First data

he first data of the human life on the Bulgarian territory go back to the middle paleolithic times. Since the second half of VII-th century, after the establishment of Slavics in the Balkan Peninsula, Protobulgarians appeared near the mouth of the Danube. Allied with Slavics, they founded the Bulgarian State which was recognized by the byzantine Empire in 681. The khan Asparoukh, the guide of the Protobulgarians, was at the head of the State with its capital - Pliska.

he khan Kroum (803-814) bequeathed to his successors a stabilized and powerful State, the boundaries of which extended to the West until the empire of Charlemagne, and to the East to the capital of Byzance, Constantinople.

n 864 with the reign of the kniaz ( prince ) Boris the 1st , the Bulgarians accepted Christianism as an official religion. Bulgaria became one of the oldest Christian countries in Europe.

The Evangelization of Bulgaria

t the end of IX-th century the brothers Cyrille and Method created the glagolitic alphabet (replaced later by the Cyrillic writing ) and hurried to translate the books of the worship into the language of Southern Slavics. The towns of Pliska, Okhrid and the new capital Veliki Preslav became the three centers of the Bulgarian and Slavic culture. The disciples of Cyrille and Methode dispersed through the country, preaching and teaching. The Slavic writing (= Bulgarian) crossed the borders of Bulgaria and diffused in Serbia, Russia, Ukraina, Macedonia and Bielorussia, where it is always used.

nder the reign of the tsar (1) Simeon , the territorial expansion of Bulgaria (the Bulgarian borders were bathed by the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and by the Adriatic sea, until Carpathes in the North) accumulated between the hands of the tsars great richnesses, thus reinforcing their economic power. That contributed to the fast rise of the material and spiritual culture of the country, with the blooming of the letters, architecture and the religious painting which is attached to it. A circle of writers was formed in Preslav, whose works testified to a true "century of gold" of the Bulgarian medieval literature.

n 1018 after exhausting wars against Byzance, the end of the First Bulgarian State happened. Byzance seized Bulgaria and it was one of the painful times of our history.

n 1186 the insurrection, directed by the brothers boyards Assene and Petar, burst in Tarnovo by involving the popular masses. The most part of the Bulgarian territories was liberated. The Second Bulgarian State was born. Tarnovo became its capital.

aloian, younger brother of Assene and of Petar, was an energetic sovereign, perspicacious, diplomatic, and a military head of talent. His reign (1197-1207) was marked by the rehabilitation of the Bulgarian territories.

nder Ivan Assene the 2nd (1218-1241), Bulgarian State again became the most powerful country of south-eastern Europe. In little time, the Bulgarian king made himself main of the littoral of the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, as well as Eastern Thrace. At that time Bulgaria, thus increased, knew a period of economic and cultural blooming. From these years date the frescos of Boiana church, of the churches of Veliko Tarnovo, the monastery of Zemen, the rupestral monastery of Aladja, the illuminated books of the Gospel, called Gospel of Ivan Alexandre, kept in British Museum and the Chronicle of Manasses, in the Vatican. The chronicle is decorated with 69 illuminations in order to illustrate certain events of the Bulgarian history.

t that time, in 1235, the head of the Church takes again the title of « patriarch ».

The Turkish yoke

he darkest period of the history of the Bulgarian people starts with the conquest of Bulgaria by the Turks - period of unprecedented cruelties, humiliations, sufferings and violences which no European people had undergone. Many revolts, drowned in blood, burst everywhere in the country. Valiant representatives of the people formed companies of haidouks which protected the Bulgarians and engaged fights against the Turkish regular army. The movement of the haidouks was the spontaneous response of the peasants against the Turkish invaders. During years 60-70 of XIX-th century, a powerful national and revolutionary movement extended in all the country whose first ideologist and organizer were Gueorgui Rakovski(1821-1867), followed by Vassil Levski (1837-1873) [click on his name in order to know who was V. Levski], Luben Karavelov (1834-1879) and Christo Botev (1848-1876).

he fight for the liberation reached its climax with the insurrection of April 1876. In spite of the heroism without precedent and the sacrifices of the Bulgarian people, the insurrection was pitilessly repressed. The Turkish carried fire and sword through the insurgent cities and villages, which caused an immense wave of protest in the civilized world. Repression revolted Victor Hugo who wrote : « A people is assassinated. The moment had just come to raise our voice. Now, very close to us, under our eyes, one massacres, one plunders, one exterminates, one cuts throats. When will the martyrdom of this heroic small nation finish ? »

he Russo-Turkish liberation war destroyed the Turkish feudalism and so played the democratic role of revolution.

Since the Congress of Berlin

he Congress of Berlin in 1878 divided Bulgaria into three parts : the Principality of Bulgaria, Eastern Rumelia, Aegean Thrace and Macedonia which was returned to Turkey. German prince Alexandre of Battenberg, nephew of the tsaritsa, was elected by the Great National Assembly. He was the first kniaz (prince) of the Principality and the town of Sofia was chosen for capital.

ollowing the insurrections of Kresna and Razlog (1878-1879) and of an intense working class agitation in 1885, Eastern Rumelia proclaimed its union with the Principality. Two significant events - the Ilindensko insurrections and Preobrajensko in 1903 - contibuted to the liberation of Macedonia and Thrace. Five years later, in 1908, prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Cobourg Gotha, king of Bulgaria, rejected the authority of Turkey and proclaimed Bulgaria sovereign Kingdom - the Third Bulgarian Kingdom.

n 1912 was created the Balkan Agreement which grouped Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro and which carried out the Balkan war for the liberation of Macedonia and Thrace. The dissensions of the Allies caused the Interallied war (1913) which was the first national catastrophe for the Bulgarians.

n October 1915, king Ferdinand involved Bulgaria in the First World War , with Germany. A peace treaty was signed in 1919 in Neuilly. According to the conditions of the treaty, Bulgaria yielded approximately 10% of its territory.

n the Forties Bulgaria adhered to the Tripartite Pact. In 1941 Bulgaria declared a « symbolic » war to the United States and to the United Kingdom, but the Bulgarian army did not participate to the combat of the Eastern Front. Only Bulgaria, among all the countries occupied by Germany, could preserve the life of the Jews. The Bulgarian people saved the life of 50 000 Bulgarian Jews.

fter the Second World War, in 1946, the Bulgarians decided unanimously in favour of the republic. The Communist Party assumed power.

The entry in Europe

t the end of 1989 started democratic changes. There were Parliamentary elections, in which a great number of parties took part. A New Constitution was adopted.

t present the Bulgarian people center all his efforts on the construction of a prosperous State, ensuring all his citizens a worthy place in the life in Europe and in the world. Bulgaria directs itself towards the European countries. Since 1991 it is a member of the Council of Europe, in 1995, it becomes associate member with the European Union and in December it is an official candidate for the Union Européenne (European Union).

n monday april 25th 2005, Bulgaria and Romania signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Union. On january 1st 2007, Bulgaria was admitted to European Union.

(1) the title of tsar was carried by the Bulgarian sovereigns since 919 (in Russia, since 1547) . Click on Previous button of your browser.

You can directly return to the different pages by this navigation bar

Home Stara Zagora Geography Art Traditions Tourism Links CV My family Guest Book Lessons