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Bulgaria’s Ancient History

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Many ancient civilizations have molded the 1300 year-old history of the state of Bulgaria. Khan Asparouh founded the first Bulgarian Kingdom in 681. This Kingdom consisted of peoples from the ancient Bulgarian state that was situated on the Volga River, as well as the Slavs from the Byzantium Empire. This initial kingdom was located at modern-day northeast Bulgaria.

In 863, two brothers, Cyril and Methodius created the Slavonic alphabet. This, in combination with the establishment of Christianity (East Orthodox) as a
state religion in 864, greatly contributed to the development of Bulgarian
nationality and created an environment primed for literature and culture to flourish. During Bulgaria travel today, visitors will still observe a rich local culture. Bulgaria remained in the Byzantium Empire from 1018 until 1185. In 1185 the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was declared after the end of Byzantium rule and oppression. After a long war and fierce resistance, the country fell under Turkish control in 1393.

At first the Turks oppression was substantial, but by the 18th century hostility and resentment began to grow with the burden of unsuccessful Turkish wars against the Austrians and the Russians. The Turks began introducing reforms attempting to assimilate the Bulgarians, but it was too late. In the early 19th century popular customs and folklore blossomed in the National Revival, while underground revolutionaries plotted against the Turks. The Turks suppressed a premature revolt that broke out in April 1876 at Koprivshtitsa, with severe brutality. In addition, the Turks spread the work throughout Europe of 'Bulgarian atrocities'. Outraged European allies, primarily Russia, came to Bulgaria's rescue in the late 1870s. When the Russian army had advanced to within 50km (31mi) of Istanbul, Turkey ceded 60% of the Balkan Peninsula to Bulgaria.

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