Bulgaria – national flag
The first Bulgarian tricolor was created in 1862. According to the constitution of 1879, the flag consists of a white, a green and a red horizontal stripe, which is a variant of the pan-Slavic colors. The white color stands for purity, truth and peace, the green for faith and freedom, and the red for work and struggle. In 1947-90, the communist state coat of arms, whose main figure was the Bulgarian Tsar’s lion from the 14th century, sat in the white stripe of the flag.
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Bulgaria – prehistory
The oldest settlements are from the Moustéria with 75,000-year-old finds from the Iskăr Valley. Finds from large parts of the Middle and Late Paleolithic are known from the cave Samuilitsa II. Agriculture was introduced around 6000 BC, and on the fertile central Bulgarian plain, large urban mounds were formed, reflecting settlements in the same places for millennia. In the lower layer of Karanovobyhøjen, houses measuring approximately 8 m × 4 m and is laid out along planked alleys; later the houses became larger with more rooms. High-quality ceramics and beautiful clay female statuettes are characteristic finds. approximately 4000 BC began the exploitation of copper. Ajbunar is Europe’s oldest copper mine, and at a burial site near Varna (3600-3200 BC), tombs with quantities of copper and gold objects have been found, among others. gold-plated scepter. Some tombs contained more than 1.5 kg of gold. I 2000-tfKr. began the Bronze Age; but only from 1000-tkKr. larger amounts of metal are known, and contacts are seen with the Mycenaean world. Bulgaria’s largest gold find, the Văltjitrăn treasure, is from this period and consists of gold bowls with a total weight of over 12 kg. The Iron Age began approximately 1200 BC, and approximately 600 BC Greek colonies were founded by the Black Sea. Under the influence of this and from the Persian presence approximately 500 BC an actual Thracian monarchy arose with close ties to Greece. I 300-tfKr. the Thracian culture reached a peak. From this time originate monumental tombs, a royal residence, Seuthopolis (nuv. Under the influence of this and from the Persian presence approximately 500 BC an actual Thracian monarchy arose with close ties to Greece. I 300-tfKr. the Thracian culture reached a peak. From this time originate monumental tombs, a royal residence, Seuthopolis (nuv.Kazanlăk), as well as a number of rich treasure finds with excellent, driven silver works. The largest is the Rogozen treasure with 165 bowls.
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Bulgaria – history
In Roman times, present-day Northern Bulgaria was part of the province of Moesia, conquered by the Romans in 29 BC, while present-day Southern Bulgaria coincided in part with Thrace, which became Roman Province in 46 AD.
According to a2zgov, Bulgaria’s continued history is marked by its proximity to Byzantium and later to the Turkish Ottoman Empire, just as European superpower policy in recent times has had a decisive influence on the country.
At the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD. Bulgaria was part of the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium. From the north, barbarian invasions – especially the Goths – pushed on, but the Byzantines managed to maintain the Danube border until slaves in large numbers in the late 500’s and 600’s. penetrated and settled south of the Danube.
Under the leadership of Khan Asparukh, a Turkish tribe, the so-called Proto-Bulgarians, crossed the Danube in 680/81, subduing the slaves and after victories over the Byzantines formed the first Bulgarian empire in the area between the Danube, the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Iskăr River; the center of the kingdom was first Pliska, later Preslav. The Proto-Bulgarians gradually assimilated with the larger Slavic population; this process was probably completed in the late 800-t.
Relations with Byzantium remained politically and militarily strained, alternating between wars and fragile alliances, but culturally and administratively, Byzantine influence gained ground, especially after Khan Boris’ (852-89) conversion to Christianity in 864/65. Byzantine weakness in the 700’s and 800’s. enabled Bulgarian expansion into a great empire that, under Tsar Simeon (893-927), bordered the Adriatic, the Aegean, and the Black Sea.
In the second half of the 900-t. the Bulgarian empire began to disintegrate: the western parts seceded to a Serbian empire, the Russians attacked from the north, and in 1014/18 the Byzantines were able to subjugate the remnants.
Byzantine rule led to the introduction of the Byzantine tax system and both secular and ecclesiastical administration from Constantinople. After several attempts at rebellion, in 1185/86 under the leadership of Asen (1185/86-96) and his brother Petăr (1196-97) succeeded in gaining independence. Initially, the Second Bulgarian Empire with its capital in Tărnovo covered only the area north of the Balkan Mountains, but the chaotic conditions associated with the 4th Crusade opened up conquests in Thrace and Macedonia, and under the Tsars Kalojan (1197-1207) and Ivan Asen 2. (1218-41) a great kingdom was rebuilt. Internal instability and strife with Serbia and Byzantium led to the division into small principalities that succumbed to the expansion of the Ottomans from the mid-1360’s; in 1393 Tărnovo fell, and the northwesternmost parts were lost in 1396.
