122 The "Model" Vilayet

As Midhat Pasha takes over the newly formed Danube Vilayet intent on modernizing and transforming it into a model for the Empire, far off events disrupt his plans and throw much of Bulgaria into chaos. Meanwhile Romania faces disastrous reforms and political instability, a new Bulgarian revolutionary group is formed, and the debate over Bulgarian church independence rages on.


You can find interesting demographic data on the Danube Vilayet here.



Timeline for this Episode

  • 7th November 1864, for the betterment of the administration of the empire, the eyalets of Nis, Vidin, and Silistra are restructured into the Danubian Vilayet Scholar, 48-49

  • 31st December, a printing law was passed in Constantinople, it regulated the conditions for publishing anything in Ottoman territory.

  • 1864, 8 Bulgarians are accepted into Ottoman military schools

  • 1864, In Bucharest, Rakovski published a book on the church question, he also published a pamphlet revealing his belief that Belgrade is determined to annex substantial Bulgarian lands and establish hegemony over the Balkans.

  • 1864, hundreds of thousands of Circassians fled the Russian conquest of the Caucasus with 400,000 becoming refugees in Anatolia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. (Glenny, 96)

  • 1864, Ilarian Makaripolski returns from Exile at Mt. Athos

  • May 2nd 1864, Coup in Romania

  • 1864, N.P. Ignatiev was appointed Russian Ambassador to Constantinople, he was tasked with solidifying Russian influence among Orthodox people in the Ottoman Empire (Jelavich 133)

  • Jan 15th 1865, Rakovski starts teaching Bulgarian history to the Bulgarian students at the Medical School in Bucharest

  • January 20th 1866, the Russian Ambassador Ignatief and his wife organized a huge ball at the embassy attended by all ministers and high ranking government officials and other diplomats. The newspaper Vremiya mentions that up to 10 of the more notable Bulgarians were in attendance.

  • January 25th, 1865, Ali Pasha suggested to the Patriarche that he choose between 3 options for resolving the Bulgarian question.

  • Feb 1st, 1865, Aksenti Veleshki died. Prior to his death, messengers of the Patriarch offer him repentance so he can be buried with full honors, but he rejects the offer. His will notes that he died faithful to his people and unshaken in his beliefs concerning the importance of a national Bulgarian church.

  • March 3rd, 1865, in Ruse, the newspaper Danube began publication. It’s the official newspaper of the Danube Vilayet. It is released every Wednesday and Sunday and is written in Ottoman and Bulgarian.

  • 11-23 March 1865, The Sultan issued a Firman for the village of Samunjievo to be renamed to Orhanie (it’s not Botevgrad as of 1934). It is made a city and a kind of district capital.

  • March 1865, Vassil Levski visited Dobruja looking for Stephan Karadja. Levski becomes a teacher in a village there

  • 6-7 April, Rakovski travels to Russia

  • 22nd April 1865, A church assembly was called in Constantinople. On the Bulgarian side, only 2 attend. They chose a committee which was tasked with reviewing all options for resolving the Bulgarian church question.

  • May 11th 1865, The first issue of the newspaper Vustok was printed in Belgrade. It only lasts for 16 issues but was shut down by Serbian authorities.

  • 19th May 1866, Railway accident on the Ruse-Varna rail line.

  • Spring 1866, The Secret Bulgarian Committee was founded in Bucharest.

Major Characters in this Episode

Sultan Abdulaziz

Georgi Rakovski

Ilarion Makiriopolsky

Ivan Kasabov

Aksenti Veleshki

Midhat Pasha

Carol de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen



The Danube Vilayet

A photo of Midhat Pasha

King Carol I of Romania

The new Russian Ambassador Nikolai Ignatiev