views updated May 18 2018

Thrace (Thráki) Ancient se European country, now divided between Bulgaria, Greece, and European Turkey. From 1300 to 600 bc, the Thracian lands extended w to the Adriatic and n to the Danube. By c.600 bc, Thrace lost much of its e lands to the Illyrians and Macedonians, and the Greeks established the colony of Byzantium. In 342 bc, Philip II of Macedon conquered the country. After 100 bc, it became part of the Roman Empire. In the 7th century ad, the Bulgarians conquered the n of the region, and by 1300 they controlled all Thrace. From 1361 to 1453, the Bulgarians and the emerging Ottoman Empire disputed the region, which eventually fell to the Ottoman Turks. In 1885, Bulgaria annexed n Thrace. The regions either side of the River Maritsa became known as Eastern Thrace (Bulgaria) and Western Thrace (Turkey). After World War I, Bulgaria ceded s and most of e Thrace to Greece. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) restored e Thrace to Turkey, and the region retains these boundaries. A fertile region, its main economic activity is agriculture.