For the next nearly five centuries, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish-Islamic rule and colonization left their mark on the central administration and city life in particular, while the Bulgarian rural population was often left to local self-government. During the Ottoman downturn, sporadic attempts at rebellion erupted, but an actual separatist movement, backed by Russia, did not take shape until the early 1800’s. with appeal to national independence from the Ottomans and liberation from Greek cultural and ecclesiastical influence.
In the spring of 1876 a major uprising was defeated; the process led to European intervention in great power, followed by a Russian declaration of war on the Ottomans. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, the Ottoman armies collapsed, and the preliminary peace agreement (San Stefano 3.3.1878) demarcated the borders of a Greater Bulgaria incl. Thrace, South Dobrudja (South Dobrogea) and Macedonia. Pga. fear of a large Russian sound state in the Balkans, England and Austria could not approve these borders, and during the Berlin Congress the same year, plans for a Greater Bulgaria were taken off the table. Instead, in the area between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains, the principality of Bulgaria was established, formally in vassal relations with the sultan and with the capital of Sofia. The area south of the Balkans became the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia,
The great powers’ reversal of the San Stefano peace, and in particular the abandonment of Macedonia, has since led to serious crises in Bulgaria’s domestic and foreign policy history.
The Tărnovo Constitution of 1879 was a victory for the Liberals of Bulgaria, but the newly elected German prince Alexander of Battenberg (1879-86) supported the Conservative wing. The conflict between the wings as well as strong Russian influence on political life and the military made normal political conditions difficult. In Eastern Rumelia, the Bulgarian majority of the population launched a coup in 1885, and with Alexander’s approval, the area was annexed to Bulgaria. The great powers disapproved of the association, and Serbia declared war. Despite a weak starting point, the Serbian forces were defeated and the union established, although international recognition was lacking. The course of the union had ruined the relationship between Alexander and Russia, and in 1886 the pro-Russian officer corps carried out a coup that forced the prince to abdicate.
The period up to 1894 was marked by Prime Minister Stefan Stambolov, who vehemently sought to normalize political conditions. The question of regency was resolved with the German prince Ferdinand of Saxony-Coburg (1887-1918).
The renewed vitality of the Ottoman Empire after the revolt of the Young Turks in 1908 caused concern in Bulgaria, which, after acceptance by Austria, broke the decision of the Berlin Congress and declared independence. Ferdinand assumed the title of Tsar and in the following years personally shaped Bulgarian politics.
During 1912, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro entered into secret alliances over the division of Macedonia; in the fall, they declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The Alliance’s success in the First Balkan War was conspicuous, but strife arose over the agreed division. Bulgaria overplayed its cards and in 1913 declared war on its former allies, but came under in less than a month in a hopeless military situation. At the conclusion of the peace after the Second Balkan War, Romania gained southern Dobrudja, and only a small part of Macedonia and Thrace with access to the Aegean Sea fell to Bulgaria.
Nor did World War I fulfill Bulgaria’s territorial ambitions. After occupying a waiting position, the country entered the German-Austrian side in 1915 and occupied large areas of Macedonia and Romania. The protracted war depleted the country’s resources, and the military collapsed during French and British attacks in September 1918. Ferdinand abdicated, left the country, and handed over the throne to his son, Tsar Boris III (1918-43). The terms of the peace led to the cession of smaller territories to Yugoslavia, and the possessions in Thrace fell to Greece. The massive war damages, refugees and a ruined economy weighed on Bulgaria in the first interwar years.
The Agrarian Party, led by Aleksandăr Stambolijski, began, among other things, land reforms in the early 1920’s, but an alliance of the army, Macedonian refugees and nationalists carried out a coup, and Stambolijski was assassinated in 1923. Crises and terrorist acts came to shape political life until 1934, when a military coup put out the Tărnovo Constitution of force, and from 1935 Boris’ direct influence on the government grew.
At the outbreak of World War II, Boris sought to keep Bulgaria neutral, but increasing pressure in the winter of 1941 led the country into war on the German side, guaranteeing territorial expansions that had already been settled in 1940 with South Dobrudja. Bulgarian troops occupied Macedonia and Thrace, but apart from heavy airstrikes in the winter of 1943/44, the war bypassed Bulgaria. A coalition of resistance groups, the Fatherland Front, grew slowly during the war years, but the government’s efforts to pull the country out of the war did not bear fruit. Without meeting resistance, Soviet forces invaded the country on September 8, 1944, and the Fatherland Front formed the day after the government. In just over 30 years, three wars had been lost, but the peace agreement reached in 1947 maintained the 1940 borders.
With Russian support, the Communist part of the Fatherland Front, led by Georgi Dimitrov, launched a purposeful and unscrupulous maneuver of political opponents; internationally known became the manipulated process against opposition leader Nikola Petkov that led to his execution.
