Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition


a kingdom of south-eastern Europe, situated in the north-east of the Balkan Peninsula, and on the Black Sea. From 1878 until the 5th of October 1908, Bulgaria was an autonomous and tributary principality, under the suzerainty of the sultan of Turkey. The area of the kingdom amounts to 37,240 sq. m., and comprises the territories between the Balkan chain and the river Danube; the province of Eastern Rumelia, lying south of the Balkans; and the western highlands of Kiustendil, Samakov, Sofia and Trn. Bulgaria is bounded on the N. by the Danube, from its confluence with the Timok to the eastern suburbs of Silistria whence a line, forming the Rumanian frontier, is drawn to a point on the Black Sea coast 10 m. S. of Mangalia. On the E. it is washed by the Black Sea; on the S. the Turkish frontier, starting from a point on the coast about 12 m. S. of Sozopolis, runs in a south-westerly direction, crossing the river Maritza at Mustafa Pasha, and reaching the Arda at Adakali. The line laid down by the Berlin Treaty (1878) ascended the Arda to Ishiklar, thence following the crest of Rhodope to the westwards, but the cantons of Krjali and Rupchus included in this boundary were restored to Turkey in 1886. The present frontier, passing to the north of these districts, reaches the watershed of Rhodope a little north of the Dospat valley, and then follows the crest of the Rilska Planina to the summit of Tchrni Vrkh, where the Servian, Turkish and Bulgarian territories meet. From this point the western or Servian frontier passes northwards, leaving Trn to the east and Pirot to the west, reaching the Timok near Kula, and following the course of that river to its junction with the Danube. The Berlin Treaty boundary was far from corresponding with the ethnological limits of the Bulgarian race, which were more accurately defined by the abrogated treaty of San Stefano (see below, under History). A considerable portion of Macedonia, the districts of Pirot and Vranya belonging to Servia, the northern half of the vilayet of Adrianople, and large tracts of the Dobrudja, are, according to the best and most impartial authorities, mainly inhabited by a Bulgarian population.

Physical Features.—The most striking physical features are two mountain-chains; the Balkans, which run east and west through the heart of the country; and Rhodope, which, for a considerable distance, forms its southern boundary. The Balkans constitute the southern half of the great semicircular range known as the anti-Dacian system, of which the Carpathians form the northern portion. This great chain is sundered at the Iron Gates by the passage of the Danube; its two component parts present many points of resemblance in their aspect and outline, geological formation and flora. The Balkans (ancient Haemus) run almost parallel to the Danube, ...

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