A Turkish rider, the Bulgarians, immigrated
to Thrace in the 600s from the steppes north of the
Black Sea. The Bulgarians adopted Orthodox Christianity
and established the Kingdom, but were occupied by the
Ottoman Turks in 1386. The occupation lasted for 500
years until Russia expelled the Turks in 1878. Bulgaria
was able to proclaim independence in 1908. In World War
I, Bulgaria was in alliance with Germany and Austria.
Bulgaria also participated in Germany during the Second
World War, but in 1944 a resistance movement took power,
the Germans were expelled and Soviet troops took over
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Bulgaria, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The first known population in the area was the
Thracians, an Indo-European people who inhabited parts
of the Balkans (see also Culture). Their kingdom reached
its peak in the 6th century BC. In the 300s BC, Thrace
was conquered by Macedonian Philip II, the father of
Alexander the Great. The Romans took over a few years
after the birth of Christ. When the Roman Empire was
divided in 395, Thrace came to obey the Eastern Roman
In the 600s, a Turkish rider, the Bulgarians,
immigrated from the steppes north of the Black Sea.
Within a couple of centuries, the Bulgarians had joined
the Slavic population that had invaded the area in the
The first Bulgarian kingdom (681-1018) was at times a
threat to Bysans. In the 8th century, Orthodox
Christianity was adopted as the official religion of
Boris I. Under his son, Tsar Simeon I (893–927), the
kingdom was the most powerful. After Simeon's rule,
Bulgaria was weakened by constant wars. 1014 the kingdom
suffered a severe defeat in the battles against Bysans.
Byzantine ruler Basileios II became known as
Bulgaroktonos (the Bulgarian killer) after he ordered
his soldiers to look out at 14,000 Bulgarian prisoners
of war. Four years later, all of Bulgaria was under
Byzantine control and Byzantine ruled the area for
nearly 200 years.
The Bulgarians carried out a successful uprising in
1185 and formed a new kingdom based in Tarnovo. But the
many wars continued: against Byzantines, Mongols, Serbs,
Hungarians and Christian crusaders. Internal fighting
and peasant uprising also weakened the kingdom.
The Ottoman Empire entered the kingdom in 1396. It
became the beginning of a fierce occupation that lasted
for half a millennium. Even today, the Bulgarians call
the period "the Turkish yoke".
During the 19th century, a nationalist revival grew
strong. A Bulgarian uprising in 1876 was answered by the
Turks with extensive massacres. The outside world
reacted with disgust at what was called "the Bulgarian
Russia entered Bulgaria in 1878 and expelled the
Turks, weakened by constant wars. At the peace in San
Stefano the same year, Russia decided that a Greater
Bulgaria should be established under Russian protection.
Other major powers, which feared too strong a Russian
influence in the Balkans, were against the peace
agreement. At the Berlin Congress in 1878, Bulgaria was
divided between five countries. The Bulgarians were
given autonomy over an area, albeit formally under
At the end of the 19th century, the first political
parties in Bulgaria were formed. In 1891 the Social
Democratic Party was founded, from which the Bulgarian
Communist Party emerged. As a result of dissatisfaction
among rural residents, eight years later the
Agrarian Party was formed.
When a coup was conducted in Turkey in 1908, King
Ferdinand proclaimed Bulgaria's independence. In the
first Balkan war in 1912, the country gained great
success, but in the second Balkan war the following
year, Bulgaria lost new land.
In the hope of recapturing Macedonia, Bulgaria became
involved in World War I with Germany and Austria. When
it became clear that the war would be lost, King
Ferdinand abdicated in favor of his son, Boris III.
Agrarian Party leader Aleksandar Stambolijski became
prime minister in 1919. During his authoritarian rule,
land reform was implemented and a progressive income tax
was introduced. In connection with a coup in 1923,
Stambolijski was murdered by a right-wing group. A
communist coup attempt was canceled the following year.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the country was
ruled alternately by coalition governments and military
regimes. Agrarians and Communists were forced into
exile. In 1934, an authoritarian regime came to power
through a military-backed coup. King Boris took
advantage of the dissatisfaction with the regime and
took power in 1935.
During World War II, German troops were allowed to
use Bulgaria as a base for attacks against Yugoslavia
and Greece. In the spring of 1941, the Bulgarians
occupied the Yugoslav part of Macedonia. The same year,
Bulgaria actively entered the war on the side of the
Axis powers (Germany and Italy), but refused to
participate in the war against the Soviet Union.
King Boris died in 1943 and was succeeded by his
six-year-old son Simeon II. German influence was
strengthened despite strong popular resistance. The
front of the country, a leftist resistance movement
formed in 1942, took up arms against the Germans. After
the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943, the Nazi war fortunes
returned, and Soviet troops approached Bulgaria.
In 1944, the Soviet Red Army marched into the
country. The front, which was now dominated by the
Communist Party and supported by the Soviet Union, added
a new government.
Russians are charged with attempted murder
Bulgarian prosecutors are prosecuting three Russians who are accused of
trying to kill three Bulgarians in 2015. Emilyan Grebev, owner of a weapons
factory, Grebev's son and the head of the factory were subjected to some form of
substance that poisoned them. The case has been linked to the nerve poison
attack that took place against a former Russian double agent and his daughter in
the UK in 2018, although no nerve poison was used against the Bulgarians. The
substances found in the Bulgarian case included pesticides. According to one
theory, the deed may have been motivated by the fact that Grebev's business
operations threatened powerful Russian interests in the country. The names of
the three Russians are not mentioned when the prosecution is presented.