Kutrigur Huns, Avars and Bulgarians Khazars, Patzinaks and Cumans

History of the Volga Bulgars, 626-1236

The Khanate of Great Bulgaria was established in the Volga and lower Don basin in 626 by the Bulgars, descendants of the Huns. By 651 the Bulgarians had been subjugated by the KHAZARS, the Bulgarians splitting up in three groups, the Danube Bulgarians, the Onogur Bulgars inhabiting the steppes of Ukraine, and the Volga Bulgars. Later in the 8th century the Khazar Khanate disintegrated, and the Volga Bulgarians formed a separate Khanate, centering on the city of BOLGAR on the Volga river. It survived the invasions of the Magyars and Patzinaks, who took over the Ukrainian steppe in the 9th century.
In pagan times, the Bulgars had used an ancient Turkic script called GOKTURK. In 922, the Bulgarian assembly decided to adopt Islam; the Arabic script was introduced. Mosks were built, schools set up. The capital, Bolgar, surpassed western European cities in size and splendor. A Volga Bulgarian literature emerged in the 12th century.
Volga Bulgaria was in close contact with the Arab world, but also with Kievan Rus. Viking traders passed through the country. The Khanate was ravaged by the Tatar invasion of 1230 and conquered by the Tatars in 1236. It became part of the territory of the GOLDEN HORDE, later the KHANATE OF KAZAN. Today the region is called TATARSTAN.

Volga Bulgaria from History of Tatarstan
Historical Memory of the Tatar Ethnic Group, by Flura Ziyatdinova
REFERENCES Colin McEvedy, The New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History, London : Penguin, without year

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 8th 2004

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