The Ottoman Conquest Of Bulgaria

The Ottoman map

In 1352 a detachment of Ottoman Turks sailed through Hellespont, now the Dardanelles - the strait separating Europe from Asia, and took Tsimpe, a small Byzantine fort. That is considered to have marked the beginning of the fresh offensive of Asiatic Islamism against the Christian civilization of Europe. The first two assaults at the beginning of the 8th century and at the turn of the 13th century were beaten off by the Christian political powers of the East - Bulgaria, Byzantium and Russia. The third storm, however, led to centuries long confrontation causing, at different times, utmost bracing of all European energies directed at checking the Muslim invasion. It was eventually stopped and fought back for ever no nearer than Vienna. This happened in 1683 and was drowned in seas of European blood. Bulgaria and all the other medieval Christian states in the Balkans were ruined in the twists of this dramatic clash between the European and the Asian civilizations during the l4th-l5th centuries.

0The reasons of the political downfall of the Christian South- east of Europe lay, first and foremost, in the extreme political particularism and lack of political trust among the Christia Balkan powers which prevented them from building up a strong perennial military and political alliance against the common enemy. The combat potentialities of the Bulgarian people alone, a people which at that time took up three quarters of the territory of the Balkan Peninsula, would have been sufficient to throw the Muslim invaders back to Asia. The Bulgarians failed to offer efficient resistance, because of their being split into several state formations and their being frequently involved in intricate political chicanery both between themselves and with close and not so close Christian neighbors. It would be true to say the same about the rest of the Balkan countries - Serbia and Byzantium, which had been divided into several independent feudal possessions towards the middle of the 14th century.

A young and vigorous centralized Islamic monarchy, drawing on the resources of Asia's boundless womb and elated by the Islamic martial ideology - an ideology aspiring to fix the banner of Mohammed on all lands of the 'unfaithful' and to establish a world- embracing Islamic empire, was already confronting the disunited ranks of Bulgaria and the other Balkan feudal states.

Paisii Hilendarski. He wrote the first bulgarian history in and so startet the revival.
Dr Peter Beron –prominent scholar
Hristo Botev - the greatest warriors against the Ottoman Yoke.

During the Revival period Bulgarian culture developed in conditions which would be uncommonly difficult for any one people - alien political power, foreign chuch administration, absence of own national cultural institutions and economically weak bourgeois class. Against that background, the cultural achievements of the Bulgarians were amazing, indeed.

One of the most significant cultural phenomena is that connected with the enlightenment. Neither the totally outdated medieval small monastery schools, used to teaching only simple reading and writing, nor the intellectually wretched level of education in the Muslim schools could satisfy the needs of the Bulgarian society. Then it was only natural to have the eyes of those fighting for modern education directed towards the achievements of modern Europe to whose culture the Bulgarian people felt close for religious, economic and psychological reasons.

According to the unanimous assessment of the Bulgarian cultural science, the then modern European civilization had given image, flesh and blood to the Bulgarian culture. The establishment of a school network was the most telling evidence to that end.

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