ECONOMICAL BULGARIA 1878-1944
Bulgaria was above all an agricultural country; about 79% of the population being dependant on the land. In most cases, if not entirely, the Bulgarian farmer occupied himself both with cultivation of the land and cattle breeding. Handicrafts were much developed in Bulgaria before the liberation, and, in spite of the rapid advance in industry they were still active in the 20th century; some of them actually prospering parallel with industry, whilst, new handicrafts were also being created. Bulgarian industry in that period made rapid progress. It has partly evolved from the old primitive work-shops or industries, but has mostly been created in order to use the raw materials existing in the country, or, simply to satisfy certain needs of the population employing local labor. Parallel with the development of production and culture, credit institutions and home and foreign trade have greatly expanded.
Agriculture:- In Bulgaria, the small landowner of 1 to 6 hectares predominated. The climate is moderately continental and the soil is fertile, suitable for varied agriculture. This explains, why, in addition to grain growing - which constituted the major portion of the cultivation - many industrial plants were also grown. There were at the same time many orchards and kitchen gardens in the country which produced varied and luscious fruit and vegetables, and, vineyards producing delicious grapes. Other special cultivations, such as the mulberry /for silk worm breeding/, rose gardens /for the distillation of Attar of Roses/, etc. find very favourable conditions for their development.
The following average figures give an idea of the agricultural production of Bulgaria; they are taken from the period 1919 to 1929.
|1. Total superficial area||10 314 620 hect.|
|2. Total area under cultivation||3 760 457 hect.|
|a/ Fields||3 358 062 hect.|
|b/ Vineyards and gardens||81 500 hect.|
|c/ Natural meadows||320 895 hect.|
|3. Total area under forests||2 698 696 hect.|
|4. Meadow and pasture land||913 081 hect.|
The area under cultivation is divided in annual averages of the given period, as follows:
1. Cereals including rice - 2 242 871 hectares, which have given an annual average output of 20 958 000 quintals.
2. Oleiferous and industrial plants - 86 589 hectares, with an annual average output of 2 502 400 quintals.
3. Leguminous plants, such as broad beans, French beans and lentils - 62 055 hectars, with an annual average output of 427 000 quintals.
4. Vegetables - 45 772 hectares, with annual average output of 1 006 000 quintals.
5. Fodder plants - 524 994 hectars, with an annual average output of 10 062 200 quintals.
6. Vineyards - 59 802 hectars, with an annual average output of 1 012 800 hectolitres of must.
7. Rose gardens - 5 443 hectares, with an annual average output of 351 500 phials /muscali/.
8. Orchards - 13 640 hectares, with an annual average output of 505 400 quintals.
9. Mulberry - 2 615 hectars, with an annual average output of 15 270 quintals cocoons.
As of future trends, the annual production of these products has increased, owing to the extension of the area under cultivation and more intensive working.
Breeding: - Owing to the decrease in pasture land - which has been transformed partly into arable land especially in the plains - and to modernization, cattle and poultry breeding in Bulgaria has taken a new turn. Experiments in crossing have produced the types, which, best adapt themselves to the climatic and soil conditions. Efforts were being made to improve the breeds of stock and poultry, as well. In order to have an idea of the extent of the breeding in the country, the following round figures for the year 1929 are given /N.B. draught animals are also included in these figures/:
|1. Horses||482 200|
|2. Mules||27 100|
|3. Asses||185 400|
|4. Buffaloes||448 200|
|5. Cattle||1 817 500|
|6. Sheep||8 740 000|
|7. Goats||1 260 800|
|8. Swine||1 002 100|
|9. Poultry||10 177 600|
Forests: - The population in the mountain and forest districts get their living mainly from the exploitation of the forests and from the timber industry. Forests cover almost one third of the total area of Bulgaria, namely 2 698 696 hectares. According to ownership, the forests are divided as follows:
|1. Forests owned by public institutions /i.e. the State, the Communes, Monasteries, Schools, etc/.||2 170 530 hect.
|2. Private forests||528 116 hect.|
According to their kind they are divided, as follows:
|1. Coniferous||321 055 hect.|
|2. Tall trees||574 463 hect.|
|3. Average height trees||60 628 hect.|
|4. Low growing trees||1 662 431 hect.|
|5. Mixed||80 119 hect.|
Handicrafts: - Handicrafts are for the great part gradually modernizing, some from the adopting machinery, others perfectioning their methods. They are adapting themselves to the more and more varied requirements of their customers, who, day by day become more particular. Thanks to the skill and inventive capacity of the masters and their assistants, even the very refined tastes of the customers can be satisfied in all these crafts: clothing, foot-wear, linen, joinery, furniture, etc.
Industry: - Bulgarian industry showed important development during the 30s of the 20th century. Part of the home industry, already, satisfied internal needs. However, Bulgaria still import many industrial products, either, because necessary conditions for the creation of certain industries are lacking in the country, or, because certain branches of industry are not yet sufficiently developed.
