First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018)
After the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, Dobrudscha (Scythia Minor), Khan Asparuch founded the First Bulgarian Empire in 679, which was recognized by Byzantium in 681. Several agreements with Byzantium, interrupted by violent wars, secured the existence of this Slavo-Bulgarian empire (a small upper class of Bulgarian conquerors over a Slavic peasant population) with the capital Pliska (681-893). Khan Terwel (701–718) received the title of Caesar from the Byzantine emperor Justinian II. According to extrareference, throne disputes and social tensions led to a temporary weakening, which only Khan Kardam (777-802) overcame, so that his successor Krum (802–814) was able to expand the area to the Tisza and the Dniester at the expense of the crumbling Avar Empire. Under Presjan (836-852) Central Macedonia and Southern Albania were added. The adoption of Christianity (864 or 865) by Khan Boris I (852-889) consolidated the state and accelerated the assimilation of the population (Bulgarian Orthodox Church); Students of Kyrillos and Methodios spread from Bulgaria (from 885) the created Slavic alphabet (Glagolitic) and the Slavic liturgy.
During the reign of Simeon I, the Great (893–927), Bulgaria achieved its greatest development of power and cultural heyday with the capital Preslav. Against a coalition formed by Byzantium, the Pechenegs and the Serbs, Simeon was able to assert himself and win Greece up to the Peloponnese and in 924 also Serbia. On the basis of Old Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian), a Slavic literature (Cyrillic script) and Christian civilization were developed; in addition, Simeon achieved his own independent patriarchate in Bulgaria (based in Preslaw, from 980 in Ohrid). Under the rule of Tsar Peter, who was married to the Byzantine princess Maria Lakapene (927–969) began a decline accompanied by internal unrest, which led to the loss of Serbia in 931 and, after 934, the areas on the other side of the Danube. In the 10./14. Century BC a. The Bogomil religious grouping rapidly spreading among the peasants shook the authority of the church and intensified social conflicts. In 967-969, the Kiev prince, Svyatoslaw Preslaw, who was allied with Byzantium, was forced to withdraw in 971 by the Byzantine emperor Johannes I. Tzimiskes, who in 972 conquered Bulgarian territory in the northeast and made it a Byzantine province and the independence of the western half of the empire largely circumcised. The four sons of Comes Nikolaos, the Kometopuli, had regained part of the rule with an uprising in Macedonia and with Samuil (972 / 97-1014) in this western Bulgarian or Macedonian empire (969-1018; capital Ohrid) placed a tsar, who after conquests in Thessaly and on the Adriatic coast could consolidate internal relations and renew the patriarchy. After the defeat by Basil II. (the »Bulgarian slayer«) north of the Belassiza Mountains in 1014 and the loss of the capital Ohrid in 1018, however, the whole of Bulgaria was subjugated by Byzantium. Under Byzantine rule (1018–1185 / 87) Bulgaria was incorporated into the Byzantine thematic administrative organization; the cultural and ecclesiastical influence of Byzantium dominated, ecclesiastically Bulgaria was subordinated to the soon-to-be Greek Archdiocese of Ohrid. In 1185 the boyar brothers Peter and Ivan Assen I undertook an uprising in Tarnowo with the help of the Cumans and Wallachians, which Byzantium could no longer suppress. It had to agree to the restoration of Bulgarian statehood in 1187.
Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 / 1187–1393 / 1396)
Assen (1187–96) and his brother Kalojan (1197–1207) were able to expand the Bulgarian empire with the center Tarnowo (1186–1393) to Thrace and Macedonia, achieve recognition by Byzantium in 1202 and achieve a union with the Roman Curia in 1204 Kaloyan earned the title of king and the Bulgarian patriarch the primate dignity. The Byzantine rural aristocracy in Thrace, which was dissatisfied with the Latin rule in Constantinople, came to the aid of Kaloyan with his Bulgarian-Cuman troops, defeated the Latin army of knights at Adrianople (April 14, 1205) and took Emperor Baldwin I prisoner. Under Ivan Assen II. (1218–41) the despotate Epirus was conquered after the battle of Klokotnitsa (March 9, 1230); Bulgaria then rose to become the largest state in Southeastern Europe and to a cultural heyday. The union with the papacy was terminated and the autonomy of the Bulgarian patriarchal church was recognized by Byzantium (1235). In the follow-up battles and by the Tartar invasion of 1242, however, Bulgaria was so weakened that it had to accept large territorial losses to the Empire of Nikaia in Asia Minor. Conspiracies and power struggles of the boyars favored the rise of local rulers and paved the way for Konstantin Tich (1257-77), who was related to the Serbian Nemanjids, for the cuman Georgi I Terter (1280–92) and for the Schischmaniden dynasty (1324–96) who ruled from the center of Vidin on the Danube. After the defeat against the emerging Serbian empire on July 28, 1330 near Welbaschd (today Kyustendil), Bulgaria came under Serbian influence; the Bulgarians also suffered heavy defeats against Hungary and Byzantium and were threatened by the Turkish encroachment into Europe since 1352. Around 1363 Bulgaria disintegrated into states in the Aegean region and in the southwest; The rest of Bulgaria was divided into the principalities of Dobruja, Vidin and Tarnowo. After the defeat at Tschernomen in 1371, Iwan Schischman had to (1371-93) recognize the suzerainty of the Turks from Tarnowo (1375), who subjugated eastern Bulgaria in 1388, conquered Tarnowo in 1393 and ruled all of Bulgaria with the capture of Vidin after the victory over a crusader army at Nikopol on September 25, 1396.