Bulgaria (buhl GAIR ee uh), is a country on the Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania on the north, Serbia (part of Serbia and Montenegro) and Macedonia on the west, Greece and Turkey on the south, and the Black Sea on the east. Mountains cover most of Bulgaria. Fertile valleys and plains separate the mountains in a large number of areas.
Until the late 1940's, a majority of Bulgarians lived in rural areas and worked on farms. Today, most of Bulgaria's people live in cities. Many work in such industries as food processing and production of metal goods. Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria.
About 3,000 years ago, a people called the Thracians established the first civilization in what is now Bulgaria. The region became part of the Roman Empire during the A.D. 40's. Between the late 600's and the mid-1300's, Bulgaria twice ruled a powerful kingdom that covered most of the Balkan Peninsula. In the late 1300's, the Ottoman Empire conquered the country. Russia helped Bulgaria gain freedom from Ottoman rule in 1878. The country became fully independent in 1908.