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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   Bulgaria   >   History

   
 

Bulgarian History


Bulgaria is the site of one of the world's oldest civilizations, and the oldest known writing system (the Gradeshnitsa Tablets which date to at least 4000 BC).

In early classical times the territory of Bulgaria was inhabited by the Thracians. The Thracians were divided into various tribes, but eventually united as the Odrysian kingdom under King Teres in the 5th century BC. The region was invaded by the Romans in 188 BC, and wars continued until 45 AD when Thrace became a Roman province.

Beginning in the 2nd century AD, a semi-nomadic people, the Bulgars, began to migrate towards the West from Central Asia. By the 4th century, the Bulgars had settled in the lands to the North of the Black Sea, around the Sea of Azov, and by the 7th century had established a state known as "Great Bulgaria" or "Onoghuria" in the region. Later in the 7th century, one tribe of Bulgars moved West, defeated the Byzantine empire in a war, and were recognized in the subsequent peace treaty with the Byzantines as an independent state in 681.

The First Bulgarian Empire was established under the warrior Khan Krum (802 to 814) who conquered a number of lands in the Balkans. The empire eventually encompassed all of present day Romania, as well as parts of Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Greece. It was during this period the Cyrillic alphabet was adopted, and Christianity was introduced to the Bulgarians.

The Byzantine Empire ruled Bulgaria from 1018 to 1185, but after a revolt in 1185, a Second Bulgarian Empire was established. However, this Empire was relatively short lived. In 1354 the Ottoman Turks crossed into Europe, and by 1396 had conquered the whole of Bulgaria.

Veliko Tarnovo - capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 to 1393)

After hundreds of years of Ottoman rule, Bulgaria began to experience a national revival inspired by western ideas from the enlightment, and the Greek revolt against Ottoman rule. In 1870, a Bulgarian Church ("Exarchate") was established, and in 1876 Bulgarians revolted against Ottoman rule in the April Uprising. Russia declared war on the Ottomans in 1877, and by 1878, most of Bulgaria was liberated from the Ottomans. Additional Ottoman territories in Europe were liberated in the First Balkan War (1912 to 1913), however Bulgaria was then defeated by the combinaton of Serbia, Greece, Romania and the Ottoman Empire in the Second Balkan War (1913) and lost a significant amount of territory as a result.

During World War I, Bulgaria was allied with Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, and was for a while successful in making territorial gains. However, the war gradually became increasingly unpopular because of economic hardships, and because the population did not wish to fight in alliance with the Muslim Ottoman Empire against the Orthodox Christians of Serbia and Greece. As a result, mutinies broke out in the army, the government resigned, and a republic was proclaimed.

During World War II, Bulgaria attempted to avoid involvement in the war, and even managed to peacefully regain the territory of Southern Dobruja from Romania as a result of the 1940 Treaty of Craiova. Ultimately however, in 1941, Bulgaria had no choice but to join the Axis when German troops passed through the country in order to invade Greece.

After World War II, Bulgaria became officially known was the People's Republic of Bulgaria, and was ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party. Communist rule ended in 1990, when the Communists voluntarily gave up power and held the first free elections since 1931. The transition from communism to capitalism has not been easy for Bulgaria; living standards fell dramatically and the country even experienced a sharp decline in population. However, since 1997, the economy has been growing steadily, and in 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union.

Here are some books about the history of Bulgaria:


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Books about Bulgarian History


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A Concise History of Bulgaria (Cambridge Concise Histories)

By R. J. Crampton

Brand: Cambridge University Press
Released: 2005-11-24
Paperback (312 pages)

A Concise History of Bulgaria (Cambridge Concise Histories)
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Richard Crampton presents a general introduction to Bulgaria at the cross-roads of Christendom and Islam. This concise history traces the country's growth from pre-history, through its days as the center of a powerful medieval empire and five centuries of Ottoman rule, to the political upheavals of the twentieth century which led to three wars. It highlights 1995 to 2004, a vital period during which Bulgaria endured financial meltdown, set itself seriously on the road to reform, elected its former King as prime minister, and finally secured membership in NATO and admission to the European Union. First Edition Hb (1997) 0-521-56183-3 First Edition Pb (1997) 0-521-56719-X

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

By Kapka Kassabova

Graywolf Press
Released: 2017-09-05
Paperback (400 pages)

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe
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“Remarkable: a book about borders that makes the reader feel sumptuously free.” ―Peter Pomerantsev

In this extraordinary work of narrative reportage, Kapka Kassabova returns to Bulgaria, from where she emigrated as a girl twenty-five years previously, to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece. When she was a child, the border zone was rumored to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall, and it swarmed with soldiers and spies. On holidays in the “Red Riviera” on the Black Sea, she remembers playing on the beach only miles from a bristling electrified fence whose barbs pointed inward toward the enemy: the citizens of the totalitarian regime.

