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Bulgaria

Ottoman rule

The Ottoman Turks first entered the Balkans as mercenaries of Byzantium in the 1340s, and they returned as invaders in their own right during the following decade. Between 1359 and 1362 Sultan Murad I wrested much of Thrace from Byzantine control and captured Adrianople (modern Edirne, Turkey), commanding the route up the Maritsa valley into the heart of the Bulgarian lands. In 1364 the Turks defeated a Crusade sent by Pope Urban V to regain Adrianople, but not before the Crusaders had committed so many atrocities against Orthodox Christians that many Bulgarians came to regard Turkish rule as preferable to alliance with the Roman Catholic West.

Although Ivan Shishman, Bulgaria’s last medieval tsar, declared himself a vassal of Murad in 1371, the Ottomans continued to seek complete domination. Sofia, in the west, was seized in 1382, and Shumen, in the east, fell in 1388. A year later the defeat of the Serbs at the Battle of Kosovo sealed the fate of the entire Balkan Peninsula. In 1393, after a three-month siege, TÅ­rnovo was taken and burned. Ivan Shishman allegedly died in Turkish captivity three years later. With the capture of a rump Bulgarian kingdom centred at Bdin (Vidin) in 1396, the last remnant of Bulgarian independence disappeared.

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Bulgaria - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11)

The Republic of Bulgaria lies on the Balkan Peninsula in the southeastern corner of Europe. The neighboring Turks of the Ottoman Empire controlled Bulgaria for almost 500 years. The capital is Sofia.

Bulgaria - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)

The Republic of Bulgaria occupies the eastern portion of the Balkan Peninsula. In 1946, some 1,200 years after it was founded as a kingdom, it came under Communist control, which lasted until the great political upheaval in Eastern Europe in 1989-90 and the demand for greater freedom (see communism). Its neighbors are Serbia and Macedonia on the west, Romania on the north, and Greece and Turkey on the south. The Black Sea forms its eastern boundary. Area 42,858 square miles (111,002 square kilometers). Population (2013 est.) 7,268,000.

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