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History of Bulgaria

The History of Bulgaria (the Bulgarian state the descendant of which is the present-day Republic of Bulgaria; to be differentiated from Great Bulgaria and Volga Bulgaria) begins in the 7th century AD with the arrival in the Balkan Peninsula of the Bulgars, who had been moving north-westwards across the Caucasus and what is now southern Russia and the Ukraine. The origin of the Bulgars is not entirely clear. The established theory is that the Bulgars are related to the Huns, and more distantly the Turks, a position which is increasingly challenged by a theory claiming Aryan - Pamirian origin of the Bulgars. The Bulgars were governed by hereditary Khans and a class of nobles called boyars. Religiously, they were monotheists, and starting in the 8th century many in Volga Bulgaria converted to Islam. They were a warlike people who spent most of their time on horseback, raiding their neighbours and moving from place to place.

In the 6th and 7th century the Bulgars had lived on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Under pressure from peoples further east, such as the Khazars, one confederation of Bulgars, the Kutriguri, moved into the territory which is now Romania in the 6th century. By 681 they had crossed the Danube into what is now Bulgaria. The Utiguri Bulgars settled on the Volga, where they converted to Islam and maintained an independent state until the 13th century.


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