By the treaty of Berlin, on 13th July 1878, northern Thrace, the area between Rodopi and Emos, with Plovdiv as the capital, became an autonomous province. The province would be administered by a Christian commandant with a five-year tenure nominated by the Kapi, but on the basis of an organism that would be constituted by an international committee, which was assembled at Plovdidv in September 1878.
The efforts of the Greek vice-consul to Plovdid, Athanasios Matalas, pertained to the establishment of Greek as the official language, and to the recognition of the privileged position of the Greek population. Despite the long-lasting existence of Greek communities in the area, the aggravation of the Greek-Bulgarian conflict over the religious issue and the Bulgarians' national awakening cancelled out all institutional gains.
In effect the downgrading of the Greek community's rights was already evident from the first year of the province's administration by Alexander Vogorides. Besides, in June 1881 the Dreikaiserbund planned to concede Eastern Rumelia to the Bulgarians in order to prevent their potential aspirations to expand into Macedonia.
On 6th September 1885, Bulgaria announced the annexation of Eastern Rumelia and Bulgarian army officers-mutineers mockingly carried its commandant, Gabriel-Pasha, around the streets of Plovdiv before expelling him. The Serbs and Russians reacted to this annexation, while at the Kapi there were a variety of opinions on the prospect of military intervention. The redistribution of gains from the declining Ottoman Empire encouraged those who felt wronged by the distribution to ask for more.
In Greece demonstrations broke out, demanding that military action be taken in Crete and Epirus. In their proclamation, they called for the upsetting of the balance in the East and the threat of the Bulgarian move into Macedonia. Such turmoil and expectations were aroused by Serbia's declaration of war against Bulgaria (17th November 1885), in which the former was completely ruined, and by the gathering of the Ottoman army on the borders of Eastern Rumelia.
On 12th September 1885, Diligiannis's government started a process of mobilization and preparation for war which lasted for months. But it proceeded neither to action nor to reduction of the tension, as it waited for the Ottoman Empire to make concessions under diplomatic pressure from the Powers. Because of this strategy, the 1885-86 period was named 'armed beggary' and 'Peace War'.
The Powers proceeded to officially recognize the incorporation of Eastern Rumelia into Bulgaria and demanded by notes (30th December 1885 and 12th January 1886) that Greece consider the issued settled and stop all military mobilization. Following an ultimatum on 12th April, Diligiannis's diversionary policy led to the embargo of Greek shores for every vessel flying the Greek flag. These developments caused the fall of Diligiannis and the formation of a government by Charilaos Trikoupis on 9th May 1886. On the same day, certain sections of the Greek army took the initiative and swept aside the disgrace of diplomacy by invading enemy territory. This overbold act led to the capture and ridicule of 280 evzones by the Turks.