Greater Bulgaria

Map of the Bulgarian Exarchate (1870–1913).
Bulgaria according to the Constantinople Conference of 1876.
Annex to the 1878 Treaty of San Stephano, showing the boundaries of Bulgaria.
The borders of Bulgaria according to the Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano and the subsequent Treaty of Berlin (1878).
Territorial changes following the two Balkan Wars (1912-1913).

Greater Bulgaria is a term to identify the territory associated with a historical national state and a modern Bulgarian irredentist nationalist movement which would include most of Macedonia, Thrace and Moesia.


The larger proposed Bulgarian state was suggested under the Treaty of San Stefano.

The issue of irredentism and nationalism gained greater prominence after the 1878 Treaty of San Stefano. It established the Principality of Bulgaria, with territory including the plain between the Danube and the Balkan mountain range (Stara Planina), the region of Sofia, Pirot and Vranje in the Morava valley, Northern Thrace, parts of Eastern Thrace and nearly all of Macedonia. This treaty laid grounds for much of the later claims for a Greater Bulgaria. However, the Treaty of San Stefano was a preliminary one and the borders of the newly created Bulgaria were established in the Treaty of Berlin. It saw the previous territory divided in three – the Principality of Bulgaria, the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia, and Macedonia, which remained under Ottoman control and both were at the time with population with Bulgarian majority.

In the early 20th century control over Macedonia was a key point of contention between Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia who fought both the First Balkan War of 1912–1913 and the Second Balkan War of 1913. The area was further fought over during the Macedonian Campaign of World War I (1915–1918).

Just before entering World War II, Bulgaria had peacefully secured the return of Southern Dobruja from Romania in the Treaty of Craiova.[1] During World War II some of the territories in question were briefly added to Bulgaria by Nazi Germany, as a reward to Bulgaria, which had fought with Germany as one of the Axis powers. It was granted territory in Greece, namely Eastern Macedonia and parts of Western Thrace, as well as Yugoslav Macedonia (Vardar Macedonia).[2] With the exception of the Southern Dobruja, these concessions were reversed with the Allied victory (i.e. at the Paris Peace Conference of 1947).


  1. ^ "Bulgaria During World War II". Archived from the original on 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  2. ^ Bulgaria During the Second World War, Marshall Lee Miller, Stanford University Press, 1975, ISBN 0804708703, p. 128.

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