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Plate 14 from Die Bulgaren in ihren historischen, ethnographischen und politischen Grenzen by Ishirkoff & Zlatarski Index no. 0048:0014
Bulgaria after 1355  —  Bulgarien nach 1355

The green-bordered text below is is the English version of the explanatory text, from the page facing the map. Another page on this site gives the full text in German, English, French, and Bulgarian.

14. – Bulgaria after 1355.

After Iwan Assen's death the rapid breakdown of the Bulgarian State set in.

Torn by interior disputes and riots that often assumed the character of civil war, and permanently attacked by foreign enemies (Niceans, Tatars, and the Byzantines after the restoration of the Byzantine Empire), Bulgaria was not able to counteract the rapid growth of Servia, which became conspicuous at the end of the XIIIth century. The Servian kings of that time succeeded in enlarging their state by winning Bulgarian territories in the Pomorava district and in Macedonia, so that Servia gained its greatest expansion at the time of Stefan Dushan (1331-1355). But after Dushan's death his extensive empire broke up into a number of smaller states, each of which hastened to proclaim its own independence. Thus two small independent states formed themselves out of the Bulgarian territory in Macedonia: the Kingdom of Prilep whose ruler was Volkaschin and, after his death, his son, Kral Marco, the latter being the wonderfully praised hero of the national poetry of Bulgaria; and the Principality of Welbuschd which was reigned over by Iwan Dragasch and his mother, afterwards by his brother Constantine, a son-in-law of the Bulgarian czar Iwan Alexander.

Internal political reasons soon after forced the czar Iwan Alexander (1331-1371), in the year 1355, to discharge himself of the city of Bdin (Widin) and the whole surroundings, and to give them to his eldest son, Iwan Stratzimir, who ruled over this land as independent czar.

In a similar manner he also cut off the province of the east coast (Dobrudja, Silistra, and Warna) which became half-independent principalities (at first) under the administration of Balik, later under Dobrotitsch; this latter becoming an independent ruler after Iwan Alexander's death.

Thus fell to pieces the old, great Empire of Iwan Assen II in the year 1355, hereafter forming several small states: the Kingdoms Tirnowo ayd Widin, nearly constantly an war with each other, the Kingdom Prilep, the Principality Welbuschd and the coast-district (Primorie). The Morawa district, however, remained in foreign hands.The Bulgarian Empire, cut down in such a manner, was not able to withstand the terrible pressure of the Turks, the new conquerors of the Balkan peninsula. It was easy for the latter to subject the small states one after the other, and by the end of the XIVth century they established their supremacy on the Balkan peninsula more and more.

This map shows the decay of the second Bulgarian Emplre before the subjugation under the rule of the Turks.

Keywords: Bulgaria

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