Early to the Byzantine Empire
Around 100,000 years ago, people lived on today’s Bulgarian territory. Agriculture was already practiced here in the Neolithic. In the Bronze Age, Thracian tribes settled in the country, who founded their own empire in the 5th century, which then merged into the Macedonian Empire. The Romans brought the country in the 2nd century BC. under their rule and divided it into Moesia north and Thrace south of the Balkan Mountains.
The first Bulgarian empire was founded in the 7th century AD. Bulgarian tribes led by Khan Asparuch conquered areas south of the Danube and founded their own empire. Byzantium recognized the state that existed until the 10th century, and under Boris I both Orthodox Christianity and Cyrillic were introduced in the 9th century.
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This was followed by almost two centuries under the rule of the Byzantine Empire until the Second Bulgarian Empire emerged in 1185 and for a time became the leading territorial power in the Balkans.
Ottoman Empire until the 19th century
Bulgaria only came under Serbian influence in the 14th century, fell into sub-empires and finally became part of the Ottoman Empire. This phase lasted for almost 500 years, until Bulgarian freedmen initiated the Russian-Turkish war in the 1970s, which ended Turkish rule with the Peace of San Stefano and the Berlin Congress. Northern Bulgaria with Sofia became a principality subject to tribute; southern Bulgaria, as southern Romania, initially remained part of the Ottoman Empire. But just a few years later, in 1885, the Principality of Bulgaria merged with southern Rumelia and became an independent tsarist empire in 1908. With Russian support, a Balkan alliance with Serbia, Greece and Montenegro was closed in 1912.
Balkan wars until World War II
The two Balkan Wars (1912/13) first brought territorial gains, then losses: Bulgaria had to surrender most of Macedonia to Greece and Serbia, part of the country fell to Romania and another to the Ottoman Empire. These territorial losses led Bulgaria to take part in the First World War on the side of the central powers. However, the territorial gains made in the southern Dobruja also had to be given up again after the war. In addition, with the loss of Eastern Thrace to Greece, access to the Aegean was lost.
According to AbbreviationFinder, there followed a short phase of agrarian reform policy until 1923 under the ambitious Prime Minister Stamoliski, who was however murdered. Domestic political turmoil followed and in 1935 Tsar Boris III took over. the power. As a result of the Vienna arbitration award, areas lost in 1940 returned to the country. The following year, Bulgaria entered World War II alongside the Axis Powers against Yugoslavia and Greece and occupied Thrace and Macedonia. The turning point came with the declaration of war by the Soviet Union in 1944, followed shortly afterwards by the invasion of Soviet troops. Power in Bulgaria was taken over by the Patriotic Front, Georgi Dimitrov became head of government, and Germany was declared.
Communist era to the present
The Communist-influenced Patriotic Front emerged from the elections in 1945 with a large majority, and in 1946 the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was proclaimed. The Paris Peace Treaty confirmed the 1940 borders.
The Bulgarian Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were united and after the unexplained death of Dimitrov in Moscow in 1949, W. Kolarov followed, and then W. Chervenkov as president. In 1954, Todor Zhivkov became the first secretary of the BKP, which worked closely with the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the new constitution from 1971 was based on the model of the USSR. In addition to his work as State Secretary, Todor Zhivkov also became Chairman of the State Council. In terms of foreign policy, there was rapprochement with Yugoslavia. There were profound differences of opinion over Turkey, particularly regarding the treatment of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria. These led to campaigns in the 1980s in which Bulgarian names were forced on the Turks in Bulgaria, which led to serious unrest and the flight of hundreds of thousands to Turkey.
The revolution in Eastern Europe did not stop at Bulgaria in the early 1990s. Zhivkov resigned after almost two decades as chairman of the State Council and made room for a democratically oriented successor: Petar Mladenow. As part of the democratization process, general and free elections to the Grand People’s Assembly were held in 1990, in which the BSP under Lukanow, which emerged from the Communist Party, participated and won. The peasant party and the UDK became the strongest opposition parties. After unrest, the UDK and BSP formed a coalition government under the non-party Popow, which was replaced by the Dimitrov government in October 1991 after the UDK’s victory. This continued the reform policy until it resigned in 1992 due to the motion of no confidence.During this period, a land reform law and a new constitution were passed.
New mass emigration of the Turkish-born minority followed the governments L. Berow and Renata Indschona. They were also unable to solve the country’s economic and social problems. In 1994 the socialists won an absolute majority and, with Schan Widenow, appointed the prime minister, during whose tenure in 1995 the application for membership to the EU was made. In 1996 P. Stoyanov became the successor of the former President Shelev from the UDK, but he, too, was unable to prevent further social and political intensification of the internal situation. Famine in the winter of 1996/97 led to the storming of the parliament.After early elections, a union of several parties, the United Democratic Forces, was elected in 1997, who together with Ivan Kostov became the new prime minister. The 2001 presidential election was won by Georgi Parwanow. The “National Movement” of ex-monarch Simeon II (Simeon Sakskoburggotski) won the 2001 parliamentary elections; Simeon became the new Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The Conservatives suffered an election defeat in the 2005 parliamentary elections and Sergei Stanishev became the new prime minister.
In 1999, Bulgaria was admitted to the circle of official EU candidate countries. In 2001 Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania agreed on a free trade area with effect from 2003. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004. Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007. That same year, the government came under pressure from the EU for corruption and involvement in organized crime, which in 2008 decided to freeze EU funds for the country for the time being.
The ruling socialists suffered a heavy defeat in the 2009 parliamentary elections. The Mayor of Sofia, Boyko Borissov, formed a minority government. The independent entrepreneur Rossen Plewneliew has been president since 2012. Dissatisfaction with the rigid austerity measures pursued by Borissow was reflected in protests against the high electricity prices in February 2013. The government submitted its resignation in the same month. The conservative party remained the strongest political force in the new elections in May 2013, but missed the absolute majority. The independent finance specialist Plamen Orescharski is the new head of government of a socialist coalition.