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In The Shadow Of a Foreign Domination

The brilliant civilization of the medieval Bulgarians was cut short by the Turkish invasion in the 14th century. Bulgaria was conquered and was forcibly included in the Ottoman Empire for five long centuries.

During the last decades of the 14th century with the Ottoman conquest harsh demographic developments set in for the Danubian Bulgarians. The foreign invasion forced thousands of refugees to seek salvation from ruin and violence in regions north of the Danube. Separate groups of the population were deported to Asia Minor, others ? sold on the slave markets in the islands of the Archipelago, whence their traces were irreversibly lost. Dozens of settlements in the plains were deserted, because the Bulgarians would rather withdraw from the major roads, used by the Ottoman army in the frequent campaigns of conquest, to the Western Balkans and to Central Europe. As a result of the colonization of the Muslim population from Asia Minor, the ethnic image of some regions was also tangibly changed.

Over the ages the Bulgarian people were often subjected to long direct and indirect destruction by the sword of different invaders, but under the power of the Ottoman Empire that process acquired the features of genocide: the warrior men were slaughtered as was the peaceful population - children, women and old people; "blood due" was taken whereby young boys were taken away from their families and were trained to be killers of their own people. Scores of thousands of Bulgarians were resettled in Asia and assimilated. The abductions in slavery were supplemented by forcible conversion to the Islam and to the Turkish way of life, while the outright plunder and taking away of property led to the halt of the economic development.

The genocide against the Bulgarian people was particularly cruel, because it was likewise religiously opposed and ruthless, and its duration affected a great number of generations. The "infidels", called "gyaours" were denigrated to "second-rate" people ("raya", meaning ?herd?) and were subjugated to planned extermination in the name of "the right faith" to Islam. The long-term consequences were the hundreds of thousands if slaughtered and millions of unborn Bulgarians. Christian temples were razed to the ground, a Sultan order was issued, according to which the churches in the state were not to be higher than the tallness of man. The numerous Bulgarian uprisings against the foreign domination (the uprising of Constantine and Fruzhin, the Turnovo Uprising, the Chiprovo Uprising, etc.) were drowned in blood.

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