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Anniversary of the 1331 battle of Ican Alexander

Anniversary of the 1331 battle of Ican Alexander

7/18/2009 10:13:54 AM
Ivan Alexander, also known as John Alexander, ruled as Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The date of his birth is unknown. He died on February 17, 1371.

The long reign of Ivan Alexander is considered a transitional period in Bulgarian medieval history. Ivan Alexander began his rule by dealing with internal problems and external threats from Bulgaria's neighbours, the Byzantine Empire and Serbia, as well as leading his empire into a period of economic recovery and cultural and religious renaissance.

However, the emperor was later unable to cope with the mounting incursions of Ottoman forces, Hungarian invasions from the northwest and the Black Death. In an ill-fated attempt to combat these problems, he divided the country between his two sons, thus forcing it to face the imminent Ottoman conquest weakened and divided.

By 1330 Ivan Alexander was himself a despotēs and governed the city of Lovech. Together with his father and his father-in-law Basarab of Wallachia, Ivan Alexander fought in the Battle of Velbazhd, against the Serbs at modern-day Kjustendil in 1330, in which Bulgaria suffered defeat.

The defeat, combined with the worsening relations with the Byzantine Empire, precipitated an internal crisis, which was exacerbated by an invasion of the Byzantines. A coup d'état drove Ivan Stefan out of the capital Tǎrnovo in 1331, and the conspirators placed Ivan Alexander on the throne.

The new ruler set about consolidating his position by regaining territories recently lost to the Byzantine Empire. In 1331 Ivan Alexander campaigned around Adrianople and reconquered northeastern Thrace.

Meanwhile, Stefan Uroš IV Dušan deposed his father Stefan Uroš III Dečanski and became Serbian king in 1331. This helped normalize the previously tense relations between the two countries. Ivan Alexander and Stefan Uroš IV Dušan concluded an alliance, which was cemented by the marriage of the Serbian king to Helena of Bulgaria, a sister of Ivan Alexander, on Easter 1332.

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