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Territories ceded to Yugoslavia by Bulgaria according to the Treaty of Neuilly, 1920

The Western (Bulgarian) Outlands (Bulgarian language: Западни (български) покрайнини , transliterated: Zapadni (Balgarski) pokraynini) is a term used by Bulgarians to describe several territorially separate regions located in southeastern Serbia and eastern Macedonia which at one point passed directly from Bulgaria to Yugoslavia. The territories in question were ceded by Bulgaria to the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1920 as a result of the Treaty of Neuilly,[1] following the First World War. According to the Yugoslav census of 1991, two of the largest cities in the Western Outlands, Bosilegrad and Dimitrovgrad, were populated primarily by Bulgarians.

Today, the territories referred to by the term cover an area of 1,545 km² in Serbia. In 1919 the same territories corresponded to the following parts of the Bulgarian okrugs: Kyustendil, 661 km², Tsaribrod (nowadays Dimitrovgrad) 418 km², Tran 278 km², Kula 172 km² and Vidin 17 km².


Ethnic map of Serbia showing location of Bulgarian-majority settlements according to the 2002 census.

Unveiling of the monument of Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski in Bosilegrad.

The Serbian angle deems the term controversial, referring to parts of a neighboring country's territory as "western outlands" can imply territorial claims, as in the example of Germany regarding Alsace in France.

For this reason, the term has not been used by Belgrade in contacts with Sofia since 1948. It was mentioned once, in the 1948 Bled Agreement by Josip Broz Tito and Georgi Dimitrov. This was in the period of Joseph Stalin's push[citation needed] for a Communist super-state in the Balkans, the Balkan Federative Republic, which was to include Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. The BFR idea was abandoned with the Informbiro Resolution of 1948, when the split between Tito and Stalin occurred. Despite not being used internationally (until the 1990s when it was revived), it is very widely used in internal social and political communication in Bulgaria.

See also[]

  • Bosilegrad
  • Dimitrovgrad (Serbia)
  • Bulgarians in Serbia
  • Internal Western Outland Revolutionary Organisation
  • Serbia during World War I

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