List of Bulgarian monarchs

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This is a list of Bulgarian monarchs from the earliest historical records to 1946, when the monarchy in the country was abolished. Early Bulgarian rulers are believed to have used the title Khan (see Bulgar society for more details), later possibly kniaz, and still later the title tsar. According to Djagfar tarikhy (a 17th century Volga Bulgar source which is widely suspected to be a hoax and is generally not used in historical research), the earliest Bulgar leaders bore the title of baltavar, i.e. the Turkic "Elteber", a viceroy, known from the Chinese annals by its Chinese equivalent "Sylifa" and documented in the 10th century by Al-Masoudi as a title used among the Dagestani Bulgars. The title Elteber or its variations like Ilutwer, Ilutver was recorded between the North Caucasian Huns, and Yiltawar or İltäbär (ibn Fadlan) in the Volga Bulgaria.

The title tsar, the Slavic form for caesar or emperor, was first adopted and used in Bulgaria by Simeon I following a decisive victory over the Byzantine Empire in 913. It was also used by all of Simeon I's successors until the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule in 1396 . After Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottomans in 1878, its first monarch Alexander I adopted the title kniaz, but as complete independence was officially proclaimed under his successor Ferdinand in 1908, the title was changed to tsar again. Tsar was used by Ferdinand and later by his heir Boris III until the abolition of monarchy in 1946.

Note: before reaching the historical rulers (see below), the Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans mention two legendary or semi-legendary rulers who are described as having lived for centuries: Avitokhol (sometimes identified as Attila the Hun, 300 years) and Irnik (sometimes identified as Attila's son Ernakh, 150 years), as well as a regent, Gostun (2 years).


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