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126 An Exarchate and An Empire

Even as the Ottoman government finally steps in to grant Bulgarians their own church, the issue remains far from resolved. Meanwhile, war between France and the North German Confederation marks the final nail in the coffin of the European balance of power. How will the newly formed German Empire affect the continent and Bulgaria's dreams of independence? Lastly, even as the BRCC makes progress under Levski and Karavelov, differing opinions about how the organization should function begin to create problems.

Major Characters in this Episode

Vasil Levski

Lyuben Karavelov

Hadzhi Dimitar

Stefan Karadzha

Ivan Kasabov

Danail Popov

Dimitar Tsenonovic

Filip Totyu

Panayot Hitov

Prince Carol of Romania

Sultan Abdulaziz

Otto Von Bismarck

Emperor Napoleon III

Patriarch Antim VI

Timeline for this Episode

  • 1 February 1870, Dimitar Shishmanov put on the popular play “The many sufferings of Genovieve” in Svishtov.

  • 2 February 1870 a women’s society was formed in Pazardzhik.

  • 15 February 1870, the literary newspaper “Traveller” began publication in Bolgrad

  • 27 February-10 March 1870, in the office of the Grand Vizier, a Sultan Firman was prepared for the restoration of an independent Bulgarian church. It was read in the Bulgarian church in Constantinople. (Jelavich 134)

  • 28th February 1870, The mixed Bulgarian Greek committee was given the Firman, marking the victory of the national church movement.

  • 13 March 1870, with the agreement of the Porte the Bulgarians of Constantinople organize a 40 person assembly, choosing 10 notables who along with 5 Bulgarian lords formed the temporary mixed committee whose main job is to work out the details of how the Exarchate will take over leading the church until they can choose an Exarch.

  • 11 May 1870, a women’s society was formed in Braila

  • 27-28 May 1870, Levski crossed back into Bulgaria to build a network of committees to undertake preparations for the future revolution. In about a year and a half he managed to form committees in just about every decent sized Bulgarian settlement, laying the foundations for the internal revolutionary organization (ВРО). He put the Lovech committee at the helm, AKA the temporary government in Bulgaria. The connections with the Bucharest committee are established through Danail Popov, a Bulgarian trader living Turno Magorele (across from Nikopol in Romania).

  • 25 July 1870, the first yearly assembly of the Bulgarian Literary Society begins in Braila

  • 1 August 1870, in Geneva on the pages of the Russian immigrant magazine Народно Дело (National Affairs) the program of БРЦК was published. The program was created that spring by Karavelov, mostly aiming to free Bulgaria and foreseeing the use of peaceful and armed actions. Karavelov also defends the idea of the creation of a Danubian Federation in which all nationalities would have equal rights.

  • 11 October 1870, a student society was formed in Gabrovo

  • 14th October 1870, the БРЦК program was published in the newspaper Freedom

  • 14th December 1870, the Serbian political activist Alinpie Vasilevic wrote a letter to Dimitar Tsenovic in which he invited him on to Belgrade on behalf of the Serbian government to discuss common actions against the Ottomans.

  • Fall of 1870, Lyuben Karavelov published the brochure Bulgarian Voice in Bucharest in which he defended the idea that Bulgaria can only be freed through revolutionary actions and that the future country must be a republic.

  • 1870, a law for the governing of the Vilayets was issued.

  • 1870, a match factory was built in Samokov.

  • 1870, 95 books and 20 periodicals were published.

  • 1 Jan 1871, the temporary Bulgarian Synod sends a plea to Bulgarian municipalities in the disputed areas of the Eparchate asking them to send delegates to the upcoming national church assembly

  • 5 Feb 1871, Levski wrote letters to Filip Totyu in Odessa and Panayot Hitov in Belgrade. With these letters he invites the Voivodes to actively take part in the BRCC

  • 6 Feb 1871, Levski prepares a template for a letter which also works as a plea addressed to well-off Bulgarians asking them to contribute funds to the BRCC

  • 23 Feb 1871, In Constantinople they opened the national church assembly.

  • Feb 1871, Levski tasks Danaiil H-r Popov to organize the main headquarters between the revolutionary committees on each side of the Danube

  • Early March 1871, Immigrant activities in Bucharest decided to send Dimitar Tsenovic to Belgrade so he could begin negotiations with the Serbian government.

  • 21 March 1871, Tesnovic arrives in Belgrade and meets with the Prime Minister Miloikovic.

