After the fall of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries. After its liberation and the formation of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom, the state symbols were restored following what was known about the Second Kingdom in some medieval manuscripts.
A variant with a red lion rampant over a golden crowned shield was described in the Tarnovo Constitution of 1879 as follows:
"Art. 21. The Bulgarian state coat of arms is a golden crowned lion on a dark red field. Above the field a princely coronet."
The type and the details regarding the state coat of arms were not described clearly and were not standardised by a special Act. Because of this, for several decades they took different forms: lesser form; lesser form without supporters, compartment and motto, but covered with mantle from 1879 to 1880; greater form with supporters, bearing two national flags, compartment, motto and mantle from 1881 to 1927; middle form with supporters, compartment and motto from 1915 until 1918/20. Besides these there were different variations within these types. This perplexed situation was resolved by a special parliamentary commission, which sat after 1923. In 1927 it legitimated the middle form of the coat of arms, similar to these used as personal coats of arms by Bulgarian monarchs Ferdinand I and his son Tsar Boris III, but excluding all dynastic elements and preserving only the pure state symbolism.
In 1946, the crown was removed from the Coat of Arms when the country became a republic. A totally new Communist emblem replaced it in 1948. The old Coat of Arms (with a different crown - although Bulgaria remains a republic) was restored in 1991 with small stylistic differences.