Rumelia (Turkish: Rumeli; Albanian: Rumelia; Greek: Ρωμυλία, Romylía, or Ρούμελη, Roúmeli; Bosnian, Serbian and Macedonian: Румелија, Rumelija; Bulgarian: Румелия, Rumeliya) was a historical term describing the area now referred to as the Balkans or the Balkan Peninsula when it was administrated by the Ottoman Empire.
The term Rûm means "Roman", while Rumelia and Rumeli, mean "land of the Romans" in Turkish referring to the lands conquered by the Ottomans from the Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire. As such, it was long used in Greek, Turkish and the Slavic languages to describe the lands of that empire; however, following the conquest of Anatolia by the Ottoman Empire and the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmet II, it was applied to the southern Balkan regions of the Ottoman Empire, which remained primarily Christian. The Christian people of the region continued to refer to themselves and to be referred to by the Muslim conquerors as Rum (Romans) into the final years of the Ottoman Empire.
Rumelia included the provinces of Thrace, Macedonia (region) and Moesia, today's Bulgaria and Turkish Thrace, bounded to the north by the rivers Sava and Danube, west by the Adriatic coast, and south by the Morea. The name Rumelia was ultimately applied to a province composed of central Albania and north-western Macedonia, with Bitola for its chief town.
Owing to administrative changes effected between 1870 and 1875, the name ceased to correspond to any political division. Eastern Rumelia was constituted as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878, but on September 6, 1885, after a bloodless revolution, it was united with Bulgaria. The Kosovo Vilayet was created in 1877.
Today, in Turkey, the word Trakya has mostly replaced Rumelia when referring to the part of Turkey which is in Europe (provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ, the northern part of Çanakkale Province and the western part of İstanbul Province), though Rumelia remains in use in historical contexts and the word is used in the context of the culture of current Turkish populations of the Balkans and descendants of Turkish immigrants from the Balkans. This region in Turkey is also referred to as Eastern Thrace or Turkish Thrace. In Greece, the term Ρούμελη (Rumeli) has been used since Ottoman times to refer to Central Greece, especially when juxtaposed with Morea. The word "Rumeli" is also used in some cases (mostly by Istanbul denizens) to refer exclusively to the part of Istanbul Province that is situated west of the Bosphorus.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica – Rumelia at Encyclopædia Britannica.com
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