The Black Sea is a sea between Europe and Asia. The Danube, Don, and Dnieper Rivers provide the sea with its water and it drains into the Mediterranean Sea. The Black Sea has been an important body of water for several civilizations and countries throughout history.
The Black Sea has been important in terms of naval power for both the Russian and Ottoman Empires for hundreds of years. It was the site of various naval battles during both world wars. In recent times, it has been the site of a few battles in the Russia-Ukraine War, specifically on Snake Island and several other key areas.
The Black Sea is also a route many smugglers of illegal goods take to reach land in Russia, Western Asia, or Eastern Europe. The sea fuels the economies of the six countries bordering the Black Sea. Turkish fishing is an important part of the economy and catches 300,000 tons of anchovies every year. Turkey has also started drilling for natural gas after they discovered it in 2020. Russia carries out offshore drilling in the Black Sea. Lastly, tourism is an important mechanism in driving the economies of these countries.
Today, the Black Sea remains an important military and economic body of water for the six countries that surround it. Let’s explore those six countries that border the Black Sea.
The country of Bulgaria has a population of 6.4 million. Historically, it has been an important country for trade between Europe and Asia. The Ottoman Empire controlled Bulgaria for several centuries until it became fully independent in 1908. After World War II, Bulgaria became a Soviet-controlled independent state. Since 1991, after the fall of communism, Bulgaria has been a democracy and a part of the European Union.
Geographically, Bulgaria has a diverse topography, with lowlands, mountains, and valleys. Because of the diversity of its geography, the climatic regions in the country are also vast — ranging from Mediterranean weather in the south and a more continental climate in the north. Bulgaria is one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe, hosting over 40,000 species of animals and plants.
Geographically, Georgia is a mountainous country located in the Caucuses. There are however lowlands, marshes, forested areas, and plains. Although Georgia is a small country, its climate is also diverse, ranging from continental to subtropical. There are thousands of species of animals in plants located in Georgia because of its diverse topography.
Georgia won independence after World War I but the Soviet Union annexed it in 1922. It was a Soviet-controlled independent state until its independence in 1991. Afterward, there was economic strife and political strife, but things have stabilized in recent years.
Romania has a diverse landscape, roughly divided into a mountainous region, a hilly and plains area, and a forested region. These regions ensure there are four climatic seasons throughout the year. Its land is fertile, which makes it great for farming. Wildlife in Romania is diverse, with thousands of species of plants and animals living in the country.
With a population of 19 million, Romania was part of many empires throughout history. Most recently it was part of the Ottoman Empire for four centuries until Romania became independent in 1877. It sided with the Axis Powers during World War II and subsequently became a Soviet-controlled independent state after the war. Romania became an independent democracy after the fall of communism.
The Russian Federation is a vast country that spans two continents — Europe and Asia — with many types of geography and climates. Much of the country’s area is uninhabited because as much as 75% of Russia is covered by tundra and forest, known as the region of Siberia. The nation has several mountain ranges, with one of the largest being the Caucasus Mountains which stretches from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. Russia is also home to some of Europe’s largest lakes, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. Some of the wildlife in Russia includes the Siberian tiger, polar bears, and snow leopards.
Historically, Russia has been a political force to be reckoned with. The Russian Tsar ruled its people with an iron fist until a revolution took place and the Bolsheviks took over, killing Tsar Nicholas and his family in 1918. The USSR was established and for more than 70 years, they also ruled with an iron fist. After the fall of communism, Russia had a period of democracy, but Vladimir Putin now rules Russia as an authoritarian state.
The country of Turkey has a population of 85.2 million and it is in both the European and Asian continents. The city of Turkey, which is the largest city in the nation, is split in two with the Bosphorus Strait running between it. There are seven regions in Turkey, each unique in their geography. Because of its location in Europe and Asia, many species make Turkey their home. Its climatic regions ensure that there are more than 80,000 species of animals living in the country.
Turkey became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1453 and for more than 450 years, they ruled the land until its dissolution after World War I. Turkey claimed independence from Greece in 1920 and it officially became a republic in 1923.
With a population of over 43 million, Ukraine is an agricultural fertile area of Europe. Throughout history, the land of Ukraine has always been controlled by other empires, whether it was the Lithuanians, the Mongols, or the Russians. In 1991, Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union and continued on a path of democracy. Things took a turn for the worse when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, and to this day, Ukrainians are involved in conflict with Russia.
Geographically, Ukraine is a flat country with plains and steppes. There are mountains only in the western part of the nation. There are also dense forests scattered throughout Ukraine. The country is home to various animals like wolves, beech martens, and foxes. Ukraine’s largest river, the Dnieper, provides water to the Black Sea.
Black Sea Facts
- Maximum length: 730 miles (1,175 km)
- Surface Area: 168,500 square miles (436,402 square km)
- Average Depth: 4,111 feet (1,253 meters)
- Maximum Depth: 7,257 feet (2,212 meters)
- Water Volume: 131,200 cubic miles (547,000 cubic km)
The countries that border the Black Sea include Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The Black Sea is an important sea for all countries that border it. It is a naval and economic driver for them. However, this has also provided tension between those countries.
Most recently, the Black Sea has been the site of several naval battles between Russia and Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and Ukraine has fought against the conquerors ever since. The Ukrainian military sunk a Russian naval cruiser. An American drone also plummeted into the depths of the Black Sea. There is hope, however, that the fighting will stop and a truce can be called.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © GizemG/Shutterstock.com
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