Mongol invasion of Bulgaria and Serbia

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During the Mongol invasion of Europe, Mongol tumens led by Batu Khan and Kadan invaded Bulgaria in the spring of 1242 after having defeated the Hungarians at the battle of Mohi and ravaged the Hungarian regions of Croatia and Dalmatia.[1]

There were good relations between Hungary and Bulgaria at the time of the Mongol invasion, the Bulgarian tsar, Kaliman I, was a nephew of the Hungarian king, Béla IV, being the son of Béla's sister, Anna Maria, and tsar Ivan Asen II. Around 1240, facing the threat of Mongol invasion, the Hungarians, Bulgars and Cumans entered into an alliance.[2][3]

When the Mongol commander Kadan withdrew from devastating Dalmatia, he passed through Bosnian and Serb lands to join up with the main army under Batu in Bulgaria. According to the Persian historian Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, the Buglarian capital of Tarnovo was sacked, this is unlikely, but rumour of it spread widely, being repeated in Palestine by Bar Hebraeus.[1] The invasion of Bulgaria is mentioned in other contemporary sources, such as Philippe Mouskès, Thomas of Cantimpré and Ricoldo of Montecroce.[4]

By 1253, Kaliman I was a tribute-paying vassal of the Mongols, a status he had probably been forced to accept during the invasion of 1242.[5]


  1. ^ a b Jackson (2005), p. 65.
  2. ^ Jackson (2005), p. 61.
  3. ^ Dimitrov (1997), p. 14.
  4. ^ Jackson (2005), p. 79, n. 55.
  5. ^ Jackson (2005), p. 103.


  • Cahen, Gaston (1924). "Les Mongols dans les Balkans". Revue Historique. 146: 55–59. 
  • Dimitrov, Hristo (1997). "Über die bulgarisch-ungarischen Beziehungen (1218–1255)". Bulgarian Historical Review. 25 (2–3): 3–27. 
  • Jackson, Peter (2005). The Mongols and the West, 1221–1410. Routledge. 
  • Madgearu, Alexandru (2016). The Asanids: The Political and Military History of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1280). Leiden: Brill. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Schreiner, Peter (1985). "Die Tataren und Bulgarien: Bemerkungen zu einer Notiz im Vaticanus Reginensis gr. 18". Études balkaniques. 4: 25–29. 
  • Decei, Aurel (1973). "L'invasion des Tatars de 1241/1242 dans nos régions selon la Djāmiʿ ot-Tevārīkẖ de Fäzl ol-lāh Räšīd od-dīn". Revue Roumaine d'Histoire. 12: 101–21. 
  • Nikov, Petur (1919–20). Tatarbolgarskite otnosheniia prez srednite vekove s ogled k′m tsaruvaneto na Smiletsa. Godishnik na Sofiiskiia Universitet, I. Istoriko-filoologicheski fakultet 15–16. Sofia.