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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. 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.
Geography Bulgaria
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
43 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:
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 - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 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
Land use:
arable land: 39%
permanent crops: 1.8%
other: 59.2% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
8,000 sq km (1998 est.)
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-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, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
Geography - note:
strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia
People Bulgaria
7,517,973 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.4% (male 553,801; female 526,856)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 2,533,784; female 2,615,968)
65 years and over: 17.1% (male 535,954; female 751,610) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.5 years
male: 38.4 years
female: 42.4 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.92% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
9.65 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
14.25 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-4.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 21.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 25.15 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.75 years
male: 68.14 years
female: 75.59 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.37 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% - note: no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
346 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
100 (2001 est.)
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% (2003 est.)
Government Bulgaria
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: 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 PURVANOV (since 22 January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002)
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA (since 24 July 2001); Deputy Prime Ministers Nikolay VASILEV (since 24 July 2001), and Lidiya SHULEVA (since 24 July 2001), Plamen PANAYOTOV (since 17 July 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 11 November and 18 November 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by the president; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister
election results: Georgi PURVANOV elected president; percent of vote - Georgi PURVANOV 54.13%, Petar STOYANOV 45.87%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 June 2001 (next to be held NA June 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NMS2 42.74%, UtdDF 18.18%, CfB 17.15%, MRF 7.45%; seats by party - NMS2 120, UtdDF 51, CfB 48, MRF 21; note - seating as of January 2004 - NMS2 108, UtdDF 49, CfB 48, MRF 20, independents 15
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)
Political parties and leaders:
Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV]; Coalition for Bulgaria or CfB (coalition of parties dominated by BSP) [Sergei STANISHEV]; Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Ahmed DOGAN]; National Movement for Simeon II or NMS2 [Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA]; Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Nadezhda MIKHAYLOVA]; Union of Free Democrats or UFD [Stefan SOFIYANSKI]; United Democratic Forces or UtdDF (a coalition between the UDF and other center-right parties)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
agrarian movement; Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB; Podkrepa Labor Confederation; numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas
International organization participation:
ACCT, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EU (applicant), FAO, G- 9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIK, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Elena B. POPTODOROVA
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174
chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James William PARDEW
embassy: 1 Suborna Street, Sofia 1000
mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
FAX: [359] (2) 981-89-77
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the national emblem formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe has been removed - it contained a rampant lion within a wreath of wheat ears below a red five-pointed star and above a ribbon bearing the dates 681 (first Bulgarian state established) and 1944 (liberation from Nazi control)
Economy Bulgaria
Economy - overview:
Bulgaria, a former communist country striving to enter the European Union, has experienced macroeconomic stability and strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996 led to the fall of the then socialist government. As a result, the government became committed to economic reform and responsible fiscal planning. A $300 million stand-by agreement negotiated with the IMF at the end of 2001 has supported government efforts to overcome high rates of poverty and unemployment.
purchasing power parity - $57.13 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.4% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $7,600 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.5%
industry: 27.8%
services: 59.7% (2002)
Population below poverty line:
13.4% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.5%
highest 10%: 22.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
26.4 (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.6% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
3.83 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 26%, industry 31%, services 43% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate:
13.5% (2003)
revenues: $6.68 billion
expenditures: $6.69 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
electricity, gas and water; food, beverages and tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
Industrial production growth rate:
5% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
41.38 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 47.8%
hydro: 8.1%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 44.1%
Electricity - consumption:
32.52 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
6.79 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
830 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
603 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
94,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Oil - proved reserves:
8.1 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
4 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
5.804 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
5.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.724 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets
$7.337 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels
Exports - partners:
Italy 15.5%, Germany 9.6%, Turkey 9.4%, Greece 9.2%, France 5.3%, US 4.8% (2002)
$9.723 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, minerals, and raw materials; machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; food, textiles
Imports - partners:
Russia 14.6%, Germany 14.4%, Italy 11.4%, Greece 6.1%, France 5.7%, Turkey 5% (2002)
Debt - external:
$12.6 billion (yearend 2003)
Economic aid - recipient:
$300 million (2000 est.)
lev (BGL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
leva per US dollar - 1.73 (2003), 2.08 (2002), 2.18 (2001), 2.12 (2000), 1.84 (1999)
note: on 5 July 1999, the lev was redenominated; the post-5 July 1999 lev is equal to 1,000 of the pre-5 July 1999 lev
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bulgaria
Telephones - main lines in use:
2,868,200 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2,597,500 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: extensive but antiquated
domestic: more than two-thirds of the lines are residential; telephone service is available in most villages; a fairly modern digital cable trunk line now connects switching centers in most of the regions, the others are connected by digital microwave radio relay
international: country code - 359; direct dialing to 58 countries; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 2 Intelsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 31, FM 63, shortwave 2 (2001)
4.51 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
39 (plus 1,242 repeaters) (2001)
3.31 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
32,986 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
200 (2001)
Internet users:
630,000 (2002)
Transportation Bulgaria
total: 4,294 km
standard gauge: 4,049 km 1.435-m gauge (2,710 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 245 km 0.760-m gauge (2003)
total: 37,286 km
paved: 35,049 km (including 324 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,237 km (2000)
470 km (1987)
gas 2,425 km; oil 339 km; refined products 156 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin
Merchant marine:
total: 60 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 757,972 GRT/1,115,238 DWT
by type: bulk 37, cargo 7, chemical tanker 4, container 2, petroleum tanker 3, rail car carrier 2, roll on/roll off 3, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 1
registered in other countries: 45 (2003 est.)
212 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 127
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 91 (2003 est.)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 85
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 72 (2003 est.)
1 (2003 est.)
Military Bulgaria
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,829,203 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,530,657 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 52,811 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$356 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.6% (2003)
Transnational Issues Bulgaria
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions