The Americans enter Macedonia for the first time in the early 30-ies of the 19 th century.They are representatives of the Evangelist/ Congressist/ church, seated in Boston, USA. This is also the residence of the Council of Foreign Missions, which publishes a special printed organ - "The Missionary Herald". Penetrating the Ottoman Empire, the evangelist missionaries aim at tracing the route for the future cultural and economic invasion of USA in this part of Europe, offering huge market for the North American industrial products. Macedonia is preferred as one of the strategic springboards for the evangelist invasion, in view of its median situation on the Balkans,with the emerging contradictions between the policy of the Great Powers in the region on one hand, and the strife of the enslaved nationalities in Turkey to defend their national interests in this part of the Empire, on the other hand. Therefore, the American missionaries had to study carefully the ethnic picture, political situation and the spiritual aspirations of the population in Macedonia. Without knowledge on these matters, they would not have been able to succeed in their propaganda. Their correct investigations promised to define the exact directions and the essence of their future activity under the guidance of the Council of Missions in the USA.
It is important to emphasize, that from the very beginning, the Evangelist missionaries verify on their own, that the region of Macedonia is populated mainly by Bulgarians. This is testified by the first special report on Macedonia, sent to Boston by the Protestant missionary D. Shawfler in 1834.In it the author clearly states that " the region west of Salonica is populated by Bulgarian peasants"./1/His opinion coincides completely with the evaluations given at the same time by the founder of the American missionary service in the Orient - pastor Sayers Hamlin. In the 60-ies of the 19-th century, one of the most influential missionaries, James Clark, when touching upon the ethnical picture in Macedonia , is also explicit that " today's peasant population speaks dialects of the Bulgarian language"./2/
Comforming their activity with the moods and ideals of the Bulgarian population in Macedonia, the American pastors soon gain the respect of the most eminent representatives of the region's intelligentsia. Thanks to this the realization of a number of initiatives becomes possible, which objectively supports the further assertion of the Bulgarian national self-awareness in the enslaved Slavonic population of Macedonia. In the mid-1830's, for instance, the American missionary Elias Riggs meets the eminent Bulgarian cultural figure from Macedonia - Neophyte Rilski.Upon his proposal, Neophyte begins the translation of the New Testament in Bulgarian. After several years of work, the manuscript is ready. Riggs arranges the printing of the book to commence in Smirna. Riggs and Neophyte Rilski charged another eminent man-of-letters of the epoch, Konstantin Fotinov, with the administration of the publication of the New Testament. As a result of the efforts of the three of them, the New Testament is published in Bulgarian in 1840. Its distribution in Misia, Thrace and Macedonia contributes to the emancipation of the Bulgarian nation through its separation from the spiritual wardenship of the Greek fanariotic Patriarchate in Constantinople.
The collaboration of Elias Riggs, however, with the Bulgarian intelligentsia does not end here.With the financial support of this American missionary, Konstantin Fotinov publishes in 1842 the first journal in Bulgarian - "Liuboslovie'. It lays the foundations of the modern Bulgarian periodical press. In 1844, Riggs himself, publishes the first textbook on Bulgarian language, aimed at foreigners- mainly newly arrived American missionaries who were to work with the Bulgarians. The book is also published in Smirna under the title "Notes on the grammar of the Bulgarian language". In this connection a technical detail is of extreme importance: the collaboration of Riggs and Neophyte Rilski and Konstantin Fotinov permitted the American pastor to learn and speak mainly in the western-Bulgarian dialect, which is used by the population of Macedonia.That is why, the structure of his grammar is developed in accordance with the semantic specificity of the western Bulgarian dialects.
Furthermore, the fact itself that, the American author has entitled his work "Grammar of the Bulgarian language", testifies that he had, obviously no doubt, that the Slavonic population of Macedonia is of Bulgarian nationality.This is why it speaks " Bulgarian language" and not some
"Macedonian language", which neither exists, nor anybody has heard anything about it. Had there existed such "Macedonian language" in the 40-ies of the 19-th century, Riggs would have inevitably used the qualification " Macedonian", as it would have corresponded most accurately to the essence of the Slavonic language, used by this American missionary.
