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Information about reign: Цар Фердинанд I (Tsar Ferdinand I)

From5 October 1908
To3 October 1918
Personal InformationKing Ferdinand I of Bulgaria (1861 - 1948)

Ferdinand I (modern Bulgarian: Фердинанд I; contemporary Bulgarian: Фердинандъ I), born Ferdinand Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was the ruler of Bulgaria from 1887 to 1918, first as knyaz (prince regnant, 1887–1908) and later as tsar (king, 1908–1918).

On 5 October 1908 (celebrated on 22 September), Ferdinand proclaimed Bulgaria's de jure independence from the Ottoman Empire (though the country had been basically independent since 1878). He also proclaimed Bulgaria a kingdom, and assumed the title of tsar - a deliberate nod to the rulers of the earlier Bulgarian states. The Bulgarian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by him at the Saint Forty Martyrs Church in Turnovo. It was accepted by Turkey and the other European powers.

On 11 October 1915, the Bulgarian army attacked Serbia after signing a treaty with Austria-Hungary and Germany stating that Bulgaria would gain the territory it sought at the expense of Serbia. Ferdinand was not an admirer of German Emperor Wilhelm II (his second cousin once removed) or Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I whom he described as "that idiot, that old dotard of a Francis Joseph". However, Ferdinand wanted additional territorial gains after the humiliation of the Balkan Wars. This also entailed forming an alliance with his former enemy, the Ottoman Empire.

During the initial phase of World War I, the Kingdom of Bulgaria achieved several decisive victories over its enemies and laid claim to the disputed territories of Macedonia after Serbia's defeat. For the next two years, the Bulgarian army shifted its focus towards repelling Allied advances from nearby Greece. They were also partially involved in the 1916 conquest of neighboring Romania, now ruled by another Ferdinand I, who was also Ferdinand's second cousin once removed.

To save the Bulgarian throne, Tsar Ferdinand abdicated in favour of his eldest son who became Tsar Boris III on 3 October 1918. Under new leadership, Bulgaria surrendered to the Allies and as a consequence, lost not only the additional territory it had fought for in the major conflict, but also the territory it had won after the Balkan Wars giving access to the Aegean Sea.

List of 22 coins issued in reign: Bulgaria / Цар Фердинанд I (Tsar Ferdinand I)
One Stotinka 1912 20,000,000
Two Stotinki 1912 40,000,000
Five Stotinki 1912 14,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1912 13,000,000
Twenty Stotinki 1912 10,000,000
Fifty Stotinki 1912 2,000,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
One Lev 1912 2,000,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Two Leva 1912 1,000,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Twenty Leva 1912 75,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
One Hundred Leva 1912 5,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Five Stotinki 1913 20,000,000
Ten Stotinki 1913 20,000,000
Twenty Stotinki 1913 5,000,000
Fifty Stotinki 1913 3,000,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
One Lev 1913 3,500,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Two Leva 1913 500,000 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Fifty Stotinki 1916 4,562,051 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
One Lev 1916 4,568,696 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Two Leva 1916 2,286,008 Portrait by Rudolf Marschall
Five Stotinki 1917 53,200,000
Ten Stotinki 1917 59,100,000
Twenty Stotinki 1917 40,000,000