The textile industry is mostly concentrated at Sliven, Gabrovo and Sofia. For the times, it comprised 139 large concerns, which, 22 produced woolen textiles and 41 cotton and hemp textiles. The annual production of the textile industry reached a value of about 1.3 million levas. The rope, string etc. industry was represented by 10 large undertakings, which, had an average production per year of 790 tons with a value of about 53 million levas. The hosiery industry had 44 factories, 18 important and 27 of less importance. The total yearly production amounted in round figures to a value of 100 million levas. To these must be added industries allied to the latter, such as thread and silk weaving concerns, 2 sewing thread factories, 15 lace factories and 6 carpet making factories, with, a total production in value of about 200 million levas.
The other more important industries, enumerated for the statistics of year 1929, are presented:
|Number of concerns||Production in tons||Value in million leva|
|1. Leather||45||2 875||426|
|2. Metal working||119||-||436|
|a/ Vegetable oils||51||9 948||295|
|b/ Soap||17||4 525||122|
|d/ Attar of Roses||14||-||106|
|e/ Paper||3||3 665||30|
|g/ Chemical products||3||1 222||28|
|j/ Other factories||35||-||10|
|4. Milling||138||283 850||2 030|
|5. Sugar||4||35 450||690|
|6. Preserved Food||17||-||63|
|8. Alcohol||4||2 365||32|
|9. Cement||2||11 100||147|
|10. Brick, tile & pottery||63||-||195|
Mineral Wealth: - Subsoil investigations, made up to the 1944, have indicated the presence of many varied coal and other mineral beds. Owing to the absence of large capital in the country, however, various mines were exploited directly by the State, and, only comparatively few by companies or private persons; many remained unworked. The State exploited: a/ Pernik mines, a rich lignite basin on the Sofia-Kustendil railway; b/ Boboff Doll mines, an old lignite mine between Radomir and Dupnitza; c/ Maritza mine, near Rakovsky station on the Sofia-Svilengrade railway; d/ Lukovitza silver and lead mine in the Rhodopes; e/ Provadia rock-salt mine, etc.
The following mines were worked by private undertakings:
1. "Plakalnitza", copper-zinc, in the Balkans near Vratza.
2. "Strashimir", "Sofia", "Sharenka", lead-zinc in the Rhodopes.
3. "Economoff", "Trud", copper in the Bourgas region.
4. "Sveti Ivan Rilsky", "Sveta Mina", copper-lead-zinc in the Balkans near Vratza.
5. "Sveti Sveti Sedmotchislenitzi", "Zgori Grad", copper-lead-zinc in the Balkans near Vratza.
6. "Tzar Assen", copper-lead in the Rhodopes.
7. "Nova Industria", "Kaolin", in the Deli Orman district.
8. "Pirrin", "Vulcan", "Istochnik", "Tcherno More", "Beli Breg", "Sveti Ivan Rilsky", "Hadji Dimiter", lignite.
9. "Prince Boris", "Badeshte", "Tchumerna", "Sveti Nicola", anthracite in the Balkans.
The total production of the various mines for 1929 was:
|a/ Lignite (brown coal)||1 572 965 tons|
|b/ Anthracite (black coal)||78 854 tons|
|a/ Copper||31 310 tons|
|b/ Lead||3 983 tons|
|c/ Copper-Lead||9 923 tons|
|d/ Lead-Zinc||11 396 tons|
|e/ Zinc||1 925 tons|
|f/ Kaolin||3 613 tons|
|g/ Salt||3 653 tons|
Owing to its petrographical character, Bulgaria also developed many quarries /1 792/, the largest number of which were State owned /1 141/. Most varied material was obtained from these: marble, gypsum, chalk, lithographic stone, marlstone, limestone, clay, syenite, diorite, talc, etc.
Foreign Trade: - During the years 1928, 1929, 1930 foreign trade was as follows:
|1928||354 989 tons||7 040 935 leva|
|1929||505 052 tons||8 324 633 leva|
|1930||316 880 tons||4 589 725 leva|
|1928||368 192 tons||6 231 247 leva|
|1929||302 376 tons||6 317 061 leva|
|1930||534 148 tons||6 191 140 leva|
|3. Trade Surplus|
|1928||+ 829 688 leva|
|1929||+ 1 987 572 leva|
|1930||+ 1 601 315 leva|
Imports were principally manufactured articles, colonial goods, cloth, textiles, metallurgical products, machinery, etc. Exports, on the other hand, consist almost exclusively of the products of agriculture, stock, poultry, breeding, etc. Bulgarian products, particularly tobacco, Attar of Roses, vegetables, fruits have always been greatly appreciated in importing countries. Bulgarian tobacco ranks among the best in the Orient, and, is greatly esteemed for its quality. Bulgarian Attar of Rose has been known throughout the world for a considerable time; it is used as the base for the best known perfumes. Bulgarian vegetables and fruits: apples, grapes, plums, melons, beans, peas, lentils, tomatoes, onions, cabbages are all of excellent quality. They grow in such abundance that they are exceedingly cheap in Bulgaria, itself. Export to the Central European, and, Near East markets showed tendency of increase, year by year.
HUNDRED GOLDEN LEVA FROM THE KINGDOM OF BULGARIA /1894/