The European part of the Ottoman Empire, in particular the Balkan peninsula.
Formerly written as Rum-ili, the word Rumelia has its origins in the medieval Muslim practice of referring to the Byzantine as Rum and their territory as Bilad al-Rum. With the arrival of the Turks in Anatolia and, in particular, with the advancement of the Ottoman Empire, the use of Rum to designate Western Anatolia survived and evolved eventually into Rumelia or Rumeli.
During the reign of the Ottoman sultan Murat I (1362–1389), Rumelia emerged as a name to designate Ottoman territories in Europe, governed as a separate military-administrative region under the rule of a beylerbeyi, the first such governorate of its kind in the Ottoman Empire. It was around this time, too, that the empire was officially divided into two large administrative regions straddling the Sea of Marmara: Rumelia and Anadolu (Anatolia). At first, each successive territorial conquest in Europe, up to the Danube, was added to the beylerbeyi of Rumelia. After 1541, with the establishment of the governorate of Budin and Bosnia, the number of beylerbeyis began to proliferate. In the nineteenth century, during the Tanzimat, the administrative divisions of Rumelia underwent further changes. Finally, in 1894, Rumelia was officially subdivided into the vilayets (provinces) of Edirne, Selanik, Qoskova, Yanya, Ishqodra, and Manastir.
Currently the word is generally understood to refer to the triangular region between Istanbul and Edirne and the peninsula of Gallipoli—all that remains of Turkish Europe. The word is, however, no longer used in official documents or atlases; rather Trakya, a Turkish variant of Thrace, is used instead. The last official recorded use of Rumelia was during the Turkish War of Independence in 1919.
Today it is used most commonly by the residents of Istanbul to distinguish the European side of the city from the Anatolian. It forms an integral part of many a place name on the European side, such as Rumelihisari and Rumelifenerai.
Birnbaum, Henrik, and Vryonis, Speros, Jr., eds. Aspects of the Balkans: Continuity and Change. The Hague: Mouton, 1972.
Inalcik, Halil. The Middle East and the Balkans under the Ottoman Empire: Essays on Economy and Society. Bloomington: Indiana Turkish University Studies, 1993.
"Rumelia." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rumelia
"Rumelia." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rumelia
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Rumelia or Roumelia (both: rōōmē´lēə), region of S Bulgaria, between the Balkan and Rhodope mts. Historically, Rumelia denoted the Balkan possessions (particularly Thrace and Macedonia, and excluding Bosnia) of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman province of Rumelia comprised much of present-day Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, European Turkey, N Greece, and part of Albania. Sofia was the seat of the governors of Rumelia until 1878. In that year the Treaty of San Stefano, ending a war between Russia and Turkey, created a huge Bulgarian state; but the European powers, fearing that Bulgaria would become a Russian dependency, agreed (see Berlin, Congress of) to make N Bulgaria an autonomous principality owing nominal allegiance to the Turkish sultan and to create an autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia. This province, with its capital at Plovdiv, comprised, roughly, the part of present Bulgaria situated S of the Balkan Mts. It remained under Turkish sovereignty but enjoyed considerable autonomy and was ruled by a governor appointed by the Ottoman Empire with the approval of the European powers. Resentment at the partition of Bulgaria sparked a revolution at Plovdiv in 1885, and Prince Alexander of Bulgaria annexed Eastern Rumelia, thus incurring the wrath of Russia and Serbia. The Serbians, who also claimed the area, declared war on Bulgaria but were forced to make peace (1886) on the basis of the status quo, while the sultan agreed to name Alexander governor of Eastern Rumelia. This arrangement amounted to a tacit Turkish surrender of the province, which henceforth remained part of Bulgaria, although it was nominally under Ottoman rule until Bulgaria became officially independent in 1908.
"Rumelia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rumelia
"Rumelia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rumelia