Tsarist Bulgaria

Bulgaria History

Prehistory and early history of Bulgaria

Bulgaria was already settled in the Paleolithic. In the west of today’s state, cave paintings have been found that are around 1.5 million years old. Like everywhere else, the hunters and gatherers in this part of the world became settled farmers.

Different cultures developed with typical forms of pottery or burial. The Karanovo culture was particularly significant in Bulgaria. It existed from around 6200 BC. Until about 4000 BC The Varna culture (4400-4100 BC) also belonged to it. Rich grave goods, including gold, have been found in the Varna burial ground.

Thracians, Greeks and Romans in Bulgaria

The Thracian people settled in Thrace, a landscape that is now in the southeast of Bulgaria as well as in Greece and Turkey. There were several Thracian tribes, one of the largest of which, the Odrysen, around 450 BC. Founded an empire that encompassed a large part of today’s Bulgaria.

Between the 8th and 6th centuries BC The Greeks founded many city-states, including some on the Black Sea coast. In today’s Bulgaria, for example, were Apollonia and Mesambria.

In 29 BC The Romans conquered the area. The residents were romanised. Several Roman provinces lay on today’s national territory, namely Macedonia, Thrace, Moesia and Dacia. After the division of the Roman Empire in 395, the region remained with Ostrom (Byzantium). From the 6th century, Slavs settled in Bulgaria.

First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018)

The Greater Bulgarian Empire was founded north of the Black Sea in 632. Today this area belongs mainly to Russia. The people who founded this empire are called Proto-Bulgarians. In 678 the empire disintegrated and part of the people moved to today’s Bulgaria. There they founded the First Bulgarian Empire.

The Proto-Bulgarians merged with the Thracians and Slavs living here to form the Bulgarian people. In 864 the ruler Boris I converted to Christianity. His people, too, were now Christianized. Bulgaria became a powerful empire. In the 10th century the decline began, the empire fell apart, the east was conquered by Byzantium. The empire existed until 1018.

Second Bulgarian Empire (1186-1393)

Again and again there were revolts against the Byzantine rule. In 1186 the uprisings led by the brothers Assen and Peter were finally successful. The Second Bulgarian Empire was founded, Assen became the first ruler of the empire as Tsar Ivan Assen.

The Mongols and the Ottomans in Bulgaria

In 1241 the Mongol storm wreaked havoc on the country. Byzantium, Hungary and Serbia also threatened the Bulgarian Empire. In the 14th century the empire split into several principalities. In 1393 they had to submit to the Ottomans.

Ottoman rule (1393-1878)

Bulgaria remained under Ottoman (Turkish) rule for almost 500 years. Attempts to get rid of it have long been unsuccessful. Around 1800, however, Bulgaria became more and more aware of its own nationality. One speaks of the “national Bulgarian rebirth”. In 1876 the April uprising was bloodily suppressed. The outrage over the brutality with which the Ottomans had acted was widespread across Europe.

In 1877 Russia finally declared war on the Ottoman Empire. Russia saw itself as the protective power of all Slavs, but probably also hoped to gain power itself. Russia won in 1878 and Bulgaria became independent with the Peace of San Stefano.

History of Bulgaria from independence until today

Principality of Bulgaria (1878-1908)

The Berlin Congress, at which Europe was reorganized in 1878, also stipulated that there should be an independent Principality of Bulgaria. The first ruler of the principality was Alexander I. However, his empire initially only comprised an area between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains, i.e. today’s north of the country.

The south became a province of the Ottoman Empire as Eastern Rumelia. As early as 1885 it was annexed to the Principality of Bulgaria through a bloodless revolution. Macedonia, which should still belong to Bulgaria after the Treaty of San Stefano, has now been annexed to the Ottoman Empire.

Tsarist Bulgaria (1908-1946)

It was not until 1908 that the Ottoman Empire recognized Bulgaria’s independence. From 1887 Ferdinand I was Prince of Bulgaria. Now the principality became a tsarism and Ferdinand became tsar.

In 1912 Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece formed the Balkan Alliance. Their goal was to displace the Ottoman Empire from the Balkan Peninsula. In the same year the First Balkan War began. The goal of the Balkan Alliance was achieved in 1913, the Ottomans had to withdraw. The centuries-long Ottoman rule on the Balkan Peninsula ended within a few months.

According to simplyyellowpages, Bulgaria was however dissatisfied with the new demarcation. So the Second Balkan War broke out in 1913, in which Romania now also entered. Bulgaria lost the war and had to cede previously won areas such as Macedonia.

During the First and Second World Wars, Bulgaria fought on the side of Germany and lost other territories.

Tsarist Bulgaria

People’s Republic of Bulgaria (1946-1990)

After the Second World War, communists seized power in Bulgaria. The monarchy was abolished. The 9-year-old Tsar Simeon II had to flee. Bulgaria came under Soviet influence. The planned economy was implemented, industry and agriculture were nationalized. For decades, politics was determined by Todor Zhivkov. From 1954 to 1989 he was head of state.

In the 1980s, numerous Turks were expelled from Bulgaria after the government wanted to impose Bulgarian names on the Turkish minority in the country. Under pressure within the party, Schipkow resigned on November 10, 1989 from his offices as party chairman and prime minister. Fundamental changes to the system were not planned. There were demonstrations in the country and free elections were held for the first time in 1990.

Bulgaria since 1990

After the first free elections in June 1990, Bulgaria adopted a democratic constitution in 1991. There were many changes of government over the next few years. Former communists were in power until 1997.

In 2001, the former Tsar, Simeon II, was elected Prime Minister of Bulgaria. Because Simeon was born as Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, his real name was Simeon Sakskoburggotski. There were many hopes for him and he implemented reforms. Living conditions improved only slowly, and unemployment remained high, especially in rural areas. Corruption remained a problem everywhere. In 2004 Bulgaria joined the EU.

In 2005 socialists won the election. In 2009 the conservative, pro-Western GERB party won the elections. Boyko Borissov became prime minister. In 2013 he resigned after protests against austerity measures and electricity price increases, but had been back in office since 2014. He resigned again in November 2016. He has held the office again since May 2017. The president is the socialist Rumen Radew.