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Although the Bulgarian population reached 1 million by 1300, the black death in the 15th century caused a major set-back and the arrival of the Ottoman Turks slowed the population growth. It began to grow substantially only during the 18th century. It stood at 3 million when it was augmented by the territory of Eastern Rumelia in 1885 and had reached a total of 7.4 million by 2008. The largest city and capital is Sofia with a population of more than 1.5 million. Other important cities include Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas.
The breakdown of the population by ethnic group in 2008 was 84% Bulgarians, 9.4% Turks, and 4.7% Gypsies. Macedonians, Armenians, Jews, Russians, and other groups also inhabit Bulgaria in small numbers. A majority of the Christian population is Bulgarian Orthodox. The Turkish portion of population is primarily Moslem. There are groups of Roman Catholics, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and Jews in the country.
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