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Bulgaria: Table A. Chronology of Important Events
Country Study > Table A. Chronology of Important Events


Seventh Century

ca. 630 - First federation of Bulgar tribes formed.

681 - Byzantine Empire recognizes first Bulgarian state.

Ninth Century

811 First Bulgarian Empire defeats Byzantine Empire, begins expanding.

870 - Tsar Boris I accepts Christianity (Eastern Rite Orthodox) for Bulgaria.

893-927 - Reign of Tsar Simeon, first golden age; maximum size of First Bulgarian Empire.

Tenth Century

924 - Simeon defeated by Byzantines; first empire begins decline.

Eleventh Century

1014 - Byzantines inflict major military loss on Tsar Samuil.

1018 - Bulgaria becomes part of Byzantine Empire.

Twelfth Century

1185 - Asen and Peter lead revolt against Byzantine Empire, reestablishing Bulgarian state with capital at Turnovo.

Thirteenth Century

1202 - Tsar Kaloian makes peace with Byzantine Empire, achieves full independence, and begins Second Bulgarian Empire.

1204 - Treaty with Rome recognizes pope and consolidates western border of Bulgarian Empire.

1218-1241 - Reign of Ivan Asen II, second golden age of Bulgaria and period of territorial expansion

1241 - Tatar raids and feudal factionalism begin, causing social and political disorder.

1277 - Peasant revolt; "swineherd tsar" Ivailo takes power.

ca. 1300 - Tatar raids end.

Fourteenth Century

1323-1370 - Under Mikhail Shishman and Ivan Aleksandur, territorial and commercial expansion resumes.

1385 - Sofia captured by Ottoman Empire.

1389 - Turks defeat Serbs at Kosovo Polje, exposing remaining Bulgarian territory to Ottoman occupation.

Fifteenth Century

1453 - Constantinople falls to Ottoman Empire, ending Byzantine Empire.

Sixteenth Century

ca. 1600 - Ottoman Empire reaches peak of its power and territorial control.

Seventeenth Century

1688 - Suppression of Bulgarian revolt against Ottomans at Chiprovets ends Catholic influence in Bulgaria.

Eighteenth Century

1741 - Hristofor Zhefarovich completes his Stematografia, seminal work on Bulgarian cultural history.

1762 - Paisi of Hilendar writes a history of the Bulgarian people, using vernacular Bulgarian.

Nineteenth Century

1804 - Serbia is the first Slavic land to take arms against Ottoman Empire.

1806 - Sofronii Vrachanski publishes first book printed in Bulgaria.

1815 - Bulgarian volunteers join Serbian independence fighters.

ca. 1820 - End of kurdzhaliistvo, anarchic period precipitated by breakdown of Ottoman authority in Bulgarian territory.

1835 - Neofit Rilski opens first school teaching in Bulgarian, using Petur Beron's secular education system.

1840 - First girls' school teaching in Bulgarian opens.

1844 - First periodical printed in Bulgaria.

1856 - First chitalishte (public reading room) opens.

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

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

1870 - Bulgarian Orthodox Church declared a separate exarchate by Ottoman Empire.

1875 - September Uprising, first general Bulgarian revolt against Ottoman rule, crushed.

1876 - April Uprising spurs massacres of Bulgarians by Ottomans and European conference on autonomy for Christian subjects of Ottoman Empire.

1878 - Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 ends in Treaty of San Stefano, creating an autonomous Bulgaria stretching from Aegean Sea to Danube.

1878 - In Treaty of Berlin, Western Europe forces revision of Treaty of Berlin, returning area south of Balkan Mountains to Ottoman Empire; a smaller Bulgaria retains autonomy within the empire.

1879 - Turnovo constitution written as foundation of Bulgarian state; Alexander of Battenburg elected prince of Bulgarian constitutional monarchy.

1886 - Alexander deposed by army officers.

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

1891 - Social Democratic Party, later Bulgarian Communist Party, founded.

1899 - Bulgarian Agrarian Union founded to represent peasant interests.

Twentieth Century

1903 - Suppression of Ilinden-Preobrazhensko Uprising sends large numbers of Macedonian refugees into Bulgaria and inflames Macedonian issue.

