Liberation of Bulgaria

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A map which shows the territories of the liberated Bulgarian Tributary state in 1878 and its dividing at the same year with adoption of Treaty of Berlin

In Bulgarian historiography, the Liberation of Bulgaria refers to those events of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 that led to the re-establishment of the Bulgarian state under the Treaty of San Stefano of March 3, 1878. According to the treaty, the Ottoman Empire was deprived of a large portion of its territory, which was assigned to the client state, Bulgaria.

At the Berlin congress of the same year, the Treaty of Berlin (1878) was adopted, according to which the territories of the Bulgarian state, established as per the San Stefano treaty, were divided into three parts: the first part was the Principality of Bulgaria, which functioned independently but was nominally a vassal of the Ottoman Empire and was limited to Moesia and areas adjacent to the capital Sofia; the second part was to be an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire -- Eastern Rumelia; the third and largest part -- all of the Macedonia and Lozengrad -- were restored to the Ottoman Empire, while some outlands were assigned to Serbia and Romania. Those territories seized from Bulgaria after the Berlin congress, including most of Macedonia, Thrace, etc., had a majority ethnic Bulgarian population. On September 6, 1885, Eastern Rumelia became part of the Princiapality of Bulgaria after a bloodless unification, although the principality was a de facto independent nation but de jure vassal nation of the Ottoman Empire until 1908, when Bulgaria proclaimed its declaration of independence.

The 1908 declaration, which signified Bulgaria's break with the Ottoman rule, was actually the second liberation of Bulgaria. After the conquest of the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018, the first liberation of Bulgaria led to the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the aftermath of the Uprising of Asen and Peter against the Byzantine Empire in 1185.

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