First Bulgarian Empire

End of the First Bulgarian Empire
Byzantine Emperor Basil II ©Joan Francesc Oliveras
1018 Jan 1

End of the First Bulgarian Empire

Preslav, Bulgaria

Resistance continued for four more years under Gavril Radomir (r. 1014–1015) and Ivan Vladislav (r. 1015–1018) but after the demise of the latter during the siege of Dyrrhachium the nobility surrendered to Basil II and Bulgaria was annexed by the Byzantine Empire. The Bulgarian aristocracy kept its privileges, although many noblemen were transferred to Asia Minor, thus depriving the Bulgarians of their natural leaders. Although the Bulgarian Patriarchate was demoted to an archbishopric it retained its sees and enjoyed a privileged autonomy.

The Serbs and the Croats were forced to acknowledge the supremacy of the Byzantine Emperor after 1018. The borders of the Byzantine Empire were restored to the Danube for the first time since the 7th century, allowing Byzantium to control the entire Balkan peninsula from the Danube to the Peloponnese and from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea.

Despite several major attempts at restoring its independence, Bulgaria remained under Byzantine rule until the brothers Asen and Peter liberated the country in 1185, establishing the Second Bulgarian Empire.

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Last Updated: : Thu Jan 18 2024