Third Bulgarian Kingdom


As a result of the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878) the Bulgarian State was restored, but it included only a small part of the Bulgarian lands. The Berlin Congress (1878) revised the San Stefano Peace Treaty and dismembered the Bulgarian territory into several parts. Alexander I Battenberg was elected knyaz. The Bulgarian people reacted against the decision of the Berlin Congress with the Kresna-Razlog uprising (1878-1879), accomplishment of the unification of Eastern Rumelia and the Principality of Bulgaria (1885) and organized the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie uprising (1903). Taking advantage of the favourable conditions created by the Young Turkish Revolution in 1908, prince Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg-Gotha proclaimed Bulgaria independent and himself the czar. Bulgaria, together with Serbia and Greece, was victorious in the Balkan War (1912-1913) against Turkey for the liberation of Thrace and Macedonia, but in the Inter-Allies War (1913) it was defeated by its former allies who tore out territories inhabited by Bulgarians. Bulgaria's participation in the World War I on the side of the Central Powers ended with a national catastrophe, czar Ferdinand abdicated in favour of his son Boris III (1918-1943). The Neuilly Peace Treaty (1919) imposed hard conditions on Bulgaria. The period between the two world wars started with a heavy crisis and with the rule of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union - a Government with its leader Alexander Stamboliiski at the head. He was ousted by a coup d'etat (1923) and a dictatorial regime headed by prof. Alexander Tsankov was established in the country. The resistance of the left forces led to the September 1923 uprising guided by the Communist Party. During the next decade the influence of the monarchist circles increased which strengthened the personal power of czar Boris III. At the time of the government of prof. Bogdan Filov, Bulgaria was oriented to Germany and it was forced to join the Axis in 1941. Bulgaria declared the so called "Symbolic war" on USA and Great Britain, but did not participate in the battles on the Eastern Front, the Bulgarian society saved the Jews living in the country from deportation. After the death of czar Boris III a council of regents was formed and it ruled instead of the underage Simeon II. A National Committee of the Fatherland Front (organization created by the communists) was set up and a guerilla movement was organized.


Extracts are used from the book "Rulers of Bulgaria"
Text by Profesor Milcho Lalkov, Ph.D. 
Design by Krassimira Despotova Illustrations by Tekla Alexieva,
Buyan Filchev and Hristo Hadjitanev
Published by Kibea Publishing Company, Sofia, Bulgaria


Prince Alexander I (1879 - 1886)

FOR FIVE CENTURIES IN SLAVERY, the Bulgarians cherished their memory of the regal images of their medieval rulers. After the liberation, on 6 July 1879, they ...
Read more

Stefan Stambolov (1887 – 1894)

"THE FIRST SIGN of true political wisdom has always been the ability to give up the unachievable," Stefan Zweig wrote. Of all post-liberation Bulgarian statesmen Stefan ...
Read more

Tsar Ferdinand (1887 - 1918)

HE WAS NOT A STUPID MAN, but he was a monarch too ready to act on his feelings. Beauty was his only ideal. Unreliable. One could ...
Read more

Alexander Stamboliyski (1919 - 1923)

A PEASANT LEADER AND PRIME MINISTER of Bulgaria in the strenuous post-war years, from October 1919 to June 1923, Alexander Stamboliyski was one of the very ...
Read more

Tsar Boris III (1918 - 1943)

"POLITICS IS NOT A SCIENCE, BUT ART": these words of Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor of Germany, were often cited by Tsar Ferdinand in the presence of ...
Read more