Kingdom of Bulgaria
Царство България
Flag Coat of arms of Bulgaria.svg
Motto"Съединението прави силата" (Bulgarian)
"Unity makes strength"
AnthemShumi Maritsa
Royal anthemAnthem of His Majesty the Tsar
CV Bulgaria 2000.png
Location of Bulgaria (green) in Europe (dark grey).
Official languages Bulgarian
Demonym Bulgarian
Government Unitary parliamentary monarchy
 -  Tsar of Bulgaria Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
Legislature National Assembly
 -  Medieval states:  
 -  First Bulgarian Empire 681-1018 
 -  Second Bulgarian Empire 1185-1396 
 -  Modern state:  
 -  Principality of Bulgaria 13 July 1878 
 -  Independence from the Ottoman Empire 5 October 1908 
Currency Bulgarian lev (лв)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .bg
Calling code +359

Bulgaria (Bulgarian: България), officially the Kingdom of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Царство България), is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia to the west, Greece and the Ottoman Empire to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.

Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period. Its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians and later the Greeks and Romans. The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 CE, which dominated most of the Balkans and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State.


Third Bulgarian state

The Defence of the Eagle's Nest, painting by Alexey Popov from 1893, depicting the Defence of Shipka Pass

The Russian and Bulgarian defence of Shipka Pass was crucial for the independence of Bulgaria.

The Treaty of San Stefano was signed on 3 March 1878 by Russia and the Ottoman Empire, and included a provision to set up an autonomous Bulgarian principality roughly on the territories of the Second Bulgarian Empire. It never went into effect, as the Great Powers immediately rejected the treaty out of fear that such a large country in the Balkans might threaten their interests. It was superseded by the subsequent Treaty of Berlin, signed on 13 July, provided for a much smaller state comprising Moesia and the region of Sofia, leaving large populations of Bulgarians outside the new country. This played a significant role in forming Bulgaria's militaristic approach to foreign affairs during the first half of the 20th century.

The Bulgarian principality won a war against Serbia and incorporated the semi-autonomous Ottoman territory of Eastern Rumelia in 1885, proclaiming itself an independent state on 5 October 1908. In the years following independence, Bulgaria increasingly militarised and was often referred to as "the Balkan Prussia". In 1910, Tsar Ferdinand I started a large modernization and reformation program for the Bulgarian military, raising its troop count to 320,000 by 1911, and raising the number of total warships to 17. During this time, Bulgaria accepted trade agreements with Greece and Austria-Hungary. In 1911, Germany also requested an alliance between the two. The government of Bulgaria accepted it. The next year, 1912, saw the beginnings of construction on the country's first battleship, the Masorin. Also nationalism began increasing, due to government propaganda.

With the outbreak of World War I, Bulgaria initially remained neutral. In 1916, it joined Central Powers and invaded southern Serbia.


Bulgarian Land Forces

Bulgarian soldiers with wire cutters WWI (contrasted)

Bulgarian soldiers during WWI.

In 1910, Tsar Ferdinand I ordered a massive reform of the Bulgarian armed forces. After a propaganda recruitment campaign, the Land Forces reached a total of 320,000 personnel by 1911. By 1912, this number was at 540,000. The Bulgarian Land Forces had a large assortment of fairly modern weapons, including rifles, Maxim guns, pistols, and others. The army included infantry, cavalry, and artillery divisions. The Tsar introduced a draft as well, for men between the ages of 17 and 48. As part of the 1910 reform, the Land Forces had four army-level commands: First Army, based in the northeast, Second, in the northwest, Third, in the southeast, and Fourth in the southwest. In 1911, a fifth was created, the Home Army, which was based in the central regions of the country. The army staffs were subordinated to the General Staff. Towards 1913, anti-aircraft units were introduced as well.

Bulgarian Navy

The Navy had a total of 25 ships, including 1 battleship, 4 cruisers, 9 destroyers, and 11 gunboats. It was under command of Fleet Admiral Vladimir Malyanov. The Navy was headquartered at the port of Varna and mainly protected the coastline.

# Name Laid Down Launched Commissioned Class Status
B001 Masorin 1912 1913 1913 Masorin-class Active Service
C001 Dimitar 1903 1904 1904 Dimitar-class Active Service
C002 Ferdinand 1907 1908 1908 Dimitar-class Active Service
C003 Vladimir 1907 1908 1908 Dimitar-class Active Service
C004 Zhekov 1916 1917 1917 Dimitar-class Active Service
S001 Stoychev 1904 1905 1905 Varna-class Active Service
S002 Nikola 1905 1906 1906 Varna-class Active Service
S003 Grigory 1906 1907 1907 Sofia-class Active Service
S004 Ivanov 1907 1908 1908 Ivanov-class Active Service
S005 Stoyanov 1907 1908 1908 Ivanov-class Active Service
S006 Kiril 1908 1909 1909 Ivanov-class Active Service
S007 Yanchulev 1909 1910 1910 Ivanov-class Active Service
S008 Kotonin 1916 1917 1917 Sofia-class Active Service
S009 Volga 1916 1917 1917 Ivanov-class Active Servuce
G001 G-1 1901 1902 1902 Melchinkov-class Active Service
G002 G-2 1901 1902 1902 Melchinkov-class Active Service
G003 G-3 1901 1902 1902 Melchinkov-class Active Service
G004 G-4 1901 1902 1902 Melchinkov-class Active Service
G005 G-5 1902 1903 1903 Zhekov-class Active Service
G006 G-6 1903 1904 1904 Zhekov-class Active Service
G007 G-7 1902 1903 1903 Zhekov-class Active Service
G008 G-8 1912 1914 1914 Zhekov-class Active Service
G009 G-9 1912 1913 1913 Zhekov-class Active Service
G010 G-10 1912 1913 1913 Zhekov-class Active Service
G011 G-11 1912 1914 1914 Zhekov-class Active Service

Bulgarian Air Force

The Bulgarian Air Force was heavily reformed in 1910. It had ten pilots total, and nine aircraft by 1912. Only two of them were actual Bulgarian models.

# Type Origin Status
2 Albatros B. I. Flag of the German Empire Germany Active Service
2 Fokker E80E-III Flag of the German Empire Germany Active Service
2 Bélriot IX-2 Flag of France France Active Service
1 Bélriot IX-bis Flag of France France Active Service
2 Diplane Yordanov-1 Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria Active Service

See also