  • 21 March 1871, Petar Beron was murdered in Craiova

  • 11 April 1871, Levski was in Tarnovo and wrote a letter to Daniil Popov who was on the Romanian bank of the Danube. In this letter he objected to the intentions of the BRCC to negotiate with the Serbian government before the preparation for the uprising was complete.

  • 11 April 1871, a play by Dobri Voinikov was performed.

  • 13 April 1871, the National Church Assembly in Constantinople decided the Varna and Preslav Eparchates should unite.

  • 10 May 1871, Levski writes a threatening letter on behalf of the Temporary Government in Bulgaria to the Karlovo Chorbajiiya Gancho Milov in which he outlines the goals of the fight, writing “there will not be a king but a national government and everyone will have their own religion, the Bulgarian, Turk, etc. will be equal before the law. It will be a free and pure republic.”

  • 11 May 1871, in what is today Gotse Delchev (Nevrokop) a meeting of the local notables was organized and they decided to build a new municipality headed by a local priest.

  • 14 May 1871, the National Church Assembly in Constantinople accepts the regulations of the Exarchate and present them to the Porte

  • May 1871, Dimitar Obshti, who was sent from Wallachia, arrived in Lovech to help Levski

  • Spring of 1871, Lyuben Karavelov was in Belgrade and with financial help from Serbia managed to purchase a printing press for his newspaper Svoboda

  • 10 June 1871, Hristo Botev published the first issue of the newspaper “Word of a Bulgarian Immigrant” in Braila. Its motto is “Truth is sanctimonious, freedom is dear” and it only manages 5 issues.

  • 13 June 1871, Levski meets with Obshti at a vineyard near Sopot

  • End of July, beginning of August 1871, Levski completed the draft of the regulations of BRCC which outlines how the Bulgarians will be freed. The primary goal of the organization is to get rid of the existing system and replace it with a democratic republic via a national uprising implemented by local committees. It also outlines the responsibilities of the members of these committees.

  • 27 August 1871, Angel Kunchev arrives in Lovech to aid Levski

  • 27 August 1871, regulations are drawn up for the local municipality in Koprivchitsa

  • 29 August 1871, in the Vineyard near Lovech, a committee meeting was held in which 8 people participate. Levski, Obshti, Kunchev, the priest Nikiforov, and others. Obshti is selected as the person to run the region from Lovech and Teteven to Sofia.

  • 5 Sep 1871, With the help of Ignatiev, the Patriarch Antim VI was chosen (the third time he had held the post).

  • 25 Sep 1871, Antim VI met with notable Bulgarians who were members of the mixed committee to discuss the borders of the Exarchate.

  • Sep 1871, a Bulgarian all girls school was moved from Stara Zagora to Samokov

  • End of Nov beginning of Dec 1871, the Lovech central committee held a meeting and on the insistence of Dimitar Obshti it tasked two of Levski’s compatriots to work independently in separate regions

  • 10 Dec 1871, in Constantinople there were new negotiations on the borders of the Exarchate but they again failed to result in an agreement.

  • 1871, In Constantinople Petko Slaveikov published a children’s magazine and an educational magazine for mothers and housewives

  • 1871, Bulgarian credit companies were founded in Gabrovo and Constantinople

  • 1871, Dobri Voinikov completed and published two palys: “The Misunderstood Civilization” and “How Krum the Fierce came to be Tsar.”

  • 1871, 70 books were published and 21 periodicals

  • 1870s, the term Balkan begins to be used

  • 1871, Franco-Prussian War

  • 1871, Ali Pasha dies and is replaced as Grand Vizier by Nedim Pasha, which begins unraveling the advances of the Tanzimat

  • 1871, a book called “The School” is published

The Firman announcing the intention to create a Bulgarian Exarchate
The Firman announcing the intention to create a Bulgarian Exarchate

The proposed borders of the Bulgarian Exarchate
The proposed borders of the Bulgarian Exarchate

A map of Levski's BRCC revolutionary districts and the main committees within Bulgaria
A map of Levski's BRCC revolutionary districts and the main committees within Bulgaria

Dimitar Obshti
Dimitar Obshti

Otto Von Bismarck and Napoleon III talking after the Emperor's capture
Otto Von Bismarck and Napoleon III talking after the Emperor's capture

Europe following the Franco-Prussian War
Europe following the Franco-Prussian War

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