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Khan Omurtag (814-831)
Emperor Ivan Alexander (1331-1371)

Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Българско царство, Balgarsko tsarstvo IPA: [ˈbɤlɡɐrskʊ ˈt͡sarstvʊ]) is a term used to describe two periods in the medieval history of Bulgaria, during which it acted as a key regional power in Europe in general and in Southeastern Europe in particular, sometimes rivalling Byzantium. The two "Bulgarian Empires" are not treated as separate entities, but rather as one state restored after a period of Byzantine rule over its territory.


First Bulgarian Empire

The First Bulgarian Empire was established as a result of an expansion of Old Great Bulgaria to the territory south of Danube River, and is usually described as having lasted between 632 (when the Bulgars threw off Turkic rule) and 1018, when it was subjugated by the Byzantine Empire despite Samuel's fierce resistance. It gradually reached its cultural and territorial apogee in the 9th century and early 10th century under Boris I and Simeon the Great, when it developed into the cultural and literary centre of Slavic Europe, as well as one of the largest states in Europe.

Second Bulgarian Empire

The medieval Bulgarian state was restored as the Second Bulgarian Empire after a successful uprising of two nobles from Tarnovo, Asen and Peter, in 1185, and existed until it was conquered during the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the late 14th century, with the date of its subjugation usually given as 1396 or 1422. Under Ivan Asen II in the first half of the 13th century it gradually recovered much of its former power, though this did not last long due to internal problems and foreign invasions.

In 1878 the Bulgarian state was restored as the Ottoman vassal Principality of Bulgaria. The independence of Bulgaria and its promotion to a Kingdom of Bulgaria was recognized by the Ottomans in 1908.


See also


  • Zlatarski, Vasil N. (1918) (in Bulgarian). Medieval History of the Bulgarian State. Sofia: Science and Arts Publishers, 2nd Edition (Petar Petrov, Ed.), Zahari Stoyanov Publishers, 4th Edition, 2006. ISBN 9547366284.  
  • Бакалов, Георги; Милен Куманов (2003) (in Bulgarian). Електронна издание – История на България. София: Труд, Сирма. ISBN 9844830679.  
  • Делев, Петър; Валери Кацунов, Пламен Митев, Евгения Калинова, Искра Баева, Боян Добрев (2006) (in Bulgarian). История и цивилизация за 11. клас. Труд, Сирма.  
  • (in Bulgarian) Българите и България. Министерство на външните работи на България, Труд, Сирма. 2005.  
  • Fine, Jr., John V.A. (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0472081493.  


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