CIRCULATION IN BULGARIAN LANDS UNTIL THE LIBERATION FROM TURKISH
In 1844 with a law passed by the
Turkish Empire within borders of which was Bulgaria the bimetallic
monetary, system was adopted in correlation gold: silver = 1:
The Turkish lira was adopted as main unit of
currency. It contained 7,216 drams of gold with hallmark 916,6. Every
Turkish lira was equal to 5 Turkish silver coins (medzhidia) and every
medzhidia was equal to 20 groshes.
beginning of the 30s of XIX century the Turkish Empire had to face serious
economic problems. The reasons for this recession were the restoration of
the Greek independence, the Serbian principality became autonomous and the
situation in the Empire complicated after the war with Egypt. Also general
anarchy affected all structures of the local and central government. The
corrupt clerks and upstart beys and agas governing Bulgarian countries
came in to power. In order to prevent the Empire from its decline, the
sublinie Porte started reforms in all spheres of the economic and social
life. Some of these reforms laid the beginnings of the economic renovation
on the territory of Bulgaria and gave impetus to the Bulgarian National
During those times in Constantinople a
Bulgarian community set apart. According to the statistics it ran about to
30 - 40 000 inhabitants. The more enterprising Bulgarian people set in
business for themselves and started their own stores. Others preferred to
become hired laborers in the big sultan's workshops. But all of them were
organized in their own Bulgarian guilds and this showed the increasing
national consciousness among the economic employed part of the Bulgarian
people. A very powerful influence had the Bulgarian tailor's guild located
in Galata, a quarter of Constantinople, where the uniforms of the Turkish
Army and the numerous officials were sewn. Again according to the
statistics of that time from all the Bulgarians in Tsarigrad 8000 were
tailors, 5000 fur-dressers, 500 merchants and etc. The offices of the more
authoritative merchants as Tapchileshtov, Karavelov, Moravenov and Simovs
were spread all over the town.
The situation was
different on the territory of Bulgaria where 80 % of the population was
peasant engaged in stockbreeding and agriculture. The land was cultivated
in a very primitive way; the rural economy met the needs of its own. At
every crop failure peasants had to beg resources from the upstart petty
agas for the next cultivation of the land. They often pledged their
primitive instruments of production and sold a crop standing at very law
prices. All these conditions led to the prosper of the money lending. In
the middle of X1X century it prospered to such a degree that in 1852 the
Sultan published a firman that limited the interest fat up to 8 %. Of
course, nobody observed it.
The trade with the towns was
very rare in those years when manly iron and fur articles were offered for
barter. The peasants exchanged these products for the surplus of corn,
wool, meat and hides. The barter was in power. The gloomy picture
completed with excessive taxes and the statute labor, which made the life
of the Bulgarian people additionally difficult.
the attempts of the Sublime Porte to make made significant changes they
fails. The economic crisis went deeper. The Empire remained still deeply
closed for the industrially developed Europe.
1856, the Sublime Porte promulgated the Hatihumaniun act with which
confirmed its ambitions for economic changes. A year later a new
Agricultural law was adopted that started the realization of the new
administrative reform. In 1862 new trade contracts were signed with
France, England, Spain, the USA and etc.
Ottoman note (kaimeta) 1860
In 1863 the Empire Ottoman Bank was
established and it had the rights to issue banknote (kaimeta). But the
first Turkish paper money failed, because the Bank was very far and the
traveling to it was very expensive and dangerous. Despite the enormous
gold holding of the Bank the exchange of banknote was practically
impossible. The people didn't trust those "paper pieces", and didn't
accept them as units of currency. During that period different kinds of
silver coins went into circulation and the gold (pendaras) were used in
the most important deals. We should not forget that the barter deals were
still the great percent in the trading.
After 1864 the reforms on the territory
of Bulgaria were felt considerably when Midhad Pasha was appointed as a
governor of the Danube Vilayet. He made special efforts to Europeanize not
only the administrative center Rouse but he also organized roads' building
in North Bulgaria. In 1866 the first railway line was opened up. It
connected Rouse and Varna. Shortly afterwards the other two railway lines
were finished off. (Tarnovo - Jambol, Thessalonica - Skopie). Also, Midhad
Pasha promoted the establishment of the so-called agrarian funds. Their
main function was to give assistance to the people because the money
lending was still in its prosperity. On the other hand in 1864 a special
law was passed fixing the interest between 12 % and 15%.
The first fund was established in 1864 with
obligatory fees paid in agrarian production. The collected cereals and
other agricultural products were sold and the money was lent at 12 %
minimum lawful interest. In fact the agrarian finds were the first credit
organizations in Bulgaria. Up to 1876 the facts suggested that those funds
had at their disposal working capital of 66 000 groshes
The first credit institution before the
Liberation on the territory of Bulgaria was established in Varna in 1869.
It was named "The Bulgarian Trading Society "and its chief activity was to
lend money at interest. Its finds increased gradually and in 1872 it had
at its disposal 250 000 groshes.
Some of the well of
and better-prepared Bulgarians bravely embarked on joint-stock companies
and credit affairs. In the last two decades of the Ottoman Yoke on our
lands about 40 joint-stock companies were found including shipping one.
There were some attempts for establishing of Bulgarian banks in Plovdiv
and Gabrovo, but they failed.
The Bulgarian traders
achieved good results in doing business with neighboring and other
countries. Thus for instance in 1869 the firm of the Tapchileshtovi
brothers had at its disposal a capital of 5090865 groshes that increased
every other year.
On the eve of the Liberation
together with the firm of the Tapchileshtovi brothers other firms did a
brisk trade too. Such firms were those of Evlogy and Christo Georgievi,
the Toshkovi, the Geshovsi and etc. The number of the manufacture
enterprises reached 500 and that of functioning factories - 11.
Despite all some of the reforming measure in
the policy of the Sublime Porte had a stimulating effect on the
development of the agriculture, trade and manufacture production in
Bulgarian lands. The changes are indisputable compare to the previous
centuries but as a whole the economic initiative among the Bulgarians
didn't succeed in building a modern agriculture and industry until the
The foreign political dominance ensured
neither the free flow of capitals nor the development of private property.
That inevitably slowed up the speed of the social-economic changes in the
Bulgarian society and had a negative influence on the progress and the
final results of all other processes during the Bulgarian National