Russia and the Ottoman Empire sign a peace treaty in San Stefano, near Constantinople. Russia's victory is good news for the Bulgarians – they gain their independence and territories as far as the Aegean Sea after five hundred years of Ottoman domination. The peace treaty, however, is a tenuous one that will last only three months. In June, the Great Powers significantly change the borders of the state and leave its southern part under the rule of the sultan. In spite of this, Bulgarians celebrate the date as "Independence Day."
7 March 2003
At 19:45 Iliya Pavlov, President of MG Corporation and Bulgaria's richest man, is shot dead with a bullet through the heart in front his company's headquarters on G.M.Dimitrov Blvd in Sofia. A former wrestler, rumoured to have been linked to Communist–era State Security, Pavlov is a leading figure in the corporation better known as Multigrup. Initially, Multigrup is associated with racketeering and smuggling but after this comes to light it gets involved in engineering and tourism. Pavlov's assassination, one of at least 150 contract killings in Bulgaria since the start of the Transition Period, was either political or because of a conflict of interest. After the murder, MG Corporation gradually faded into insignificance.
10 March 1943
Forty–two delegates headed by Dimitar Peshev, the deputy chairman of parliament, petition against the government's decision to deport Bulgarian Jews to concentration camps. The petition is just the beginning of a wave of public protest in Bulgaria. The Holy Synod, citizens' associations and King Boris II, who had three years earlier approved the anti–semitic Racial Protection Law, all oppose the planned deportation. Nearly 50,000 Bulgarian Jews are saved from the death camps. This, however, does not apply to over 11,300 Jews in the Bulgarian–administered Aegean and Vardar regions of Macedonia, who are sent to Treblinka.
29 March 2004
NATO admits new members Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia at an official ceremony in Washington. The development had been predicted by former chairman of the Atlantic Club and later foreign minister Solomon Pasi, who said as early as 1990 that, after the inevitable collapse of the Warsaw Pact, Bulgaria would join the Alliance. At the start of the 1990s, his idea sounded far–fetched, but seven years later membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would be among the first decisions taken by the caretaker government of Stefan Sofiyanski.
31 March 1981
The major celebrations marking the 1,300th anniversary of the founding of the first Bulgarian state, initiated by Lyudmila Zhivkova, chairperson of the Committee for Culture and daughter of the dictator Todor Zhivkov, culminate with the inauguration of the People's Palace of Culture Sofia. The megalomaniacal structure, which bears Zhivkova's name until 1990 and is now better known as NDK, is built in four instead of 12 years. To clear space for the new building and the square around it, the authorities demolish one of the best neighbourhoods of the capital. In the first years of its existence, NDK hosts party congresses and folk concerts. Today, all kinds of events are organised in the labyrinthine corridors and halls, from shoe and textile exhibitions to film festivals and operas.
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers