, Feb 24, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29499]; no formal session held until 15/27 Feb 1879; excerpts from the protocol of the opening is in The Times, Saturday, Mar 08, 1879; pg. 7; Issue 29510: "... and to the care of this Assembly was intrusted [sic] the discussion of the project of the organic statute... laid before the Assembly by the Imperial Russian Commissioner."

15/27 Feb 1879 - first official session of the Narodno sãbranie; Dondukov is absent, but represented by Luk'janov who communicates his decision to appoint Antim (Антим, exarch in 1872-1877) as provisional president of the assembly; Antim takes chair [The Times, Friday, Feb 28, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29503]

22 Feb/6 Mar 1879 - fourth session of the Narodno sãbranie; Standings Orders approved: "Art 1. The National Assembly now in Tirnova is a Constituante, called by special order of the Imperial Russian Commissioner for the examination of the project of the organic Constitution for the government of the Bulgarian Principality;" [The Times, Friday, Mar 07, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29509]; "Monsignor Anthin [sic], Metropolitan of Widin and hitherto honorary chairman, was chosen permanent President;" [The Times, Saturday, Mar 08, 1879; pg. 7; Issue 29510]

16/28 Apr 1879 - last session of the Narodno sãbranie: electoral law passed; the Constitution is signed by all deputies, at 17:00 Dondukov "declared the Constituante formally dissolved", protocol of dissolution signed by Dondukov and international representatives; [The Times, Wednesday, Apr 30, 1879; pg. 7; Issue 29555]

17/29 Apr 1879 - session of electoral Assembly, election of Prinz Alexander Joseph von Battenberg as knjaz (prince) under the name of Aleksandãr I, the act of election communicated to Dondukov at 14:00 [The Times, Wednesday, Apr 30, 1879; pg. 7; Issue 29555]

18/30 Apr 1879 - session of the Assembly; Dondukov addressed the session congratulating on the election of the prince [The Times, Thursday, May 01, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29556]

19 Apr/1 May 1879 - "the Bulgarian Assembly is dissolved and the Deputies have gone to their homes. They will return for the crowning of Prince Alexander I..." [The Times, Friday, May 02, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29557]

20 Apr/2 May 1879 - "The Turkish Commissioner has received orders to sign the protocol closing the first Bulgarian Assembly, and also those recording the opening and closing of the Assembly summoned for the election of the Prince." [The Times, Saturday, May 03, 1879; pg. 7; Issue 29558]

23 Jun/5 Jul 1879 - Aleksandãr arrived to Constantinople and received "the berat of investiture" from the Sultan [The Times, Monday, Jul 07, 1879; pg. 8; Issue 29613] [1]

24 Jun/6 Jul 1879 - Aleksandãr arrives to Varna and is met by Dondukov [The Times, Wednesday, Jul 09, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29615]

26 Jun/8 Jul 1879 - Aleksandãr and Dondukov arrive to Tarnovo [The Times, Wednesday, Jul 09, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29615]

27 Jun/9 Jul 1879 - Aleksandãr attends the service at Tarnovo Cathedral [no mention of coronation], takes oath before the Assembly and dissolves it [The Times, Friday, Jul 11, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29617]

29 Jun/11 Jul 1879 - Dondukov departs for Rousse en route for Russia [The Times, Saturday, Jul 12, 1879; pg. 7; Issue 29618]

30 Jul/11 Aug 1879 - firman of the investiture presented to the prince in Sofia [The Times, Wednesday, Aug 13, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29645]

[1] "Constantinople, July 7. The firman of investiture of Prince Battenberg, not having been ready, was not conferred yesterday, but will be forwarded later by a special envoy" [The Times, Tuesday, Jul 08, 1879; pg. 5; Issue 29614]
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 02:59:25