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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.
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 2,367,680/female 2,446,799)
65 years and over: 18.2% (male 522,343/female 769,475) (2011 est.)
conventional short form: Bulgaria
local long form: Republika Balgariya
local short form: Balgariya
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 17
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
under 914 m: 90 (2012)
Economy: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.
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