The Bulgarians take their name from an invading Asiatic horde (Bulgars) and their language from the Slav population, with whom they merged after 680. The Bulgarians carved out empires against a background of conflict with Byzantium and Serbia but after the Serb-Bulgarian defeat at Kosovo in 1389 Bulgaria finally succumbed to Ottoman encroachment. The Ottoman empire’s decline, however, engendered rebellion which met with brutal repression, provoking great power intervention. By the Treaty of Berlin (1878), Macedonia and Thrace reverted to Turkey, Eastern Rumelia became semi-autonomous and Bulgaria proper became a principality under Turkish suzerainty.
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