The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences was founded as the Bulgarian Learned Society in September 1869 by Bulgarian exiles in the house of Varvara Hadzhi Veleva in Braila, Romania. The first statutes were accepted on 29 September and Nikolai Tsenov was elected president of the Bulgarian Learned Society. The Society began publishing a journal in 1870 and nine years after its foundation, in October 1878, the General Assembly of the Society voted to move the headquarters to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
By 1882 the Society had resumed functioning after a short break. Vasil D Stoyanov, who had been elected as Secretary when the Society was founded in Braila, Romania, was now elected as President. The Society began negotiations for a site for a building in Sofia, which was provided by the city council two years later. In 1884 the areas covered by the Society were extended to include some natural sciences, but at this stage mathematics and the physical sciences were still not among the Society's interests. At this time the Society came under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Bulgarian prince Alexander I. On 5 October 1890 the Society laid the foundation stone for a building in Sofia, which was completed in March 1893.
On 25 October 1898 the General Assembly of the Bulgarian Learned Society agreed to add physical and mathematical sciences as a branch of natural sciences. On 6 March 1911 the Bulgarian Learned Society changed its name to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. At this time Ivan E Geshov became President. The Academy began to construct a new building in 1925 and three years later the building was completed and the General Assembly met in the new building for the first time on 24 June 1928.
In April 1940 the Academy again changed its name, this time to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Arts. New statutes were drawn up and accepted but in 1941 a dispute arose when the government demanded that the Scientific Secretary of the Academy should be appointed by the government and not elected by the Academy. Despite opposition, it was agreed that the Minister of National Education should appoint the Secretary of the Academy.
In 1944 the Academy buildings were damaged by shelling during World War II and the Academy had to suspend its activities. Reorganisation in 1945 saw plans put in place to found a number of new scientific institutes as part of the Academy. The first institutes were set up in 1946 and the Institute of Mathematics was founded in 1947. It was renamed Institute of Mathematics and Informatics in 1995. By the time that the Institute of Mathematics was set up, the Academy had again been renamed, going back to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. At this time a law was brought in so that:-
... the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is the leading scientific institute in the country. It is a state organisation É under the authority of the Council of Ministers ...
In 1947 the Academy's statutes were cancelled and replaced by legal regulations. However, the statutes were reinstalled in 1957 when a law was enacted so that:-
... the issues of the structure, personnel and administrative bodies of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences as well as the rest of all the organisational matters are to be arranged by the Statutes approved by the Council of Ministers and sanctioned with a Decree of the Presidium of the National Assembly.
The Communist Party in Bulgaria took firm control of the Academy on 21 December 1972 when it was decreed that:-
... the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences develops its activities according to the program and decisions of the Bulgarian Communist Party ...
The Institute of Mathematics of the Academy played an important role in organising conferences. For example the Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences organised a conference on Generalized Functions and Operational Calculus which took place in Varna, from 29 September to 6 October 1975. A second example is the Sixth International Summer School on Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics took place at the house of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Varna (Golden Sands) from 28 September to 10 October 1988. The Summer School was organised by the Department of Probability and Statistics of the Institute of Mathematics. As third and final example we mention that in 1980 the Centre for Mathematics and Mechanics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences organised a conference on mathematical logic dedicated to the memory of A A Markov (1903-1979).
In November 1991 the Academy was again given control of its own affairs. It became an independent institution which again elected its own officials.
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