Enhancing social and economic activity of third country immigrants from the territory of South East Reagion in Bulgaria
BG EIF 2011/01-02.01
The project is funded by The European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals financed by the European Union

Important events in Bulgarian history:
This module shows some of the major events in Bulgarian history – the founding of the country, its conversion to Christianity, the creation of the Cyrillic writing system, the country’s strife for independence and its way to becoming one of the most powerful countries on the Balkan Peninsula.  
 
HIGHLIGHTS OF BULGARIAN HISTORY
The foundation of the Bulgarian state was preceded by the settlement of the Slavs and the Proto-Bulgarians on the Balkan Peninsula in the VII c. 
The origins of the Slavs date back to thousands of years BC. They were tribes living somewhere at the border of Europe and Asia, in the far north. They became the biggest body of peoples in Europe extending from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean. Their main subdivisions of the Slavs were Western — Wenedi, Eastern — Anti and Southern — Slavini.  The Anti and the Slavini began their attacks on the Byzantium territories on the Balkan Peninsula at the end of the Vth c. Very often the Slavini acted together with the Proto-Bulgarians. The Proto-Bulgarians were of Turkic origin. In the IVth c. they occupied the region north of the Caucasus, in Eastern Europe.
The Slavs and the Proto-Bulgarians united and formed an alliance. The beginning of the Bulgarian state was marked by the formation of a political union with a common capital — Pliska and one ruler — khan Asparuh. All this happened in 681. The new state occupied the territory between the Danube and the Balkan Range. The Proto-Bulgarians were the militarily dominant group and thus became the ruling class. The name of the new state consisting of Proto-Bulgarians, Slavs and Thracians was Bulgaria. The peoples of this new state had no language, history or culture in common. 
At this point in history, 681 AD, there were only three officially recognized states in all of Europe – The West Roman Empire, The East Roman Empire, and Bulgaria. The -Bulgarian aristocracy had the supreme power. The state administration was headed by a Khan whose power was hereditary. A council of 12 great Boyls (or Boyars) representеd the noble families. Decisions of paramount importance were made by the so-called people’s assembly – a meeting of representatives of all Bulgarian noble families and the princes of the Slav tribes. 
Khan Asparuh kept an ardent watch over the alliance and severely punished any violation of the alliance. He died in 700 AD in one of the many battles in defense of the new state. 
 
 
THE FIRST BULGARIAN KINGDOM
 
Khan Krum defeated the Romans who had set a trap to kill him and taught them an important lesson: Don’t mess with the Khan. He got the nickname “the Terrible”. In 813 Krum’s army stood outside the walls of Constantinople ready to attack. Krum’s sudden death prevented the Bulgarians from taking Constantinople. 
Khan Krum’s contribution to the Bulgarian State was very important.  He created Bulgaria’s first written laws, protected private property, made slander and drinking severely punished crimes. The Bulgarians were obliged to abide by the laws. Khan Krum united the Bulgarians, the Slavs and the Thracians into a strong, centralized state. He gained the reputation of a remarkable and magnanimous ruler.
Another strong ruler was Khan Omurtag who engaged in the active construction in Pliska, Madara and Preslav.  
Boris I was another Bulgarian ruler. He was not a big warrior but was a very skillful diplomat. His greatest act of diplomacy was the adoption of Christianity since Bulgaria was surrounded by Christians – the Pope to the west, the Byzantine patriarch to the east. He commissioned the brothers Cyril and Methodius to create the Bulgarian alphabet, introduced the Slavonic liturgy and consolidated and expanded the Bulgarian state until it became a major power in Europe. 
Tsar Simeon encouraged the building of palaces and churches, the spread of monastic communities and the translation of Greek books into Bulgarian. He was closely involved in the activities of the Preslav Literary Circle. His reign became known as the Golden Age of Bulgarian Literacy and Culture. Preslav was turned into a magnificent capital described as rivaling Constantinople.  
Under the reign of Simeon’s son, Tsar Peter I, Bulgaria fell into decay. This was blamed on Tsar Peter being weak, sickly, meek, lacking the abilities of a military commander, diplomatic skills and erudition. The Boyars and the higher clergy amassed wealth while the general population grew poorer. Bulgaria could not handle its external enemies and lost lands. 
In 1014 the Bulgarian army was defeated and Basil II ordered the 14,000 prisoners of war to be blinded. Soon after that, in 1018 Bulgaria became part of the Roman Empire. 
 
