Treaty of Bucharest

Treaty of Bucharest (1913)

The Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on August 10, 1913, by the delegates of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece.

As Bulgaria had been completely isolated in the Second Balkan War, and as she was closely invested on her northern boundary by the Kingdom of Romania and on her western frontier by the allied armies of Greece and Serbia, and in the East by the Ottoman Army, she was obliged to submit to terms imposed by the victorious states. All important arrangements and concessions involving the rectification of the controverted international boundary lines were perfected in a series of committee meetings, incorporated in separate protocols, and formally ratified by subsequent action of the general assembly of delegates.

Serbia's gain in territory

The eastern frontier of Serbia was drawn from the summit of Patarika, on the old frontier, and followed the watershed between the Vardar and the Struma rivers to the Greek-Bulgarian boundary, except that the upper valley of the Strumica remained in the possession of Bulgaria. The territory thus obtained embraced central Vardar, including Ohrid, Bitola, Kosovo, Štip, and Kočani, and the eastern half of the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. By this arrangement Serbia increased her territory from 18,650 to 33,891 square miles and her population by more than 1,500,000.

Greece's gain in territory

The boundary line separating Greece from Bulgaria was drawn from the crest of Belasica to the mouth of the Mesta (Nestos), on the Aegean Sea. This important territorial concession, which Bulgaria resolutely contested, in compliance with the instructions embraced in the notes which the Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary presented to the conference, increased the area of Greece from 25,014 to 41,933 square miles and her population from 2,660,000 to 4,363,000.

The territory thus annexed included Epirus, Macedonia, the city of Thessaloniki, Kavala, and the Aegean littoral as far east as the Mesta River, and restricted the Aegean seaboard of Bulgaria to an inconsiderable extent of 70 miles, extending from the Mesta to the Maritsa, and giving access to the Aegean at the inferior port of Alexandroupoli (Dedeagach). Greece also extended her northwestern frontier to include the great fortress of Janina and some surrounding territory. In addition, Crete was definitively assigned to Greece and was formally taken over on December 14 of that year.

Bulgaria's gain in territory

Bulgaria's share of the spoils, although greatly reduced, was not entirely negligible. Her net gains in territory, which embraced a portion of Macedonia, Pirin Macedonia, including the town of Strumica, Western Thrace, and 70 miles of the Aegean littoral, were about 9,663 square miles, and her population was increased by 129,490.

Bulgaria ceded to Romania all that portion of the Dobrudja lying north of a line extending from the Danube just above Tutrakan (Turtucaia) to the western shore of the Black Sea, south of Ekrene (Ecrene); Southern Dobruja has an approximate area of 2,687 square miles, a population of 286,000, and includes the fortress of Silistra and the cities of Tutrakan on the Danube and Balchik (Balcic) on the Black Sea.

In addition, Bulgaria agreed to dismantle all existing fortresses and bound herself not to construct forts at Rousse or Shumen or in any of the territory between these two cities, or within a radius of 20 kilometers around Balchik.

Appraisement of the treaty

By the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest, Romania profited most in proportion to her losses.

The severe terms imposed on Bulgaria contrasted the ambitions of its government upon the entry into the Balkan War: the territory eventually gained was relatively circumscribed; Bulgaria had failed to gain Macedonia, which was her avowed purpose in entering the war, and especially the districts of Ohrid and Bitola, which had been a main demand. With only a small outlet to the Aegean around the minor port of Dedeagach, the country had to abandon its project of Balkan hegemony.

Although a winner and triumphant after the acquisition of Thessaloniki, Greece was generally dissatisfied. The treaty also assigned her the port of Kavala and the territory eastward, at the insistence of King Constantine I and the Greek Army (and contrary to the advice of Premier Eleftherios Venizelos). However, Greece encountered the opposition of Italy by urging her claims to Northern Epirus, and, in the assignment of the Aegean Islands, she was profoundly dissatisfied (see Dodecanese). At the end of the war, Greece still had claims to territories inhabited, at the time, by some 3,000,000 Greeks.


  • Anderson, Frank Maloy and Amos Shartle Hershey, Handbook for the Diplomatic History of Europe, Asia, and Africa 1870-1914, Prepared for the National Board for Historical Service, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1918

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