By R. J. Crampton
Richard Crampton offers a common advent to Bulgaria on the cross-roads of Christendom and Islam. This concise historical past lines the country's progress from pre-history, via its days because the heart of a strong medieval empire and 5 centuries of Ottoman rule, to the political upheavals of the 20th century which resulted in 3 wars. It highlights 1995 to 2004, a necessary interval within which Bulgaria continued monetary meltdown, set itself heavily at the street to reform, elected its former King as major minister, and at last secured club in NATO and admission to the eu Union. First version Hb (1997) 0-521-56183-3 First version Pb (1997) 0-521-56719-X
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Additional info for A Concise History of Bulgaria (2006) (Cambridge Concise Histories)
Each separate religious group, or millet, was allowed to regulate its internal affairs. This meant not merely the organisation of their own religious life but also such issues as education, property law and family law. The head of a millet was the head of the religious group in question and he represented that community before the sultan and the Sublime Porte, or Ottoman government. The head of a millet was held responsible by the latter for the good behaviour of his flock who would be expected to pay their taxes and, where necessary or appropriate, to provide troops for the army or navy.
Finally there were cases of enforced, violent conversion. There were a number of such instances in the third quarter of the seventeenth century in the Rhodope mountains. The motivation for this sudden outburst of militancy amongst the Muslims is unclear. This was a time when Islam seemed to be resurgent with the sultan’s armies soon to press forward to Vienna, and the conversions could in part be explained by the exhilaration which this resurgence bred. A more sober explanation might be that the Ottoman military planners were anxious not to leave the passes through the Rhodopes in the hands of non-Muslims Ottoman rule 35 in view of the critical nature of the forthcoming campaigns; but this seems a risky strategy as the forcibly converted might be less reliable than Christians left in peace, besides which to forcibly convert relatively large areas to Islam would reduce the number of taxpayers, and this at a time when the imperial government was desperately short of revenue.
In 680 their leader, Khan Asparukh, led an army across the Danube and in the following year established his capital at Pliska near what is now Shumen. A Bulgarian state had appeared in the Balkans. 2 Mediaeval Bulgaria, 681–1393 Two main problems confronted the new Bulgarian state at the end of the seventh century: the need to establish clearly defined and secure borders; and the need to weld together the two main human components of the state, the Proto-Bulgarian conquerors and the conquered Slavs.
A Concise History of Bulgaria (2006) (Cambridge Concise Histories) by R. J. Crampton