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Southern Dobruja (Bulgarian: Южна Добруджа, Yuzhna Dobrudzha; Romanian: Dobrogea de sud or Cadrilater, i.e. Quadrilater) is an area of north-eastern Bulgariamarker comprising the administrative districts named for its two principal cities of Dobrichmarker and Silistramarker. It has an area of 7,565 km² and a population of 358,000.


Map of Romania and Bulgaria with Southern Dobrudja or Cadrilater highlighted in yellow.

At the beginning of the modern era, Southern Dobruja had a mixed population of Bulgarians and Turks with several smaller minorities, including Gagauz, Crimean Tatars and Romanians. In 1910, of the 282,007 inhabitants of Southern Dobruja, 134,355 (47.6%) were Bulgarians, 106,568 (37.8%) Turks, 12,192 (4.3%) Gypsies, 11,718 (4.1%) Tatars and 6,484 (2.4%) Romanians.

Southern Dobruja was part of the autonomous Bulgarian principality from the time of the liberation of Bulgariamarker from Ottoman rule in 1878 until the Balkan Wars. After the defeat of Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War, the region was included in Romaniamarker under the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest.

In 1914, Romania demanded all landowners to prove their property and surrender to the Romanian state one third of the land they claimed or pay an equivalent of its value. This was similar to the agrarian reforms in Romania which occurred the previous century, in which the landlords had to give up two-thirds of their land, which was then handed over to the peasants. In Southern Dobruja, many of the peasants who received the land were settlers, including tens of thousands of Aromanians from Macedonia and Northern Greecemarker, as well as Romanians from Wallachia, which led to claims that the reforms had a nationalist purpose.

On 7 September 1940 Southern Dobruja was restored to Bulgaria under the Treaty of Craiova. The treaty was followed by a mandatory population exchange: about 110,000 Romanians (almost 95% of which settled there after 1913) were forced to leave Southern Dobruja, whereas 77,000 Bulgarians had to leave northern Dobruja. Only a few hundred Romanians and Aromanians are left in the region to this day.

See also


  1. Theodore I. Geshkoff. Balkan Union: A Road to Peace in Southeastern Europe, Columbia University Press, 1940, p. 57

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