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The history of one Balkan state

The history of the first Bulgarian state dates back to the 7th century.

Bulgaria was founded by Asparukh in 681. The Christianisation of the state began at the end of the 9th century. At the beginning of the 11th century Bulgaria was conquered by Byzantium. After more than 100 years, a major uprising restored the Bulgarian state to form the Second Bulgarian Empire. Bulgaria was flourishing over the next two centuries until it disintegrated into two smaller states, which were eventually subjugated by the Ottoman Empire. The Turks eliminated Bulgarian knighthood, deprived Bulgarian citizens of their rights and subordinated the Church to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Bulgaria remained an integral Turkish territory for the next 500 years. A great uprising in 1876 prompted to the Russo-Turkish War. Bulgaria became fully independent in 1908.

As a result of the Balkan wars, Bulgaria gained less territory than expected, so during World War One Bulgaria took sides with the Central Powers and in World War Two took the side of the Axis powers. After World War Two, Bulgaria became a Communist state for a period of 35 years. At the turn of the 70s and 80s, the crisis phenomenon in economic and social life developed. A series of crises in the next decade left much of Bulgaria’s industry and agriculture in shambles. The election of the former tsar Simeon II as a prime minister brought relative stability. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and 3 years later the European Union.

Text written in July 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Magda. I come from Poland and I am a volunteer in the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.