"Bulgarian means a wise, learned person" (from the written history of the Volga Bulgarians)
By the 6th century, the Proto-Bulgarians had a predominantly nomadic lifestyle. During the second half of the sixth century and the beginning of the seventh century, they came into direct contact with Byzantium and gradually adopted a more sedentary lifestyle. The main livelihood of the population was cattle breeding. Crafts such as pottery, blacksmithing, leather processing and goldsmithing were well developed.
The Proto-Bulgarian army is essentially cavalry-focused and consists of all men old enough to carry weapons.
Around 660 AD, the last ruler of the Old Great Bulgaria, Khan Kubrat, died. The eldest of his sons, Bat Bayan, remained with his army in the capital of Phanagoria to withstand the pressure of the Khazars, while the rest lead the Bulgarian tribes towards new lands.
Kotrag decided to go east, where Volga Bulgaria was founded, on the banks of the Volga river around Bolghar, its capital city. Kuber passed through Pannonia and settled in the plain of Bitola (present-day Macedonia), and Alcek reached the lands of present-day Italy. With the bulk of Bulgarians, Asparuh headed for the Danube Delta, where, in alliance with the local Slavic tribes, he created the new Bulgarian state, with its capital Pliska. In 681, it was officially recognized by Byzantium.