From the early 19th century until today, there have been several migrant waves from Bulgaria to the USA and Canada. The first wave, beginning at the end of the 19th century and continuing through the first three decades of the 20th, brought economic migrants. It was followed by a wave of political migrants escaping the repressive actions of the communist regime in Bulgaria at the end of WWII. After the communist regime was toppled in 1989, the final wave of economic migration from Bulgaria to North America began, and it has continued up until the present day. This is considered to be the largest wave in history. As a result of this century-long period of migration, a relatively large community now lives in the USA and Canada (as compared to the population of Bulgaria). Large Bulgarian groups exist today in urban centers such as Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Miami, and Toronto. Among them, Chicago is considered the urban center with the largest Bulgarian population outside Bulgaria itself. According to unofficial census data, the Bulgarians living in the city and the surrounding suburbs number between 150,000 and 200,000 people. Existing within the conditions of contemporary globalization, the Bulgarian communities in the USA and Canada have own cultural organizations, churches, schools, newspapers, radio programs, and television programs. Now the Bulgarian group has its virtual museum, intended to preserve, present and celebrate the Bulgarian heritage in North America. More about the project read HERE.


The Immigrant’s Suitcase – Memory & Future, Shared Heritage

Do you have a personal or family story of migration from Bulgaria to North America?

SHARE a story or READ other stories.

The immigrant’s suitcase is a metaphor of everything that individuals brings with themselves during migration – belongings, emotional experiences, and memories. As with a suitcase, this virtual museum aims to collect the life stories of Bulgarian immigrants scattered throughout North America, in order to organize and preserve them for future generations.