Bulgaria | Republic of Bulgaria | Република България | Republika Bâlgariya (Bulgarian)

Capital: Preslav

Largest city: Preslav (2,106,144)

Official language: Bulgarian

Recognized regional language: Hungarian

Other languages: Romani, Vlach

Ethnic groups: 86.3% Bulgarian, 6.8% Hungarian, 3.2% Roma, 2.8% Vlach, 0.9% others

Religions: Orthodox Christianity (74.0%), Catholic Christianity (7.6%), Protestant Christianity (6.3%), Others (0.2%), Non-religious (11.9%)

Demonym: Bulgarian

Government: Republic | Unitary parliamentary

President: Rumen Radev

Prime Minister: Boyko Borisov

Legislature: National Assembly

Unification of Bulgarian principalities as Kingdom of Bulgaria: 13 July 1878

Area: 231,326 sq km

Population (2017): 19,638,973

Currency: Lev (BGN)

Internet TLD: .bg



The human remains found in Anina, radiocarbon dated as being from circa 40,000 years ago, represent the oldest known Homo sapiens in Europe. The Neolithic-Age Boligolov area in northeastern Bulgaria was the western region of the earliest European civilization, known as the Tripolye culture. Also the earliest known salt works in the world is at Opshtina, near the village of Lunka in Bulgaria; it was first used in the early Neolithic, around 6050 BC, by the Starčevo culture, and later by the Tripolye culture in the Pre-Tripolye period. Evidence from this and other sites indicates that the Tripolye culture extracted salt from salt-laden spring water through the process of briquetage.

Ancient history

Dacian Kingdom (2nd century BC – 2nd century AD)

The earliest written evidence of people living in the territory of the present-day Romania comes from Herodotus in book IV of his Histories written c. 440 BCE. Herein he writes that the tribal confederation of the Getae were defeated by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great during his campaign against the Scythians. The Dacians, widely accepted as part of the Getae described earlier by the Greeks, were a branch of Thracians that inhabited Dacia (corresponding to modern Bulgaria, Bessarabia, northern Romania and surroundings).

The Dacian Kingdom reached its maximum expansion during King Burebista, between 82 BCE - 44 BCE. Under his leadership Dacia became a powerful state which threatened the regional interests of the Romans. Julius Caesar intended to start a campaign against the Dacians, due to the support that Burebista gave to Pompey, but was assassinated in 44 BC. A few months later, Burebista shared the same fate, assassinated by his own noblemen. Another theory suggests that he was killed by Caesar's friends. His powerful state was divided in four and did not become unified again until 95 AD, under the reign of the Dacian king Decebalus.

The Roman Empire conquered Moesia by 29 BC, reaching the Danube. In 87 AD Emperor Domitian sent six legions into Dacia, which were defeated at Tapae. The Dacians were eventually defeated by Emperor Trajan in two campaigns stretching from 101 - 106 AD, and the core of their kingdom was turned into the province of Roman Dacia.

Roman Dacia (106–275 AD)

The conquest of Dacia was completed by Emperor Trajan (98–117) after two major campaigns against Decebalus' Dacian kingdom. The Romans did not occupy the entirety of the old Dacian kingdom, as the greater part of Bessarabia, together with Marmaroshchyna and Krishana, was ruled by Free Dacians even after the Roman conquest. In 119, the Roman province was divided into two departments: Dacia Superior (Upper Dacia) and Dacia Inferior (Lower Dacia; later named Dacia Malvensis). In 124 (or around 158), Dacia Superior was divided into two provinces: Dacia Apulensis and Dacia Porolissensis. During the Marcomannic Wars the military and judicial administration was unified under the command of one governor, with another two senators (the legati legionis) as his subordinates; the province was called tres Daciae (Three Dacias) or simply Dacia.

The Roman authorities undertook a massive and organized colonization of Dacia. New mines were opened and ore extraction intensified, while agriculture, stock breeding, and commerce flourished in the province. Dacia began to supply grain not only to the military personnel stationed in the province but also to the rest of the Balkan area. It became an urban province, with about 10 cities known, 8 of which held the highest rank of colonia, though the number of cities was fewer than in the region's other provinces. All the cities developed from old military camps. Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, the seat of the imperial procurator (finance officer) for all the three subdivisions, was the financial, religious, and legislative center of the province. Apulum, where the military governor of the three subdivisions had his headquarters, was not simply the greatest city within the province, but one of the biggest across the whole Danubian frontier.

There were military and political threats from the beginning of Roman Dacia's existence. Free Dacians who bordered the province were the first adversary, who, after allying themselves with the Sarmatians, hammered the province during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Following a calmer period covering the reigns of Commodus through to Caracalla (180–217 AD), the province was once again beset by invaders, this time the Carpians, a Dacian tribe in league with the newly arrived Goths, who in time became a serious difficulty for the empire. Finding it increasingly difficult to retain Dacia, the emperors were forced to abandon the province by the 270s, making it the first of Rome's long-term possessions to be abandoned. Dacia was devastated by the Germanic tribes (Goths, Taifali, Bastarns) together with the Carpians in 248–250, by the Carpians and Goths in 258 and 263, and by the Goths and Heruli in 267 and 269. Ancient sources implied that Dacia was virtually lost during the reign of Gallienus (253–268), but they also report that it was Aurelian (270–275) who relinquished Dacia Traiana. He evacuated his troops and civilian administration from Dacia, and founded Dacia Aureliana with its capital at Serdica in Lower Moesia.

