A History of Bulgaria

We all love Bulgaria for its warmth, superb beaches and lively atmosphere. But if you dig a little deeper, you can also uncover a history full of twists and turns, with echoes of the past that are still felt today. Like Turkey, Bulgaria’s location makes it a meeting point between Europe and Asia, which gives the country plenty of individuality.

Bulgaria in antiquity

Around the same time that Ancient Greece was defining its culture, the Thracian civilisation was calling Bulgaria and its surrounding nations home.

The Thracian people were a collection of tribes such as the Serdi and the Odrysai who introduced farming and building to the natural landscape. The Thracian tribes never unified into a fully established nation, but if they had, their combined population would’ve been so high that they would have been feared by other ancient civilisations.

Although battles with the Greeks were fought over the years for control of the region, eventually the two civilisations were trading and co-operating. However, by 100 CE the Romans had laid claim to the entire Balkan peninsula, with what would eventually become a Byzantine seat of power. When the Roman Empire fell, the Byzantine Empire remained a powerful player until the turn of the first millennium.

Bulgaria in the Middle Ages

In the century following 900 CE, Bulgaria’s reach was vast, and its people were ruled by leaders with ambition and the power to carry out their desires. This time of expansion is regarded as a golden age in the country’s history, although it wouldn’t last. The Ottoman Empire became the new rulers of Bulgaria at the turn of 1400, adding its flavour to the cultural mix that the country remains blessed by today.

Modern Bulgaria

The early 20th century was a difficult time for Bulgaria and its people. The Balkan Wars damaged the country’s morale, while World War I created huge debts that the government found immensely difficult to settle. These factors likely influenced Bulgaria to declare an official stance of neutrality when World War II erupted in Europe.