Ferdinand I (Bulgaria)

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Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, 1912

Ferdinand I (born February 26, 1861 as Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha in Vienna ; † September 10, 1948 in Coburg ) from the Saxe-Coburg-Koháry dynasty of Wettin was Knjaz (prince) and from 1887 from 1908 to 1918 Tsar (King) of Bulgaria .


Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
20 leva gold coin from 1894 with the portrait of Ferdinand I.

His parents were the Austrian general August von Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha (1818–1881) and Clémentine von Orléans (1817–1907), daughter of the French king Ludwig Philipp . He was the great-nephew of Duke Ernst I of Coburg-Gotha and a great cousin of Prince Albert , the husband of Queen Victoria . In the family circle he was nicknamed "Foxy Ferdie" ("Smart Ferdie"). In 1887 he is having an affair with Katharina Schratt , the confidant of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I , have had.

Prince and Tsar of Bulgaria

After the Bulgarian Prince Alexander I von Battenberg had to abdicate after the coup of 1886 , a regency led by Stefan Stambolow chose Ferdinand as his successor. This was on June 25th . / July 7th 1887 greg. confirmed by the Bulgarian Parliament as Prince Regent in the country formally subordinate to the Ottoman Empire . However , he did not gain recognition from the Porte and the major European powers until 1896. At the time of his election as Bulgarian king, Ferdinand was an Austro-Hungarian officer.

Domestically, Bulgaria was dominated by the liberal reforms of Prime Minister Stefan Stambolow , while foreign policy alienation from the previous protective power Russia , which on November 8, 1886 had broken off diplomatic relations with Bulgaria and opposed the "western" candidate Ferdinand.

After Stambolov's resignation (May 31, 1894) and assassination (July 19, 1895) a rapprochement with Russia began. Ferdinand decided to reconcile Bulgaria with Russia by having the heir to the throne Boris, baptized Catholic, baptized Orthodox at the age of three , with the Russian Tsar Nicholas II as godfather.

Taking advantage of the political weakness of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the Bosnian annexation crisis, Ferdinand declared on September 22nd July. / October 5, 1908 greg. in Veliko Tarnowo the independence of his country. At the same time he accepted the title of Tsar of Bulgaria. In the years before the outbreak of the First World War , it was his goal to secure as large a share as possible for Bulgaria in the division of Ottoman property in Europe and thus to make the country the regional supremacy in the Balkans. To this end, he joined the Balkan Federation , which declared war on the Ottoman Empire in 1912. This First Balkan War ended victoriously after a few weeks. Bulgaria was granted access to the Aegean Sea in the 1913 Treaty of London in Thrace with Dedeagach (today Alexandroupolis ) ; the land border in the southeast shifted to the Enos - Midia line around 30 km from Istanbul .

In the same year there was a dispute over the possession of Macedonia with Serbia and Greece , which led to the Second Balkan War , in which Bulgaria was isolated from Romania , Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and the Ottomans and therefore quickly lost the war. In the Treaty of Bucharest on August 10, 1913, Bulgaria had to cede southern Dobruja to Romania and the area of Edirne to Turkey, but retained access to the Aegean. The Serbian possession of Macedonia had to be recognized. In the alliance with the Central Powers (treaty of September 6, 1915) Ferdinand saw the opportunity to revise these "humiliating" conditions in the struggle with the Serbs and Greeks in World War I. In fact, the Bulgarian troops initially managed to occupy Macedonia together with Austria-Hungary and the German Empire . The submission of Romania in 1916 brought about the recovery of the South Dobruja. In the fight against Greece, parts of Thrace could be occupied. These successes were nullified by later Allied victories , and Bulgaria was forced to surrender on September 30, 1918 as the first ally of the Central Powers (pro forma it was an armistice ). Ferdinand abdicated on October 3rd; his eldest son Boris ascended the throne on the same day.


Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, 1928

Since Austria refused to give Ferdinand asylum , he took the train to Coburg at the beginning of October 1918 , where he lived for a time in what he called the Augustenpalais, the Bürglaß-Schlösschen , and for a time in a villa in the Hofgarten . Another place of residence was Svätý Anton Castle in Slovakia.

The Bayreuth Festival visited Ferdinand for the first time in 1883. He became a fan of the music of Wagner and regular at Bayreuth and gave some businessmen the title of Royal Bulgarian purveyors . Ferdinand financially supported the festival and other projects such as a new organ for the town church. On August 22, 1928, the Bayreuth city council decided to grant them honorary citizenship.

The princesses Eudoxia and Nadezhda, 1910

In Coburg he dedicated himself in particular to his herbaria and insect collections. In 1925 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina . Ferdinand went on numerous excursions, including in 1930 and 1933 to East Africa , Egypt and Sudan . He brought many birds with him to Coburg, which he kept in about a hundred aviaries in the courtyard garden next to his villa. As an ornithologist and botanist, he made a name for himself in specialist circles. He became an honorary member of the German Ornithological Society and, due to his services to the development of natural science, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Erlangen in 1942 . On the occasion of his 80th birthday, on February 26, 1941, Coburg granted Ferdinand, who was staying at Svätý Anton Castle, honorary citizenship for his support for the Natural History Museum and the State Theater . Mayor August Greim handed over the certificate on May 16, 1942. Ferdinand I died on September 10, 1948 in the Augustenpalais, and on the 13th he was buried in the crypt of St. Augustin . Ferdinand was, among other things, owner of the Austro-Hungarian hussar regiment "Ferdinand I. King of the Bulgarians" No. 11 and the 23rd Royal Bavarian Infantry Regiment "King Ferdinand of the Bulgarians" .

Marriage and offspring

Ferdinand I of Bulgaria and his wife Marie Louise, 1893
Family table royal house Bulgaria (Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)

In 1893 Ferdinand I married Marie Louise von Bourbon-Parma (1870–1899), a half-sister of Empress Zita , with whom he had four children:

In his second marriage in 1908 he married Princess Eleonore Reuss zu Köstritz (1860-1917), daughter of Heinrich IV. Von Reuss-Köstritz .

See also


Web links

Commons : Ferdinand I. (Bulgaria)  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Philipp Vandenberg: The emperor's breakfast wife. From the fate of the beloved. Bastei-Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 2007, ISBN 3-404-64221-X , p. 386ff.
  2. Manfried Rauchsteiner : The First World War and the end of the Habsburg monarchy . Böhlau, Vienna 2013, ISBN 978-3-205-78283-4
  3. Bernd Mayer: Tsar Ferdinand's great love for Bayreuth . In: Heimat Kurier , No. 3/2010, p. 14
  4. www.barnick.de: Who is who in Bayreuth ( Memento of the original dated November 30, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.barnick.de
  5. Wladislaw Neresoff: With King Ferdinand of Bulgaria to Africa. Berlin 1940.
  6. ^ Andrej L. Pantev, Aleksi K. Popov: The epoch of King Ferdinand I .; the return of Bulgaria to Europe; 100 years since Bulgaria's declaration of independence . Polygrafisches Kombinat Dimiter Blagoew, Sofia 2008, ISBN 978-954-92042-3-0 , p. 80
  7. Harald Sandner: Coburg in the 20th century. The chronicle of the city of Coburg and the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha from January 1, 1900 to December 31, 1999 - from the "good old days" to the dawn of the 21st century . Verlagsanstalt Neue Presse, Coburg 2002, ISBN 3-00-006732-9 , p. 172