see the world

Click here to expand World Map   World Map
World » Europe » Bulgaria » History


Flag of Bulgaria


Bulgarian History

Despite the countries turbulent history, Bulgaria is the oldest surviving state in Europe to have kept its original name (since AD681) and most of the country is descendants of the Bulgar invasion of the south Danube around that time. The country had its share of power in the region till the Ottoman Turks arrived in the 1350s. Within 40 years, the country had been completely absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria was a stable province of the Empire, until the rise of Russia as a major player on the European scene under Catherine the Great in the 18th century; Russian strategy hinged upon its self-proclaimed role as protector of the Orthodox Christian communities within the Ottoman Empire.

In the 19th century, Bulgarian nationalists began to organize, noting the decline of the Ottoman Empire and in expectation of eventual independence. Following an uprising in 1876, Bulgarian volunteer forces, with strong Russian support, defeated the Turks and were able to establish an independent state under the terms of the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878. Over the next thirty years a strong socialist movement began and under King Ferdinand the Bulgarians backed the Germans during World War I. The Communists became central stage after the war and it wasn’t till towards the end of World War II that Soviet forces entered the country in 1944 and the Bulgarian Communist Party took 70 per cent of the vote in the next national election. Bulgaria’s dominant political figure was Todor Zhivkov, under whose leadership Bulgaria became a Soviet allies. When Zhivkov resigned 1989 it was the first multi-party elections for 44 years. The Communists under the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) won an absolute majority in the 400-seat National Assembly. Throughout the first half of the 1990s, Bulgaria was wracked by political instability and labor unrest, as the country was plunged into economic crisis. Over the next few years Bulgaria went through five governments and it wasn’t till finally in 2001 that Georgi Parvanov of the BSP’s party won the election that the country really changed. His priorities were for his government to concentrate on securing EU and NATO membership. Since joining the EU and NATO, Bulgaria’s traditional ally, Russia hasn’t been too happy with the countries sudden foreign policy.

Underground Imports
en  es  pl  fr  de  it