1: 1882/87 Definitives: Large Lion
2: 1886 Definitives: Large Lion
3 : 1889 Definitives: Little Lion
4 : 1896 Baptism of Throne Successor Prince Boris (1)
5: 1901 Uprising Against the Turks 25th Anniversary (2)
6: 1901 Definitives: Prince Ferdinand (3)
7: Prince Ferdinand Accession to the Throne 20th Anniversary (1907)
8: Battle of Shipka Pass (4) 25th Anniversary (1902)
9-20: 1911 Definitives: King Ferdinand I and Landscapes
21: King Ferdinand Accession to the Throne 25th Anniversary (1912)
22: 1913 End of First Balkan War (5) Set (overprint on 1911 definitive set)
23: Red Cross Fund (1916)
24-33: 1917 Occupation of Macedonia (6)
34: King Ferdinand Accession to the Throne 30th Anniversary (1918)
35: 1919 Definitives: the Parliament Building
36: King Boris III (7) Enthronement First Anniversary (1919)

 

 

 

(1) To officially acknowledge Ferdinand as Prince of Bulgaria, the Russians demanded that his son and successor Boris should convert to the orthodox church. Ferdinand accepted this, and Boris got his orthodox baptism on February 14, 1896 with Tsar Nicholas himself as Godfather.

(2)
In 1876 a group of young revolutionaries (H. Botev, S. Stambolov, N. Obretenov and others), taking advantage of the deep crisis of the Ottoman empire started an armed uprising. It broke out in the spring of 1876 and was recorded in the annals of Bulgarian history as the April uprising. The uprising was organised by the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee and was inspired by an insurrection in Bosnia the previous year. However, that uprising did not spread all over the Bulgarian lands. After several days of fighting, it was crushed by Turkish army. Approximately 29.000 Bulgarians are assumed to have been killed. The Turkish brutality turned the European opinion in favor of Bulgarian independence. During 1876, the great powers tried to gain independence for Bulgarian areas through negotiations, but the suggestions were dismissed by the Turks. Finally, the attempts to find a diplomatic solution were given up, and in April 1877 Russia declared war on Turkey.

(3) Ferdinand was born on 26 February 1861. Second lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army, he was elected by the Grand National Assembly as monarch of Bulgaria and ascended the throne in the summer of 1887. In 1908, during revolution in Turkey, he declared Bulgaria's independence, changing his prince's crown for that of a tsar. Up to that point, Bulgaria had formally existed as an independent principality under the nominal suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.
Under Ferdinand, Bulgaria made considerable progress in many spheres: politics, economy, culture and defense. Bulgaria was developing faster than any of its neighbors. He actually did not establish an autocracy, but he did have complete control over the army, the foreign ministry and the appointment of cabinet ministers. Bulgaria was too small a state for his plans and ambitions. He had always hoped to be a ruler of European magnitude
Bulgaria had been planning a war with the Ottomans for years. Finally they succeeded in reaching an alliance with Serbia and Greece and in the First Balkan War (1912-1913) defeated the Ottomans. But disappointment with the spoils of war, dragged Bulgaria into Second Balkan War against its former allies. It was defeated and lost substantial territories. At the beginning of the WW1 King Ferdinand remained neutral, but finally joined the War on the side of the Central Powers which offered Bulgaria an interest-friendly settlement of the problem of its territories lost to the other Balkan states. The collapse of Germany and Austria in 1918 allowed the Allies to increase pressure on Bulgaria. The government was forced to seek a truce with the Allies. The peace which followed saw the loss of additional territories and Ferdinand was forced to abdicate in October 1918. He died in 1948.

(4) Shipka is the name of the pass through the Balkan mountains at an elevation of 1.330 m. One of the most important battles of the Liberation War (1877-1878) took place here. A Bulgarian "Corps of Volunteers" was formed as part of the Russian army fighting Turks.
The pass was originally held by a Turkish force but the Russian garrison seized it by surprise in July 1877. In response, Turkish troops attacked Shipka in August. The Russian force, which included 7.500 Bulgarian volunteers, held the position against 30.000 Turkish. Following the capitulation of Turkey in December, the Russians began a general advance, and, in January 1878, the Russians again attacked the Turks at Shipka Pass. On January 9, Turks surrendered.
On Shipka Peak there is the "Monument of Freedom" a bone-vault monument of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers who fell in fierce battles to defend the peak. There is a compound of monuments with replicas of the battery positions and the dig-outs; memorial plates, a common grave. The memorial complex was built in 1926-1934.

