Unification Day is celebrated on September 6, in honor of the unification of Eastern Rumelia and the Principality of Bulgaria on September 6, 1885.
Bulgaria became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1396. In April 1876, there was a series of revolts against the Ottoman rule in Bulgaria.
The Ottomans’ harsh suppression of the uprisings led to widespread international condemnation, and in April 1877, Russia officially declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The war ended in March 1878 with the signing of the Treaty of St. Stephen’s Peace Treaty.
The Great Powers at the time believed that the peace treaty created a Bulgaria that was too large and would have too much influence in the region. As a result, under the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, Southern Bulgaria (Eastern Rumelia) was separated from the Principality of Bulgaria and returned to the Ottoman Empire, with partial autonomy.
The Bulgarians felt that the decision of the Treaty of Berlin was unfair. Over the next seven years, initially peaceful protests gave way to rebellion and conflict. The Bulgarian Secret Central Revolutionary Committee was formed in February 1885, which organized events and riots in towns in Eastern Rumelia, designed to help the unification process. On September 6, 1885, Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia declared their unification in Plovdiv.
The unification angered several powerful nations and led to the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Bulgaria emerged victorious from this conflict and established the acceptance of its borders.
Many in Bulgaria consider the events of September 6, 1885 more important for the creation of Bulgaria than the signing of the Treaty of St. Stephen on March 3, 1877, which marks Bulgaria’s National Day.
Unification Day celebrations are focused on Plovdiv, where unification was declared; although other cities across the country will commemorate the unification anniversary with parades and ceremonies./ibna