Degeneration, Darwinism and the Development of Eugenics in Bulgaria (1890–1929)

in East Central Europe

Abstract

The article treats the historical appearance of eugenic thinking in Bulgaria within debates on the notion of degeneration and on Darwinism since the early 1890s. Due to the marginal role of industry and urbanity in a widely rural country, such eugenic ideas initially only attracted a minority among Bulgarian intellectuals who followed similar debates in Russia. In the wake of Bulgaria's defeat in the First World War the focus of eugenic thinking shifted from the left to the right wing of the political specter with German racial hygiene as a new landmark. The article ends with the Bulgarian health legislation of 1929 which introduced voluntary prenuptial health certification.

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