Bulgarian History

Visit the site of the Bulgarian Embassy

Bezoek de site van de Bulgaarse ambassade in Brussel

A picturesque country called Bulgaria has been existing for a long in Europe, linking East and West. Bulgaria remembers ancient civilizations and great people that wrote its turbulent history.

Bulgarian state inherited a succession of various civilizations – Thracian, Roman, Byzantine, ancient Bulgarian. As a state established by Khan Asparoukh, Bulgaria has been existing for more than 13 centuries in South-East Europe, which has been a meeting place and melting pot of tribes and nations.

Bulgarian state was founded here in 681 AD, when Slaves and ancient Bulgarians were brought together under the scepter of the Khan, and is one of the oldest countries in Europe. The conversion of the Bulgarians to Christianity in 865 AD joined Bulgaria to the Christian civilization.

The most important medieval invention of the Bulgarians -the Cyrillic script, gave a powerful impetus to the country’s cultural development.

The First Bulgarian Kingdom(681-1018)
681 – Bulgarian state was found as one of the first European states. The first Bulgarian capital is Pliska. Its kings(khans) Asparuh, Krum(803-814), Omurtag (831-851) make it a great power in the South-Eastern Europe.

865 – Khan Boris(852-907) introduced the East Orthodox
Christianity as an official religion in Bulgaria. In the Xth century
the Bulgarian king Simeon received a Tzar scepter from Constanti-
nople. Bulgaria borders tree seas.

855 – The Bulgarian brothers from Thessaloniki, Kiril and Metodi,
created the Slav Alphabet.

1018 – the Emperor Vasilii II, the Assassin of Bulgarians, conquered quered Bulgaria and made a province of the Byzantine Empire.

The Second Bulgarian Kingdom(1185-1396)
The Second Bulgarian Kingdom was created after the successful rebellion of the Bulgarian aristocracy. It begins with the reign of the Assen dynasty Joan – Assen II (1218-1241) was the
most powerful ruler of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Bulgaria again borders three seas.


1396 – Bulgaria falls under Ottoman rule. For five centuries Bulgaria is a
a province of the Ottoman Empire.

1652 – The monk Paisii from the Hilendarski Monastery wrote the “History
of Slavs and Bulgarians”. This year is considered as being the first in the
Bulgarian Renaissance.

1876 – The April Rebellion – unsuccessful and crushed in a sea of blood,
but provoked a great international indignation to the Turkish tyranny.

1877-1878 – The Russian-Turkish liberating war (Shipka mountain)

The Third Bulgarian Kingdom(1878-1945)
The Third Bulgarian Kingdom begins after the San Stefano Peace Treaty, signed on the 3rd of March 1878, after the end of the liberating war. According to this treaty Bulgaria is restored on the territories of the three historical and ethnic Bulgarian regions – Misia, Thracia and Macedonia.

1878 – on 13th of July,  signing of the Berlin Treaty, according to which the liberated Bulgaria is being separated into Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia, cuts a great part of the Bulgarian territories, which are left under Turkish domination.

1885 – The Union of Eastern Rumelia with the Bulgarian Principality 

1908 – The Prince Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg Gotha claims the Inde-pendence of Bulgaria. 

1912 - 1913 - Catastrophic for Bulgaria.  First World War.  

1940 -19 44 - Second World War.  Bulgaria is the only German ally that did not allow the extermination of its Jewish citizens.


Modern Bulgarian History
1944 – As a result of agreements between Stalin, Churchil and Rosevelt, Bulgaria is left under Soviet influence 

1956-1989 – years of the communist government of Todor Jivkov 

1989 – end of November, Bulgaria starts a new democratic development 

Nowadays Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic and has a competitive market economy. The head of the state is the President, who embodies the unity of the nation and represents the Republic of Bulgaria in its international relations.  

The Council of Ministers is the executive state body and directs the domestic and foreign policy of the country. The government manages the implementation of the state budget, organizes the management of the state property and approves of, or rescinds, certain categories of international treaties pointed out in the Constitution.

In May 2004 Bulgaria became member of NATO. Among the most prominent Bulgarians of the 20th century are the 1981 Nobel Laureate Elias Canetti and Professor John Atanasoff, who built the world’s first electronic digital computer in 1939.

Bulgaria has diplomatic relations with Belgium since 1880 and after
the Bulgarian liberation, Belgium is seen as a bright example of a
working liberal model, suitable for the young country.
The Belgian experience is used in the creation of the first Bulga-
rian constitution and the improvement of the public administration



Thousands of Bulgarian students graduate in Belgian universities experts from Belgium, in cooperation with their Bulgarian colleagues, have constructed the first railway and tram networks in Bulgaria,  power stations and factories. The creators of the modern societies in the two European countries are inspired by the common motto “Union fait la force”. 

Nowadays, this traditional friendship is a guarantee for the excellent bilateral relations. They are very active in the field of culture, science and education and are developing on the basis of specific three-year Programs with both the French and Flemish Communities and include exchange of trainees, experts and prominent figures in the field of culture, of scientists and professors, as well as of art exhibitions. “Europalia 2002 – Bulgaria” festival and the cordial reception of the Bulgarian culture in Belgium is just one example of the potential for the future enhanced cultural and social presence of Bulgaria on the European scene

The political dialogue between the two countries is being intensified on all levels and makes possible the pragmatic planning of their co-activities. The recent visit of His Majesty King Albert II in Bulgaria.  Bulgaria is a telling example of the enhanced cooperation between the two countries.
Belgium has much contributed for the preparation of Bulgaria for EU membership, which started on the first of January 2007.   A dream is coming out in reality.



The economic relations between the two countries have been characterized by their particular dynamism. Bulgaria much appreciates that Belgium is a major economic partner and one of its leading foreign investors.

Bulgaria continues to position its foreign and security policy in line with that of Belgium and the other countries of the EU. Bulgaria has aligned with the EU Plan of Action, Common Positions on combating terrorism and has ratified all international conventions relating to terrorism.

Belgian and Bulgarian soldiers participate together in peacekeeping operations in the West Balkans and Afghanistan. Bulgaria has been supportive of EU policies and positions within the WTO framework. Belgium and Bulgaria have similar positions on the future of Europe and the European Constitution in the context of the IGC of the EU.

We are confident that Bulgaria and Belgium will continue to be best friends in the enlarged European family.

From the Bulgarian embassy  Brussels