Volga Bulgaria or Volga-Kama Bolghar, is a historic state that existed between the 7th and 13th centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now the Russian Federation. Today, Tatarstan is considered to be the descendant of Bulgaria (in terms of territory and people).
Bulgaria was founded around 660 by Kotrag Khan, the son of Kubrat Khan.
At the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers an independent state was founded around the year 800. The capital was Bolğar (or Bulgar) city, located 160 km south of the modern city of Kazan, Tatarstan, today Bolğar town . Other major cities included Bilär (the capital until 1236), Suar (Suwar), Qaşan (Kashan) and Cükätaw (Juketaw).
Modern Tatarstan cities Kazan and Yelabuga (Alabuğa) were founded as Volga Bulgaria's border castles.
A large part of its population was Turkic. Modern Chuvashes and Kazan Tatars are descendants of the Volga Bulgars. Another part included Finnic and Magyaric tribes (see: Bisermän).
By 922, Volga Bulgaria was converted to Islam, and the notes of the Baghdad missionary Ahmad ibn Fadlan tell us that it was adopded as an official religion. Converting to Islam made Volga Bulgaria independent of Khazaria.
Annexed by the Mongols in 1236, in the 1240s Volga Bulgaria was incorporated into the Golden Horde, which itself became an Islamic state when converted by Bulgar missionaries. In the beginning of the 15th century the Golden Horde dissolved into several states, of which the Khanate of Kazan, which included the former lands of Volga Bulgaria, became the most important in the 1430s. However, since the 1552 conquest of Kazan by Tsar Ivan IV ('The Terrible'), the Bulgar lands have been under Russian, and later Soviet rule.
Last updated: 05-07-2005 08:30:58
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04