Facts about Bulgaria

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Bulgaria - Black SeaThe 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. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria 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. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Geography of Bulgaria

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
43 00 N, 25 00 E
total: 110,910 sq km
water: 360 sq km
land: 110,550 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee
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
354 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Musala 2,925 m
Natural resources:
bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land
Natural hazards:
earthquakes, landslides
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
Geography - note:
strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

More Geography

Population of Bulgaria

7,262,675 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.9% (male 527,881/female 502,334)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 2,496,054/female 2,579,680)
65 years and over: 17.3% (male 527,027/female 752,391)
Median age:
40.8 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
19.85 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.3 years
male: 68.68 years
female: 76.13 years
Total fertility rate:
1.38 children born/woman
noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian
Ethnic groups:
Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (2001)
Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Roman Catholic 1.7%, Jewish 0.1%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 3.4% (1998)
Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.1%
female: 98.2%


Country name:
long form: Republic of Bulgaria
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol
3 March 1878 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)
adopted 12 July 1991
Legal system:
civil law and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Georgi PARVANOV (since 22 January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Sergei STANISHEV (since 16 August 2005); Deputy Prime Ministers Ivaylo KALFIN, Daniel VULCHEV, and Emel ETEM (since 16 August 2005) and Meglena PLUGCHIEVA (since 25 April 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 22 and 29 October 2006 (next to be held in 2011); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Administrative Court; Supreme Court of Cassation; Constitutional Court (12 justices appointed or elected for nine-year terms); Supreme Judicial Council (consists of the chairmen of the two Supreme Courts, the Chief Prosecutor, and 22 other members; responsible for appointing the justices, prosecutors, and investigating magistrates in the justice system; members of the Supreme Judicial Council elected for five-year terms, 11 elected by the National Assembly and 11 by bodies of the judiciary)


Bulgaria, a former communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, has experienced strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996. Successive governments have demonstrated commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but have failed so far to rein in rising inflation and large current account deficits. Bulgaria has averaged more than 6% growth since 2004, attracting significant amounts of foreign direct investment, but corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.

$86.71 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 9.3%
industry: 30.4%
services: 60.3%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
3.34 million
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 32.7%
services: 56.3%
revenues: $11.18 billion
expenditures: $10.9 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 47.8%
hydro: 8.1%
other: 0%
nuclear: 44.1%
electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets
clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels
Export partners:
Italy 13%, Germany 11%, Turkey 10.1%, Greece 6.1%, Belgium 5.6%, France 4.2%, US 4.1%
machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials
Import partners:
Germany 14.7%, Russia 9.9%, Italy 9.9%, Turkey 6.8%, Greece 6.4%, France 4%
lev (BGL)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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