2020, vol. 8, no. 3. Nikolov A.
2020, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 424-436
Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
Abstract: Research objectives: The main goal of the report is to present the general trends of the Tatar topic in Bulgarian historiography, starting from its beginnings in the later part of the eighteenth century up to modern times. Another objective is to comment on the presentation of the topic about the Golden Horde and the so-called “Tatar hegemony” in modern history textbooks in Bulgaria. An additional issue is the context of the topic related to the theories of Bulgarian-Tatar real or alleged ethnic affiliations.
Research materials: For the preparation of the article the author used variety of specific accounts on the topic, covering different periods of the development of Bulgarian historiography. Some of them are summaries of certain periods or issues, related to the Tatar topic, other are more general narratives on Bulgarian medieval history. There is special focus on several history textbooks that are illustrative on the presentation of the Tatar topic for a broader audience, especially students. There are also some comments on negative image of the Bulgarians, depicted as “Tatars”, that circulated in several Serbian and Greek nationalist circles in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and how this type of propaganda affected the debate on Bulgarian ethnogenesis and the origin of the Proto-Bulgarians.
The novelty of the study emerges from the larger chronological frame, the broader type of historiographical works and history textbooks included and discussed, and this being the first general summary on the topic in English. Lastly, the topic of Bulgarian-Tatar relations in the Middle Ages is presented in a broader political and social context, related to the topic of the origin of modern and ancient Bulgarians, their link to the Volga Bulgars, and the possible common roots and heritage of Bulgarians, Tatars, and Chuvash people in modern times.
Research results: The Tatar topic in Bulgarian historiography emerged almost exclusively in the context of the influence of Nogay at the end of the thirteenth century, presented as foreign negative impact on Bulgarian development. Another aspect was the possible “Tatar” roots of ancient and modern Bulgarians, viewed mostly negatively by Bulgarian nationalists embracing Pan-Slavist ideas. In the course of time, the “Tatar” topic has been better researched and more objectively presented. During recent decades, there is a new approach presenting the Tatar Golden Horde not only as negative factor, but also as possible ally and protector of medieval Bulgaria in the context of a rather moderate regime of vassalage. In the textbooks, however, because of the more conservative character of this type of educational materials, the older stereotypes are still presented to a certain extent. In general, a positive image of the Tatar Golden Horde is slowly emerging, especially in the context of the common Bulgar component in the ethnogenesis of modern Bulgarians, Tatars, and Chuvash people.
Keywords: Golden Horde, “Tatar hegemony” in medieval Bulgaria, Bulgarian historiography, Bulgarian textbooks in history, “Tatar” issue in the debates about Bulgarian ethnogenesis
For citation: Nikolov A. The “Tatar Hegemony”: The Mongol Empire and the Golden Horde in Bulgarian Historiography and History Textbooks. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie = Golden Horde Review. 2020, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 424–436. DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2020-8-3.424-436
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About the author: Alexandar N. Nikolov – Ph.D. (History), Professor, Faculty of History, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski (15, Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd., Sofia 1504, Bulgaria). E-mail: email@example.com
Received May 30, 2020, Accepted for publication August 27, 2020
Published Online September 29, 2020