 
THE SECOND BULGARIAN KINGDOM
 
Under the Byzantine Domination there were several rebellions aimed at restoring the Bulgarian State. They were successful on a small scale and were put down by the Byzantines.
Tsar Peter II and Tsar Ivan Assen I were brothers. They saw the opportune moment for a new uprising. Only a spark was needed to flare up a new liberation uprising.  On the day of the inauguration of a church in Turnovo Peter was crowned Tsar. After 167 years of Byzantine domination, the Bulgarians again had a state of their own. The two brothers ruled from 1185 to 1197.
In 1204 Byzantium collapsed under the onslaught of the western knights of the Fourth Crusade. The Bulgarian ruler Kaloyan chose the complexity of high diplomacy. Tsar Kaloyan sought union with the Pope and in 1204 he was crowned King and presented with a scepter and a flag. Kaloyan raised a strong army against the crusaders who had already cast an eye on Thrace.
On April 14, 1205 near Adrianople, the Bulgarians crushed the heavily armored Latin knights, who had previously been considered invincible. Emperor Baldwin I was captured and taken to Turnovo. 
Ivan Assen II was the son of Ivan Assen I. He ascended to the throne in 1218. He was another great statesman who would never use a sward where reason and patience would do because he did not want to shed Bulgarian blood in vain. On March 9, 1230 Ivan Assen II defeated the Byzantine army after the Byzantines had violated a peace treaty with the Bulgarian state. Bulgaria was once again the greatest power in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The capital city Turnovo was second only to Constantinople. 
 
 
 
THE OTTOMAN INVASION
 
Bulgaria had several tsars who ruled shortly and had varying success nationally and internationally. There were separatist aspirations among the aristocracy and struggles for the throne which weakened the Bulgarian state.
The Ottomans were hired by the Byzantines to fight against the Bulgarians. The hiring of the Ottomans backfired on the Byzantines. The Ottomans succeeded in sacking Constantinople. They renamed it Istanbul. At the time of the coming of the Ottomans, the Bulgarian kingdom was divided into three principalities. The tsars were late in seeing the need to unite and fight back the Turks. The rulers of the Balkan countries joined forces against the invaders much too late. In 1396 the last Bulgarian fortress was seized by the Turks. The Ottoman Empire ruled Hungary for 200 years, Greece for 400, and Bulgaria for 500. The Ottoman rule was the darkest period in the history of Bulgaria. A large number of people were forcefully converted to Islam, others were killed. The cultural and economic development of the country was hindered. The physical, religious and cultural survival of the Bulgarian people was threatened. 
 
 
THE LIBERATION OF BULGARIA
 
In 1877 Russia declare war on the Ottoman Empire after the atrocities against the Bulgarian population during the April Uprising of 1876. These atrocities, made known to the world by the American journalist MacGahan, who drew the attention of the civilized world to what was happening in Bulgaria. The Russian troops, assisted by Bulgarian volunteers defeated the Ottoman troop. On 3 March 1878, the Peace Treaty of San Stefano (a town near Istanbul) between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was signed. Bulgaria was brought back to the political map. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 is known in Bulgaria as the Liberation War. 
The 9th September, 1944 coup d'état overthrew the government of Prime Minister Konstantin Muraviev and replaced it with a government of the Fatherland Front. This date marked the beginning of large-scale political, economic and social changes. Bulgaria fell under the influence of the Soviet Union and became a socialist country. 
In 1989 fell the Berlin wall which was one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War. This event led to an avalanche of changes across the socialist world. The changes of 1989 in Bulgaria meant the collapse of Communism in the country. The Soviet political influence was removed. Bulgaria declared national independence and embarked on the road to democracy. 
 

 

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