In 1946, the minor Tsar Simeon II (1943-46) had gone into exile after a referendum on the monarchy. The following year, a Soviet-style constitution was introduced with a socialized economy, and the collectivization of agriculture began; The dominance of the Communist Party (BKP) was complete, and its position in the Eastern Bloc was confirmed by its accession to COMECON in 1949 and the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
The confrontation with Stalinism was led in 1956 by Todor Zhivkov, who later became both party leader and head of state. Zhivkov pursued a foreign policy that was often difficult to distinguish from the Soviet one, and five-year plans set great goals for industrial and agrarian production. Under BKP’s leadership, living standards grew, but shortages and problems with poor processing quality arose constantly, just as foreign debt grew. A particular problem was the relationship with the Turkish minority, and a brutal policy of forced bulgarization in the winter of 1984/85 triggered opposition from the affected populations; international protests followed and relations with Turkey deteriorated. In the summer of 1989, over 300,000 Bulgarian Turks emigrated to Turkey, but since then many have returned. During the changes in the Soviet Union in the 1980’s, Zhivkov first sought to follow in the footsteps of reform policy, but tightened since the ideological control, with a budding environmental movement. Under growing pressure, he was deposed on 10 November 1989 in an internal showdown in the BKP, followed by large anti-communist demonstrations.
Bulgaria – history (after the collapse of communism)
Bulgaria was after the collapse of communism marked by political and economic instability. For a long time, it made it difficult for the country to integrate into the new world order, and the population had to go through several major social and economic crises. Only in the early 2000-t. created a more targeted policy basis for NATO membership in 2004 and expected accession to the European Union in 2007.
In the spring of 1990, the new leadership of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP) sought to steer the development towards democracy and a market economy through roundtable discussions with the opposition, which was united in the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS). The repressive policy towards the country’s Turkish population diminished and the completely dominant social and political role of the Communist Party was abolished. The first free elections in the summer of 1990, through strong support from the rural population, gave a surprising but flimsy majority to the BKP, now renamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). The BSP tried in vain to involve the opposition in the formation of the government, while the opposition leader Zhelyu Zhelev became the new president.
In elections the following year, the SDS became the largest party, but without an absolute majority, and the first Bulgarian opposition government led by Filip Dimitrov sat for less than a year. Its results were not many, and a political initiative such as the Privatization Act proved ill-prepared. An uncertain parliamentary situation and clashes with the president led to the resignation of the government at the end of 1992. The deadlock was resolved by the appointment of a non-partisan head of government who would lead Bulgaria for the next two years. Nor did this government show much action. Compared to other Eastern European countries, Bulgaria lost ground through much of the 1990’s,
In the 1994 parliamentary elections, the BSP won an absolute majority, and the leader of the Socialist Party, Zjan Videnov, was Prime Minister 1995-96. Inflation peaked at over 500% annually, banks collapsed, strikes and demonstrations took hold, organized crime grew, and especially the winter of 1996 was marked by social distress and a shortage of even ordinary groceries.
In the 1997 election, the opposition parties won; Petar Stojanov became the new president, and Ivan Kostov the new prime minister. Both came from the Union of Democratic Forces, and from 1997 began a real and in the long run successful transformation of Bulgaria. The new government implemented an economic reform policy with loans from the International Monetary Fund to counter the increasingly severe economic crisis. It happened through a currency reform, which tied the Bulgarian currency to the D-mark, later the euro. The fixed exchange rate policy, which strengthened foreign investment and Bulgaria’s status as a candidate country for the EU, was socially harsh but macroeconomically effective. Monetary policy was followed by extensive privatizations, deregulation of fixed-price systems and the closure of loss-making public factories.
At the end of his tenure, Kostov’s government ran into difficulties. The international trade boycott of Serbia cost trade revenues, inflation rose again, unemployment proved difficult to reduce, corruption was out of control, and many especially young and well-educated people emigrated to the hundreds of thousands, leaving Bulgaria with declining populations.
The beginning of 2000-t.
General lack of confidence in the government led to a remarkable election victory in 2001, when ex-Tsar Simeon II through a new national movement won an overwhelming victory and half of the seats in parliament. Simeon thus returned to power in an unusual way after going into exile in 1946; in July, President Stojanov, under the bourgeois name Simeon Sakskoburggotski, appointed him prime minister.
The government’s goal was to stop the devastating corruption and crime, to bring Bulgaria into NATO and the EU and to increase the living standards of the population. The ex-tsar’s government successfully led the country towards NATO and the EU, and good results could also be shown economically, but crime, unemployment and continued insecure and difficult living conditions, especially for employees, pensioners and single people, did not succeed.
In the 2005 elections, the Socialists again won the largest share of the vote and subsequently led a coalition with the unifying project to implement the final and necessary reforms to bring Bulgaria into the EU in 2007.