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History Timeline

Khan Asparuh ~ Establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire

History Timeline

Some Dates and Facts


165 – The government of the first Bulgarian ruler commenced, according to a native source – The Nominalia of the Bulgarian Khans.

632 – Khan Kubrat founded Great Bulgaria.

681 – Khan Asparuh defeated the Byzantine troops, signed a peace treaty, winning the territories between the Balkan Mountains and the Danube River. The first Bulgarian Empire (681 – 1018) was founded, with Pliska as its first capital.

717 – Khan Tervel crushed the armies of the Arab Caliphate and stopped the Muslim invasion in European hinterland through the Balkans. He was called Saviour of Europe by his contemporaries and was beatified as St. Tiberius.

811 – Khan Krum won a decisive military victory over the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of the Varbitsa Pass.

863 – 865 – Tsar Boris I converted to Christianity and imposed Eastern Orthodox Christianity as an official religion in Bulgaria.

863 – St. St.  Cyril and Methodius created the first Slavic alphabet, the Glagolitic. In the following years St. Clement of Ohrid compiled the Cyrillic letters, which are now used in over 12 countries across the world.

879 – 880 – The Church of Bulgaria was recognized as autocephalous.

896 – 927 – The Golden Age of Bulgaria’s culture during the reign of Tsar Simeon I the Great, expanding the territory to Adriatic and Aegean Seas. The capital of Bulgaria was moved from Pliska to Preslav.

917 – Tsar Simeon I defeated the Byzantine troops in the Battle of Anchialus, one of the bloodiest battles of its time.

927 – The Byzantine Empire recognized the title of Emperor (Tsar) of Peter I and the autocephalous status of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.

972 – 992 – The Bulgarian capital moved to Skopje (present-day Macedonia).

997 – 1014 – Reign of Tsar Samuil. The Bulgarian capital moved to Ohrid (present-day Macedonia). The city was made a seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.

1018 – 1185 – Bulgaria lost its independence. Years of Byzantine oppression.

1185 – Two aristocratic brothers Peter and Assen declared the independence of Bulgaria and led an uprising against the Byzantine Empire. The Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1396) was founded with its capital Turnovo (Turnovgrad).

1205 – On April 14, the Bulgarian armies, led by Emperor (Tsar) Kaloyan won a decisive victory near Adrianople over the allegedly invincible army of the Latin Empire. The army was completely destroyed and the Latin Emperor Baldwin I, was captured and taken to Turnovo (Turnovgrad).

1218 – 1241 – Reign of Tsar Ivan Asen II, the Second golden age of Bulgaria and period of territorial expansion reaching again the Adriatic and Aegean Seas.

1396 – The medieval Bulgarian Empire was completely conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Bulgaria lost its independence and became part of the Ottoman Empire (1396 – 1878).

1598 – The First Turnovo Uprising for Bulgarian Liberation broke out. Shishman III was proclaimed Tsar of Bulgaria. Over 12,000 people participated in the battles.

1762 – Paisius of Hilendar wrote Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya (Slavic-Bulgarian History). The book put the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival.

1806 – Sofronii Vrachanski publishes first book printed in Bulgaria.

1835 – Neofit Rilski opens first school teaching in Bulgarian, using Peter Beron’s secular education system.

1840 – First girls’ school teaching in Bulgarian opens.

1844 – First periodical printed in Bulgaria.

1856 – First public reading room (chitalishte) opens.

1860 – Bishop Ilarion Makariopolski declares the Bulgarian diocese of Constantinople independent of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate.

1862 – Georgi Rakovski forms first armed group for Bulgarian independence.

1870 – The Bulgarian Orthodox Church declared a separate exarchate by the Ottoman Empire.

1876 – The April Uprising for the Liberation of Bulgaria.

1876 – The Constantinople Conference was held in December. The Great Powers discussed the fate of the Bulgarians.

1878 – The Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano was signed (March 3), which proclaimed an autonomous Bulgarian Principality in its ethnic borders and put an end to the Russo-Turkish War. The Third Bulgarian State was established (1878 – present)

1878 – The Treaty of Berlin was signed (July 13), finally declaring the establishment of the Bulgarian State but scaling back its territory to the borders proposed at the Constantinople Conference.

1879 – The Turnovo Constitution – the first Bulgarian constitution, was adopted; Alexander of Battenberg was elected Prince of the Bulgarian constitutional monarchy. Sofia became capital of Bulgaria.

1885 – The Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria with the Province of Eastern Rumelia (September 6), which was affirmed through the victory in the Serbo-Bulgarian War.

1886 – Knyaz Alexander deposed by army officers.

1887 – Stefan Stambolov begins seven years as prime minister, accelerating economic development; Knyaz Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha accepts Bulgarian throne.

1908 – Knyaz Ferdinand declares Bulgaria fully independent (September 22) of the Ottoman Empire and himself Tsar.

1908 – 1946 Kingdom of Bulgaria, as a result of an elevation of the Bulgarian state to kingdom from principality.

1912The First Balkan War pushes the Ottoman Empire completely out of Europe; Bulgaria regains Thrace.

1913 The Second Balkan War, Bulgaria loses territories to Serbia, Romania and Greece; Bulgarian nationalism on the rise.

1915 – 1918 Bulgaria fights in World War I on the side of the Central Powers; decisive defeat at Dobro Pole (1918) forces Tsar Ferdinand to abdicate in favor of his son Boris III.

1919 The Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine awards Thrace to Greece, Macedonian territory to Yugoslavia, Southern Dobrudja to Romania, sets Bulgarian reparations, and limits Bulgarian army.

1923 – 1935 – A period of coups d’etat and civil conflicts.

1935 Tsar Boris III declares royal dictatorship that remains in effect until 1943.

1941 Bulgaria signs Tripartite Pact, allying it with Nazi Germany in World War II; Bulgaria refrains from action against Soviet Union for duration of war.

1943 – Bulgaria is one of the few countries in Europe to rescue its ethnic Jews from deportation. Tsar Boris III dies, leaving three-man regency to rule for his underage son Simeon II.

1944 – Under Soviet coercion, the Communist Party staged a coup d’etat.

1946 – The People’s Republic of Bulgaria was established with Soviet model of development.

1944 – 1989 – Single-party totalitarian communist regime.

1955 – Bulgaria joined the United Nations Organization.

1990 – The first free and democratic elections were held in Bulgaria. The name of the state was changed to Republic of Bulgaria.

1991 – New constitution approved by National Assembly

2004 – Bulgaria joined NATO.

2007 – Bulgaria became a member state of the European Union.