The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.

How are we to determine the racial complexion of a country in which race is certified by religion, in which religion is measured by the number of bishops and churches and schools, in which bishops and churches and schools are created and maintained by a propaganda conducted by competing external powers, and in which the results of the propaganda are determined largely by money and men sent from Sofia, Athens, and Belgrade, subject always to the caprice and manipulation of the Sultan’s government at Constantinople?

In Southern Macedonia from the Thessalian frontier as far north as the parallel of Saloniki, the population is almost exclusively Greek, as is also the whole of the Chalcidician Peninsula, while further east the coast region between the Struma and the Mesta is also predominantly Greek.  Eastern Macedonia to the north of the line of Seres and Drama and south of the Kingdom of Bulgaria is generally Bulgarian.  On the northwest from the city of Uskub up to the confines of Servia and Bosnia, Macedonia is mixed Serb, Bulgarian, and Albanian, with the Serb element preponderating as you travel northward and the Albanian westward.


The difficulty comes when we attempt to give the racial character of Central Macedonia, which is equally remote from Greece, Bulgaria, and Servia.  I travelled through this district last summer.  On June 29, when the war broke out between the Allies I found myself in Uskub.  Through the courtesy of the Servian authorities I was permitted to ride on the first military train which left the city.  Descending at Veles I drove across Central Macedonia by way of Prilip to Monastir, spending the first night, for lack of a better bed, in the carriage, which was guarded by Servian sentries.  From Monastir I motored over execrable roads to Lake Presba and Lake Ochrida and thence beyond the city of Ochrida to Struga on the Black Drin, from which I looked out on the mountains of Albania.

Coming from Athens where for many months I had listened to patriotic stories of the thorough permeation of Macedonia by Greek settlements my first surprise was my inability to discover a Greek majority in Central Macedonia.  In most of the cities a fraction of the population indeed is Greek and as a rule the colony is prosperous.  This is especially true in Monastir, which is a stronghold of Greek influence.  But while half the population of Monastir is Mohammedan the so-called Bulgarians form the majority of the Christian population, though both Servians and Roumanians have conducted energetic propaganda.  In Veles two-thirds of the population are Christians and nearly all of these are called Bulgarians.  In Ochrida the lower town is Mohammedan and the upper Christian, and the Christian population is almost exclusively of the Bulgarian Church.

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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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