My curiosity about Bulgaria’s past got me reading ‘A Concise History of Bulgaria’ by R J Crampton. I started putting together a timeline for my own use (listing key dates in British history and listing key dates in Bulgarian history alongside) but have since thought it would be a shame not to share it with other members. So as not to swamp a thread with pages of dates, my original timeline has been turned into a blog. The blog covers dates from 6000BC to 2007AD, includes some maps and lists links to the web sites from which much of it is summarised.
What follows is a shorter version of the blog.
Firstly, a very brief summary to get you familiar with place names and empires mentioned in the timeline.
Bulgarian national boundaries as they are today only came about at the end of WW2. The earliest, pre-historical records refer to the SE Balkans as Thrace. The Thracian civilisation gave way to first the Greek Empire, then the Roman Empire, and then, following a division in the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire (or Eastern Roman Empire) before finally succumbing to the Ottoman Empire (Islamic Turks). Around the time of the end of the Roman and start of the Byzantine Empires, invading Bulgar people settled in the Balkans and created the first Bulgarian empire with a territory covering much of what is today Serbia, Macedonia and Romania. Ottoman invasion into the Balkans restricted the state of Bulgaria to the area south of the Danube and north of the Balkan mountain range. The area south of the Balkan mountain range became know as Eastern Romalia. The two states were not unified as an independent Bulgaria until the late 19th Centuary.
Timeline of key dates (UK non-bold; Bulgaria bold
3300-1200BC First stone circles and henges built
2500BC Thracian civilisations established in SE Balkan peninsular
1200-800BC Celtic cultures and tribal kingdoms start to emerge
600BC Thrace colonised by Greeks
100BC Thrace becomes part of the Roman Empire
54BC Julius Caeser conquers England
AD449 Angles & Saxons arrive in SE Britain
500 Slavic tribes begin to settle Thrace and Moesia
AD597 Start of conversion from Paganism to Christianity
600 Nomadic Asiatic Bulgars invade and become ruling elite
680 First Bulgarian Empire established
AD789 First recorded Viking attack
864 Christianity introduced
893 Bulgarian Empire at its Zenith; Bulgarian declared as the language of the Bulgarian Church. Development of the Cyrillic alphabet.
1018 Bulgaria becomes part of the Byzantine Empire
1066 Battle of Hastings
1185 Successful revolt against Byzantine Empire, second Bulgarian Empire established
1189 Richard I (the Lionheart) crowned King of England; goes to fight in the Crusades.
1337 Hundred Years War, England v. France starts
1389 Ottoman Turks invade; Bulgaria becomes part of the Ottoman Empire
1455 War of the Roses starts
1477 William Caxton publishes first printed book in England
1534 Henry VIII becomes head of the English church, seperating Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church
1605 Gunpowder Plot
1620 Pilgrim Fathers sail to America in ‘Mayflower’
1666 Great Fire of London
1787 First convicts sail to Australia
1789 French revolution and the storming of the Bastille
1804-14 Bulgarian volunteers help Serbs in their wars for independence from the Ottoman Empire
1805 Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar
1806 First book published in Bulgarian
1815 Napoleon defeated at the Battle of Waterloo
1801 Act of Union – Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Ireland formally joined to become the United Kingdom
1820’s Bulgarians help Greeks in their war for independence
1837 Queen Victoria on the throne
1850’s Revolutionary movement in Bulgaria for national independence grows
1854 France & Britian declare war on Russia, start of the Crimean War (France, Britain and Turks fearing the expansion of Russia in the Balkans)
1861 Population of Britian 23m
1877 Russians invade Balkans to protect Bulgarian Christians. Start of the Russio-Turkish war
1878 Bulgaria becomes an autonomous Principality of the Ottoman Empire with a Christian prince (Alexander of Battenburg). Eastern Rumalia (Southern Bulgaria) becomes an autonomous unit within the Ottoman Empire
Start of emigration of Muslim Turks back to Turkey and the decline of indiginous industries
1885 Easter Rumalia incorporated into the autonomous Bulgarian principality
1908 Independent Kingdom of Bulgaria established.
Population of Bulgaria 4m
1911 Population of Britain 42m
1914-18 World War I; Britain declares war on Germany
1914-16 Bulgaria initially declares its neutrality but following offensives against Serbia, Britain, Russia and Italy declare war on Bulgaria. Bulgaria signs military pact with Germany.
1917 Communist revolution in Russia
1918 Woman win the right to vote in Britain
1918 Bulgaria surrenders to the Allies
1939-45 World War II; Britain declares was on Germany following the invasion of Poland.
1939-44 Bulgaria initially declares its neutrality in World War II before declaring war on Greece, Yugoslavia, Britain and the USA. When USSR declares war on Bulgaria, Bulgaria withdraws from the war.
1944 Women win the right to vote in Bulgaria
1946 Communists win government elections and take control; the monarchy is abolished
1947 Formal peace treaty with USSR signed. People’s Republic of Bulgaria established
1949 NATO created.
1954 Forced assimilation drive against the 1m Turks living in Bulgaria. 310,000 forcibly expelled
1955 Warsaw Pact signed by the eight Communist Bloc countries.
1961 Berlin wall built
1969 Georgi Markov (writer and journalist) flees Bulgaria, settles in England (dies 1978 from poisoned umbrella tip)
1973 Britain joins the EEC
1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident
1989 Fall of the Berlin War
1989 Communist Party leadership replaced by pro-democracy supporters; Population in Bulgaria 9m.
2004 Bulgaria joins NATO.
2007 Bulgaria joins EEC.