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Ferdinand

Ferdinand, 1861–1948, czar of Bulgaria (1908–18), after being ruling prince (1887–1908). A grandnephew of Ernest I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he was chosen prince of Bulgaria after the enforced abdication of Prince Alexander. He was, however, opposed by Russia, and it was not until 1896 that he was recognized by the European powers. In 1908, taking advantage of the Young Turk revolution in Constantinople and the annexation of nominally Ottoman Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria, Ferdinand proclaimed the full independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire and proclaimed himself czar. Having then gained Russia's favor, Ferdinand concluded (1912) an alliance with Serbia, later joined by Greece and Montenegro. The four allies, attacking the Ottomans, were victorious in the first of the Balkan Wars (1912–13), but in the second Balkan War (1913) Bulgaria suffered a humiliating defeat by Serbia, Greece, Romania, and the Ottomans. In the hope of recovering most of Macedonia, lost to Serbia and Greece by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913), Ferdinand in 1915 joined the Central Powers in World War I. In 1917 the tide of war turned against Bulgaria, and in 1918, Ferdinand was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Boris III. Ferdinand left Bulgaria to spend most of the rest of his life at Coburg, Germany.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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