Bulgaria during the reign of Simeon the Great, 10th century
|•||1397–1422||Constantine II (last)|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|Today part of|
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 the Danube River, and is usually described as having lasted between 681 and 1018, when it was subjugated by the Byzantine Empire despite Emperor Samuel's fierce resistance. It gradually reached its cultural and territorial apogee in the 9th century and early 10th century under Prince Boris I and Emperor Simeon the Great, when it developed into the cultural and literary center 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, although some fringe views place it at 1422. Under Ivan Asen II in the first half of the 13th century the country gradually recovered much of its former power, though this did not last long due to internal problems and foreign invasions. The Empire became tributary to the Golden Horde, a successor state of the Mongol Empire in the 13-14th century. After the death of Emperor Ivan Alexander in 1371 Bulgaria was split into three countries and in the following decades fell under the domination of the Ottomans.
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