Journal Epohi

The Reports of the British Consul-General William Gifford Palgrave about the Bulgarian Constituent Assembly in Tarnovo

Aleka Strezova


The present publication contents the reports of William Gifford Palgrave, the British Consul-General in Bulgaria after the liberation of the country from the Ottoman yoke in 1878, to Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, Foreign Secretary (1878–1880), three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the leader of the Conservative Party. The reports are preserved in the National archives in London. An experienced diplomat, Palgrave was the first among the European delegates to come to the new capital Sofia. The task of the European diplomats was to observe the creation of the Bulgarian administration, to examine closely the Provisional Russian Administration and to contribute to the interests of their governments. An important aspect of Palgrave’s mission in the Principality was his presence and observation of the meetings of the Constituent Assembly in Tarnovo in 1879, which was convened in order to adopt the Organic law (constitution) of the new state. Palgrave excels as a diplomat and often turned out to play an active role in the reconciliation of the hostile groups and continuation of the debates. He was able to become deeply acquainted with the Bulgarian national character, which helped him in his diplomatic activities in the country. Palgrave followed the instructions of his government, sticked to the decisions of the Congress of Berlin and opposed the Russian policy in the Balkans and at the same time tried to attract the Bulgarians on the British side and to recognize the interests of the minorities.


William Gifford Palgrave, Ottoman Empire, The Congress of Berlin, Principality of Bulgaria, Constituent Assembly, Notables, the Organic Law.


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