top of page

144 The Liberals Get Their Chance

As the Liberal Party finally get the chance to govern, it quickly makes enemies at home and abroad. Political fights get ugly and frustration mounts everywhere. Meanwhile, work continues on how to unify Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia and fighting erupts in Macedonia.

Major Characters in this Episode

Prince Alexander

Petko Karavelov

Stefan Stambolov

Petko Slaveikov

Dragan Tsankov

Timeline for this Episode

  • 22nd April 1880, The members of the permanent committee of Eastern Rumelia, Konstantin Velitchkov and Dimitar Naumov, arrive in Sofia and begin negotiation for unification with the deputies of the Second National Assembly. On the 29th of April they sign an agreement on common actions for national unification. This becomes a major priority for Bulgaria.

  • 23rd May 1880, On the initiative of Czechs working in Bulgaria, the Slavic Discussion Union (Slaviyanski Beseda) is founded in Sofia and has 236 members by the end of the year.

  • 31st May 1880, Assembly of the southern Bulgarian revolutionary committees in Sliven occurs with the participation of Georgi Zhivkov and Stefan Stambolov representing Bulgaria. They elect a central committee consisting of Konstantin Velitchkov, Ivan Geshov, Father Georgi Tilev, and Dimitar Naumov.

  • May 1880, The first official census in Eastern Rumelia is held.

  • 4th June 1880, The first law for the administrative drawing of regions in Bulgaria is passed.

  • 13th June 1880, The first national budget for Bulgaria is approved.

  • 15th June 1880, A 10% tax on production is reinstated but due to protests, the government allow citizens to pay either with money or in kind.

  • 16th June 1880, The Bulgarian Lev is established and is pinned to the French Franc.

  • 5th June to 23rd August 1880, The European Committee convenes in Constantinople and agrees on a new set of laws for the European territories of the Ottomans.

  • 2nd July 1880, The temporary rules for the governing of churches and the Bulgarian state are published but most church officials and the Exarch do not accept them because they have not yet been approved by the Holy Synod.

  • 6th July 1880, The Russian officer Alexei Ozatis kills Countess Olga Skoboleva, mother of Dimitri Skobolev to steal 25k Rubles collected to help the Bulgarian people.

  • July 1880, The founding of the Bulgarian Macedonian League in Ruse. They write a letter to the Great Powers calling for Macedonian Autonomy along the lines of Eastern Rumelia. On the 17th of July they publish a call to all Bulgarians. In October a new appeal appears in another newspaper.

  • 27th August 1880, The first issue of the newspaper Independence is published. It represents the Liberal Party.

  • August 1880, the Macedonian Organization formed in Plovdiv

  • 13th of September 1880, Slavic Charitable Union formed in Sofia with Dr. Constantine Bonev (head military doctor of the kingdom) as chairman.

  • September 1880, The First Bulgarian all boys’ high school is founded in Solonika

  • 14th October 1880, Brsjak revolt

  • November 1st 1880, The newspaper Macedonian start being published in Russe, first Bulgarian newspaper focused on the faith of Bulgarians in the European vilayets of the Ottoman empire.

  • 13th November 1880, Bulgaria is invited to participate in a meeting of the Danube commission, despite opposition from the High Gate. The Bulgarian representative, Kiriak Tsankov, supports the Romanian project over the Austrian one, ignoring the direct official instructions of Aleksandar I, and instead adhering to the orders of the prime minister Dragan Tsankov, who was his uncle.

  • 21-30th of November 1880, The bill for exarchate organization, written by Dragan Tsankov, is passed at the bishop congregation of the mitropolites of the kingdom in Sofia.

  • 28th of November 1880, First law for Bulgarian citizenship is passed.

  • 28th of November 1880, New liberal cabinet headed by Petko Karavelov, reconstructed on the 17th of December.

  • 6th of December 1880, Regional meeting of Eastern Rumelia institutes a territorial tax to replace the natural tenth. This expediates the transfer of land rites to Bulgarians.

  • 10th of December 1880, The first law for suing of ministers is promulgated, specifying the principles of ministerial responsibility and regulating the structure of the National court system.

  • 10th December 1880, Dragan Tsankov steps down as PM (Alexander would have preferred a new constitution) Interestingly, in a parliamentary democracy under a monarch, a PM would be dismissed when parliament is dissolved or when they face a vote of no confidence. But in Bulgaria at this time, personal animosity between Alexander and his Prime Ministers would mean that dismissing them personally while not dissolving parliament would be more common.

  • 14th December 1880, fist fight in the National Assembly (Black 187)

  • 17th of December 1880, General National Assembly gives Petkov Karavel’s cabinet extraordinary powers.

  • 20th of December 1880, The Supreme Court of Auditors is founded.

  • 23rd of December 1880,The first election law is passed (system of the greater majority).

Liberal Prime Minister Dragan Tsankov
Liberal Prime Minister Dragan Tsankov

A map showing the Orient Express, including the route proposed through Bulgaria
A map showing the Orient Express, including the route proposed through Bulgaria

385 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page