Bulgaria's History

Evidence of lost civilisations abound in Bulgaria but history first records Thracians who united around 500BC, being overwhelmed by the Romans in 45AD. Slavs began arriving from the 6th Century and absorbed the Romanised Thracians. In 632 Bulgar’s from Central Asia conquered and formed Great Bulgaria accepting Orthodox Christianity in 864; but by 971 had become a Byzantine Province. In 1185 a successful rebellion against the Byzantines led to the formation of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Disunity weakened the empire and the Ottoman Turks captured the capital in 1393 ushering in Turkish domination that lasted until the 20th Century. In 1908 the autonomous Principality of Bulgaria severed all tied with the Ottomans and between 1912-13 they added more territory in the Balkan Wars. In WWI and WWII Bulgaria sided with the Germans for little gain but fortunately minimal cost. In 1944 the Red Army marched in, deposed the Tsar and installed a Communist regime which ended in 1990.

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Democracy was warmly embraced following Communist rule and in 2001 the last Tsar, Simeon II won the election to become Prime Minister. His Government joined NATO in 2004 and Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. Rapid growth came to a halt in 2008 and is now stagnating. Bulgaria has tremendous natural beauty, wonderful pristine mountains and a warm and friendly people untainted by mass tourism. Bulgaria has many resorts along its sandy Black Sea coast and with its northern border being the Danube River there is a lot to see. However Western tourists are yet to discover the delights of Bulgaria in large numbers. The country has experienced dramatic changes in government but the different faces have done nothing to improve their economy.

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