The history of Bulgaria starts with the forming of the First Bulgarian Empire by Asparukh in 681 AD though previously other Bulgarian rulerships existed, but traditionally history of Bulgaria is beginning with Asparukh and union between Bulgars and Slavs at the lands of todays Bulgaria.
In 632 the Bulgars, originally from Central Asia, formed under the leadership of Kubrat an independent state that became known as Great Bulgaria. Its territory extended from the lower course of the Danube to the west, the Black Sea and the Azov Sea to the south, the Kuban River to the east, and the Donets River to the north. Pressure from the Khazars led to the subjugation of Great Bulgaria in the second half of the 7th century. Kubrat’s successor, Asparukh, migrated with some of the Bulgar tribes to the lower courses of the rivers Danube, Dniester and Dniepr (known as Ongal), and conquered Moesia and Scythia Minor (Dobrudzha) from the Byzantine Empire, expanding his new kingdom further into the Balkan Peninsula. A peace treaty with Byzantium in 681 and the establishment of the Bulgarian capital of Pliska south of the Danube mark the beginning of the First Bulgarian Empire. (At the same time one of Asparuh's brothers, Kuber, settled with another Bulgar group in present-day FYR Macedonia.)
Bulgarian culture is formed by traditions of the Bulgars and to some extend Thracians, Slavic language and after Christianisation - by Orthodox Christianity, drawing from both Western European cultural traditions (19th, 20th century) and the Eastern, Byzantine and later in 19th and 20th century Russian culture.
The First and Second Bulgarian Empires formed a cultural centre in Slavic Europe with its literary schools and educators which were a major source for Slavic literature and standardization of written literary Old Slavic language.
In political aspect Bulgaria went through radical changes (kingdom, communism and later republic democracy) and lost independence twice in its history, once by the Kievan Rus' and the Byzantine Empire (1018–1185) and once by the Ottoman Empire (1396 - 1878), which introduced many challenges, esp. after the Liberation in 1878. Bulgarian Kingdom after the Liberation was seeking to restore Bulgarian institutions, give place to Bulgarian science and education (where many new models were adopted like education for women), literature (creation of modern Bulgarian literature), standardization of the Modern Bulgarian literary language, etc. During communism Bulgarian state was seeking to improve the economic situation of small towns and villages, and to reduce social class differences that emerged in the monarchy and were partially received by the social differences during the Ottoman rule, education was made economically accessible to all, but entrepreneurship was forbidden, also freedom of speech, and travel to abroad was difficult due to inner restrictions which made Bulgarians eager to abandon communism. After the events at the end of 1989 and early 1990 in the Eastern Europe Bulgaria changed to democratic republic giving place for political pluralism and freedom of speech, and free market economy. In the early 2000s Bulgaria had a government with PM the former king and son of king Boris III - Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but monarchist sentiments didn't show strong enough for recovering monarchism, in fact Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's party formed coalition for the next government with the former communist party BSP, and currently Bulgaria is seeking for some neoliberal reforms that to both improve economy and put Bulgaria on the map of the leading in economic, cultural, educational and political aspect countries.
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