Population: 7.1 million (2018 est.).
Religions: Eastern Orthodox 59.4%, Muslim 7.8%, other (including Catholic, Protestant, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox, and Jewish) 1.7%, none 3.7%, unspecified 27.4% (2011 est.).
Ethnic groups: Bulgarian 76.9%, Turkish 8%, Romani 4.4%, other 0.7% (including Russian, Armenian, and Vlach), other (unknown) 10% (2011 est.). Note: Romani populations are usually underestimated in official statistics and may represent 9–11% of Bulgaria's population.
Language: Bulgarian (official) 76.8%, Turkish 8.2%, Romani 3.8%, other 0.7%, unspecified 10.5% (2011 est.).
Country name: Republic of Bulgaria.
Government type: parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottaman Empire).
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.
Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast.
Total area: 110,910 km˛.
Coastline: 354 km.
Highest point: Musala 2,925 m.
Climate: Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers.
Ports and harbors: Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin.
Bulgaria has a strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia.
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. Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007.
The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. 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 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.
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