display | more...

{E2 GUIDE TO BULGARIA}

CONSOLIDATION OF THE MEDIEVAL BULGARIAN STATE 1300-1371

In the year 1300 Svetoslav Terter (1300-1322), the son of tsar George Terter, saw his chance in the rampant internecine conflict in the khanate of the Tatars, deposed the Tatar from the Bulgarian throne and proclaimed himself as a Bulgarian tsar. With a firm hand, the young and vigorous Bulgarian ruler put an end to the boyar ruinous skirmishes, eliminated through negotiations the Tatar threat, and started fighting for the recovery of the Bulgarian territories lost hitherto. After decades being on the defensive, the Bulgarian state was back on the offensive against Byzantium. As a results of a winning war between 1304-1308, the Bulgarians retrieved the southern Black Sea littoral and eastern Thrace. The Bulgarian foreign policy established fruitful political and economic contacts with Venice and Genoa. Its relations with all Balkan neighbors improved, too.

The measures to restore the Bulgarian state organism had yielded good results. It was comparatively easy for Bulgaria to over-come the dynasty crises of 1322 and 1330. Similar situations in the past had invariably led to lingering stagnation and to an ultimate headlong decline. In 1331 Ivan Alexander came to the throne and ruled Bulgaria for forty years, a political longevity unattained by any other sovereign of Bulgaria after the restoration of its independence in 1185.

At the very beginning of his reign, Tsar Ivan Alexander struck with awe Byzantium - Bulgaria's eternal rival in the Balkans. Invading Byzantine troops were stopped and defeated in the vicinity of Russocastro fortress, not far from the big modern Bulgarian port of Burgas. A long period of peace, confirmed by dynastic marriages set in. The relations with the new Balkan power, the kingdom of Serbia founded in the year 1300, were handled in the same pattern. Peace treaties covering the whole range of relations had also been signed with the Venetians and the Genoese.

The successful foreign policy of Bulgaria was no help in stopping the creeping feudal fragmentation of its territory. A number of local feudal governors in Macedonia, Thrace, Moesia and Dobrudja had gradually become independent landlords with purely formal connections with the central authorities in Turnovo. Tsar Ivan Alexander himself gave an example to this end. In 1356 he separated off Vidin from the Bulgarian monarchy and set up his son Ivan Sratsimir as a ruler there. Although the governors of the Bulgarian feudal possessions had never been in obvious conflict with the monarch, their independent foreign policy was not always in line with the sovereign interests of the Bulgarian state, to say nothing of the numerous occasions of strife and collision between the various Bulgarian, Byzantine, Serbian, Wallach and Hungarian feudal possessions in the middle of the 14th century, which had largely contributed to the impermissible depletion of the demographic and economic potentialities of the Christian East.


- Translated from the book "Bulgaria Illustrated History" by Maria Nikolotva
- Bulgarian text by Bojidar Dimitrov, PhD.
- Published by BORIANA Publishing House, Sofia, Bulgaria

text used here with permission from translator, save modifications for noding

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.