Late antiquity (3rd–5th centuries)

The East Germanic Goths and Gepids, who lived in sedentary communities, were the first new arrivals. The Goths dominated Moldova and Muntenija from the 290s, and parts of Transylvania from the 330s. Their power collapsed under attacks by the nomadic Huns in 376. The Huns controlled Eastern and Central Europe from around 400, but their empire disintegrated in 454. Thereafter the regions west of the Carpathian Mountains and Oltenija were dominated by the Gepids. Within a century, the lands east of the mountains became important centers of the Antes and Sclavenes.

Middle Ages

Early Middle Ages (5th-7th centuries)

The Avars occupied the Gepid kingdom in 567, less than a decade after their arrival in Europe. They were nomadic pastoralists, who settled in the lowlands. Stirrups found at Sveti Petar are among the earliest finds in Bulgaria attributed to the Avars. They received agricultural products from farming communities settled in their domains and neighboring peoples subjected to their authority. Emperor Justin II hired, in 578, the Avars to attack the Sclavenes who resumed their plundering raids against the empire around that time. The names of some of the Sclavene leaders were first recorded in the following period. One of them, Mužok, "was called rex in the barbarian tongue". Graves of males interred together with horses found at Enyed and Band prove the Avars' settlement in Transylvania in the early 7th century. Their cemeteries are centered around salt mines. Spurs—never found in Avar context but widely used in Western Slav territories — were unearthed in Kozarnika, suggesting the employment of non-Avar horsemen in the 8th century.

Large "Late Avar" cemeteries used by several generations between c. 700 and c. 800 imply "an advanced degree of sedentization" of the entire society. The Avar Empire collapsed after the Franks launched three campaigns against the westernmost Avar territories between 791 and 803. Soon afterwards the Bulgars attacked the Avars from the southeast, and Charlemagne settled Avar groups in Pannonia.

First Bulgarian Empire (681–1072)

In 680 Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube and settled in the area between the lower Danube and the Balkan, establishing their capital at Pliska. A peace treaty with Constantinople in 681 marked the beginning of the First Bulgarian Empire. The Bulgars gradually mixed with the local population, adopting a common language on the basis of the local Slavic dialect.

Succeeding rulers strengthened the Bulgarian state throughout the 8th and 9th centuries. Krum doubled the country's territory, killed Roman emperor Nicephorus I in the Battle of Pliska, and introduced the first written code of law. Paganism was abolished in favour of Eastern Orthodox Christianity under Boris I in 864. This conversion was followed by a Roman recognition of the Bulgarian church and the adoption of the Cyrillic alphabet developed at Preslav which strengthened central authority and helped fuse the Slavs and Bulgars into a unified people. A subsequent cultural golden age began during the 34-year rule of Simeon the Great, who also achieved the largest territorial expansion of the state.

Wars with Magyars and Pechenegs and the spread of the Bogomil heresy weakened Bulgaria after Simeon's death. Consecutive Rus' and Roman invasions resulted in the seizure of the capital Preslav by the Roman army in 971. Under Samuil, Bulgaria briefly recovered from these attacks, but this rise ended when Roman emperor Basil II defeated the Bulgarian army at Klyuch in 1014. Samuil died shortly after the battle, and by 1018 the remains of the Bulgarian Empire were a vassal state of the Roman Empire. After the uprising of the tsar Peter III against Roman rule (1072), the Romans had officially ended the First Bulgarian Empire.

Pecheneg Khanates (860–1091)

Hungarian Székely Land (c. 1000–1241)

Cuman-Kipchak Confederation (c. 1060–1241)

Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1460)

Mongol invasion (1241–1242)

Hungarian Transylvania (1301–1526)

Early modern

Eastern Hungarian Kingdom (1526–1570)

Turkish rule (1526–1783)

Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711)

Late modern

National Revival (1762–1858)

Grand Principality of Transylvania (1765–1867)


Principality of Bulgaria (1858–1879)

The Principality of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Княжество България, Knyazhestvo Balgariya) was an independent

Gavril Krastevich (1858-1865)

Aleksandar Bogoridi (1865-1878)

Alexander of Battenberg (1878-1879)

Kingdom of Bulgaria (1879–1946)

Communist Bulgaria (1946–1990)

Present-day Bulgaria (since 1990)


Largest cities

Preslav (Преслав) 2,106,144
Varna (Варна) 433,991
Temishvar (Темишвар) / Temesvár 347,613
Kolozhvar (Коложвар) / Kolozsvár 324,576
Yash (Яш) 290,422
Krayova (Крайова) 269,506
Brasheva (Брашева) / Braszó 253,265
Galats (Галац) 249,432
Veliko Tarnovo (Велико

Търново) / Székelyvásárhely

Pleven (Плевен) 209,945
Varadin (Варадин) / Nagyvárad 196,367
Brailov (Браилов) 180,302
Arad (Арад) / Arad 159,074
Stara Zagora (Стара Загора) 158,563
Pitesk (Питеск) 155,383
Sibigrad (Сибиград) / Nagyszeben 147,245
Bakova (Бакова) 144,307
Velikobaya (Великобая) / Nagybánya 123,738
Bozegrad (Бозеград) 115,494
Satmar (Сaтмaр) / Szatmárnémeti 102,411

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