Tatars of the Crimea in Bulgaria
As from 1241, year of the first invasion of Tatars historically attested in Bulgaria, the Second Bulgarian Empire maintained contacts political constant with them. During this period first (S), the term “Tatare” was not a ethnonyme, but in general indicated the armies of the successors of Gengis Khan. The First establishments of Tatars in Bulgaria can be dated from, when the military units persecuted following the dynastic quarrels which tore the Horde of Gold came into contact with the Bulgarian chiefs (Pavlov, 1997).
End of, for various reasons, several groups of Tatars settled in Bulgarian territory (then under Othoman domination). The colonists, probably of the nomads, ended up adopting a sedentary lifestyle and, in some areas, survived like compact communities during more than two centuries. Documents show that Tatars tended to plunder the villages and to be opposed to the authorities; for this reason they were reinstalled in Thrace among a population of origin not less turbulent. One to them gave a role of messengers and soldiers and one incorporated them in the Othoman military administration. This fact, joint with their small number, the proximity between the tatare and the Turkish languages local, as well as the community of religion, made disappear finally the identity tatare.
With the difference of the situation in Thrace, the ethnic composition of Dobroudja attests existence of an important community tatare of. The conquest of Bessarabia by the Othomans had created favorable conditions for a migration continual of Tatares since the area of the North of the Black Sea until Dobroudja during the years 1530 and 1540.
With the 18th century a radical change in the ethnic composition of the area of the North of the Black Sea started following the Russian invasions. Between 1783, when the khanat of the Crimea was annexed by Russia and 1874, there were several waves of emigration out of the Crimea and Kouban, and a considerable number of Tatars of the Crimea went to settle in Bulgarian territory. Tatars which lives today in Bulgaria go down from these immigrants, who kept their identity.
The largest wave of emigration occurred during and after the Crimean War (1853-1856). From approximately the 230.000 Tatars which emigrated of 1854 to 1862, approximately 60.000 were established in Bulgarian territory (Romanski, 1917, p. 266). The majority dispersed in Bulgaria of North especially Dobroudja, in the plains bordering the Danube and the area of Vidin.
The massive installation of Tatars in Bulgarian territory had as a result the establishment of the traditional relations between Bulgares and Tatars. Contrary to immigration circassienne, the Bulgarian national alarm clock was not opposed to the installation of Tatars.
Tatars themselves were in a state of shock ethnopsychologic, but, according to any probability their wandering past enabled them to adapt to this “foreign world”. This first period in the modern history of the tatar group in Bulgaria (1862-1878) was characterized by the adaptation to the economy and the environment of new realities and with the reorganization of all the refugees speaking the kipchak.
The development of the tatare group and its identity after the release of Bulgaria in 1878 were determined by political factors. It is that the host country was not any more the same one. Installed in the Empire Othoman, Tatars had not seen any change in their ethnic and ecological environment, they were suddenly vis-a-vis another political organization - Bulgaria, a State very different from its predecessor. It was a new shock ethnopsychologic for Tatars, which was the signal of a new wave of emigration. Even those which remained in Bulgaria - approximately 18 000 people whose majority lived in areas with Turkish population of Bulgaria of the North-East, noted that it was difficult for them to adapt and much of them ended up emigrating in Turkey.
The second factor of ethnic changes was the national rebirth of Tatars in the Crimea and the awakening of their difference during the end of 19th and to the beginning of 20th and it is important to specify that the national idea tatare developed whereas the majority of them was apart from the limits of their historical fatherland. Since the national idea did not exist yet among Tatars of the Crimea, they were more receptive with the assimilation, which under the conditions of Bulgaria, was the case not by a State nation, but by another ethnicity: Bulgarian Turks.
Other factors also arised because of the specificity of each period in the history of Tatares in Bulgaria. During the time which followed the release (1878-1912/1918), there was generally no material change in the tatare group - it did not occur any emigration with large scales and the process of ethnic consolidation continued.
The period extending since the treaty from Neuilly to the treaty from Craiova (1919-1940) saw a certain number of radical changes. Dobroudja of the South, where lived two thirds of the population tatare of Bulgaria, was annexed by Romania. Tatares were in a state which counted large populations tatares around Medgidia, Mangalia and Köstence (Constanţa). In addition, the beginning of this period coincided with a national State tatare in the Crimea, whose existence was short, and the constitution of a laic Turkish State. Modern nationalism tatar was marked by a panturquism turned towards Ankara following propaganda kemalist. This period saw an emigration of Tatars with large scales towards Turkey and the establishment of a group around the magazine Emel (1929-1930 in Dobrich), which used slogans panturc like a cover to promote the Turkish policy. It was undoubtedly the beginning of the political turquisation of Tatares (Antonov, 1995).
The general tendencies remained the same ones during the following period (of 1940 with the beginning of the year 1950), except that Bulgaria had recovered Dobroudja of the South, of which the population tatare had reduced half.
For the communist period collectivization and industrialization destroyed the traditional lifestyle of Tatars. The assimilation at the Turkish community endogame could not occur any more in a natural way but slow taking into account the small number of the population of Tatars and modernization intensified it. There was also a socio-economic factor: the desire to benefit from the privileges which the communist authorities granted to the Turkish community.
The Communist regime continued contradictory policies towards Tatars. At the beginning he imitated the attitude of Moscow with respect to Tatars of the Crimea, being unaware of their presence in Bulgaria officially (they were mentioned for the last time in the census 1956, to reappear only in 1992).
In 1962, Politburo of the Central committee of the Bulgarian Communist party proposed to take measures against the turquisation of Gipsies, Tatars and mahométans Bulgarian. Measurements included/understood the study of the ethnic origins of Tatars of Bulgaria. It was the mark of a new policy: to accentuate the ethnoculturelle specificity of the community in an effort to restore and emphasize the distinction (scrambled by the turquisation) between Tatars and Turks.
The reforms of years 1990 brought the restoration of the Islamic names Turkish and the re-establishment of normal contacts with the relationship living in Turkey, as well as the birth of cultural activities and educational independent. One also saw signs of an identity rebirth at Tatars.
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