Kassabova discovers a place that has been shaped by successive forces of history: the Soviet and Ottoman empires, and, older still, myth and legend. Her exquisite portraits of fire walkers, smugglers, treasure hunters, botanists, and border guards populate the book. There are also the ragged men and women who have walked across Turkey from Syria and Iraq. But there seem to be nonhuman forces at work here too: This densely forested landscape is rich with curative springs and Thracian tombs, and the tug of the ancient world, of circular time and animism, is never far off.

Border is a scintillating, immersive travel narrative that is also a shadow history of the Cold War, a sideways look at the migration crisis troubling Europe, and a deep, witchy descent into interior and exterior geographies.

Bulgaria: History Retold in Brief

By Valeria Fol & Raina Gavrilova

Brand: Riva Pub House
Hardcover (159 pages)

Bulgaria: History Retold in Brief
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Book by Fol, Valeria, Ovcharov, Nikolai, Gavrilova, Raina, Gavriolv, Borislav

Bulgaria History, Early Settlement and Empire: Pre-Bulgarian Civilizations, Communism, Society and Environment, Economy, Government and Politics

By Uzo Marvin

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (242 pages)

Bulgaria History, Early Settlement and Empire: Pre-Bulgarian Civilizations, Communism, Society and Environment, Economy, Government and Politics
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Bulgaria early history and civilization, Bulgaria culture, Bulgaria development, Bulgaria tourism, Bulgaria economic situation. In the past 150 years, vast changes have completely transformed the political and economic situation in Bulgaria, as well as the country's way of life. Poor peasants who served a foreign ruler first became land-owning peasants, then industrial workers who were mostly urbanized and disconnected from the land. Bulgarians who had traveled no farther than the next village began to migrate, often to gain a better education or to get a job in a growing industry. As villages and towns became less isolated, both internal migration and emigration became easier. The decline in the agricultural way of life also made people susceptible to changes on a national level rather than on a village or regional level. People were less self-sufficient for their basic needs and therefore more vulnerable to fluctuations in the national economy. The traditional support systems of the extended family and cooperative work in the village were replaced by a vast network of national social welfare programs. Instead of receiving help from family and neighbors, the poor, elderly, and disabled grew dependent on governmental programs. The sick no longer relied solely on traditional village healers once villagers and city people alike fell under coverage of a national health system

The Balkans: A History Of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Rumania and Turkey: (Timeless Classic Books)

By Nevill Forbes

CreateSpace
Paperback (188 pages)

The Balkans: A History Of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Rumania and Turkey: (Timeless Classic Books)
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This book was written in 1915. This was a time that saw many significant events that affected the Balkans. Written by four different authors from different locations, here is their preface to "The Balkans". PREFACE The authors of this volume have not worked in conjunction. Widely separated, engaged on other duties, and pressed for time, we have had no opportunity for interchange of views. Each must be held responsible, therefore, for his own section alone. If there be any discrepancies in our writings (it is not unlikely in so disputed a field of history) we can only regret an unfortunate result of the circumstances. Owing to rapid change in the relations of our country to the several Balkan peoples, the tone of a section written earlier may differ from that of another written later. It may be well to state that the sections on Serbia and Bulgaria were finished before the decisive Balkan developments of the past two months. Those on Greece and Rumania represent only a little later stage of the evolution. That on Turkey, compiled between one mission abroad and another, was the latest to be finished. If our sympathies are not all the same, or given equally to friends and foes, none of us would find it possible to indite a Hymn of Hate about any Balkan people. Every one of these peoples, on whatever side he be fighting to-day, has a past worthy of more than our respect and interwoven in some intimate way with our history. That any one of them is arrayed against us to-day is not to be laid entirely or chiefly at its own door. They are all fine peoples who have not obtained their proper places in the sun.

