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Bulgaria

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Bulgaria, country in eastern Europe, in the Balkan mountains; bordered on the east by the Black Sea, on the west by Yugoslavia and Macedonia, on the south by Greece and Turkey, and on the north by Rumania, the Danube River forming the border.

Land and climate

The climate is continental in the north, with cold winters and hot summers, temperate continental in the center, and mediterranean south of the Rhodope Mountains and along the Black Sea coast. The country's capital is Sofia.

People

Nearly 90% of Bulgarians are descendants of the Bulgars, a migratory people of Mongol origin. About a tenth of the population is ethnically Turkish. Bulgarian is a southern-Slavic language similar to Russian.

Economy

Though agriculture still employs the majority of the work force, it accounts for only 14% of the national income. Modern industries produce trucks, ships, transistors, chemicals, cement, porcelain, and glass. Lead, zinc, iron ore, copper, and manganese are mined. There are also deposits of oil and natural gas.

History

In the 17th century, the Eastern Bulgars conquered and merged with the Slavic population and adopted their language and customs. Between the 7th and 14th centuries, Bulgarian empires were major participants in Balkan political life, but in 1396 the country was occupied by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Bulgaria for nearly 500 years. The Congress of Berlin (1878) restricted Turkish hegemony and in 1908 Bulgaria proclaimed its independence under Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Bulgaria supported Germany in World War I and World War II. In 1944 the USSR occupied the country; in 1946 the monarchy was abolished and a republic proclaimed, under the control of the Communist party. In the upheavals of 1989, the Bulgarian Communist party changed its name to the Socialists and won control of the parliament in the first free elections. After the electoral victory in 1997, the opposition was unable to revive the economy.

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