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Map of Rumelia as of 1801.
Rumelian coat of arms from 1741, adopted later as coat of arms of Eastern Rumelia.

Rumelia or Rumeli (Turkish: Rumeli ("Land of the Romans" from Rum: "Byzantines" [formerly "Roman"] and El or İl: "Land"[1]); Bosnian: Rumelija; Serbian and Macedonian: Румелија, Rumelija; Albanian: Rumeli, Bulgarian: Румелия, Rumeliya, Greek: Ρούμελη, Roúmeli) is a Turkish name, used from the 15th century onwards, for the southern Balkan regions of the Ottoman Empire. "Rumeli" literally translates as "land of the Romans", in reference to the Byzantine Empire, the former dominant power in the area. During the 11th and 12th centuries it was widely used for Anatolia while it was gradually being conquered from the Byzantines. Rumelia included the ancient provinces of Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Thrace, Macedonia and Moesia, today's Bulgaria and European Turkey, bounded to the north by the Danube, west by Albania and south by the Morea. The name Rumelia was ultimately applied to a province composed of central Albania and north-western Macedonia, with Bitola for its chief town.

Owing to administrative changes effected between 1870 and 1875, the name ceased to correspond to any political division. Eastern Rumelia was constituted as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878, but on September 6, 1885, after a bloodless revolution, it was united with Bulgaria.

Today, in Turkey, the word Trakya has mostly replaced Rumelia when referring to the part of Turkey which is in Europe (provinces of Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ, the northern part of Çanakkale Province and the western part of İstanbul Province), though Rumelia remains in use in historical contexts, and the word is used in the context of the culture of current Turkish populations of the Balkans and descendants of Turkish immigrants from the Balkans. This region in Turkey is also referred to as Eastern Thrace or Turkish Thrace. In Greece, the term Ρούμελη (Rumeli) has been used since Ottoman times to refer to Central Greece, especially when juxtaposed with Morea.


The first Beylerbey of Rumelia was Lala Shahin Pasha, the lala (tutor) of Murad I. He established the seat of his administration in Plovdiv (Filibe, Philippopolis) in 1362.

In 1382 the capital of Rumelia was moved to Sofia.

  • Şahabettin Pasha (Sa'd ed-din Pasha) (1436)
  • Sokollu Mehmet Paşa (Mehmed-paša Sokolović) (1551-1555)
  • Pertev Pasha (Serbian Ottoman from Herzegovina) (1555-?)
  • Yeğen Pasha (17th century)
  • Ali Pasha (Born in Ioanina or Yanina)(Albania) (1741-1822)
  • Yorgancıoğlu Pasha (1905)

See also




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