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Published on Jan 10, 2008
According to a number of foreign scientists-historians, among whom Prof. Han, Stadtmueller and others, during the early Middle Ages the whole South Albania was populated with Bulgarians only. The indigenous population welcomed the Bulgarians as liberators and become related to them through marriages. Gradually it became a substantial element of the Bulgarian nation on the Balkans during the Middle Ages. For example the fortress Beli-grad with the Voyvoda Elemag in 1018 was the last Bulgarian stronghold the Byzantines encountered on their way to conquer the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Shortly afterwards, in 1041, the rebels of Tihomir and Petar Delyan managed to liberate Drach (today Durres) and during the rule of Ivan Asen II (1218-1241) the whole territory of Albania without Durres and Shkodra was incorporated into Bulgaria again.
The centuries-long massive Bulgarian presence resulted in the numerous preserved till today Bulgarian toponyms (geographical names) of mountains (Gora, Mokra, Smolika, Prokletiya, Korshpnik), rivers (Sushitsa, Dunavets, Bistritsa, Devol) and a number of settlements (Vrubnitsa, Ostreni, Topolino, etc.): "The Slav toponyms in Kosovo and Albania look more Bulgarian than Serbian, as the Bulgarians conquered those territories during the 9th and mostly in the end of the 10th century during the rise of the Bulgarian Empire with Ohrid as a capital, when the Serbians were to be found far from Kosovo. It was only during the rule of Stefan Nemanich (1196-1227), crowned as King in 1217, that the Serbian State incorporated the region of Pech, while the bigger part of the Kosovo territory remained outside its boundaries..."