The correct position taken by the missionaries - to assist the cultural revival of the Bulgarians in Macedonia - permits the creation of more favorable conditions for their own activities in the Ottoman Empire.In 1873, the American Protestant Council opens its first branch in Bitolya. Administratively the new branch is controlled from Samokov, with the task of directing the Protestant propaganda among the Macedonian Bulgarians in particular. In an article published on this occasion in the " Missionary Herald", in Boston, it is specifically stated that " among the six languages in the town /Bitolya/, the Bulgarian was chosen / for sermon- author's note / as the most widespread both in town and the neighboring region."/6/ These facts show that all the activity undertaken by the American missionaries until the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish war, is considered as part of their plans, for work among the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire during the Revival period in general./7/ Another fact is, that till the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, the American missionaries in the Balkans consider the Bulgarians as the most important and perspective people in this part of Southeast Europe, with Macedonia viewed as inseparable part of the Bulgarian ethnical culture.
For the period 1834-1878, there is not a single document, written by residing in Macedonia American evangelist pastor, which to mention other than Bulgarian national affiliation of the Slavonic population in Macedonia during the period of the Revival. This fact is extremely important, as it contains non-transitory scientific and political meaning. The missionaries live personally in the region for decades. They have the possibility to become aquainted with the facts the way they are. These people are not quickly passing or accidental travelers in the Balkans, whose evidences can be disputed.
Of extreme importance for the acquaintance of the public opinion in USA with Macedonia, during the second half of the 19-th century, is the establishment of the Robert College in Constantinople on September 16th, 1863. Founded on the idea of the American public and cultural figure, Christopher Rheylender, the Robert College soon becomes the most authoritative educational establishment on the Balkans in the second half of the century. Hundreds of Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians and Turks receive their education in it, among whom emerge eminent politicians, bankers, military and public figures. At the same time, the Robert College becomes the second of importance center, after the evangelist missions, where for years reside all those Americans, who work as lecturers or tutors in the college. Some of them spend decades in the Robert College, while the second director Dr. George Washburn for 50 continuous years heads the school. In this way, the professors of the Robert College, who travel frequently through the Ottoman Empire, personally acquaint themselves with the ethnical picture of the European domains of the Sultan, including Macedonia. Therefore, their opinions on this Balkan province have,as well, the qualities of first-class expert evaluation, undisputable by what-so-ever arguements. As an example can be given, Dr. Washburn's opinion on the turmoil in the fate of Macedonia's population,consiously created by the Great Powers with the signing of the 1878 Berlin treaty for the creation of the Bulgarian state: "The Berlin Treaty divided Bulgaria in five parts one was given to Serbia, second to Romania, third to Turkey, fourth part was thePrincedom of Bulgaria, vassal to the Sultan and fifth was sustained as an autonomic region- Eastern Roumelia",states the well-informed American." England , most consistently of the Great Powers insists on this division, by the way wanting to obtain for Turkey the right to military reinforcement of the southern slopes of the Balkan Ridge.All this was done, in order to prevent the Bulgarians from building a vital state, that could have been in friendly relations with Russia. Everybody who knew Bulgaria and the Bulgarians understood the injustice and meanness of this treaty. Later on, the whole of England released this truth.Direct consequences of the treaty were the revolution in 1885, leading to the unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia, the war with Serbia, the revolt in Macedonia and the Adrianople region /1903- author's note/, the endless bloodshed and the undepictable horrors of more than 39 years duration.Not to speak of the political intrigues, in which the Great Powers constantly involve Bulgaria since then."/8/
The document quoted, proves that the American professors working in the Robert College in Constantinople, clearly realize that the "Macedonian question" appears artificially as an independent problem in the European politics, following the forced partition of the new Bulgarian state in 1878, initiated by Russia's enemies. For the Americans residing in Bulgaria, it is clear that only the strife " to prevent the Bulgarians to build a vital state', is the reason leading to the partition of Macedonia in 1878, and not any national, linguistic or other differences between the population of the region and that of Princedom Bulgaria.
Furthermore, both the evangelist missionaries and the professors of Robert College are unanimous, that the problems of the Slavonic population of Macedonia are only part of the problems accompanying the development of the unified Bulgarian nation in Misia, Thrace and Macedonia in the last quarter of the 19-th century. It is to be emphasized that, this thesis they formed for themselves in a moment when there was no free Bulgarian state and accordingly no Bulgarian government, that could influence by whatever means the opinion of the American observers.Thus the Americans evaluations on Macedonia in the period till 1878 are result of the objectively reported facts, existing in reality.
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