First Bulgarian Kingdom

First Bulgarian Kingdom

The founding of Danube Bulgaria in the Balkans was probably the most significant event on the European continent of the seventh century. 

Initially, the leading role of this new political entity came from the Bulgarians. They imposed their leadership through a strict military and political hierarchy, with experience and traditions extracted from the Old Bulgaria of Kubrat.

The adoption of Christianity in the ninth century is of crucial historical importance, since it was combined with the teachings of the Bulgarian Church, the development of Slavic writing, and the evolution of the nation from a khanate to a kingdom.

The largest development that occurred during this period came with the old Bulgarian literature. The illustrations and works that reached us created a wealth of ideas, a diversity of literary genres and stylistic elegance, which gave a base to the period from the end of the ninth to the beginning of the tenth centuries to be defined as the "Golden Age of Bulgarian Literature". This is due to the traditions created by the students of Cyril and Methodius and of their schools – the Pliska, Preslav and Ohrid schools. The writing system was reformed, and gradually the Glagolitic alphabet was replaced with the more practical Cyrillic one. The amanuenses (monastic scribes) of the Golden Age contributed to the final establishment of the Old Bulgarian language and the Bulgarian national identity. Bulgaria was ahead of many European nations regarding the linguistic education of its ruling class and remained a purveyor of rich and diverse literature among the other members of the Orthodox peoples.

The fall of the First Bulgarian Kingdom under the rule of Byzantium in 1018 was the result of long and exhausting wars with the Byzantine Empire.