No story of the Balkans would be complete without a mention of the Bulgar people.
The Bulgars, like the Magyars and the Turks who came later to Europe, were a Turkic (or Tartar) tribe from Central Asia. Around A.D. 681 about 250,000 of them, under Khan Asparuli, crossed the Danube into what would later become Bulgaria. The Bulgars interbred with the Slavs, who had arrived on the Balkan peninsula about 150 years earlier. "As is so often the case with mongrel products," writes the historian Nevill Forbes, "this new race exhibited considerable virility, cohesion, and driving power."