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Ferdinand, Maximilian Karl Leopold Maria

FERDINAND, MAXIMILIAN KARL LEOPOLD MARIA, king of Bulgaria (1861- ), fifth and youngest son of Prince Augustus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was born on the 26th of February 1861. Great care was exercised in his education, and every encouragement given to the taste for natural history which he exhibited at an early age. In 1879 he travelled with his brother Augustus to Brazil, and the results of their botanical observations were published at Vienna, 1883-1888, under the title of Itinera Principum S. Coburgi. Having been appointed to a lieutenancy in the 2nd regiment of Austrian hussars, he was holding this rank when, by unanimous vote of the National Assembly, he was elected prince of Bulgaria, on the 7th of July 1887, in succession to Prince Alexander, who had abdicated on the 7th of September preceding. He assumed the government on the 14th of August 1887, for Russia for a long time refused to acknowledge the election, and he was accordingly exposed to frequent military conspiracies, due to the influence or attitude of that power. The firmness and vigour with which he met all attempts at revolution were at length rewarded, and his election was confirmed in March 1896 by the Porte and the great powers. On the 20th of April 1893 he married Marie Louise de Bourbon (d. 1899), eldest daughter of Duke Robert of Parma, and in May following the Grand Sobranye confirmed the title of Royal Highness to the prince and his heir. The prince adhered to the Roman Catholic faith, but his son and heir, the young Prince Boris, was received into the Orthodox Greek Church on the 14th of February 1896. Prince Boris, to whom the tsar Nicholas III. became godfather, accompanied his father to Russia in 1898, when Prince Ferdinand visited St Petersburg and Moscow, and still further strengthened the bond already existing between Russia and Bulgaria. In 1908 Ferdinand married Eleanor (b. 1860), a princess of the house of Reuss. Later in the year, in connexion with the Austrian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the crisis with Turkey, he proclaimed the independence of Bulgaria, and took the title of king or tsar. (See Bulgaria, and Europe: History.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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