|Map: Bulgaria. Credit: CIA World Factbook.|
On the Occasion of Bulgaria's National Day
Secretary of State
February 28, 2013
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to congratulate the people of Bulgaria on the occasion of your national day on March 3.
This September our two nations will celebrate 110 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. As a close friend and NATO Ally, we recognize Bulgaria’s invaluable contributions to achieving our mutual goals around the world. Our countries continue to cooperate in many areas, including global security, law enforcement, expanding our economic and commercial ties, and supporting democratic transitions around the world. Together we are working to give millions of people hope for a more democratic and peaceful future.
As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States is a partner and friend. I wish all the people of Bulgaria the very best and look forward to deepening our cooperation even more in the years to come.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM CIA WORLD FACTBOOK
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. 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. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.