(5) The First Balkan War was started by an alliance made up of Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro. It was a desire to liberate their kinsman and a response to repressive policies of the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan League agreed to ally themselves to take the offensive. On October 8, 1912, Montenegro declared war against the Turks, and 10 days later the allies entered the war. Within a few weeks, Turkey had been pushed back to maintaining the defense of Constantinople. Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace were now possessions of the Balkan States. While fighting took place at Adrianople, Scutari, and Janina, the armistice was signed, and a peace conference met at London in December, 1912. The negotiations broke down when a coup d'etat occurred at Constantinople which brought Young Turks group into power. The war resumed in Spring of 1913. Adrianople, Scutari and Janina fell, and the fighting ended. The Treaty of London ended the First Balkan War on May 30, 1913. Turkey ceded all possessions in Europe to the allies west of a line from Enos on the Aegean Sea to Midia on the Black Sea, with the exception of Albania which became independent state.

(6) The results of the Second Balkan War (Bulgaria lost Dobrudja, Macedonia and most of Thrace) predetermined Bulgaria's participation in the First World War which broke out in 1914. During the first year of the war, Bulgaria maintained neutrality trying to find out which of the two opposing sides could offer a Bulgarian interest-friendly settlement of the problem of its territories lost to the other Balkan states. The Entente offered Bulgaria nothing more than leavings of territories in Turkish Thrace. At the same time the Central Powers were too profuse of promises: if Bulgaria chose to participate on their side, it would receive all territories aspired for by the Bulgarians, even bonus lands, which they had never claimed. The king and the ruling circles joined the Central Powers and, in the autumn of 1915 attacked Serbia, an ally of the Entente. After Serbian defeat, the Bulgarians were on the march to Thessaloniki. However, the Supreme German command had not been very keen on closing the Balkan front as it diverted a million of Entente soldiers from possible engagement in fighting against the Germans on the Western front. The advance of the Bulgarian army was then stopped by the Germans and a front line stretching from Albania to Aegian Thrace was set up.
In the autumn of 1916 Romania entered the war on the side of the Entente. The Bulgarian military command could afford throwing against the Romanians only one of its armies - the famous Third army. Both the Romanian army and the several Russian divisions which came to its assistance took only two months to be defeated. In the beginning of December, divisions of the Bulgarian army invaded Bucharest, the Romanian capital, in the company of several German units.
In September 1918, the troops in Macedonia refused to obey the orders of the command. A spontaneous mutiny burst forth. The Bulgarian divisions headed for Sofia to square accounts with the monarch and the ruling government, who were thought to be at the bottom of the war. On 25 September 1918 uncontrollable soldiers' masses seized the headquarters in Radomir and began preparing for the main blow at Sofia. Feeling fatigued and being poorly organized, the soldiers failed to break through the defenses of Sofia, composed of units obsequious to the government, and of German divisions. The mutiny was suppressed on October 2.
In the meantime, the government sought truce with the Entente. An armistice was concluded in Thessaloniki on 29 September 1918. Its terms dictated withdrawal of the Bulgarian army to its prewar positions and occupation of strategically important zones. A treaty of peace was signed in the Paris in November 1919. Bulgaria suffered further territorial losses. Besides this Bulgaria was liable to payment of enormous reparations and was to abolish its military service and to maintain only voluntary units not exceeding 30.000 men.

(7) Boris III (1894-1943) was crowned in 1918 after the abdication of his father Ferdinand I because of Bulgaria's disastrous participation in WW I. Boris was only about 24 years old when he became king. The King was forced to assume executive authority as Fascism grew in power. He tried to keep Bulgaria out of World War II, but with the German Army on the border, he was forced to declare war on Britain and America and to provide war materials. Despite intense German pressure, he refused to declare war on the Soviet Union or to turn over Bulgaria's Jews. King Boris died under mysterious conditions in 1943. His young son Prince Simeon, who was only 6 years old, was left to deal with the Germans and advancing Soviet Army.