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Bulgaria Celebrates Liberation Day on 3 March

The war between Russia and Turkey in 1877-78 ended up with the defeat of Turkey and Bulgaria is liberation from a 5-century Turkish rule. The peace treaty was signed on 3 March 1878 in San Stefano near Tsarigrad. The treaty sanctioned the creation of an independent state and the re-union of the Bulgarians in Mysia, Thrace and Macedonia. For a while the Bulgarians accomplished their long-cherished national idea.

The issue of the Bulgarian identity was first raised and resolved with the Slavonic-Bulgarian history written by Paissiy of Hilendar. Along with recalling the then forgotten historical knowledge about Bulgaria, the manuscript of the served as a program for national self-awareness and for the restoration of the Bulgarian statesmanship. In 1970 Turkey's sultan signed a firman that recognized the Bulgarian Orthodox Ekzarchate. The document mapped out the borders of the Bulgarian ethos within the empire, later serving as a guideline for outlining the borders of the Bulgarian state during the negotiations at the San Stefano Conference.

The battle for an independent Bulgarian church highlighted the significance of the Bulgarian ethos within the Turkish Empire and triggered an action for achieving state independence. Options included the instigation of a national revolution with no foreign help, liberation through a military or diplomatic interference or undertakings on the side of a state or a group of states known as the Great Powers, or finding a peaceful solution to the problem by declaring a dualistic state.

In 1876 the Bulgarian revolutionaries launched the April Uprising, whose brutal suppression created outrage in Europe and helped to provoke the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78. The Bulgarian population, no matter its social strata differentiation, actively contributed to the fight for national liberation. The peace treaty of San Stefano sanctioned the state and ethnic re-union of the Bulgarian people who celebrate on 3 March its Phoenix-like resurrection and reaffirmation among the European states.