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Bulgaria is a European country, located on the western shore of the Black Sea, between Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. Sofia is the capital and largest city. The country's population is 7.5 million people, with significant minorities of Turks and Roma; while most of the country is Orthodox, about 12% are Muslim.

After World War II, Bulgaria was dominated by the Soviet Union, and it had a centrally planned economy. However, after the collapse of Soviet power in 1989, the country adopted a Western outlook and slowly liberalized its economy. There was massive economic disruption during this transition period, and GDP per person is still only $8200; although the economy has improved in recent years.

In 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO, the Western military alliance, and it joined the European Union on Jan. 1, 2007.

CIA World Factbook

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