Bulgaria was founded as a state in 681 AD and in its development had gone through periods of literary, economic and political prosperity, but also through periods of decline and loss of independence. Especially strong is its development at the beginning of the 10th century when it has great influence on Eastern European peoples through its schools and literature. Bulgaria is the first state which adopted the Cyrillic alphabet (this alphabet was created at the explicit request of the then Bulgarian ruler, Prince Boris I), and in short time thousands of Bulgarians were trained in the educational centers established in the country.
The present Bulgarian state was restored in 1878 in the form of a monarchy, which in 1946 was replaced by a Soviet-style peoples’ republic. The socialist system existed until 1990, after which Bulgaria assumed the path of liberal democracy and the market economy. In 2004 the country joined NATO, and in 2007 it joined the European Union.