The Bulgarian state was founded in 681 AD as a unification of Slavs, Thracians and and Proto-Bulgarians. The Thracians, a developed civilization, had been present in the area since the 3rd-2nd millennium BC, whilst the Slavs, a peace loving people, arrived in the late 5th century. The Proto-Bulgarians, warlike Turkic nomads from the steppes of Central Asia, moved down from the river Danube in the mid 7th century.
Tsar Boris I converted the state to Orthodox Christianity in 865. This First Bulgarian Kingdom, which stretched from the Carpathians in the north to the Balkan range in the south, fell to the Byzantines in 1018.
The second Bulgarian Kingdom, established in 1185 at Veliko Turnovo, reinstated the border and a "Golden Age" began in which Bulgaria bordered on three seas - The Black Sea, The Adriatic and the Aegean.
From 1389 to 1878 it was subject to the rule ("yoke" as the Bulgarians refer to it) of the Ottoman Turks, when Bulgarian culture and religion were subjugated to Islam.
Sofia became the capital of Bulgaria after the Veliko Turnovo Constitution was accepted in 1879. From 1878, the liberation from the Turks, to 1945 Bulgaria enjoyed a brief and unstable period of freedom, in which it partook in two Balkan wars and lost the two World Wars on the side of Germany.
In 1945 the Communist Party, under Georgi Dimitrov, took power and proclaimed Bulgaria a "People's Republic". The oppressive Communist rule lasted till November 1989 when, following the lead of the other East European states, Bulgaria peacefully ousted Party leader Todor Zhivkov, and declared itself a democracy.
What follows are some of the most significant dates and events in the history of Bulgaria:
- 885 - Cyril and Methodius created the Slavonic script
- 864 - 866 - Bulgaria adopted Christianity
- 1018- 1185 - Bulgaria fell within the limits of the Byzantine Empire and Rule
- 1185 - Restoration of the Bulgarian state
- 1396 - 1878 - Bulgaria was under the Turkish Yoke
- 1878 - 1944 - Bulgaria was a constitutional monarchy
- 1944 - 1989 - Bulgaria was a people's republic, governed by the communist party
- Since 10th of November, 1989 Bulgaria has been a parliamentary republic.