Bulgarian history is more important to the world than people realise. Yes Bulgaria is a small country of some 7.5 million people, but it is also the divide between east and west, Europe and the middle east….and also the birth place of European civilisation.
Many people would not know that Bulgaria is the place where the Thracian people settled over eight thousand years ago, forging the first settlements of people that started using trade routes through the east and also in to the tribal groups of present day western European countries.
The first recorded people to settle in the land of Bulgaria were the Thracian’s, around the 5th century BC. The Thracian settlement spanned the whole of Bulgaria, Romania and parts of northern Greece and Turkey.
It is said that the Thracian people were a major factor in the civilisation of Europe, and were the second largest population in the world after the Indian people during this period of history.
Some of the main cities set up by the Thracian people are still around today, and make up some of the oldest cities in Europe, like Plovdiv and Varna.
The structure of the Thracian people was very simple; there was a ruler, who happened to be the supreme priest who was above all others. The ruler would have a group of aristocrats to act as his aides; these aristocrats reined above all others except the main ruler. Below the aristocrats was the rest of the Thracian society. The main economy for the Thracian people was the production of food and raw materials.
Once the materials were used by the local population, the extras were taken through the southern trade routes to the Middle East. To this day archaeologists are finding a wealth of Thracian treasures hidden in burial mounds and other ceremonial places that have been buried for millennia.
The Thracian people that settled in Bulgaria are believed to have come from the east, possibly ancient Iranians or from Afghanistan. When these Thracian people settled they built the cities of Plovdiv, Rousse and Varna that still stand today.
At first the Thracian people were more tribal groups that stayed within their settlements by rivers and mountains, but over time they started to trade excess food and crafts to others to the east and west for items they did not have themselves.
This trade boosted the wealth of the Thracian people and helped to confirm their importance in building European civilisation. The Thracian people were very interested in gold and created some of the most ornate and oldest ancient gold artefacts that can be seen today.
The Thracian kings lived well and in death were buried in special tombs with their gold. Over the space of seven thousand years the Thracians were living well and building a great civilisation that was second in size only to India.
Unfortunately the growth and future of Thrace and the Thracian people was to be cut short as the swords of Philip of Macedon and later the Roman army killed off what was left of the first true European civilisation.
Today the language of the Thracians has gone along with their culture and people…in its stead lives the country of Bulgaria and the wonderful Bulgarian people that live there.