1908 - Ferdinand declares Bulgaria fully independent of Ottoman Empire and himself tsar.

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

1913 - In Second Balkan War, Bulgaria loses territory to Serbia and Greece; Bulgarian nationalism on the rise.

1915-18 Bulgaria fights in World War I on side of Central Powers; decisive defeat at Dobro Pole (1918) forces Ferdinand to abdicate in favor of his son Boris III.

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

1919 - Under Prime Minister Aleksandur Stamboliiski, agrarians become dominant political party; socialist parties also profit from postwar social unrest.

1923 - After four years of drastic economic reform and suppression of opposition, Stamboliiski assassinated by Macedonian extremists.

1923-1931 - Coalition Tsankov and Liapchev governments suppress extremists; social tensions rise with world economic crisis of 1929.

1934 - In Balkan Entente, Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia reaffirm existing Balkan borders; Bulgaria refuses participation, is isolated.

1934 - Right-wing coup by Zveno coalition begins dictatorship, abolishes political parties; Macedonian terrorism ends.

1935 - Boris III deposes Zveno and 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 - Boris III dies, leaving three-man regency to rule for his underage son Simeon II.

1943-44 Allied air raids damage Sofia heavily; activity of antiwar factions in Bulgaria increases.

1944 - As Bulgarian government seeks peace with Allies, Red Army invades; temporary Bulgarian government overthrown by communist-led coalition.

1946 - Georgi Dimitrov of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) becomes prime minister of the new Republic of Bulgarian.

1947 - Dimitrov constitution goes into effect; remaining opposition parties to BCP silenced; state confiscation of private industry completed.

1948-49 Muslim, Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic religious organizations restrained or banned.

1949 - Joseph V. Stalin chooses Vulko Chervenkov to succeed Dimitrov; period of Stalinist cult of personality, purges of Bulgarian BCP, and strict cultural and political orthodoxy begins.

1950 - Large-scale collectivization of agriculture begins, continuing through 1958.

1953 - Death of Stalin begins loosening of Chervenkov's control, easing of party discipline.

1956 - Todor Zhivkov becomes first secretary of BCP.

1957-58 After Soviet invasion of Hungary, Bulgaria cracks down on nonconformism to party line in culture and politics.

1962 - Nikita S. Khrushchev annoints Todor Zhivkov as successor to Chervenkov; Zhivkov becomes prime minister and is unchallenged leader for the next twenty-seven years.

1968 - Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia tightens government control in Bulgaria.

1971 - New constitution specifies role of BCP in Bulgarian society and politics.

1978 - Dissident Georgi Markov assassinated in London.

1981 - Economic restructuring in New Economic Model brings temporary economic upswing, no long-term improvement.

1981 - Under direction of Liudmila Zhivkova, Bulgaria celebrates its 1,300th anniversary.

1984 - First program of assimilation of ethnic Turkish minority begins.

1987-88 Dissident groups begin to form around environmental and human rights issues.

1989 - Summer Second Turkish assimilation program brings massive Turkish emigration, increased dissident activity, and international criticism.

1989 - Fall Massive antigovernment demonstrations trigger party dismissal of Zhivkov. 1990 Three BCP-dominated governments are formed and dissolved; round table discussions between BCP and opposition parties begin to formulate reform legislation.

1990 - June First multiparty national election since World War II gives majority in National Assembly to Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP; formerly BCP) with large opposition block to Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), which has refused participation in government.

1990 - July Tent-city demonstrations begin in Sofia, continue through summer.

1990 - August UDF leader Zheliu Zhelev chosen president.

1990 - September Zhelev meets with French and American leaders, receives pledges of economic support.

1990 - November-December General strike forces resignation of government of Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov; interim coalition government formed under Dimitur Popov.

1991 - January Initial phase of economic reform, including price decontrol on some commodities, goes into effect.

1991 - Spring Arable Land Law begins redistribution of land to private farmers.

1991 - July New constitution approved by National Assembly; national elections set for October.

Data as of June 1992

Last Updated: June 1992

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bulgaria was first published in 1992. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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