Petko Gorbanov


(17.02.1846-09.02.1909)

The first Bulgarian student and teacher in Robert College


petko gorbanov    Among the notable citizens of Elena Petko Vasilev Gorbanov (17.02.1846-09.02.1909 г.) is a rich, talented and colorful personality, takes an honored place in the Bulgarian national revival in the cultural art and in the national-liberation fights of our nation. He is the first Bulgarian with a degree “bachelor of arts”, received in Robert college.
    The alumnus of the “Daskalolivnitsa” had studied in Kiev Spiritual Seminary. In his ambition to receive higher culture he continues his education in Robert College in Constantinople. In this famous school founded by New York merchant Christopher Robert and American missionary Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, director of the college since its opening in 1863 until 1877, Gorbanov is the first and only Bulgarian, who goes to the college early in the second study, in 1864-65. The college has a religious statute but it gave full education. There was taught French, Turkish, and the basic language was English. In the program is included the native language for the students from other nations like Armenian, Bulgarian and Greek. Doctor Hamlin prefers non-grouping of the students in classes but working with every student individually. He defined from the educated in 1868 two students Hagopian Dzhedzian – Armenian, and Petko Gorbanov – Bulgarian, to graduate and receive a degree “bachelor of arts”. Doctor Hamlin motivates his decision in a big report about the achievements of the two young men. According to him all of them are very good at definite subject and extremely poor in other but the two are not only at a mature age but also they have a mature character.
    In Robert College, where during the 43-years of its existence there have graduated 197 Bulgarians, second by number after the British and Americans, correspondent says, that the exam of the year in 1871 with 41 Bulgarian students has completed with good grades.
    “The great answers, which these two classes gave and all the others, show the Bulgarian teacher Petko Gorbanov – brother of the teacher Iordan Iordanov, after his graduation as a teacher in Armenian in the college, Dosi Ikonomov, Iurdan P. Todorov (father of P. U. Todorov), Nikola Hr. Mihailovski.
    During his teaching in the college Gorbanov collaborates in the newspapers “Law” and “Adviser” and in magazine “Cultural club” in 1871, “Macedonia” in 1871 and later in 1876 – “Century”. Along with P. R. Slaveikov, he translates and produces the satire of the French writer Edward Lobule “Paris in America” (Constantinople press of newspaper “Macedonia” in 1870).
    After his teaching in Robert College Gorbanov is a teacher in the Class School of Plovdiv and in The Class School of Elena (1872-1874).
    As an erudite pedagogue Gorbanov has written a small writing “Available instructions” (Constantinople press of newspaper “Macedonia”, 1871), which can be thought as a testament, alphabet truth for every teacher, about the way of teaching, about the personal experience of a teacher, about the cheerful atmosphere of the lesson and the variety of the methods of teaching and the application of the individual approach.
    During the preparation of the April uprising Gorbanov is in a close bond with the revolution committee in Elena, and after the uprising as a translator he accompanies Emily Strangford, Lord Strangfords’ wife, ex-secretary of oriental matters in the British Embassy in Constantinople, who came in Bulgaria to examine Ottoman crimes.
    It’s known that The Constantinople Conference in 1876 intends to give autonomy to Bulgaria. Of course, Bulgarians under the pressure of the Turks had to sign a memorandum that they were pleased about their situation “under the Sultans’ shadow”.
    Gorbanov together with his friends stands against the Sultan. They have discussed the text in which is revealed the real situation of the nation. Gorbanov takes it to Constantinople and gives it to lord Salisbury. The Bulgarian question stays unsolved but the perfidiously memorandum isn’t allowed.
    He becomes a scout in Russia during the Russo-Turkish war. His evidence of strategic points in Romania, the villages around Dunav from Gurgevo to Becket, represent a valuable document which is used most rationally, including the place where the Russian army passes the river. Gorbanov continues the march as a fighter of the 30th Don regiment, correspondent of the Paris agency “Havas”and of the Petersburg’s newspaper “Golos”.
    After The Liberation Petko Gorbanov is a lawyer and a political worker. He is a MP in the Constituent Assembly (1879) and IX Ordinary National Assembly (1896-1898), his Vice-President. He has been a General Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, the assistant mayor of the capital. He returns to his vocation – teaches Bulgarian to the Bulgarian King Alexander Battenberg. He edits the newspapers „Bodilnik" (1880), "Bodilnik became Liberal" (1881) and the newspaper "Bulgarian Voice" (1883).
    The image of Petko Gorbanov is immortalized in the bas-relief of the monumental of The Liberators in Sofia, presented as a member of the delegation in San Stefano, the man who gave the breve to the Russian emperor Alexander II.