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History of Bulgaria

The first Bulgarian Kingdom was founded by Khan Asparouh in 681. It was situated in what is now north-east Bulgaria, and was inhabited by Slavs from the Byzantium Empire, and Bulgarians who came  from an ancient Bulgarian state situated on the Volga river. The creation of the Slavonic alphabet by brothers Cyril and Methodius in 863 and the establishment of Christianity (East Orthodox) as a state religion in 864 contributed to the development of the Bulgarian nationality and created conditions for the flourishing of Bulgarian literature and culture. From 1018 till 1185 Bulgaria remained in the Byzantium Empire. In 1185 the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was declared after the end of Byzantium rule and oppression. In 1393 after a long war and fierce resistance the country fell under Turkish rule.

After an unsuccessful revolution in 1876, Bulgaria received freedom thanks to the Russian-Turkish Liberation War (1877-1878). The state was separated into three parts after the Berlin Conference in 1878.

In 1989, the country performed an unprecedented peaceful transition from autocratic communist rule to a democratic system. A new Parliament was elected in June, 1990 after the first free elections in 50 years. This Parliament made a New Constitution said to be one of the most democratic constitutions in Europe and the first among the former socialist countries. The main tasks facing the New Parliament (elected in the second free elections, October 1991) are creating laws that will ensure a transition to a free market economy.

The geographical position of Bulgaria, on the crossroads between Europe and Asia and North and South, is reflected in the rich and ancient history of Bulgarian culture, architecture, cuisine, customs and clothes.

13 October 1991 - The first free local authorities elections. 
January 1992 - The first free presidential elections. Zhelyu Zhelev was elected as head of the state. 
1994 - The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) returns to power in general election. 
1995 - BSP's Zhan Videnov is prime-minister. 
1997 - Mass protests over economic crisis. Opposition boycotts parliament and calls for elections. 
3 November 1996 - Petar Stoyanov, proposed by the UDF, was elected with a landslide majority as President of the Republic of Bulgaria. 
19 April 1997 - The Parliamentary elections were won by the Democratic Forces United /DFU/. A government was formed headed by Ivan Kostov, prime-minister. Bulgaria started on the road of genuine democratic reforms. Bulgarian currency pegged to German mark. 
2001 June - Former King Simeon II's party, National Movement Simeon II, wins parliamentary elections. Simeon Sakskoburggotski becomes Bulgarian premier in July. 
2001 December - Parliament agrees to destruction of Soviet-made missiles by late 2002, ahead of NATO membership. 
2002 November - Bulgaria included on list of seven countries formally invited to join NATO at Prague summit. 
2004 March - Bulgaria is admitted to NATO. 
2005 April - Bulgaria signs EU accession treaty, putting it on course to join in 2007 provided reforms are implemented in time. 
2005 June-August - Socialist Party led by Sergei Stanishev tops the poll in general elections. After weeks of wrangling the main 3 parties sign a coalition deal under which he becomes prime minister.

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