Bulgaria earned its independence from the Ottoman Empire 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
multi-party 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
democratisation keep Bulgaria on a path toward eventual integration into the EU - with which it began accession negotiations in 2000.