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[roo-mee-lee-uh, -meel-yuh]
Rumelia or Roumelia, region of S Bulgaria, between the Balkan and Rhodope mts. Historically, Rumelia denoted the Balkan possessions (particularly Thrace and Macedonia, and excluding Bosnia) of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman province of Rumelia comprised much of present-day Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, European Turkey, N Greece, and part of Albania. Sofia was the seat of the governors of Rumelia until 1878. In that year the Treaty of San Stefano, ending a war between Russia and Turkey, created a huge Bulgarian state; but the European powers, fearing that Bulgaria would become a Russian dependency, agreed (see Berlin, Congress of) to make N Bulgaria an autonomous principality owing nominal allegiance to the Turkish sultan and to create an autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia. This province, with its capital at Plovdiv, comprised, roughly, the part of present Bulgaria situated S of the Balkan Mts. It remained under Turkish sovereignty but enjoyed considerable autonomy and was ruled by a governor appointed by the Ottoman Empire with the approval of the European powers. Resentment at the partition of Bulgaria sparked a revolution at Plovdiv in 1885, and Prince Alexander of Bulgaria annexed Eastern Rumelia, thus incurring the wrath of Russia and Serbia. The Serbians, who also claimed the area, declared war on Bulgaria but were forced to make peace (1886) on the basis of the status quo, while the sultan agreed to name Alexander governor of Eastern Rumelia. This arrangement amounted to a tacit Turkish surrender of the province, which henceforth remained part of Bulgaria, although it was nominally under Ottoman rule until Bulgaria became officially independent in 1908.

Rumelia or Rumeli (Turkish: Rumeli ("Land of the Romans" from Rum: "Greek" [formerly "Roman"] and El: "Land); Ρούμελη, Roúmeli; Румелия, Rumeliya) is a Turkish name, used from the 15th century onwards, for the southern Balkan regions of the Ottoman Empire. "Rumeli" literally translates as "land of the Romans", in reference to the Byzantine Empire, the former dominant power in the area. During the 11th and 12th centuries it was widely used for Anatolia while it was gradually being conquered from the Byzantines.

Rumelia included the ancient provinces of Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Thrace, Macedonia and Moesia, today's central Greece and European Turkey, bounded to the north by Danube, west by Albania and south by the Morea. The name Rumelia was ultimately applied to a province composed of central Albania and north-western Macedonia, with Bitola for its chief town.

Owing to administrative changes effected between 1870 and 1875, the name ceased to correspond to any political division. Eastern Rumelia was constituted as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878, but on September 6, 1885, after a bloodless revolution, it was united with Bulgaria.

Today, in Turkey, the word Trakya has mostly replaced Rumelia when referring to the part of Turkey which is in Europe (provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ, and the western part of Istanbul Province, though Rumelia remains in use in historical contexts. This region in Turkey is also referred to as Eastern Thrace or Turkish Thrace. In Greece, the term Ρούμελη (Rumeli) has been used since Ottoman times to refer to Central Greece, especially when juxtaposed with Morea.


The first Beylerbey of Rumelia was Lala Shahin Pasha, the lala (tutor) of Murad I. He established the seat of his administration in Plovdiv (Filibe, Philippopolis) in 1362.

In 1382 the capital of Rumelia was moved to Sofia.

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