The most ancient sites belong to the lower Paleolithic (cave of Samuilica II, frequented by the Mousterian at the beginning of the Epipaleolithic). The study of the painted pottery and the stratigraphy of the Karanovo Tell site (➔ # 10132;) gave a better defined cultural structure of the Neolithic Bulgaria in the basins of the Tundža and Mariza rivers a center of cultural radiation of the Middle Neolithic has been identified. Between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age there is a certain cultural continuity (e.g. the exploitation of the copper mines at Stara Zagora, among the largest in Europe; also the necropolis of Varna contributed to establish the long phase of transition between the Eneolithic and the ancient Bronze Age). In the Iron Age, contacts with the Greeks began, who founded some colonies in Thrace, and the urbanization process began.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Of Turkish descent, the Bulgarians (properly Protobulgari), settled N of the Caucasus, towards the end of the 5th century. they were allies of Byzantium against the Ostrogoths. At the beginning of the 7th century. one of their tribes, under the leadership of Isperich or Asparuch, settled in Bessarabia and then in Dobruja. In 679 the emperor Constantine IV Pogonato was forced to recognize the new political body, which also brought together the Slavs of the lower Danube under Isperich. After a period of adjustment and internal struggles, with the khān Krum (803-814) the Bulgaria began to expand at the expense of the neighbors, while the process of rapprochement between Bulgarians and Christian Slavs took hold. Only in the time of Boris I. (852-889) a lasting peace could be concluded with Byzantium and the Bulgarians converted to Christianity, welcoming the Byzantine clergy. This act allowed the new Slavic-Bulgarian nationality a wide spiritual, cultural and material development; the fruits were immediately seen with Simeon (893-927), who subjected almost all of the Balkans, giving life to Greater Bulgaria. Byzantium tried to oppose the Russians, Serbs, Croats, Hungarians and Pecenegians. Thus weakened and torn apart by invasions and wars, the Bulgaria at the beginning of 1019 fell under Byzantine rule by Basil II, known as Bulgaroctono, who divided the Kingdom of Simeon in 4 themes. After several insurrections the Bulgaria regained its independence with King Kalojan (1197-1207) who in 1201 became independent from Byzantium and then successfully fought the Latin Empire (1205-07). When from 1350 onwards the Turks appeared on the Balkan scene the Bulgaria was already in disrepair; it will disappear under the blows of Bāyazīd I between 1391 and 1405. The last tsar was Ivan Šišman (1371-91).
From principality to Soviet republic
The Turkish rule was for the Bulgarian nation a period of almost complete oppression and detachment from Western Europe and only in the second half of the 19th century. there was a national renaissance. The anti-Ottoman insurrection of 1876, thanks to Russian help (Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78), materialized in the creation of an autonomous principality of Bulgaria, a tributary of the Sublime Porta (treatise of St. Stephen, 1878). Reduced by the Berlin Congress(1878) to the only northern section (B. proper) with the subtraction of Macedonia and eastern Rumelia, the principality reconquered the latter in 1885, after a brief war with Serbia. After the abdication of the first prince, Alexander of Battenberg following Russian pressure, in 1887 he was elected prince by the National Assembly (since 1879 the principality had a liberal constitution) Ferdinand of Saxony Coburg-Gotha, who in 1908 proclaimed the independence of the country, assuming the title of tsar.
The persistent aspirations for the recovery of Macedonia and an expansion towards the Aegean (Thrace) induced Bulgaria to participate in the Balkan wars of 1912-13 and in the First World War (from 1915) alongside the Central Empires, but they were in largely frustrated. With the Treaty of Neuilly (1919) the Bulgaria also had to renounce, to the advantage of Greece, the outlet on the Aegean obtained in Thrace with the peace of Bucharest (1913). The abdication of Ferdinand (1918) in favor of his son, who ascended the throne as Boris III, was followed by a period of political instability and the establishment, in the second half of the 1930s, of an authoritarian regime which paved the way for intervention of Bulgaria (1941) in the Second World War alongside the Axis powers. Boris III died (1943) in circumstances not fully clarified, with his successor Simeon II still a child, the development of internal resistance and the advance of Soviet troops led to the collapse of the regime (1944), to the establishment of a provisional government by of the Patriotic Front (including the anti-fascist forces) and the participation of Bulgaria in the last phase of the war alongside the Allies. After the proclamation of the republic (1946) and the election of a National Assembly, the peace treaty of 1947 (Paris) re-established the borders of 1919, recognizing, among the annexes made by Bulgaria during the war, only that of southern Dobruja. The affirmation of Communist hegemony led, by 1949, to the progressive suppression of the other parties (the Agrarian Party survived, with limited autonomy); in 1947 with a new Constitution inspired by the Soviet model, Bulgaria became a people’s republic, also aligning itself internationally with the USSR. With the death (1949) of the old leader G. Dimitrov (prime minister since 1946), the stiffening of the regime in the Stalinist sense reached its peak with his successors V. Kolarov and above all V. Červenkov. For Bulgaria 2008, please check payhelpcenter.com.
The de-Stalinization, started cautiously since 1954 with the advent of T. Živkov at the head of the party, developed between 1956 (dismissal of Červenkov) and 1962. In 1971 Živkov left the office of prime minister to S. Todorov and he was elected president of the State Council (head of state). The Macedonian question continued to negatively influence relations with Yugoslavia, causing moments of conflict and tension between the two countries. The presence of a large Turkish minority also became a source of concern for the Sofia authorities, who in 1984 pursued an assimilation policy (the rights of the Turkish minority will be re-established in 1990) causing a deterioration of relations with Turkey and accidents in 1989..