In the medieval history of Europe, Bulgaria's status as the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Българско царство, Balgarsko tsarstvo [ˈbəlɡɐrskʊ ˈt͡sarstvʊ]), wherein it acted as a key regional power (particularly rivaling Byzantium in Southeastern Europe) occurred in two distinct periods: between the seventh and eleventh centuries, and again between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The two "Bulgarian Empires" are not treated as separate entities, but rather as one state restored after a period of Byzantine rule over its territory.
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was established on the territory both north and south of the lower course of Danube River, and is usually described as having lasted between 681 and 1018, when it was subjugated by the Byzantine Empire and Kievan Rus' despite Samuel's fierce resistance. It gradually reached its cultural and territorial apogee in the 9th century and early 10th century under Boris I and Simeon the Great, when it developed into the cultural and literary centre of Slavic Europe, as well as one of the largest states in Europe.
Second Bulgarian Empire
The medieval Bulgarian state was restored as the Second Bulgarian Empire after a successful uprising of two nobles from Tarnovo, Asen and Peter, in 1185, and existed until it was conquered during the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the late 14th century, with the date of its subjugation usually given as 1396. The Empire became vassal of the Mongolian Empire, particularly Golden Horde, in the 13-14th century. Under Ivan Asen II in the first half of the 13th century it gradually recovered much of its former power, though this did not last long due to internal problems and foreign invasions.
The First Bulgarian Empire's greatest territorial extent during the reign of Tsar Simeon
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