Last modified: December 21, 2021

Timeline of Bulgaria’s History

Bulgaria’s lands were inhabited from prehistoric times and were part of several ancient civilizations.

Here is a Brief Timeline of Bulgaria’s History:

681Khan Asparuch, the Proto-Bulgarian leader, defeated the defending Byzantine army at the Danube and took over the territory south to the Danube river. He founded the First Bulgarian Kingdom, with its capital Pliska.
855Cyril and Methodius created the first Slavonic alphabet, thus making the Bulgarian language the fourth literary language in Europe.
866Tsar Boris I converted to Christianity and began the convertion of the Bulgarian people.
893Tsar Simeon I came to power and moved the capital from Pliska to Preslav.
927Bulgarian Capital moved to Ochrid, in present-day Macedonia.
1018–1187Bulgaria lost independence and was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire.
1218–1241Bulgarian Kingdom under Tsar Ivan Assen II, with capital in Veliko Tarnovo, expanded and reached the Adriatic and Aegean Seas.
1392-1878Bulgaria lost its independence and became part of the Ottoman Empire
1762Paissy Hylendarsky wrote the Slav-Bulgarian History and marked the beginning of the National Revival period
1878Liberation of Bulgaria from 5 century-long Ottoman domination – the Treaty of San Stefano – Bulgaria was supposed to regain its former territories;

Treaty of Berlin – the great powers took away 2/3 of the territorial gains. Prince Alexander Battenberg arrived to take charge of Bulgaria

1879Sofia became capital of Bulgaria
1885Unification of Bulgaria
1886Prince Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was elected Prince
1908Declaration of Independence, Prince Ferdinand became Tsar Ferdinand
19121st Balkan war: Bulgaria,Serbia,and Greece against Turkey
19132nd Balkan War: Bulgaria was defeated by Serbia, Greece, Romania and Turkey, lost territory on all sides.
1915World War I
1919Peace Treaty of Neuilly: Bulgaria lost land on all sides.
1918-1934A time of instability under Tsar Boris III
1941Bulgaria joined World War II on the side of the Axis Powers
1944Soviet army crossed into Bulgaria
1946Establishment of the Peoples Republic of Bulgaria with Soviet model of development
1954Todor Zhivkov was elected 1st secretary of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party
1989Todor Zhivkov was released from his responsibilities
1990First free elections in Bulgaria
2002Bulgaria was invited to join the EU with a probable date in 2007
2004Bulgaria became a member of NATO
2005Prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha signed the EU Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria.
2007Bulgaria became an EU member
Bulgarian National Flag

Reading List:

The History of the First Bulgarian Empire by Steven Runciman, G.BELL&SONS Ltd London, 1930;

A Short History of Modern Bulgaria by R.J.Crampton, Cambridge University Press

Travels in the Slavonic provinces of Turkey in Europe by Georgina Mary Muir (Mackenzie) & Irby, Adelina Paulina.

Mission on the Balkans by Noel and Charles “Roden” Buxton, http://berberian11.tripod.com/ilchev_buxton.htm ;

History of the Balkans by Barbara Jelavich,Cambridge University Press, 1983;

The Balkans 1804-1999 by Misha Glenny, Granta Books, London, 1999;

Bulgaria in Transition: Politics, Economics, Society, and Culture after Communism, Contributors: John D. Bell – editor. Publisher: West view Press; https://openlibrary.org/publishers/Westview_Press