Eastern Rumelia

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Image:Rumelia Small.png
Proposed flag of Eastern Rumelia.

Eastern Rumelia or Eastern Roumelia (Bulgarian: Източна Румелия Iztochna Rumelija; Ottoman Turkish: Rumeli-i Sarki; Modern Turkish: Sarki Rumeli, Greek Ανατολική Ρωμυλία Anatoliki Romylia) was an autonomous province in the Ottoman Empire from 1878 to 1885 (nominally to 1908). Its capital was Plovdiv (Пловдив in Bulgarian Cyrillic, Philippoupolis Φιλιππούπολις in Greek, Filibe in Turkish).


[edit] History

Eastern Rumelia and its environs, from Literary and Historical Atlas of Europe, by J.G. Bartholomew, 1912.

Eastern Rumelia was set up as an autonomous province within the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. It encompassed the territory between the Balkan Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains and Strandzha Mountain, a region known to all its inhabitants - Bulgarians, Greeks and Ottoman Turks - as Northern Thrace. The artificial name, Eastern Rumelia, was given to the province on the insistence of the British delegates to the Congress of Berlin. Some twenty Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim) villages in the Rhodope Mountains refused to recognize Eastern Rumelian authority and formed the so called Pomak Republic.

Rumelian coat of arms from 1741, adopted later as coat of arms of Eastern Rumelia.

According to the Treaty of Berlin, Eastern Rumelia was to remain under the political and military jurisdiction of the Ottoman Empire with significant administrative autonomy (Article 13). The head of the province was a Christian Governor General appointed by the Sublime Porte with the approval of the Great Powers.

The eastern provinces of Anatolia were called by the Ottomans as Rum while the western provinces as Rumelia. These names were taken by the Ottomans since they had a long history of being under the Roman Empire.

[edit] Politics

The first Governor-General was the Bulgarian prince Alexander Bogoridi (Aleko Pasha) (Bulgarian: Aлекo Πaшa) (1879 - 1884) who was acceptable to both Bulgarians and Greeks in the province. The second Governor-General was Gavril Krstevic (Γaврил Kръcтeвич) (1884 - 1885), a famous Bulgarian historian.

[edit] Annexation

After a bloodless revolution on September 6, 1885, the province was annexed by the tributary Principality of Bulgaria. After the Bulgarian victory in the subsequent Serbo-Bulgarian War, the status quo was recognized by the Porte with the Tophane Act on March 24, 1886. With the Tophane Act, Sultan Abdul Hamid II appointed the Prince of Bulgaria (without mentioning the name of the incumbent prince Alexander of Bulgaria) as Governor-General of Eastern Rumelia. The Pomak Republic was reincorporated in the Ottoman Empire. The province was nominally under Ottoman rule until Bulgaria became officially independent in 1908. September 6, Unification Day, is a national holiday in Bulgaria.

The large Greek population of the region was largely exchanged in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars and World War II. Several thousands of Bulgarians of Greek descent still inhabit the region, notably, the Sarakatsani (Σαρακατσάνοι), transhumant shepherds.

[edit] Postage stamps

Image:Stamp Eastern Rumelia 1881 20pa.jpg
The stamps of the 1881 and 1884 designs list the name of the province in four languages -- Turkish, French, Greek, and Bulgarian -- using four alphabets -- Arabic, Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic.

The province is remembered today by philatelists for having issued postage stamps from 1880 on. The first issue consisted of several kinds of overprints on stamps of Turkey, including "R.O.", a pattern of bars, and "ROUMELIE / ORIENTALE". These overprints are uncommon and extensively counterfeited.

Stamps of the contemporaneous Turkish design appeared in 1881, differing from Turkish stamps by having the French inscription "ROUMELIE ORIENTALE" in small letters along the left side. A second issue of this design, with changed colors, was issued in 1884. Most of these types are quite common.

On September 10, 1885, the existing Rumelian issues were overprinted with two different images of the Bulgarian lion, and then with the lion in a frame and "Bulgarian Post" in Bulgarian (Cyrillic letters). As with the first overprints, these are uncommon, with prices ranging from US$ 6 to $ 200, and counterfeits are widespread. From 1886 on, the province used Bulgarian stamps.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

de:Ostrumelien el:Ανατολική Ρωμυλία mk:Источна Румелија nl:Oost-Roemelië ja:東ルメリ自治州 sv:Östrumelien zh:東魯米利亞

Eastern Rumelia

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