Bulgarians are an ethnic group in Serbia. This article focuses on Bulgarians in south-eastern Serbia, one of the two areas in which ethnic Bulgarians are concentrated.
The most of Ethnic Bulgarians belonges to sub group of Shops.Bulgarinas mostly live in city of Bosilegrad,around 10,000.The rest of them are around city of Pirot and Dimitrovgrad,and other border citys.For information about the ethnic Bulgarians in Banat, a region which straddles Serbia and Romania, see the article on Banat Bulgarians.
The territory in which most Bulgarians
live,passed to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
following the First World War
, during which Bulgaria, a member of the Central Powers
, had invaded the Kingdom of Serbia
(see the article on the Treaty of Neuilly
),that teretory was given to Serbia
like war penalty,and remainings of old boredr can be seen at Vlasina lake
. The Internal Western Outland Revolutionary Organisation
(Bulgarian: Вътрешна западнопокрайненска революционна организация
, or Vǎtreshna zapadnopokrayienska revolyutsionna organizatsiya
), countering Yugoslav rule in the region, was engaged in repeated attacks against the Yugoslav police and army during the 1920–1941 period. As a part of World War II
Bulgaria re-occupied the territory 1941–1944.
Religion of these people is predominantly Orthodxy. Islam never came to parts like Bosilegrad because of high mountains, people were settled in high mountain villages where they were hard to reach.
They use both Serbian and Bulgarian churches. The main reason why they use Serbian churches is a lack of priests from Bulgarian Orthodox Churches.
There is a church in every village around Bosilegrad, and the oldest ones reach deep into the 11th century.
With the wake of nationalism in the Balkans in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bulgarian nationalists began internationalizing the issue. With Serbia and Yugoslavia being under severe sanctions from the international community and in succession of wars, it was an easy target. The contemporary Yugoslav administration was accused of:
- Denying the Bulgarian population education in their mother tongue even though it was available and all other minorities inside the country were practising this right. Bulgarians exercised it the least, even today. Also, the rate of people declaring themselves Yugoslavs in Serbia was among the highest in these two municipalities.
- Not permitting Bulgarians to rename Dimitrovgrad to their traditional name, Tzaribrod (Цариброд). Tito changed the name in 1950 after Georgi Dimitrov's death(Bulgarian president). On a referendum of 2004, 57% of the voters voted to keep the name Dimitrovgrad. Serbs by this time had completely removed their phonetical preference Bosiljgrad (Босиљград) in favor of Bulgarian Bosilegrad (Босилеград), a variation more in harmony with Standard Bulgarian.
- Settling thousands of Serbian refugees in the area in the 1990s to diminish the number of Bulgarians, which the population Census of 1991 and 2002 proved to be totally untrue, not to mention the poor economic status of the area which could not support such an influx of population.
- Oppression against Bulgarians, even though these municipalities were strongholds of support for Slobodan Milošević's regime, and the party (Yugoslav Left) led by his wife, Mirjana Marković. Milošević's support in South Serbia in general was a source of many jokes in Serbia.
- Neglecting the economic development of the area for decades, causing ethnic Bulgarians to leave. As much as this is true, it can be said for the entire south of Serbia which was left without any attention from the central government; this caused these areas to be the least developed in Serbia, regardless of the ethnic structure. Municipalities with an ethnic Serb majority from this area, like Trgovište, Surdulica or Crna Trava are among the poorest in Serbia. Also, Crna Trava set a record in depopulation as it plunged from 13,748 in 1953 to 2,563 in 2002. In February 2007, the lowest average wage in Serbia was in the ethnic Serb majority municipality of Svrljig, near Dimitrovgrad.