By R. J. Crampton

Richard Crampton provides a normal creation to Bulgaria on the cross-roads of Christendom and Islam. This concise historical past lines the country's development from pre-history, via its days because the middle of a robust medieval empire and 5 centuries of Ottoman rule, to the political upheavals of the 20th century which ended in 3 wars. It highlights 1995 to 2004, a necessary interval within which Bulgaria persisted monetary meltdown, set itself heavily at the highway to reform, elected its former King as major minister, and at last secured club in NATO and admission to the ecu Union. First variation Hb (1997) 0-521-56183-3 First variation Pb (1997) 0-521-56719-X

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In the mahalla the streets were narrow and the houses faced inwards onto courtyards rather than outwards onto the street. In urban economic activity the esnaf, or guild, played a dominant role. The structure of the esnaf, with its ranking of apprentice, journeyman and master, and its ruling council elected by and from local masters, was similar to the structure of guilds in western Europe, and like those in the west they provided welfare for their members, but in the Ottoman empire the esnaf was subject to a great deal of interference from local officials of the central government; there was little of the fierce independence which frequently characterised western guilds.

Non-Muslims were discriminated against in a variety of ways: they paid higher taxes than Muslims; Christian churches could not be as high as mosques; Christians could not wear the 29 30 A Concise History of Bulgaria sacred colour green; no attempt could be made to proselytise amongst Muslims; at times, Christians had to dismount from their horses when a Muslim passed the other way; Christians could not carry arms; they could not become tanners because that was Mohammed’s trade; and, most importantly, Muslim law was always superior to any other.

Little is known of the origins of the Cyrillic alphabet, and what is known is extremely contentious, but its creation is generally acknowledged to be the work of two Salonika-born monks, Cyril and Methodius. The introduction of the Cyrillic alphabet was of enormous importance. More than any other development it prevented the absorption of the Bulgarians by the Greeks to their south or the Franks to their west. It enabled the Bulgarians to create their own literature. And this they did with great rapidity.

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