The BalkansA History of Bulgaria-Serbia-Greece-Rumania-Turkey

By Nevill Forbes & D. Mitrany

Released: 2012-05-17
Kindle Edition (301 pages)

The BalkansA History of Bulgaria-Serbia-Greece-Rumania-Turkey
 
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Bulgarians: The First Europeans

By Bojidar Dimitrov

St Kliment Ohridsky Univ Pr
Paperback (108 pages)

Bulgarians: The First Europeans
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by Bozidar Dimitrov. Published in 2000. It has 112 soft cover pages. Text in English. The contemporary state of Bulgaria covers Europe"s south-east corner. Its territory is 111 000 square kilometers and population about 9 million people. Bulgaria is on 12- 13th place among the fifty European states concerning territory and population, but is quite unknown to the European world. It is hardly the right place here to look for the reasons for this fact. However, the main reason may lie in the circumstance that Bulgaria and the Bulgarians have not "produced" for the last fifty years "bad" news, which would put the country and its citizens on to the top of news agencies" and media"s prime-time. In Bulgaria, during the period of communist rule (1944-1989) Czech, Hungarian or Polish events did not happen (which, according to some people is not so good). The transition to democracy and market economy has also been peaceful and calm without bloodshed that turned in red the transition in Romania and Russia. Bulgaria has avoided the civil war too, which is still shaking neighboring Yugoslavia. In Bulgaria, there are no ethnic and religious problems, despite the fact that considerable percent of its citizens belong to different ethnic minorities and several religions are professed (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Islam and Judaism). The specialists in this area even start talking about Bulgarian ethnic model, ensuring peace, understanding and co-operation between ethnic and religious communities.

The Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia: or, The Early Protestants of the East - an Attempt to Restore Some Lost Leaves of Protestant History (Illustrated)

By L P Brockett

Independently published
Paperback (118 pages)

The Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia: or, The Early Protestants of the East - an Attempt to Restore Some Lost Leaves of Protestant History (Illustrated)
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Bogomilism (Bulgarian: Богомилство, Serbo-Croatian: Bogumilstvo/Богумилство) was a Christian neo-Gnostic or dualist religiopolitical sect founded in the First Bulgarian Empire by the priest Bogomil during the reign of Tsar Peter I in the 10th century. It most probably arose in what is today the region of Macedonia as a response to the social stratification that occurred with the introduction of feudalism and as a form of political movement and opposition to the Bulgarian state and the church. The Bogomils called for a return to what they considered to be early spiritual teaching, rejecting the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and their primary political tendencies were resistance to the state and church authorities. This helped the movement spread quickly in the Balkans, gradually expanding throughout the Byzantine Empire and later reaching Kievan Rus', Bosnia (Bosnian Church), Dalmatia, Serbia, Italy, and France (Cathars). The Bogomils were dualists or Gnostics (people of knowledge) in that they believed in a world within the body and a world outside the body. They did not use the Christian cross, nor build churches, as they revered their gifted form and considered their body to be the temple. This gave rise to many forms of practice to cleanse oneself through purging, fasting, celebrating and dancing.

The Rise and Fall of the First Bulgarian Empire

By William Miller

Perennial Press
Released: 2016-03-06
Kindle Edition (29 pages)

The Rise and Fall of the First Bulgarian Empire
 
Product Description:
 LIKE the Serbs, but unlike the Albanians, the Bulgarians are not autochthonous inhabitants of the Balkan country to which they have given their name. It was not till 679 that this Finnish or Tartar race, after numerous previous incursions into the Balkan provinces of the Byzantine Empire, definitely abandoned the triangle formed by the Black Sea, the Dnieper, and the Danube (the modern Bessarabia), and settled between the Danube and the Balkans (the ancient Moesia). Thus, the first Bulgarian state practically coincided with the Bulgarian principality created 1200 years later by the Treaty of Berlin. The Finnish or Tartar invaders found this country already peopled with Slays, immigrants like themselves but of different customs and language. As time went on, the conquered, as so often happens, absorbed the conquerors; the Bulgarians adopted the Slav speech of the vanquished; the country received the name of the invaders, and became known to all time as "Bulgaria." Still, after the lapse of more than twelve centuries, the "Bulgarians," as this amalgam of races came to be called, possess qualities differing from those of their purely Slav neighbours, and during the recent European war Bulgarian political writers reminded the world that the Bulgarian people was not of Slavonic origin.
 
 The Patriarch Nicephorus has left the earliest account of this Bulgarian invasion and settlement. He tells how the Bulgarians originally lived on the shores of the Sea of Azov and on the banks of the river Kuban; how their chief, Kovrat (identified with the "Kurt" of the earliest list of Bulgarian rulers), left five sons, the third of whom, Asparuch (or Isparich), migrated to Bessarabia. There he and his Bulgarians might have remained, had not the Emperor Constantine IV Pogonatus undertaken an expedition for the purpose of punishing them for their raids into the borderlands of his dominions. The strength of the Bulgarian position in a difficult country and an attack of gout obliged the Emperor to retire to Mesembria. A panic seized the troops left behind to continue the siege; the Bulgarians pursued them across the Danube as far as Varna. Neither Greeks nor Slays offered resistance; the Emperor had to make peace and pay a tribute, in order to save Thrace from invasion...


 
 
 

 
 
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