Η ανθρωπογεωγραφία και τα εθνικά χαρακτηριστικά των Ελλήνων της Βουλγαρίας, 1888-1934 : τα στοιχεία των βουλγαρικών απογραφών και ο έλεγχος αξιοπιστίας τους

Ξανθίππη Κοτζαγεώργη-Ζυμάρη

Abstract


In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the Greek population of Bulgaria, as it emerged from the ethnic ferment, the heated rivalry (culminating
in the creation of the Exarchate), and the various wars of that century (resulting
in movement of populations), was trapped as a minority in a hybrid nation-state
with a clear policy of ethnic homogenisation. Apart from the scattered groups
of Greeks in many Bulgarian towns and cities and small Greek communities in
certain provinces, the Greek population traditionally gravitated towards three
prefectures in this period: Pyrgos/Burgas (with a concentration of Greeks of up
to 60%), Philippoupolis/Plovdiv (up to 24%), and Varna (up to about 15.5%).
By far the majority of the Greeks were Bulgarian-bom, the percentage ranging
from 83.5% in peaceful periods to 68% at times of crisis. Many were Greek
citizens, settlers, or economic émigrés, but most were natives who had acquired
Greek citizenship after studying in Greece, serving in the Greek army, or by
some other administrative process, and in the calmer periods they accounted for
11% of the country’s Greek population. Between the founding of the Bulgarian state and the second major war of the
twentieth century, this population varied constantly, though always in a
downward direction, owing to more or less forcible assimilation and to
emigration, which latter tended to reflect the current state of Greek-Bulgarian
relations. The effects of emigration are most clearly seen in the movement of
the overall number of Greeks in Bulgaria, while the effects of voluntary or
involuntary assimilation may be detected to a certain extent in the appreciable
difference between the Greek-speakers and the ethnic Greeks in Bulgaria,
which, at times of crisis, amounted to as many as 13.59% (after 1906) and
15.02% (1926) more Greek-speakers than ethnic Greeks. Greek-speakers and ethnic Greeks, native-born and immigrants, whether
Greek citizens or not, the Greeks abandoned Bulgaria in large and small waves
and a small proportion of them was gradually assimilated, with the result that,
by the eve of the Second World War, the Greek population had lost seveneighths
of its numerical strength since the time of its heyday in the early
twentieth century.

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