Cross for the proclamation of Bulgarian independence in 1908
Date established: During the first half of 1909
Number of classes: one
Being awarded for: as a commemoration of the declaration of Bulgarian independence in 1908
Shape and dimensions: A 40mm long crosslet cross with circular centre and raised and polished edges
Ribbon: red with two white and one green thin stripes through the middle
Obverse: In the centre is inscribed the royal cypher of King Ferdinand I, circumscribed by the text “ТЪРНОВО 22 СЕПТЕМВРИЙ ·1908·“ / translation: Tarnovo 22 September ·1908· /, commemorating the place (town of Tarnovo) and the date of the declaration of the Independence. In the four cross sections of the cross arms are depicted horizontally positioned crowns.
Reverse: A Bulgarian lion rampant with superimposed Saxon shield, circumscribed by “БЪЛГАРСКО ЦАРСТВО“, meaning Bulgarian Tsardom (Kingdom).
In late September of 1908, the Bulgarian Prince and His government, having sought the right moment, have declared the Bulgarian independence from the Ottoman Empire. This act meant that the status of the state has upgraded to an independent realm and its monarch has adopted a new title – Tsar (or King) [of the Bulgarians], in accordance to the Medieval traditions of the nation.
The idea of a commemorative decoration, dedicated to the Bulgarian declaration of Independence, has surfaced just after the glorious act itself. However, the so called Cross “For the Independence of Bulgaria” has only been approved and minted during the second half of 1909 – a year after the events.
This commemorative cross was intended to be widely awarded among the Bulgarian nation. According to the registers, more than 11,000 people have received this decoration, but some authors believe that the actual number of minted and awarded crosses is greater.
The cross has been awarded to all generals, officers and junkers who were serving at the time of the declaration of independence; to various civil servants; war veterans, clergy, local government officials etc.
The layout of the ribbon was slightly different, compared to other Bulgarian medals. To the ribbon was sewed a basic metal hanger for holding the loop, and, in most cases, along with it a safety pin for easier mounting. When awarded to ladies, the cross was suspended from a bow-shaped ribbon.
There are known very rare variations of the cross, where the crowns are positioned towards the central medallion of the cross. These are possibly trial issues of the medal.
The medal has been designed by Paul Telge and has been produced in Germany.