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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. 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.


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Geography

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

Geographic coordinates
43 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references
Europe

Area World Ranking: 105
Total 110,879 sq km
Land 108,489 sq km
Water 2,390 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries
Total 1,808 km
Border countries
Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 km

Coastline
354 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Contiguous zone 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Climate
Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain
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

Land use
Arable land 29.94%
Permanent crops 1.9%
Other 68.16% (2005)

Irrigated land
1,020 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
19.4 cu km (2005)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 6.92 cu km/yr (3%/78%/19%)
Per capita 895 cu m/yr (2003)

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

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia


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  Bulgaria (Sofia):


  GPS points from Bulgaria (Sofia)

Gora Bratuya Oblast Pazardzhik

Makhala Sredni-delu Oblast Pernik

Maglis Oblast Stara Zagora

Kolibi Sveta Petka Oblast Pazardzhik

Orekhovo Oblast Stara Zagora

Kolibi Usukovetskiya Oblast Sofiya

Sharotintsi Oblast Smolyan

Michalzi Oblast Veliko Turnovo




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