Bulgaria facts and figures

Bulgaria

The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic
inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In
succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert
its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country
was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Bulgaria regained its independence in
1878, but having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, it fell within
the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People’s Republic in 1946. Communist
domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election
since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political
democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment,
corruption, and crime. Today, reforms and democratization keep Bulgaria
on a path toward eventual integration into NATO and the EU – with which
it began accession negotiations in 2000.

Location:

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Area:

total: 110,910 sq km

water: 360 sq km

land: 110,550 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 1,808 km

border countries: Greece 494 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia and Montenegro 318 km, Turkey 240 km

Climate:

temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain:

mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Land use:

arable land: 39%

permanent crops: 1.8%

other: 59.2% (1998 est.)

Population:

7,537,929 (July 2003 est.)

Nationality:

noun: Bulgarian(s)

adjective: Bulgarian

Languages:

Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown