123 Alliances, Confederations, and Empires

As Bulgarian revolutionaries prepare for greater action against the Ottomans, the Austro-Prussian War sends Europe into a tailspin, remaking the geopolitical map. As a result, Serbia forms a grand alliance as everyone tries to find a way forward in the new normal.



Major Characters in this Episode

Georgi Rakovski

Midhat Pasha

Count Ignatiev

Dobri Jelaskov

Dobri Voinikov

Otto von Bismarck

Prince Michael of Serbia

Prince George of Greece

Sultan Abdulaziz

Prince Milan of Serbia


Timeline for this Episode

  • August 7th, 1865, Todor Burmov began publishing the weekly newspaper Vremiya in Constantinople. It only lasts about two years.

  • 15th August 1865, the Varna municipality called a Bishop assembly and developed something like an emergency code according to which the leadership of church and school affairs in their Eparchy (Bishoprik kind of) will be taken over by the Municipality.

  • End of August 1865, Rakovski returned to Bucharest and met with Romanian government representatives.

  • October 1865, Levski leaves his teaching gig in the village and goes to Wallachia

  • October 1865, Hristo Botev begins teaching in a village in Bessarabia

  • Early November 1865, General Nikolai Ignatief pressures the Patriarchate to begin negotiations with the Bulgarian advocates of church independence.

  • November 8th 1865, In an attempt to maintain the fragile trust between Bulgarians and Greeks, Ali Pasha calls Bulgarian representatives to Constantinople and tries to convince them that despite the response from the Patriarchate, negotiations must continue.

  • Fall 1865, The UK Government tasks two consuls to travel through Bulgarian lands to familiarize themselves with the population and their condition.

  • December, 1865, Rakovski printed the only issue of the magazine “Bulgarian oldness?” in Bucharest. It was conceived as a way to popularize Bulgarian history but financial difficulties prevented further publication.

  • 1865, Dobri Jelaskov’s factory in Sliven was expanded with government subsidies, they bought new weaving machines (reaching 100) and now employs 330 workers.

  • 1865, Dobri Voinikov founded the Bulgarian Theatrical society in Braila. They put on their first plays early the next year.

  • 1865, 51 Bulgarian books and 7 periodicals were published

  • 1865, The Young Ottomans were founded (Glenny 98), these were largely intellectuals who believed the Tanzimat reforms had given too much to Christians at the expense of Muslims, though they did respect European technology, education, economics, etc. So they wished to combine these elements with an Ottoman Islamic identity. They also desired a representative government to limit the Sultan’s authority and universal citizenship to all subjects.

  • 1865-1866, Midhat Pasha develops a project for Ottoman public schools for people of all religions, however the project backtracked after being met with strong local opposition.

  • 10-11th February 1866, Representatives of the Romanian liberal elite commited a coup d’etat in Bucharest and Prince Cuza was dethroned. The goal of the coup was a united and independent Romania. The events in Bucharest created a political crisis between the Ottomans and themselves, which affected the Bulgarian national movement.

  • June-July 1866, Austro-Prussian War

  • November 1866, Ruse-Varna rail line completed

  • December 3rd 1866, Petko Slaveikov began publication of the newspaper Macedonia in Constantinople. In issue 7, its mission statement was to spread news, develop a moral and political awakening in the Bulgarian people, to try and protect Bulgarians from ill-intentioned influences, and try to form an informed and politically engaged society. The newspaper was stopped by Ottoman censors 5 times and after July 25th 1872 it was permanently ended.

  • December 1866, near Bucharest, Rakovksi, Panayot Hitov, Filip Totyo, Hadji Dimitar, Stefan Karadja, and others close to Rakovski form a new secret society. Their goal is to prepare and arm Bulgarian cheti.

  • 1866, A Bulgarian trader for Ploesti issues a bulletin designed to raise awareness of the Bulgarian question in European countries

  • 1866, A Bulgarian all girls school was founded in Thessaloniki

  • 1866, a distillery was built in Tarnovo, a match factory in Vidin

  • 1866, a Book called History of the Bulgarians was published in Braila by a Greek and in Greek.

  • 1866, 76 books and 7 periodicals were published.

  • 1866, Germany is unified

  • 1866, Cretan revolt leads to dramatically worsening Greek-Ottoman relations and somewhat worse Greek-Russian relations. The result is that both powers turn more towards Bulgaria and are more willing to make concessions to prevent the spread of Uniatism.

  • 1866, Bulgarian church leaders expel Greek bishops from Bulgarian lands, ending the legal authority there.

  • 1866, the First Balkan Alliance is formed in response to concerns that the Austro-Prussian war might bring instability to the region as well as desire to gain Ottoman territory

  • 1866, a Bulgarian reading room was established in Constantinople near the Balkapan Han. It quickly became a rival cultural and meeting center for the Bulgarian community there with its own printing press and cafe where “The Bulgarian elite ‘smoke and drank bitter coffee discussing the daily news.’”

  • 1866, Sultan Abdulaziz begins buying modern ironclad warships from Britain, he will buy 20 over the next decade

  • 1867, Austro-Hungarian Empire founded

  • 1866-1868, First Balkan Alliance gradually formed

  • 1868, Prince Michael of Serbia assassinated


A painting of the Battle of Königgrätz, by Georg Bleibtreu

A depiction of fighting in the Cretan revolt

The newly formed North German Confederation (in red)